This episode of the Business and Remote Work podcast features the founder of a renowned link-building agency, Alexandra Tachalova.
Alexandra boasts great experience, having previously worked as a Marketing Director with brands such as SEM Rush.
Harnessing the knowledge from her experience, Alexandra decided to venture on her own and founded Digital Olympus.
Digital Olympus was initially launched as a digital marketing conference that evolved into a relationship-based link-building agency.
In this episode, we cover topics such as
🔥The importance of link building in SEO
🔥Why does link-building work for some businesses and not for others
🔥The role of good quality content
🔥The future of link building
And much more …
Welcome to the business and remote work podcast brought to you by Wishup. I'm your host Crispino, along with the co-founder of Wishup, Mr. Neelesh Rangwani.
And today, we are joined by Alexandra, who is the founder of link building agency Digital Olympus. So welcome to the show Alexandra. It's nice to have you here with us.
Yeah, it's my pleasure to be here as well. Thank you very much, guys, for asking me to join your podcast. I'm super excited.
Great. So to start off with Alexandra, could you tell us a bit, like tell our viewers and listeners, a bit about yourself and your organization? Digital Olympus?
Yeah, absolutely. I think I started my career as a digital marketer more than ten years ago. So it's a quite, quite long way. As for my agency, I think we've been, you know, in business for about five years. So I used to work as a marketer at Semrush.
Then I decided, you know, to just, you know, to give a try to something new. So, first of all, I was just, you know, just as a consultant and, you know, during that time, I built my own conference, it was an online version, then I turned it offline, which is, now, this is a part of our current agency.
So which is, you know, one more activity that we do, it's also called Digital, Olympus, and after COVID, we have it all under one brand. And we planned to do it, you know, a new conference, offline one, because we started doing the fun before the pandemic, but then the pandemic hit, and we had to, you know, move back to online.
And that was honestly. I was very upset about that because I found that online conferences that there for sure great, but they're not as engaging as offline ones. And they're not, you know, meeting my expectations, most probably, just because, you know, I love meeting new people and the atmosphere that you're getting at online events and offline, and that is not the same.
So one more time. I'm the biggest fan of offline events, it turns out, and I prefer them over online as well. Yeah. Because you can see people, right, you can feel their emotions, whether they like you or don't like you. Well, yeah, because you know, you can crack jokes, but you don't really know in an online conference, right, whether people are or not.
But, you know, at offline events, it's not like that. You're going to see whether your fine or not and whether you're disappointing people as well. So it's kind of, you know, everything has ups and downs. One more time. Yes. So yeah. And so, how was your transition? Yeah, go ahead. Yeah.
I wanted to know, how was your transition from the marketing director at Semrush, you translate it to starting your own organization? So what was that phase like for you?
Is there a thing that goes without ups and downs, right? I left a great company where I had a great team, and at that moment, I had more than 12. I think right now, yeah, around 12 people on my team, and I've been really enjoying working with them.
We've done a lot of great jobs, you know, great projects together, and honestly, I joined Semrush when they had only ten people. So I joined, and while it was a very, very small startup. And so it was also crazy, right? Altogether, because we've been growing very well, right?
And at that time, when I joined Semrush, that was, you know, I was their very first person in the marketing department, I would say. But I was always looking to do something of my own right. And I think I will never regret this decision. Thanks to Semrush one more time, and they're a great company.
I've learned tons of things, and thanks to their founder Oleg with reach, I had the pleasure to work with, and he was my mentor. He was my manager. He's a very smart guy. So I really appreciate this time, you know, there, but I felt that I have to move forward.
And just you know, one more time, that wasn't really an easy decision. And for sure, whenever you work for someone, you have some stability, right? You know that you're going to get a salary on a monthly basis, but bills are not going to be paid by themself. So it was hard, but I think it's worth it.
But it's not for everyone. Definitely one more time. So you have to have, you know, enough stamina was probably right to keep trying because before, you know, before launching Digital Olympus as a link-building agency, I failed a lot of times.
I had some, you know, bad ideas, bad initiation that weren't leading us to something decent, but right now, we have what we have. We have over 30 in place, right? We have some very great clients, like, you know, we work with Jeetu, we work with some, you know, not only digital marketing related brands, for instance, in my we have in our portfolio Vivian's, which is one of the leading home security systems in the US.
