Today I'm excited to bring you an interview with James Agate of Skyrocket SEO you probably already know of James but if you don't I highly recommend you sign up for his Guest Blogging Track it's one of the few email subscriptions that I haven't binned as it's always full of high quality goods! Anyway lets get cracking with the interview.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is James Agate, I live in Chester, UK have done for about 3 years now. I run Skyrocket SEO a link building and content marketing agency. I also have a few other projects that I never talk about online and rarely ever talk about in real life...
How and when did you get into the SEO game?
I made my first website at the age of 13, I used MS Front Page and the site was an encyclopedia for ringtones back when it was cool to sit there trying to recreate chart tunes using your phone's keypad.
Since then I have had a variety of online projects and a whole host of jobs in different industries including telecoms and publishing. I "fell" into SEO having been doing it a while for my own sites (building my 'network' up to close to 300,000 unique visitors per month) I was getting more and more people asking if I could help them out with their SEO, so I went freelance for a bit then formalised everything about 2 years ago when I created Skyrocket SEO.
What do you think is the most overlooked method of link building?
Hmm, well I would probably say all too often people overlook the simple stuff, instead focusing on trying to be groundbreaking or show off in front of their peers with some new but awkward and complex tactic to build links which the person writing about it has probably never attempted in their life but is talking about it because it looks cool on paper.
What tools do you use on a day to day that you highly recommend?
Link Prospector from Citation Labs, Raven Tools and Scrapebox. We also have a number of internal tools.
What's your stance on paid links?
Ha! Paying for links is very bad and you shouldn't do it. :-)
In all seriousness, the fact is that they often work, should they? Well you could debate that all day. Remember, decent paid links have benefits way beyond helping a site rank better.
In my opinion the issue isn't really whether buying links is right or wrong but how you go about buying links, what your strategy is and what safety measures you have in place. Buying links isn't something we do at this moment in time mainly because our clients frequently come to us looking for specific services like guest blogging or infographic promotion.
Ethically though I don't really see the issue provided the client is fully aware of the risks and rewards. The only time I disagree with buying links is when the client has no idea what is going on or they think they are getting guest posts and the agency is just adding spun content to their own private network of blogs.
I guess you could say we pay for links in other ways because producing content and developing relationships isn't free is it?! :-)
As you do a lot of outreach, what is the best way to tackle a blogger or site owner who asks for money in exchange for a guest post?
We offer to write them an additional blog post on a topic of their choice completely free of charge and free from links. We find most bloggers will happily oblige (and/or take advantage of our generous offer).
What do you love most about the SEO community?
There are so many great minds and so many good people who do their utmost to help a peer out. You have to search far and wide to find another industry where you'll find that.
And what you hate most about the SEO community?
The bitching, complaining, the outing and the smartasses who can't wait to shoot someone down because they have a slightly different viewpoint to their own.
We offer a guest posting service so if you work at an SEO agency we can help your clients to earn genuine and authoritative links... saves you the time and hassle of doing it. If you work as an in-house SEO we can help your employer earn great links so you'll look good in front of the boss.
You can follow James on Twitter @jamesagate