How to build a successful Link-Building Agency with Alexandra Tachalova

e40 Alexandra Tachalova

In episode #40 of the First Customers podcast, we are joined by Alexandra Tashalova, founder and CEO of Digital Olympus. Alexandra shares her entrepreneurial journey, starting from her days at Semrush to creating a successful link-building agency that has worked with major clients like Vivint, G2, Wave, Finder, and Discover Cars. Tune in for an engaging conversation about the world of SEO and earning links.

Key Moments

  • [06:15] The significance of generating links as part of influencer marketing campaigns, and how their approach was appreciated by their clients.
  • [07:30] The key to success was having the right network, an opportunity provided to Alexandra during her time at SEMRush.
  • [09:20] Emphasizes the importance of finding a startup at very early stages and showing genuine interest in delivering results.
  • [13:00] Discusses her time at SEMRush when they were a team of only 10 people and how she was the first person in the marketing team.
  • [15:30] How showing herself as a person that can deliver results led thecompany to invest in her.

Show Mentions & Links

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Show Transcript

Paris Vega:
Welcome to the first customers podcast everybody. I’m your host, Paris Vega. And today we have Alexandra Tachalova. She is a former Semrush employee and now she’s the founder and CEO of Digital Olympus, a US based company that has worked with clients like Vivint, G2, Wave, Finder and Discover Cars. Alexandra, welcome to the show.

Alex:
Thank you very much for having me. I’m super excited to be here. And one more time, thank you very much for choosing me.

Paris Vega:
Well, let’s get right into it. How’d you get your first customers?

Alex:
OK, so first of all, as an agency, as a link building agency, our first client was G2. And that is a quite interesting story behind that. So at that time, Kevin Indig was actually the head of growth or something like that, head of VP at G2. And so we’ve been knowing each other for quite some time before that as well. And we were doing some, let’s say like more like influencer marketing campaigns for some clients. And he was kind of involved in this process as kind of as a thought leader, I would say. Right. And he was more or less observing, right. The way we were kind of and the part of, you know, those influencer marketing campaigns was also as a part of this process was also generating links. And he really liked the way we approached this. And then he asked us whether we actually can help you too with link building. But I think for sure it all sounds very easy, very simple. But I think the key to success here was having the right network. Back when I used to work at SEMrush, I had a unique opportunity to meet the right people. And also, actually, I was able also to build up my personal brand, since I was, thanks to SEMrush. And I really appreciate Alek, that is one of SEMrush co-founders who trusted in me. And allowed me to speak at different conferences like Brightness, so as a mix and so on, uh, representing Sam Rush. And for sure, I was also investing in building up my personal brand and meeting people like Kevin. So, yeah, I think it’s very important to, you know, to find maybe if you want to, one more time, try to do the same. right, as I’ve done previously. Um, and you want to try to build up your personal brand, right? With the help of, you know, the right company, then it’s very important to find a startup at very early stages. That,

Paris Vega:
Mm.

Alex:
um, you know, wants to actually. Broader their brand awareness because when I joined Sam Raj back those days, they had only 10 people. So I

Paris Vega:
Oh

Alex:
was

Paris Vega:
wow.

Alex:
the very first person in the marketing team.

Paris Vega:
Really? Okay.

Alex:
So

Paris Vega:
So

Alex:
yeah, I mean,

Paris Vega:
when was

Alex:
it

Paris Vega:
that?

Alex:
was a very, very small company. So, you know, and as a result, right, if you show yourself as a person that can deliver things, right, that genuinely interested in the process, then the company, right, will invest in you as well. And I was really interested in delivering results, right, in launching new activities. And I’m still very practicing, most probably my colleagues hate me because of this digital limbo, because I’m always, you know, kind of initiating new processes and suggesting, you know, new activities and so on. So just because I love, you know, kind of being a part of something new.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. So how did you end up landing the job at Simra? She said it wasn’t a very big company when you joined.

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
Is it based in the Netherlands or where?

Alex:
No, no, back those days it was in Russia. Everything

Paris Vega:
Oh, okay.

