Jim Boykin of Internet Marketing Ninjas invited me to his office to sit down and discuss links. The funny thing is, he came to my office 15 years ago to bond, no kidding. His company does a lot of content marketing, where the company no longer just builds links, but creates great content for its customers.
Here is one of the pioneers of link building; grouping him with Eric Ward, Morgan Carey, Patrick Gavin and others. So while his team has built many links, they have also removed many links over the years. He explained that it’s now about quality over quantity when it comes to links and content.
He explained how he got started building websites and, more importantly, how he discovered search engines. Someone called him to do research in Alta Vista and hired him to do search marketing. Then we started reminiscing about the Yahoo directory and how Google said no to link building, yet yes to directories. Which led us to the discussion about the nofollow link attribute.
With the new nofollow link attribute change; he thinks that if a link is clicked a lot, then Google will count the link even with a nofollow on it. And to do that, he said Google would use data from the Chrome browser.
Web Build Pages was the name of his company for many years, but he finally decided to change it and rename it Internet Marketing Ninjas. Too many people asked him if his company builds websites, so he had to change it because of the confusion.
Several years ago, he bought many forums including WebmasterWorld, SEO Chat, Cre8asite and other forums. He then sold most of these to Brett Tabke and previous years. He said he was doing too much, too big, and he realized he had to cut back. The current size of his business is perfect for him. The key is to really do what you love and what you do well. Find your one thing and be the best at that one thing, Jim said.
He shared a story that in late 2008 Google came after some of his clients and penalized them. He said he had to change his business overnight, where 97% of his income was from link building. So at the time he had to figure out how to get links without paying for them. Looking back on it, it was a blessing because he had to bond that way years and years before Penguin fell. We then discussed a bit about how link penalties used to be with your PageRank values dropping and the penalties feeling more severe.
This led us to talk about disavowals and the debate if you should disavow. He believes in using the disavow tool, even though Google suggests you don’t need it as much as SEOs. Jim cautioned against disavowing too many links because your rankings will dip further if you disavow wrongly. Google’s recommendation changed over the years from using the disavow tool like a machete to not using it at all after Penguin started ignoring rather than devaluing.
Featured snippets are a topic that Jim is passionate about, as it is no longer about the top ten blue links. The data shows how snippets are becoming more and more important with the People Request feature. His company has created a snippet plus a tool that helps you see your progress with this in Google. It helps you perform better with featured snippets and people ask questions too. So check it out at internetmarketingninjas.com/tools/snippet/.
Jim has been very important to the grain of the education SEO industry, pushing boundaries, sponsorships, networking and much more. Thank you Jim for all you have done and continue to do.
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