So I'm kind of, you know, I'm very grateful to our clients for supporting us as well because, without them, it's not going to happen anyway.
Absolutely. So Alexandra, why did you choose link building? I mean, marketing has so many different aspects. Why link building in particular?
I have another question. Actually. Alexandra, why link building? And before that, if you could answer why did you want to do something about yourself? Your own? So two questions, actually,
Yeah, sure. As for my own, you know, I'm like a cat. I always want to do things on my own. So it was probably the thing, I didn't really want to be managed by someone, even though I appreciate everything. And I love learning, and I enjoy working with different people.
You know, I'm that type of a business owner that prefers to make decisions on his hurl. So and that is probably the main reason why I don't really want to have a co-founder or something like that. By the way, I receive a lot of recommendations from different people, that I have to find a co-founder, and just because it's going to ease my life.
But you know, as for me, it's kind of yes, for sure you consolidate some things, for instance, I don't really like doing some things so I can find the right person, you know, to join my team delegate things, make this person, a co-founder, and so on.
But there is one thing that everyone tends to forget you have to negotiate things with this person. So you're no longer in a position to make the decision in your own right. You have to come to this person and say, like, look, and you know what?
From tomorrow, I want this to change in our company. And it's no longer your company, right? You can't say in my company, and you have to say now in our company.
You want absolute control of everything.
So as everything comes together with pros and cons, so most probably that is the main reason why I wanted to do something on my own. And as for the second question, right link building? Well, actually, I don't.
Yeah, the direct, you know, kind of, you know, the direct answer to this, just because we've been experimenting with different channels. And because we used to do some social media marketing, we used to do content marketing.
I still remember that I was able to sell some content pieces for 5000 USD. I can just recall this. Yeah, I mean, that was, you know, very well delivered, well researched. But I was able to do that. But the main problem is scalability, right?
You can sell it for one client, but what about, you know, one hundred clients? Yeah, that's where we fail. Basically, I'm the same about social media marketing.
And it sounds once we started doing link building just as an experiment one more time, not really just as, as really what we want to do because we've been looking for our niche at that time, and it's worked so well. People started coming to us, looking for our help and in, you know, in a natural, organic way, and we felt that okay, most probably that is our, you know, real power.
So that is the superpower that we can use. So yeah, I think there's a lot of combination of factors.
So, Alexandra, there are many different aspects to SEO, like technical SEO, on-page and off-page link building, and so on. So, where do you rank link building on the whole? Seo? Kind of the whole SEO tree? Like, how important is link building?
You're asking a link builder about how important link building is.
it's like, and it's like asking a barber, you know, how important is getting a haircut? Right? So the barber will always tell you it's very important.
Yeah, I feel kind of, you know, I feel that you know, I have to be more conservative in my answer, either, like, you know, saying, like, you know, you have to understand your website. But then I'm like, as a link builder, I'm really passionate about what I do. So I'm kind of, but you know.
Yeah, but let's try not to be too biased.
Yeah, absolutely. So, to be honest, I think Link building is a great tool. But it can't solve all your business problems. Because whenever I have a conversation with a potential client that is telling you, like, look, Alex, we were on the run for particular keywords, and they're extremely competitive.
So that's the reason why we are talking with you right now because we want your agency to basically help us reach, you know, start ranking best or even reach top positions by those keywords. And that is absolutely wrong link building is not a tool to solve all your problems, including that type of problem.
It's a great tool one more time, but it goes together with great content. I don't really like the word go, and I would say in-depth, right, top-notch, really reaching, you know, kind of excellent, in terms of what you can see, like compared to what you can see in SERPs, so something like that.
And then if everything can place, and you also have a solid product, either service, then the building has gone through that. But that is not a tool I don't know, like reaching some specific positions in SERPs or something like that. So one thing.
Yeah, sorry. So I have a question about link building because, you know, Crispino has been doing some link building over the last, you know, couple of years. It's a fairly standardized process link-building process, right? But then, why does it work for some businesses? And why does it not work for some businesses?
And we have to start from some basics here. So it's not really the fault of Link builders are the fault of those who are advocating links, if, one more time, links are on point. So they are finding it from legit websites, right?
