We talked to Amit Raj of The Links Guy about link building and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Amit Raj: Doing well, considering. While the pandemic has hit everyone, the UK is in a better position than many countries. Most of the family and extended family have not been affected too much as they just happened to either work in industries where they could adapt to the situation or owned a business deemed essential.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Links Guy.
Amit Raj: I originally trained and worked as a pharmacist and qualified back in 2009. But I had been dabbling in internet marketing and trying to learn the ropes in various things – until I met Dan Ray around 2014 and stumbled across white hat link building. From there, it was a pretty slow process, but (under Dan’s advice) this was the way it had to be. I had zero contacts in the industry, had no formal sales experience – but I knew how to do email outreach and get very good links. I slowly picked up clients and started to build a fully remote team under the banner of “Amit Digital Marketing” and had a mixture of experiences along the way. Clients who expected too much or had mismatched expectations – while others we helped triple or quadruple their business and who have referred us or used us for multiple projects.
Now in 2021, I have re-branded the agency to “The Links Guy” – as it isn’t just a personal brand anymore, and there is a whole team of amazing people who work for me and are securing amazing results for our clients. I thought it was the right time to slowly step back from being the “name of the brand”.
How does The Links Guy innovate?
Amit Raj: We aren’t happy just hitting our link building KPIs for clients and doing well enough to get results – we are always continually improving things internally and building better and better links, improving our outreach technique, and working on the strategies we use to get links.
Most link building firms are essentially doing the same thing – compensating editors on mediocre, irrelevant blogs with next to no traffic – with the sole purpose of hitting their monthly report and hitting a quota.
We’ve managed to secure insane results, which is almost unheard of for a company that is just meant to be a link building agency. We’ve had clients actually win business and generate direct revenue as a result of links we’ve gained. We even helped one very famous client get a speaking engagement at a Forbes Live event due to our outreach. Once, we even set up a meeting between a client and one of Mark Cuban’s business partners, off the back of an email exchange we were having with a journalist!
We’re willing to go that extra mile for every client and secure results we know many agencies cannot get…Just being able to hustle that little bit more is what you need to have an edge and secure not just good results…but world-class results that can make an impact on your traffic and revenue.
In addition, I want to scale the business – but I’d rather spend time and money on internal training, making processes more efficient, and improving the quality of work for current clients – than take on new clients and compromise on quality for any single client.
Lastly, I’m also very happy to spend time discussing and educating clients. And that’s especially when it comes to busting some myths with regards to link building. Why certain links are going to have no impact on them, the fallacy of “high DA” links and what it really means, as well as many other aspects of the SEO industry that are often not talked about. This also helps us effectively manage client expectations, as they’ll then truly appreciate the concept of link quality and become more invested in the process and will allow us to experiment and try things that are a bit different.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Amit Raj: The pandemic has not actually affected us badly at all. In fact, we’ve had an influx of enquiries, and some of our clients are doubling down on their SEO and link building efforts. We’ve actually not been able to take on everyone that enquires, as the past year or so, we’ve been heavily focused on upskilling and improving how we work – so we can focus on quality and gaining even better results for the clients we do have.
For instance, you’ll see some clients over the past couple of years on our case studies page. They’re stoked to have those results, obviously! But, there’s always room to push things further.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Amit Raj: When it comes to building a team, we have to make business decisions based on whether someone is suitable to work with us or not. We are very big on upskilling and delivering results for clients. We have an amazing, friendly team who are super motivated. If someone is not vibing with the rest of the team, is not interested in improving their game or has no interest in delivering quality results – they’re not a good fit for us.
The senior management team at the agency and I will do whatever it takes to train and support someone to be awesome at their job- but we’ll only do it if someone is willing to improve.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Amit Raj: Focusing on management – I’ve worked corporate jobs, worked closely with startups, INC 5000s and seen all kinds of different management styles.
Something I see many people get wrong in management is they think they’re the star of the show, and everyone should do what they say because they’re in charge and know best.
In my opinion – that’s totally the wrong way to do things.
I see my position as not just a manager but also a leader. That means I also need to serve the team and support them with whatever they need to do their job effectively.
I’m not formally trained, and I’m not learning management skills from a book, and I don’t have an MBA. But it’s something I feel I need to learn as we grow, and it’s something I’m still learning to do better every day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Amit Raj: We have many loads of competitors – everything from the popular link building database brands (that I won’t name!) to the big-name link building firms with CEOs who speak at major SEO conferences.
My plan going forward is to focus on one thing – securing amazing results for our clients, and letting our results do the talking for us.
I have other things planned for the future in terms of marketing our agency, as we are not well-known in this sector by any stretch. But for now, I think we can stand out from the competition because of our unwavering focus on continual improvement. We’ve had many clients come to us because of bad experiences with other firms. So it makes me quietly confident we’re on the right track as we’re able to attract enquiries while barely doing any marketing.
Your final thoughts?
Amit Raj: SEO and link building is a minefield in terms of information, and there are a lot of mistruths (or half-truths) being pushed out there. Part of it is about keeping conference sponsors happy or just maintaining the industry’s status quo. As a client, it really does pay to do your due diligence.
With that said, TLG is going to be pushing out some content in the coming year and beyond, giving people a “warts and all” look into how link building and digital PR really works, what you need to be wary of, and also all the little things we do to land these links, do it at scale and most importantly, get consistent results for clients.
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