James Oliver, Founder, Oliver.com


This interview is with James Oliver, Founder at Oliver.com.

James Oliver, Founder, Oliver.com

Welcome to BacklinkBuilding.io, James! Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an SEO expert?

I've been doing SEO full-time since around 2017. I built my first website in 2014, with no idea what I was doing. I put AdSense on it, and it earned $2.13. That opened my mind up to making money online.

In 2017, I started building my own websites and ranking them in Google, making money mainly with affiliate marketing and some ads.

I haven't looked back since. From there, I managed to acquire oliver.com to share my SEO experiences.

What were some of the biggest hurdles you faced early on in your SEO career, and how did those experiences shape your approach to digital marketing?

My biggest struggle was money. SEO takes time, often 6+ months to see returns if you're not in an agency or service business.

I focused on on-page SEO due to budget constraints. Instead of expensive guest posts, I learned to create linkable assets to attract backlinks naturally.

There was a learning curve, but I stuck to the basics:

- Building relevant content

- Optimizing headings

- Improving internal linking

- Creating linkable assets

These became my go-to strategies, allowing for SEO improvement on a budget.

You've mentioned the importance of backlink analysis in previous responses. Can you walk us through a time when analyzing competitor backlinks revealed a surprising opportunity that significantly impacted a campaign?

While analyzing my competitors' backlinks for my own website, I discovered that reverse-engineering what successful competitors do is key to a thriving SEO strategy. This approach revealed an unexpected pattern: one competitor had numerous high-quality links from a page I hadn't considered.

Intrigued, I developed content targeting this newly discovered content and optimized my site for related keywords. This process of studying and adapting competitor strategies pushed me to think creatively about my content and link-building approaches.

The results were significant. Within months, I saw a substantial increase in organic traffic and gained quality backlinks from previously untapped sources. This experience reinforced that successful SEO often comes down to thoroughly understanding and strategically implementing what's already working in your niche.

Building on that, what are some common mistakes you see startups making when it comes to their backlink strategy, and how can they avoid these pitfalls?

Common mistakes I've seen startups make in their backlink strategy include neglecting the basics, ignoring personal branding, and pursuing quantity over quality. Many rush into advanced tactics without establishing a strong foundation of quality, relevant links from authoritative sources like Crunchbase or industry-specific directories. They often fail to build profile links for founders and key team members, missing opportunities to enhance E-E-A-T signals.

To avoid these pitfalls, startups should focus on building a diverse, high-quality link profile that includes both business and personal profiles on relevant platforms. It's crucial to remember that it's not just about the business—the owner and content authors also need these profile links for E-E-A-T. By prioritizing relevant, high-authority sources over sheer quantity, startups can create a strong link profile that improves SEO and establishes credibility in their industry.

You've emphasized the importance of high Domain Rating (DR) links. For startups with limited resources, what are some creative strategies they can use to acquire backlinks from authoritative websites?

While Domain Rating (DR) is a useful metric created by Ahrefs, it's important to remember that it's not an official Google ranking factor. However, it does serve as a helpful gauge of a website's overall authority and link-profile strength.

For startups with limited resources looking to acquire authoritative backlinks, I've found that implementing a podcast strategy can be incredibly effective. By starting your own podcast or appearing as a guest on established industry podcasts, you can naturally earn high-quality links from authoritative websites. This approach not only helps build your backlink profile but also drives targeted traffic and establishes you as an industry expert. Podcasts often have dedicated episode pages and show notes that link to guests' websites, providing valuable, contextual backlinks from reputable sources.

The SEO landscape is constantly evolving. What are some emerging trends in link building that you're particularly excited about, and how do you see them shaping the future of SEO?

One emerging trend I'm particularly excited about is the increasing importance of social signals in conjunction with traditional backlinks. I've noticed that most high-quality backlinks now come with an expectation of social engagement as well.

Even when securing a niche edit or guest post, it's becoming crucial to have the site owner share that post on their social media platforms afterwards. This social amplification serves two important purposes: it helps with faster crawling and indexing of the new or updated content, and it makes the links appear more legitimate and natural in the eyes of search engines. This trend is shaping the future of SEO by emphasizing the need for a more holistic approach to link building, one that combines traditional backlink strategies with social media engagement and content promotion.

Beyond backlinks, what other digital marketing channels have you found to be particularly effective for startups, and how can they be integrated with SEO efforts for maximum impact?

YouTube has become my secondary focus for digital marketing, particularly for startups. It's an incredibly powerful and evergreen platform that can be seamlessly integrated with SEO efforts for maximum impact.

Creating high-quality, informative videos allows you to tap into the second-largest search engine in the world while also providing content that can be repurposed across multiple channels. By optimizing video titles, descriptions, and tags, you can improve visibility both on YouTube and in Google search results. Additionally, transcribing your videos and using the content for blog posts or articles can boost your website's SEO. The visual nature of YouTube content also makes it highly shareable on social media, further amplifying your reach and potentially earning valuable backlinks as others reference your content.

Looking back on your career, what advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the world of SEO and digital marketing?

My goal is to not start as many new projects. They are great for learning, and I'm glad I did it. However, my success would be dramatically higher if I focused on fewer projects and just built up the authority of one or two websites instead of spreading my resources too thin.

Finally, what are some resources, tools, or communities that you would recommend to aspiring SEO professionals and startup founders looking to up their link-building game?

For aspiring SEO professionals and startup founders looking to improve their link-building skills, I highly recommend a combination of tools and communities. Some essential tools I've found invaluable include Query Hunter for uncovering content opportunities, SEMrush for comprehensive SEO analysis, Google Keyword Planner for keyword research, and SurferSEO for content optimization. For creating data-driven content that naturally attracts links, Perplexity AI has been incredibly useful in generating statistic-rich posts.

In terms of communities, I've recently launched my own called the Conversion Collective. It's a space where SEO professionals and founders can share insights, discuss strategies, and support each other in their link-building and broader digital marketing efforts. Engaging with such communities can provide invaluable peer learning opportunities and help you stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in the ever-evolving world of SEO.

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

That's it; thanks for having me on. I do have a newsletter at https://oliver.com/newsletter for people interested in more SEO and affiliate tactics.