And they're located, you know, integrated into content and so on, then, I don't really think there is something wrong with those things. But there might be something wrong with your content, and there might be something wrong with your brand.
And then you can't really, as you know, you have to step back, you have to solve those problems, because, for instance, we have some clients that basically, you know, they have some problems with their brand.
So they're getting tons of negative reviews. You have, you know, such clients in our portfolio. And, you know, on top of that, they have some problems with their content with their site structure.
And link building doesn't work so well for them, just because the rest of the elements are not really in place. And then, on the opposite side, we have some clients that have really nailed their content. They have a very good site structure.
And then whenever we add even a few links back to, you know, to their pages really see a big difference. So I would say one more time Link building is not isn't a magic pillow that you can take and become someone else.
Got it. So I have another question related to that. I don't know, Crispino, if that is in your questions, but so let's say what should be the end objective of link building?
So, for example, some of the objectives could be the DA, DR, or the objective could be traffic, or the objective could lead, or the objective could be revenue. Right? So what should be the main objective of link building? Should it just be DA, DR, or something else?
Domain rating is quite, it's quite a questionable metric, honestly. I mean, I've seen a lot of websites that made up their domain rating, right? So you can really, you know, do something with this and see 80 to 90, even though, in reality, it's not like that at all.
And your website doesn't have any traffic or something like that. So I think, for sure, you can look at domain rating just because it's one of the supportive metrics in some way. I think the main metric is organic traffic.
So if you build links to particular pages, you have to start seeing positive changes in their rankings in their SEO performance. So as for me, right? The biggest indicator that something is wrong with your link building if the rest of the other things and in place is that you're not really getting any changes in your organic traffic.
So there might be, you know, there might be two scenarios there. If links really upgrade their meaningful ones, there might be just blank pages. I mean, they're either too competitive. Or you might be too aggressive with your anchor text.
That is actually a very, very common scenario when people start using the same anchors. And this leads actually to two very unpleasant results because Google devalues the links. We actually had a funny, funny situation. We have our own project, which is related to digital marketing, and it's kind of a content project, basically.
We have their posts about video marketing. At some point, our link builder decided to build tons of things with them for Video Marketing back to this page, which they ended up losing all impressions. So for some time, this page was just included from SERPs.
So that's why, you know, that's what might happen. Basically, it's kind of, you know, you're kind of basically it's not really working at any point, and you're losing all the link juice. So I would say, though, such a waste of time. So you have to be very careful.
So Alexandra, was the solution to that? Like, do we have multiple anchor texts? Or is it fine to just get a backlink from a website? Or do you need a specific anchor?
And it's kind of trying to use some additional words. So, for instance, if you're building links to a page that is talking about the reason, like, you know, letter resume builder, you can always say, great resume builder.
Add a prefix or suffix to it.
Yeah. So you have to, you know, include other words there. Just to make it look more natural and to avoid patterns because Google develops those links, and bindings, find kind of a pattern there. And it works very well have to say,
got it. So I think that's a great piece of advice coming at the right time for us, Neelesh, because we are focusing on one keyword for an article. So yeah, that does help. So, Alexandra, on the whole, what are some of the things you should consider when having a link-building strategy?
Oh, there are a lot of things, actually, but I would say one of the main components will be, thinking over-diversification, which means ideally, you have to have different sources of links, or you have to get, either you're getting the links organically.
The rest of the things that you're building up basically there on top of that, or introduction, the gaps, and app links to organically then you have to think or diversification.
Basically all those outdated strategies like press releases, most probably even, you know, comments or something like that, that might work as diversification.
And the same about, you know, guest blogging, for instance, right? Because the more different type of things you can get, the healthier your backlink profile look. And this also actually calms us, you know, kind of leads us to another question about our organic flow of links.
And that's where you have to create some linkable assets, like, you know, for instance, in the B2B space, that will be some statistic pages, and just because whenever you have a chance of getting things organically, even though you might be today, quite small.
It's not an issue for you for today as it is going to work very well for tomorrow, just because the issue with link velocity and lean gaps will be, you know, will arise eventually, I will say, and then you can, even though, you know, you're going to get links organically or from different types of websites, including those that are not super meaningful.
At some point, Google will be looking not only at the value of leads but also at chat and the number of referring domains newly acquired. And that is actually the biggest domain brands well established, right?