Alex:
was in St. Petersburg.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
So yeah, everything started, you know, in my hometown, St. Petersburg, which is a very beautiful city. Sadly,

Paris Vega:
Okay, let’s

Alex:
the

Paris Vega:
go.

Alex:
war actually kind of split the world, but, you

Paris Vega:
Hmm.

Alex:
know, I highly recommend coming to St. Petersburg because it’s a truly beautiful, unique city. which has

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
a lot of, you know, various tourist attraction places to go and so on. Yeah, so everything started there. And so and then basically after some time, right, I moved to, you know, to the Netherlands, firstly to Cyprus, then to the New Zealand and so on. And when I actually left SEMrush, right, that was seven, eight years ago, right? It was quite some time ago. I was still based in St. Petersburg for some time after that.

Paris Vega:
Okay. All right. And how did you get connected to, well, I guess you were saying through all the networking events or the conferences, you became

Alex:
Yeah, we were kind

Paris Vega:
kind of the

Alex:
of doing

Paris Vega:
voice.

Alex:
a lot of webinars at Semrar, so we kind of, you know, just because nothing was happening there, right? Everything should have kind of, we should have launched from the very beginning, right? Including like, you know, such things as webinars, some social media activities and so on. For sure, at some point, the areas of really the only person that was delivering everything. But we were actively looking for different influencers, engaging them in different activities, which I think is one of also biggest advantages, the biggest competitive advantage that SEMrush has thanks to those connections and network. Their brand is kind of, you know, is quite well known, I think. And whenever they launch something, they have a very well-established network through which they kind of as a channel, they can actually leverage this channel.

Paris Vega:
All right, now let’s get into moving from SEMrush and how you moved into starting your own company and getting those first clients.

Alex:
Well, it was a quite bumpy road because you never know what’s going to work well for you, right, in your situation. So I’ve been, actually, I tried various marketing activities and I tried selling various marketing activities. Back those days, I even tried to do some content marketing and I recall that my biggest win was I was able to sell. a key study or something like that for 5,000 USD. But the problem that you can’t really replicate this. It was kind of, it went very well till the point when I realized that, you know, at some point I want to kind of, you know, have a stable flow of clients that are ready to pay 5,000 per coffee. But sadly it’s not so easy, right? That is the problem, you know, selling once is kind of easy, right? But whenever you wanna… establish a flow, right, then you’re kind of facing that it’s not so easy, right? And as I’ve already mentioned, right, closer to the moment when I realized that lean building actually is the thing that I can at least kind of, well, I feel that I can sell, right, as a service and I can have a stable flow of clients. And that was actually the moment when I kind of decided to go with this activity. And so before that, we were kind of doing some influencer marketing campaigns. But it wasn’t really going so well. And then we started doing lean building. And yeah, we started doing lean building for G2. Then we had a few other clients, some of them thanks to, you know, G2 and Kevin’s recommendations, some of them were just kind of, they heard, right, they heard that we started providing those services and they were interested in learning more and so on and so forth. But the main problem that I face and was somewhere in November previous year, I think that is something that you can only learn by facing it, I would say, just because. I’ve never been kind of starting somewhere, right? Interpretation or something like that. So that is something that I kind of started on my own.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
And as a result, right? Some mistakes you can’t really oversee them.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
And so my biggest mistake was at that moment that I didn’t really consider our pricing model at all. So we kind of started doing it like this. At the very beginning, for sure, I reconsidered it a few times because I wasn’t really sure what will be the best way to approach. And then I kind of decided, okay, it works well. So I’m not going to touch it.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
And then

Paris Vega:
What

Alex:
we

Paris Vega:
is

Alex:
faced

Paris Vega:
your…

Alex:
a moment.

Paris Vega:
Oh, go ahead.

Alex:
No, no. And then we faced a moment when we discontinued being profitable just because we started to build, you know, a lot of processes around this, improving the quality, you know, and so on and so forth. But the pricing, right, was… remaining the same.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so you started to improve the process and it became more and more complicated, so the profit went down.

Alex:
More people hiring more people, establishing, you know, more kind

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Alex:
of, you know, some,

Paris Vega:
interesting.

