I talked with Nathan Gotch about his SEO experience and what tips he can give to our readers. Below you can find the full interview.
1. Could you introduce yourself? How did you start doing SEO and what do you do now?
My name is Nathan Gotch and I’m the founder of Gotch SEO. I discovered SEO when I was trying to drive traffic to a baseball pitching blog I created when I was in college. Once I started seeing results with SEO, I was absolutely addicted. I starting creating niche sites just to improve my skills and test strategies. Through tons of trials and tribulations, I developed a repeatable process. I now use this process to help businesses throughout the United States drive new traffic and revenue through search engine optimization.
My business, Gotch SEO, is a full-service SEO company in St. Louis that services medium to large business in both local and national markets.
2. How do you see SEO 5 years from now? Do you think backlinks will remain to be the most important ranking factor?
I predict that Google will still dominate the search engine market, but how we do SEO will probably be much different. Links will likely continue to decrease in value while user signals will probably be the strongest ranking factor.
3. What’s your favorite technique to do email outreach?
As far as HOW we do the outreach, it completely depends on what type of links we’re trying to acquire. For example, a broken link outreach will be much different than a guest post pitch. The absolute best technique for outreach is to use a tool like Buzzstream. Don’t give up when you don’t get a response. You want to be persistent, but not enough to get you a restraining order. Just be a normal person and personalize every outreach email you send.
4. Link building in competitive niches, how would you do it? Do you believe in link building or link earning?
The best way to make an impact in competitive industries is to focus on building domain authority and trust. Targeting specific keywords in your content is important, but your site will never outrank other authority sites without having equal authority. To build authority, you need to develop link-worthy content, acquire deep links, and build a strong internal linking structure that distributes authority throughout the site and to your most important pages. I believe in a combination of both link building and link earning.
We develop content that will earn links because of its value, but we also go out and build relevant links to that content so that it gives it the visibility it deserves.
5. What’s your favorite method to build backlinks?
My favorite is the white hat alternative to PBNs. This strategy is amazing because you get all the benefits of a PBN without having to actually build one. It essence, you’re reaching out to websites that are linking to expired domains and asking them to replace the dead link with yours. It’s ultimately glorified broken link building, but you’re able to use tools like DomCop, ExpiredDomains.net, and FreshDrop to find these domains. For maximum efficiency and effectiveness, you should target domains within your industry.
6. What type of backlinks are working best for you now? What links everyone should avoid?
Links that work today and will continue to work in the foreseeable future are those that come from relevant websites. If the websites have authority, it’s even better. My general rule of thumb for acquiring links is that the target website must have a Domain Authority (DA) at least higher than mine and they must be topically relevant. The ideal link will have a Topical Trust Flow (link) relevant to mine, but this isn’t always possible.
I would avoid all irrelevant, low authority links. Also, if you can acquire a link without having to go through an editorial process, then your competitors can do the same, which makes non-editorial links low value.
In conclusion, you should avoid all links that meet this equation:
no editorial process + low authority + irrelevancy = link you don’t want / if you get too many of these links, Penguin will come for you.
7. What’s your biggest SEO accomplishment? How did you do it?
I would say my biggest accomplishment is creating a thriving SEO agency that now has a three person in-house team. To be honest, I have a pretty strong work ethic and I am relentless when I want to be good or “successful” at something. I’m definitely not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m willing to make sacrifices to become a master at something. If there’s anything you take away from this interview, it’s A) don’t be afraid to fail and B) love the process of learning. I thoroughly enjoy throwing myself into the fire and trying to learn something I’m a novice at. You have to fail to get better. Even when you’re finally “good” at what you do, you should still be failing. Always push the limits and never stop trying to grow.
8. Has any of your websites ever been penalized? Did you recovered? How?
I’ve had many sites penalized in my SEO career, but that’s apart of the “failing” rant I just had in the previous question. My team and I always push the limits/Google to see what works best. Sometimes this leads to getting websites penalized. With that being said, my team and I have successfully gotten many manual actions revoked and recovered several sites from Penguin penalties.
For manual penalties, you really have to do your due-diligence. Most manual actions are because of artificial link building, so you’ll have to a thorough examination of your link profile. In this post, I explain 10 steps you can take to get a manual penalty revoked along with a reconsideration request template that we’ve had 100% success rate with.
For Penguin penalties, it’s really the same process of link cleanup except there is no consideration process. Instead, you have to wait for Penguin to refresh before you see if the penalty has been lifted. This case study I wrote on Behance explains how we recovered a client’s site from Penguin 3.0 in a little over a month’s time.