They want to, you know, they want to get links only from well-established websites, but those websites have already linked to them. And they don't really see the bigger picture.
In the answer, they have to think, Okay, how can we make all those newly born websites link back to us? And that's where they can actually build linkable assets. Because at the end of the day, if you can get links from those, you know, newly built websites, they sooner or later will grow into something bigger, right?
But the question is, what if they don't grow to something bigger? So I think, so I'm not an SEO expert, but Crispino keeps on talking about, you know, how how to think about SEO.
So, for example, one of the things that Crispino has taught me is that you know, you don't get a backlink from a website that has a lower DR than us or a lower DA than us.
So if you want a backlink from new newly bonded websites, let's say they will most likely have a lower DA and DR, right? So that's a bit of my confusion right now.
So I'll just clear that up in Neelesh. It's okay to have a lower Dr. If they are working on their content if they're working on their SEO. So there are other metrics that we have to see also to identify that because there's a possibility that someday they might also, you know, overtake us.
Okay, so you have to wait on the winning horses early on.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I was also talking about the link that you can get organically, which doesn't matter whether it's going to grow or not. But some of them have potential.
So I would say one more time if you if you're getting links organically, then, who cares what kind of websites are linking back to you whether they're top-notch, or they're, you know, various? Yeah. So it's just the links that you're getting free of charge.
Whenever you have the ability to solve this problem and organize that type of link flow, you're almost, you know, you're the winner, basically. Because if you can continue building back and getting this link to flow organically, then eventually, you're going to outrun everyone.
True, so Alexander had a question for you. So is it important to have great content to rank higher on Google? Or on any sub-pages? Or a good link builder can even rank average content through their efforts?
Yeah, yes, until the next Google or somebody, we've been there. So we used to tell clients that they weren't really paying attention much to their content. We just continue doing that because it will happen until the next Google update or the next two Google updates. It depends.
So basically, it's kind of, you know, it's similar to basically yeah, for sure you can always like, you know, rely on some strategist, that might or might backfire you, but eventually, they're going to backfire. So I don't really want to be a part of this, right?
Because then I feel like all my work is kind of burned out in one minute. So we will defend ourselves against those things. Whenever you see those websites that they have a lot of tension in terms of ups and downs in their organic traffic that actually points, that was probably because they have some issues with their content.
At some point, they can fix it with, you know, building up additional links, but then, you know, then your updates rolling out. And then it's happening over and over again.
So Alexandra, how do you describe good-quality content? What are the parameters that we can look for? When creating good quality content?
You're talking about quality content. Okay. I'm not a content marketer, I know how to create content just because,
Hey, you sold a piece of $5,000. You sold a piece of content for $5,000.
No, that's me as a good salesperson, right? Which, by the way, not my favorite, you know, kind of activity by the time I'm capable of doing this. Okay, circling back to your question, I have a good friend.
Actually, they're very, very close partners as well, his agency. And so his name is Uranus in Toronto, an agent that is called minutia. And basically, I've learned a lot of things from him and his agency. So I'm going to share what I've learned so far.
So first of all, what they do, and I think that is, you know, the starting points of everything, is kind of creating very in-depth outlines for copywriters that will include the right structure of content.
It kind of defines the structure, it defines what should be written inside, as well as it kind of defines the length of the content because it's very important to deliver in-depth pieces that are doing the current service.
What they do they analyze the top results and come up with the best-case scenario that should include all the pages that apparently either outrank you or you want just to outrank them in the future, and it requires tons of work and decent analytical skills.
So I would say that is, you know, what, many people are missing out because they think, okay, I know what kind of content I have to produce just because I know this subject, but you don't really know what Google prefers and you have to start from this.
But this is the problem of any expert content because that type of content can hardly be described as truly expert one because whenever I want to write about link building, I don't really care about what's written in SERPs, right?
I just want to talk about a thing that really matters to you from matter to me from other sites that I think, you know, innovative, interesting alternatives. So that type of content has very limited opportunities to rank well, just because it's not really pursuing the right keywords, doesn't really have the right structure, the one that Google loves to see once, so you're always kind of between, right?
What do you want to see? You want to really become an expert, but then you're limiting the chances of the ranking? Well, just because you're not going to target all possible keywords.