Alex:
some kind of additional internal and external processes around this and that particular activity. And for sure, right, more people involved. You’re paying a salary to more people and then you get less profit.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that’s a really interesting point. Because you’re pursuing better quality for your clients, which sounds like it’s always a good thing. But, but yeah, if you over deliver beyond what your pricing allows for, it

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
can end up messing you up. Okay. And so what is your current, the pricing model that you landed on that has a balance of profitability and quality?

Alex:
Well, at the moment, we just have quite a flat rate. So we kind of, for sure, we work on a contract basis. And the contract is kind of starting from, normally it starts from 30,000 USD. But when it comes to just cost per link, it’s kind of it’s remaining the same. For content pages, it’s 500 USD. For commercial pages, it’s kind of 700 USD. Sometimes it’s a little bit more, just because some commercial pages might be very hard to pitch. But on a general note, it’s just kind of around the same. But we also kind of, just because we understand, right, that even though the links that we deliver, they are kind of exceptional. They are. They have very good quality and so on and so forth. The pricing model might be not so affordable, right, for some people. And we kind of, we decided to launch kind of a test. It’s more like a self-service portal where

Paris Vega:
Hmm.

Alex:
you can request links in guest posts. We don’t really deliver links in guest posts normally to our clients. So it’s more like, you know. traditional email outreach, right? Whenever you kind of choose website, then you show those websites to client and then you pitch, you know, and so on and so forth.

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Alex:
So it’s kind of designed in this way. But

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
since we’ve already built a quite big network of, you know, of website that accept gas posts and be kind of, you know, connected with them. And we thought like, why not to utilize those connections as well? And for sure the cost per… production per gas post when you have a very well established process is very, it’s quite low, I would say compared to one more time setting up a traditional email outreach campaign and so on and so forth.

Paris Vega:
So the main service or maybe the only service your company offers is helping businesses with websites, get backlinks from other websites, right?

Alex:
Yeah, you know, that are kind of, you know, here are the thing that, um, the website, basically we get links from website that, you know, our clients want to get links organically, I would say in the following way. So that are the ones that you can share on your social media platform, for instance. So you are not really ashamed of those things. So they are not really the one that, you know, you’re kind of say, yeah, it’s of okay but I don’t really want to show this link to anyone.

Paris Vega:
Right. So they’re all high

Alex:
So

Paris Vega:
quality

Alex:
there’s

Paris Vega:
links.

Alex:
you know the ones that you know you can show to anyone and you don’t really want to kind of say yeah those are fine but you know you don’t really need to look at them precisely.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, so your company is basically link building experts. So can you give, give us an idea of what you consider like a high quality link or a kind of white hat high quality way to go about getting links because I know it’s kind of a hot topic sometimes

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
on whether or

Alex:
there

Paris Vega:
not link

Alex:
are

Paris Vega:
building

Alex:
I guess.

Paris Vega:
is even legit, or if it’s all just spam, whenever you’re trying to get links intentionally, instead of just letting them happen magically by being amazing or, or however you’re supposed to get them without, you know, pursuing them directly. Uh, can you

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
speak on that?

Alex:
Yeah, for sure. Well, I think, first of all, you have to remember that it’s like in real life, right? How many recommendations you can get. The bigger the network, the more authority you have, the more recommendations you can get. But let’s imagine you don’t really have this network, right? How many recommendations can you expect to get? That is the same, right, with some an organic link follower, I would say, right? So if your brands, you might have an amazing brand, you might have amazing content, right? But the chances of getting a link is limited to your current network. That is very much it, right? And the chances are also kind of limited to the fact that, okay, you have this network and this network might be extremely real into your content. but they might have another editorial plans and so on and so forth. So, and then the combinations of getting a link, the chances are getting low, low and low. So that is just math. So I think one day someone even can create the right formula so you can actually calculate based on your current traffic, based on your, I don’t know, number of your subscribers, social media followers, the chances of getting an organic link at the end of the day.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
No, as for the right links, I would say, because I think the easiest way to understand whether you’re getting the right links or not, but that for sure, you can’t really assess it right now if you kind of start getting the wrong links. You can’t really assess it straight away. But after a few years, you can see it easily. that you’ve been actually doing a completely, I would say, useless work when it comes to link building and completely, you are quite completely wrong links. If your website has a very good domain authority, right? Whatever you’re going to call this, but it doesn’t help your individual pages ranking better without any links. Because… If you look at search engine results, especially if you look at very competitive search terms, the brands that have been investing for sure in different channels of marketing, not necessarily only in the building, which is also very important, but they have the right backlink profile, they are able to actually rank quite well with pages that don’t really have any links at all, right? For instance, Forbes, it

