Blake Smith, Marketing Manager, ClockOn Australia


This interview is with Blake Smith, Marketing Manager at ClockOn Australia.

Blake Smith, Marketing Manager, ClockOn Australia

Blake, welcome to! Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an SEO expert?

Currently, I serve as the Marketing and Sales Manager at ClockOn, a SaaS company specializing in rostering, attendance, and payroll solutions. In this role, I lead our marketing initiatives to optimize the sales process and drive our digital marketing strategies forward.

My journey in digital marketing began with roles at GoDaddy. There, I worked as an Internet Sales and Service Consultant. This position was my introduction to the world of domains, web hosting, and DNS. I applied my newfound knowledge of internet technology to resolve issues and consult customers, helping them develop their business strategies by recommending the right online products and services to meet their needs—from SEO to email marketing and web design.

The experience at GoDaddy was particularly transformative as it encouraged me to experiment with SEO in my own free time. I began by creating an SEO blog, where I shared insights, tips, and strategies I had learned. This hands-on experimentation allowed me to deepen my understanding of SEO and its practical applications. The blog became a valuable resource, demonstrating my expertise and eventually leveraging me into an SEO role at Netregistry, a multimillion-dollar registrar.

At Netregistry, I managed substantial SEO and Google Ads campaigns and collaborated with businesses to develop their online marketing strategies. I utilized analytics to optimize conversion funnels and increase targeted traffic. Additionally, I developed content strategies and crafted tailored link-building strategies to boost search engine rankings.

After my time at Netregistry, I joined E-Web Marketing, where I experienced the most significant growth in my career. At E-Web Marketing, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients and industries. This exposure helped me understand the role of marketing and sales for various business models. I honed my skills in SEO, SEM, and digital marketing, driving successful campaigns and delivering measurable results.

Overall, my diverse experiences have equipped me with a deep understanding of digital marketing, particularly in SEO, SaaS, and Product Marketing. I'm passionate about leveraging this knowledge to drive growth and success for the businesses I work with.

My journey has been marked by continuous learning and adaptation. From consulting at GoDaddy to managing large-scale campaigns at Netregistry, and now leading marketing efforts at ClockOn, I've always been driven by a passion for digital marketing and a desire to achieve measurable results.

What sparked your interest in SEO, particularly in the realm of backlink building, and how has that passion shaped your career path?

My interest in SEO, particularly in the realm of backlink building, was sparked at a young age. I was always fascinated by the customer journey—how someone could go from being completely unaware of a product to identifying it, researching it, and eventually making a purchase, all through online interactions. This intricate process of discovery and conversion intrigued me, and I wanted to understand the mechanics behind it.

Eager to learn more, I began experimenting with SEO in my free time. I created an SEO blog where I shared insights, tips, and strategies that I had learned. This hands-on experimentation allowed me to understand the practical applications of SEO, particularly the importance of backlinks in building authority and improving search engine rankings.

You've previously mentioned using AI to analyze keyword intent. Can you elaborate on a specific instance where understanding search intent dramatically changed your backlink strategy for a piece of content?

I once worked with an e-commerce client struggling to gain traction with a new product line. Despite initial efforts, their content wasn't generating the expected traffic. I decided to reevaluate the approach by focusing on search intent.

Upon analyzing the targeted keywords, I discovered a mismatch between the content and what users were actually searching for. The existing content was feature-heavy, while users were seeking guides, comparisons, and real-world use cases.

Recognizing this, we revamped the content to align with informational search intent. We created comprehensive guides, comparison articles, and case studies that provided real value to users. This shift not only increased user engagement but also attracted high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites.

Understanding search intent dramatically changed our backlink strategy, proving that aligning content with user needs is crucial for successful SEO.

Building on that, how do you prioritize which websites to pursue backlinks from, considering both the domain authority and the relevance of their audience to your content?

When prioritizing websites to pursue backlinks from, I focus on two main criteria: authority and relevance.