So you have to think about other channels of your content distribution as well; that is how you're going to distribute it because Google doesn't really give you that channel. I mean, like organically placed. Yeah.
I have a question about this. So apart from the organic Google search, what are the other channels of content distribution that you use? I mean, of course, other than the obvious ones.
Um, well, all possible social media platforms, for sure. We have a very good community on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook for small like drama man, because you have to pay their group, if you really want to, if you really want to get some engagement besides that, you can always, you know, any type of marketing Corporation, right.
So, for instance, what we do right now, we want to relaunch our doctor have already created a good number of content pieces that we want to grant, you know, publish month over month. To promote those posts more effectively, I reached out to different experts that I know I value.
I asked them to add code there. So moving forward, it will be easier to promote this. Also, I've been thinking about the following. Okay, you can't do that, you know, 100 experts, you know, in each post, right?
That will devalue everything. So you have, you know, some limitations, or what it can add, you can add like five, six-year to a post at maximum, um, which means, okay, you're going to promote it a few times by tagging them and so on, then you can promote it by, I don't know, just changing a little bit the frame or something like that, by our thinking.
Okay, what we can do as well so that you have this constant pace? And we can reach out to other people that we know across social media platforms and they want to get some promotion on our channels and ask them, Hey, can you please leave a few sentences about this content?
So we are going to promote this content? And you're kind of tip on top of that insights, you know, inside an English and inside Twitter tweet or LinkedIn post? So you have to be creative, I think.
Yeah, I mean, at Wishup, we believe that every big company has always created a new marketing channel for themselves. I mean, every, I mean, most of the companies that become really big, they always figured out a new distribution channel, which is hidden from the world at some point of time.
But then, when it's successful, then everybody notices it. So we keep on asking this question to a lot of people, like what is your distribution channel? And you know, what works? Well, for you?
Yeah, for sure. It's quite different for everyone. I would say because, you know, it depends on your company, depends on your needs, and then depends on your resources.
So, Alexandra, I wanted to ask you, we keep getting all these updates from Google, like every now and then, just when we are adjusted to one update, another one comes up. So how do you, as a founder of a link-building agency, cope with those changes? Like, do you change your strategy altogether? And how do you adjust them?
Um, I'm not really much involved into this. I'm not really, like, you know, crying my eyes out just because I'm not really reporting on organic traffic; I'm reporting on links.
So that is, you know, my area of expertise. And that's what we promise to deliver to our clients. Because one more time, I'm not really responsible for their content and marketing, and I'm not really responsible for their site structure, and so on.
And I don't really want to be responsible for this. Because then, who's going to deliver quality links for them? Right, you can either, you know, do this or that just because link building is very challenging and time-consuming.
By the way, you know what, there are tons of agents that are selling like, you know, I don't know, Jack Nicklaus. So content marketing, I don't know something else, social media, and then link building.
In fact, they don't really deliver link building; they outsource everything for agencies like us because we have a lot of agencies that buy services from us and white label them, just because it's not really possible. You can't; you either have people that are doing link building, right?
Or how you're going to educate this. You know, one word that even if you said paid links, right, you still have to deliver the database in some way. So it's kind of, you know, hiring two or three people won't really change anything because you can't really build enough links for your clients, especially if you have clients across various verticals.
No, it's not possible; that is insane. So I would say when it comes to Google updates, always look at our client's strike and just because I'm interested in seeing growth. And I would say, when I have clients that I'm confident in, right in terms of their content marketing efforts and the rest of other things, I'm, they're always kind of even getting some additional growth.
While those that have some problems, yeah, they might be affected negatively, but, for instance, I have one client, which, in fact, we ran together with minutiae. And, and, you know, their traffic is always like that.
It's kind of, you know, whenever I open a truss and look at that traffic, it's always like that. So I would say, you know, one more time, if you do all things right, it's not going to touch you at all. So you don't really need to think over those updates because you have already taken place?
True. So Alexandra, what do you think is the future of link building? Do you think it will still be prominent in 2032?
If Google doesn't shut down itself, then probably yes.
Yeah, this is, again, like the same question. You're asking a barber? That, you know, will people still cut their hair in 2032?
