From the moment I started taking link building seriously, Ross Hudgens was always on my radar. Every time you read something by him, you feel like you’ve just become an even better link builder. That’s why I pulled some strings to get Ross Hudgens to answer a few link building related questions right here on Point Blank SEO.
I got into SEO by luck, like most people. I was a business/marketing major in college and worked filing paper at a company that was in the pharmaceutical industry, basically being lazy and biding my time. Our CEO was nice enough to recognize what my major was and aive me free reign to market our website. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing and generated a total of 0 leads (leads are harder to come by in this space, notably), but I ended up stumbling into SEMPO and making terrible use of its advice on our website. I eventually left the company but I got the first spark that this SEO thing could be for me, so I started searching for jobs.
I found this terrible internship at a tiny shop in Southern California. It was unpaid, and we ended up doing lots of nofollow comment and forum spam as a method of teaching link building. But it allowed me to put “SEO” on my resume, which meant that I now had the firepower to get a real job. I immediately starting looking for other work, and I found Singlegrain, which is ran by Sujan Patel, most known for being the cousin of Neil Patel.
I was their first employee, but finding Sujan, a wildly successful SEO who became my mentor, was a lucky and integral part of my ability to grow quickly in SEO.
As noted, Sujan Patel, my mentor, is what shaped what I am and what I do today. He hired me part time originally, got me to move to San Francisco from Southern California, and then got me my second job, and also got me the job lead to work at Full Beaker, my third (and best) real job in SEO. Sujan isn’t really a technical SEO, but what he taught me about business development, hustle and career development got me the biggest opportunities I’ve had so far in my career, which have therefrom allowed me to test and blossom my skills as an SEO through practice.
Adding a link to Raven Tools. I’m doing less and less link building these days, but I still love doing it and the dopamine release from adding a nice link to Raven’s link manager is a great feeling. Similarly, and closely connected to that, is the feeling received when the first five-ten links comes in quickly when releasing a linkable asset, which is an essential guarantee that the thing is going to be successful at worst, and viral at best.
Having the thought that building 5 links a week is acceptable. I ran into another company who hired someone that was building 5 links a week, and it’s really just not a number that’s acceptable in any industry. It’s hard to really explain exactly what they’re doing wrong, but there is definitely a lack of widespread benchmarking in this industry in terms of what a “good” number of links is. The reality is that 5 links is a terrible number almost always (yes, there are rare, rare exceptions where it’s okay) – so if you’re consistently building 5, you need to get outside training help and/or be fired.
This is a bit of paradox as most people do not like talking about the link building strategies that are most effective for them, as many are finite/can dry up when revealed publicly. Mine are no different – however, there are definitely some “universally” effective, and not finite and/or shunned upon, tactics one can use that aren’t being used at scale.
There is no threat to the future of SEO. The only true threat is the laziness and/or complacency of the SEOs in this industry. It will literally be impossible for us to not have positions – even if they evolve to some other abstract job description that only partially use SEO in there operations – such as “Web Marketing Strategist” – in ten to fifteen years. The interesting dynamics of the SEO industry are not whether or not it can die, it’s the idiosyncrasies of the search engine dynamics that Aaron Wall frequently discusses, such as shrinking margins for affiliates, brands being pushed up, and Google’s increasing attempts to monopolize SERPs with ads and/or their own products. This means that SEO really does not die, it just becomes a game where the resources and talent of us, the people trying to get paid, is forced to reallocate.
It is highly unlikely Google will “always” dominate the search industry, however they, just like all business juggernauts, are capable of being swept undertow. One of the prominent thinkers in the realm of disruptive technology, Clayton Christensen, posited in his well-regarded book The Innovator’s Dilemma that many of the giant companies that have been disrupted and/or fell were blindsided by a technology that was first dismissed as a toy, such as Skype to the telecom industry, travel search to travel agents, or Napster to the music industry. It is hard to imagine a subsequent “toy” that would uproot something that seems to be a plateau of how it can be upgraded (at least in my opinion), which would make a “disruption” hard to imagine.
As technology develops there will inevitably be certain markets/areas that have developed to a point of diminishing returns in terms of improvement. Google and search can improve, yes, but I believe they will and can within the existing market conditinos, and it is unlikely something can “disrupt” and uproot a sector that may not be capable of disruption – because of said technology maturity of the “pain point” – that is, finding things.