1. Authority and Trust: I look for websites with high domain authority and trust. These sites have established credibility with search engines and can pass on significant SEO value through backlinks. Tools like Moz's Domain Authority or Ahrefs' Domain Rating help identify these high-authority sites.

2. Relevance: Ideally, the website is closely related to the content and industry I'm promoting. However, if a direct match isn't available, I ensure the site's content is at least contextually related to my content. This contextual relevance ensures the backlink adds value to both the users and search engines by maintaining topic consistency.

By focusing on these criteria, I build a backlink profile that enhances authority and relevance, driving better SEO results and aligning with search engine guidelines.

Many of our readers struggle with outreach for backlink opportunities. What's your most effective strategy for crafting outreach emails that stand out in a crowded inbox and lead to successful collaborations?

I mostly respond to journalists' callouts for experts, so I simply ensure the subject, intro, and body content are directly relevant to the editor’s topic, demonstrating a clear understanding of their needs and the ability to provide valuable information. Crafting a clear and compelling subject line that immediately indicates the email’s relevance helps grab attention. In the introduction, I quickly establish my credentials and explain how my expertise aligns with their topic. The body of the email then provides concise, well-organized information or insights that directly address the journalist’s query. This approach not only makes my emails stand out in a crowded inbox but also leads to successful collaborations and high-quality backlinks.

In your experience, what are some common mistakes people make when trying to build backlinks, and how can these be avoided to maintain a healthy backlink profile?

In my experience, one of the most common mistakes people make when building backlinks is assuming that having a budget should automatically mean buying links. This approach can lead to penalties from search engines and damage a site's reputation. Instead, it's crucial to invest in technology, resources, and assets that naturally attract links. By using your link-building budget to invest in these areas, you can create content and tools that will organically earn high-quality backlinks.

You've emphasized the importance of a well-structured internal linking strategy. What's your process for identifying internal linking opportunities, and how do you measure the impact of these links on your overall SEO performance?

An effective strategy to optimize internal linking involves calculating the internal PageRank of your website's pages using R Studio. This technique helps identify which pages have high internal PageRank but may not be the most important for ranking, and vice versa.

Here's my process on using Internal PageRank to dictate internal linking:

High PageRank, Low Importance pages: Identify pages that have a high internal PageRank but are not crucial for your ranking strategy. These pages might be receiving too much internal link equity. Consider redistributing some of these internal links to more important ranking pages.

Low PageRank, High Importance pages: Conversely, identify important pages with low internal PageRank. These are the pages that need more internal links to boost their visibility and authority within your site.

Use the insights from the PageRank analysis to adjust your internal linking strategy. Ensure that your most important pages receive an appropriate amount of internal link equity to help them rank better in search engine results.

Looking ahead, what emerging trends in SEO, especially related to backlink building, are you most excited about, and how are you preparing for them?

Search engines are placing greater emphasis on the quality of backlinks rather than sheer quantity. High-quality, authoritative backlinks from relevant sites are becoming more critical. To prepare, I'm focusing on building relationships with industry influencers and authoritative sites, creating high-value content that naturally attracts quality backlinks, and avoiding any practices that might be seen as manipulative or low-quality.

Google's emphasis on E-A-T signals means that demonstrating expertise, authority, and trustworthiness is more important than ever. I'm preparing by focusing on creating high-quality, well-researched content, obtaining authoritative backlinks, and building a strong personal and brand reputation online.

Finally, what's one piece of actionable advice you'd give to someone just starting out in backlink building to help them achieve sustainable success?

For those just starting out in backlink building, one piece of actionable advice I would offer is to focus on responding to journalists' requests rather than trying to earn links with content assets right away. This approach can provide a more straightforward and effective way to build high-quality backlinks and establish credibility. Responding to journalists' callouts helps you understand what they are looking for, enabling you to create more effective link bait in the future.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Check out my blog at, or connect with me on LinkedIn at