No, but with Web 3.0 coming in And Voice Search? And you know, there are so many new technologies and new advancements coming in. So, 'll link building still be this prominent?
Yeah. Yeah, I understand the question. I think so because Google has to change its core, basically. You know, back in those days, when Google just launched its crawler, it was just looking at moving from one to another website, and basically countered those things, and the core principle is still the same.
I don't think they're capable of re-writing it, honestly. It's just, you know, there are so many additional elements that they added there, yeah, for sure, becomes more and more intelligent in terms of connecting the dots, understanding some patterns, so you have to be very careful.
Whenever you feel that on a, you know, you, I don't really know, I have some technical background. So I look at this in the following way, whenever I feel that I can create these lists create, that will be just, you know, connecting all the parameters and then giving a result, then it's a pattern basically.
So you have to avoid this. It shouldn't be carried mucker, like predictable, I would say, and then you're safe. Bottomless, probably, whenever you deal in building consignee accounts when you arrive, like in-house.
It's quite hard to make it, you know, very forceful, just because normally, what you do, you connect with different brands, building relationships with them, and then eventually asking for a link.
So for sure, as an agency, we can't really do that. But that is, you know, the natural way of building links, right? And whenever you follow these principles, nothing bad happens with you. But I know that we are, as marketers, we love scaling things up, right?
And instead of building a really solid strategy, we want to like and hold this was 100 links on this page, and let's see what's going on. Yeah, I know, I know that we have that kind of, you know, desire, right? Kind of, you know, to bootstrap everything.
And that is our biggest problem. And that's the reason why Google understands us so well. And can, you know, sometimes predict what we're going to do next.
Google AI would be like, you humans are so predictable; you do the same thing over and over again.
Just because one last time, we as marketers are too impatient, it can't really gradually build that we kind of wants to, you know, whenever we find a working strategy, so I have a really good example from LinkedIn.
Someone found that whenever you send a connection and writing in a message, as you know you have something in common, people are reacting better on this.
Then someone, launched, a different process and started to talk about this, teaching other people and our red tape around from 10 to 20 connection that are saying the same Alexander we have something in common like I don't know, like, digital marketing.
So please add me like, you know, now I have 20 of those messages in a row. Right, and this is quite, you know, quite a nature, right?
yeah, that was amazing, Alexandra. I mean, this was a very fun conversation. And I think we all got to learn in Neelesh to learn a lot today from you. So, before I let you go, could you tell us a bit more about Digital Olympus? And what makes your link-building agency unique? From the rest?
Oh, very good question. I think you know, we have a few things that probably differentiate us a little bit from other agencies. And so I would say the quality of playing that we can deliver.
So, for instance, right now, we decided to focus more on the b2b verticals, where we are capable of delivering things strictly from services, our solutions. And most problems, compared to other agencies, were also very good when it comes to scaling just because we are capable of finding, you know, from 20 to 30, new websites, not talking about that we've already built relationships with around 2002 at a time, so we have a lot of opportunities.
And also, we can predict results. Since you know, we roller distribution, some relationships, we can use those connections in order to deliver things, which means we can easily, you know, close our client's budgets, or you know, the number of things that they want to see in a particular month.
So we don't really have, you know, we don't really need to tell our clients to look, you can start working with us from the first of December, for instance, but results, you know, the first thing to see in the next three months.
Now, it's not like that, whenever we have a new client that, we just can't deliver results straight away. And I think that is very important for a lot of businesses because they want to invest money into something that is going, you know, to start working as soon as possible.
And you know, normally right, we, you know, our clients, one of them, the ones that have the right content, right, and everything is fine with their sites as well. They start seeing results on the short month.
So we, you know, normally, yeah, have calls somewhere on the shot, man. So probably engagement just to see how it goes where they're happy with everything, and so on. And, you know, one more time, I think that you know, scalability, predictability, and was probably the quality of a website that is, you know, three main things that would cover
Amazing. Thank you so much, Alexandra, and we have a lot of our own clients in Wishup. A lot of our listeners and viewers are startups. So if anybody's looking for a good link-building agency, Digital Olympus is the one for you. Yeah.
Thank you very much, guys. Thank you for having me.
And we learned a lot from you, Alexandra.
Oh, thank you. That was a great chat. Thank you. Take care.
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