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
has the right, one more time, it gets, for sure it gets a lot of links organically, just because it’s a well-known brand, but some pages, if you look precisely, right, they rank very well, but they don’t really have

Paris Vega:
Bye.

Alex:
any links back. So that is the easiest way, right, to understand whether you’ve done something wrong with the building or not. But if we look at this… in kind of if we talk about particular metrics, I’d say the link should come from a legit brand. So no media outlets or something like that. So that should be either a company that provides some services, either a company that provide some tools, whatever it is, services cloud solution. Depends on your niche one more time. Then.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
The organic source of traffic should match perfectly your main market. What are you interested in? If you want to rank better in the US service, then the main

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
traffic of service should be United States. And the main ratings should be quite meaningful one. That is very much it.

Paris Vega:
Okay,

Alex:
And for sure,

Paris Vega:
so.

Alex:
a niche. Yeah, for sure, a niche should make sense. So you

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
should get things from the right, you know, the one from Nisha that actually belong to your Nisha.

Paris Vega:
Okay. So get backlinks from other websites in your same category, your topic, industry niche, and then keep it within your same country where you’re wanting to rank. Okay. And then you were saying they should be like leading companies or larger brands, or is it more important

Alex:
Not necessarily, they

Paris Vega:
kind of

Alex:
might

Paris Vega:
that balance

Alex:
be different,

Paris Vega:
of

Alex:
right?

Paris Vega:
relevance

Alex:
But they

Paris Vega:
or

Alex:
all

Paris Vega:
importance?

Alex:
should have something, they should have a brand, right? Which is very important here.

Paris Vega:
So not just a random little small blog that just links to tons of people, basically. It looks like a link farm.

Alex:
Yes, exactly. Or whatever it is, it might be kind of pretending being a newspaper. You know, there are a lot of different ways of organizing this, but at the end of the day, it leaves for traffic. It doesn’t leave for providing some services, right? Those websites, they’re kind of working as aggregators that capture traffic, right, from search engine results and then monetizing this traffic rather than providing something to users, right?

Paris Vega:
Okay, I see what you mean.

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
So that’s a higher quality site in your mind is somebody who offers something other than just listings on their own

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
site. Okay, so like the directory sites that were popular for a long time where you’re basically just ranking in Google and then you go to that website and it’s another site that’s just more rankings.

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
So those are gonna have less value than say,

Alex:
Yeah, for sure.

Paris Vega:
some agents

Alex:
They are

Paris Vega:
that

Alex:
not

Paris Vega:
has a

Alex:
so

Paris Vega:
blog.

Alex:
valuable.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, OK. All right.

Alex:
And ideally, your link, right? But if you are talking about such website, there is no other way of getting your link there besides getting a link in their content, right? So that is also kind of providing some additional context to Google one more time. Kind of telling the search engine that. You’re kind of one more time a part of this niche and this content is talking about this and that is actually defining your company and the context is relevant and so on.

Paris Vega:
Okay. Could you speak to maybe some of the biggest wins that you’ve gotten for some of your clients? You’ve got some big name companies that you worked for? What’s

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
is there? Is there like a before and after that you could share of like after using your process

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
of getting the type of links that you think are valuable? How much growth have you seen for that company? Or what kind of improvements have they seen? And you don’t have to get

Alex:
Uh.

Paris Vega:
specific if you can’t, you know, share the details

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
of a

Alex:
absolutely.

