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Interview w/ Jim Boykin, CEO,

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 8 years and 140 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Todd: 1jim boykin. What makes a great linkbuilder?

A great link builder is someone who can write and promote amazing content. Today I feel that a link builder should really be a Content Marketer and/or a Relationship Builder. A great content marketer is someone who can think of really cool and interesting things to show/write/talk about…they must also know how to give content a great title that will appeal to readers who might want to read and spread what you’re saying.

That great Content Marketer will be more ..because they write such interesting articles/blogs/studies, etc….they will then want to tell the world about this great content….in order to tell the world, they will also be a relationship builder….they will start making connections with influencers via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, etc…. they will make connections with influencers and the people who have an interest in that topic…and ideally they will become influencers themselves in each niche. If someone can do all that, then they’ll be a great link/citation builder.

You see, yesterday we talked about Links….and Link Builders…and Link Building….I understand where the engines are going via them trying to map out the social web…it’s all about PEOPLE, and citations….some via Authorship of Content, some via connections in social spaces, some via engines analyzing who are the influencers, and who is connected to who…and about what topics…and how much everyone, and every company can be trusted…on a personal level….and on a corporate level….and both mixed together,

The link building of yesterday are being replaced with the relationship building of today and into the future. To be a great relationship builder you have to have good things to back you up (what do you have on your site that’s worthy of sharing to others, and what can you say to others that is worth sharing….or what can you share with others, who will also want to share it with their connections.

Then you have to promote what you say so people reference it….how do you do get others to reference what you have to say?..well you might write to people (email, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)…you might tell other people who have an interest in that category…in these social media accounts, ideally, you have a lot of friends and followerswho are interested in that topic…if you can get your specific topic influencers to follow or friend or circle you…that’s a great Vote…if they mention you in what they say (on sites, or in social)…then to some extent, that is a vote…if you happen to get a link on a web page of which that person is an author of, that’s awesome…..a great relationship builder can hold conversations with others in that industry, and have a trusted voice, and trusted content to back it up.

Yesterday the talk was how good is your content, who do you link to, what is your linking neighborhood, who links to you, and how trusted are those sites?

Today the talk is about how good is your content, who are you friends with, who are you influenced by, who are you an influencer of, and how trusted are those people…..yes, it’s about websites….but it’s starting to be about a lot more than just links and websites.

2. What tools are your favorites for link building?

Great Minds…..yes, we have some internal tools that help us know what are good topics to write about….and some private tools that help you know who to contact…but, there’s an art to knowing what to write, and how to write it that no tool can be built for. I use Majestic SEOahrefs, Moz’s Opensite Explorer..I use semrush, spyfu, google searches, google instant, our private competitor backlink analysis tools…I use our own public site crawler to analyze who sites link out to as well….but my favorite tool is the brain of my content marketers and my relationship builders.


3. How should someone learn to become a better link builder?

hum….follow many of the people I follow on twitter and read what they reference….attend industry conferences like Pubcon, SMXMozcon, Blueglass….I really feel that most of the current SEO leaders in this industry get it…..people like Wil Reynolds who keeps saying, “You have to do real company shit“. A better link builder is someone who can go from idea, to creation, to marketing it…you learn through trial and error….experience makes a better link builder…I find that those who participate in social and share in social are those who “get it” more….it’s not about become a better link builder, it’s about become an authority in your topic and writing such cool content, or doing real company stuff which makes people naturally want to reference you…via links, tweets, shares, etc.

4. How important is rel=author and how should marketers be utilizing it?

I believe authorship is becoming much more important inside of the Google algorithms. In their patents relating to authorship, they mention that when indexing pages, they look for “keys” that can identify that page to a particular person ….ie, a name on the top of bottom of page….an email address on the page…a social media person link….the meta author tag….etc…but if they can identify a page as being authored by a specific person, then that page goes into the Author Index, where another algorithm is run through those pages.

Each author in the author index is going to have a score based on their content, and who who referenced their content….if you can become a trusted author, things with your name on it will be trusted by Google more…its like matt said, it’s kinda like getting free backlinks to a page just because your name is on it, IF you’re a trusted author. Should you use the rel=author…well…it can’t hurt if your content is good…most pages probably have a “key” that tells Google who the author is already….if you set up a Google account, and connect your account to your authored content (on your about page)….or if you physically go into your pages you’ve written and add the rel=author then you might be filling in some blanks that Google may not have know of prior…but chances are, they know most of the things you’ve authored already if your putting your name on content on the web….but should you use authorship? Only if you have something that you think people may like and reference or spread…if not, then don’t bother creating something that’s not going to go anywhere, and won’t add any value to you or to your website.

5. What social signals do you think are most important to offsite equity value?

I kinda said it earlier….when it comes to social, it’s about who are you connected to….who influences you…and who do you influence….that’s it in a nutshell.

6. What is the best types of content to build links to?

Content that’s so great that people thank you for creating it and sharing it with them….they may thank you via, a tweet, a like, a share, a plus, and sometimes even with a link.

7. What traits are important to being a successful modern online marketing agency?

todd and jim at pubcon 2006

Are you asking me about what the big companies do, or are you saying I’m an agency??….I always thought of us as the small guys….but at 100 employees we’re a lot bigger than we’ve been in the past…….well….I guess to be successful the first things is to keep rolling with the changes….I’ve seen online marketing companies come and go over the years….I guess you have to do what you have to do at any time to get and keep clients…and you have to continue to refine and change what you do and how you do it….keep one ear on the tracks to hear what’s the buzz online….read what others are saying…participate in the conversations….give something of value to the mass, and give services that have great value to your clients, and treat your employees with respect….

I think to be successful in this industry you have to be always on the cutting edge of what works best for the goals you are aiming for…you also have to have the ability to adapt to change, in areas like what you do, and how you do it….and you need great people and great tools to get things done….and, you must still be profitable at the end of the day.

8. What makes unique from other agencies?

Dang…I think you called us an agency again….what makes us different from other agencies?…perhaps what makes us different is that I don’t
think of us as an “agency”. We might have 100 people, but I’m betting there are few agencies where the employees feel like family…. I’d bet that in most agencies customers are also treated like numbers…FYI, I’ve personally talked to Every Client we have, and given Every client at least a few hours of my time and analysis….on top of this, I have a team of Analyst and Customer service people know what they’re talking about (they know online marketing) who also give clients the attention they need. We know our clients, and often both them and us feel like we’re partners in the journey of online marketing. We work with their teams, they work with our teams, and together, we can accomplish great things. Also, with people like Kris Jones, Ann Smarty, Kim Krause Berg, Joe HallBonnie StefanickJen VanIdystryne, and other who work here who’s names aren’t as well known, I think we’re a knowledge base powerhouse, and we have an army of workers here to carry out the needed work.

We’re also unique in that we’re the owners of several other large communities like DevShed, SEOChat, Cre8aSiteForums, and WebmasterWorld. If some big agency had their hands on these properties I think they’d destroy them…and we’re working to build up communities.


9. What is the future of SEO?

Search Results that are influenced by who are YOUR connections and what do they like, mention, tweet, link to….etc…

If you’re not making connections and becoming a voice in your industry, then you may loose out a lot of influence in the future.


Thanks Jim for all your time, and for always being so open with information!

Jim Boykin is the CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas, and a veteran of the world of SEO and online marketing. He leads a successful marketing company with over 100 employees, and has helped companies large and small improve their online visibility.

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