Jon Cooper, link builder and founder of Point Blank SEOToday we’ve had the pleasure to interview Jon Cooper, the link building consultant behind Point Blank SEO and author of the in-depth Link Building Course.

1. What determined you to start Point Blank SEO? Are you planning to continue focusing on link building over the coming years?
I started Point Blank SEO back in March 2011 because I realized there was a huge gap between what people wanted in terms of link building content and what was being published. I noticed it because, most importantly, I was one of those people who wanted actionable tips that weren’t super generic and cookie cutter.
I think I’ll always dedicate Point Blank SEO just to link building, but that doesn’t mean in my own projects I won’t be focusing on other parts of digital marketing, or even building a few online businesses myself (i.e. ecommerce).

2. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned since you started link building?
The most important is that there are great rewards for those willing to walk a different path than the rest of SEOs out there. Building links in new ways allows me to not be faced with the ever-growing issue of saturation, because once a tactic is deemed “scalable” by the public, it gets pounded into the ground until it’s useless.
I also learned that it’s extremely important to put yourself in the shoes of whoever you’re wanting a link to. It’s not hard to figure out what exactly you need to say/do to get them to link to you. But so many people forget to do this, and they wonder why those people won’t cooperate.

3. Our team at Powered by Search loves your Point Blank SEO Link Building course. How do you come up with so many different ideas for getting backlinks? Do they just come naturally?
For me at least, all it took was a little brainstorming. I don’t think there are many people who have walked around a room for an hour or two with a small white board and wrote down every idea that came to mind.
I also have spent far too many hours (more than I’d like to admit) letting curiosity take over and using Open Site Explorer on hundreds of non-related sites to see what they’re up to.

4. What would be a best-in-class process to use when creating a link building strategy for an enterprise client?
There’s never a set process when working with big clients, because each one deserves, and NEEDS, a tailored strategy. But once you do have a few different tactics you know you’ll be implemented, getting the right people in place to have them carry it out (not me all the time), and making sure they understand their client’s goals, is crucial in making sure the process is repeatable.

5. What are 3 strategies that most link builders often neglect? How much value can they add when utilized?
The first is pre existing opportunity, such as brand mention reclamation and used images. For some bigger clients, there’s enough opportunity here to satisfy a lot of demand.
The second would be to do competitor research on related verticals, and not necessarily the narrow ones you’re in. For example, if the client sells dog collars, look at verticals that involve other pet products. Seeing that competitor research is pretty easy for a lot of us, knowing this can open up a ton of opportunity.
The third would be revamping old content. You can usually find a webpage/article or two that’s old and got a fair amount of links in your vertical, but it’s terribly outdated. Since the concept & content is there for you, already proven that it gets links, hiring someone to make maybe an interactive page (or static infographic), or even just an updated article on the topic, should be a no brainer.

6. What set of skills does a link builder need in order to succeed?
You have to be curious, tenacious, and quick thinking. The curiosity helps you explore every crevice of both competing & non-competing verticals, the tenacity helps you close links after picking up the phone or following up a 3rd or 4th time, and the quick thinking allows you to respond to a lot of outreach emails that don’t get the usual responses.

7. What books would you recommend to link builders?
The only one I’d recommend specifically for link builders is Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. If you’re creating any type of content, then Made to Stick by the Heath brothers is a must.

8. What are the major trends that we’ll see over the coming 3 to 5 year in link building?
The biggest one I see is people actually investing in link building. I still have clients who, not even a year or two ago, were still doing the article marketing BS that cost them a few bucks a month, even though the risk/reward of good/bad links was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.
But I think as people start to see just how much is at stake in terms of quality links, then they’ll finally give us some budget to work with!

Jon Cooper is the link building consultant behind Point Blank SEO and the author of the Point Blank SEO Link Building Course. You can stay in touch with him via Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
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Tagged with: Interview, Jon Cooper, link building, Point Blank SEO, seo

About Alex Rascanu

Alex Rascanu is a digital marketing strategist and speaker. Director of Online New Business Development at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Founder of EVENTS&. Organizer of the Marketers Unbound event series.