Paris Vega:
specific company, but

Alex:
Actually, we do have one client, which is not really a big brand. And they’re, they actually, they don’t really have anything beside their blog. So they don’t really invest in any other channels besides their blog. So, which means that at the main source of their, of, of leads for them, right? Of potential clients. And. They kind of, they have a brand and it’s, but it’s not really, you know, a well-known one or the one that I will tell you and you will tell me like, oh yeah, I know them. Because they have direct competitors. For instance, one of their direct competitors is Printful. And if I tell you Printful, right, you

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
kind of, oh yeah, I know Printful, right? But if I tell you Swagdrop, you’re kind of, what? What is that? Nothing, right? But… Even though right they don’t really have and they don’t you know one time they don’t really have any brand value right that they can rely on right to kind of outrun the competitors, but we’ve been working with them for more than I think three years and Since they don’t really have a strong brand they don’t really receive You know, they might receive a few links organically just because some of their pages are ranking extremely well, right? But that is just more because, you know, editors are looking for something in Google rights and search engine results. And then they link back to this just because that is one of the top ranking results that they see. Now all their backlinks, they are built by us. And the brand is called swagdrop.com. So if you go to Ahrefs, you kind of go into C basically, three years of work. And I think if you look at their organic traffic trend, which is growing month over month, and if you look actually at their pages, and we don’t really build links for each and every page. So they have tons of pages that rank well. thanks to their domain authority, thanks to the right link that we acquired previously. Right? And if you want, I can share, I can open Ahrefs as well.

Paris Vega:
Okay, yeah, that’d be cool.

Alex:
Yeah, sure.

Paris Vega:
Because I’m not

Alex:
I’m

Paris Vega:
sure I’m

Alex:
sorry.

Paris Vega:
not sure

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
if you’re it’s okay.

Alex:
the brand is the right one.

Paris Vega:
Okay, I was wondering

Alex:
So

Paris Vega:
if that was the right company. And

Alex:
yeah,

Paris Vega:
I’m not sure

Alex:
that

Paris Vega:
if your

Alex:
is.

Paris Vega:
video’s coming through, so that would be cool to see.

Alex:
Yes, hold on, let me share it. Okay, here you go. So as you can see, right, here is, you know, their traffic trend, which is kind of, they had some issue over there just because there is no longer such a thing as evergreen continent. They needed actually to rewrite some of their older posts just because they, they kind of, they became outdated. So once they rewrote them, they started actually to grow in terms of organic traffic one more time. And I think if you go, let’s go to their most meaningful back links. It’s kind of in the legacy section, but that is my favorite report in HS. If you click here on this column, you will see the most meaningful links. There is some spam that is not from us, but it’s no follow.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
So we can.

Paris Vega:
I think it’s a delay maybe when you’re browsing through Ahrefs.

Alex:
Okay, what do you see right now?

Paris Vega:
the

Alex:
Do

Paris Vega:
backlink

Alex:
you see,

Paris Vega:
profiles

Alex:
yeah backlinks, right?

Paris Vega:
summary at the top and then the performance

Alex:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
graph. Okay.

Alex:
So you don’t see the list of backlinks? Should

Paris Vega:
No.

Alex:
I reshare? Okay, let me reshare my screen because that’s exactly what I wanted to share, right? So do you see a list of backlinks now?

Paris Vega:
taking a second to load. If you’re listening to this on the audio version of the podcast, you can go over to YouTube and check out what we’re looking at here on the screen. All right, it’s taking just a second here. to fill this in with a little thinking music.

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
So yeah, you can go ahead and talk about it. It’s just taken a minute to load it. Maybe I’ve already loaded for the people actually watching, but sometimes there’s a delay in our live

Alex:
Yeah, okay.

Paris Vega:
version of it.

Alex:
Okay. So basically, uh, it’s kind of, right. All there, the most meaningful links, um, that we’ve built back to this website and they all, you know, you can take a look, they all make consent. They all incorporate it into content, which is very important, right. And they’re all on very good website that are relevant to their niche, like, you know, single grain. foundation, which is a B2B marketing agency. Here is HubSpot and so on and so forth.

Paris Vega:
Oh, okay.

Alex:
So

Paris Vega:
So

Alex:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
does it have to do with your personal network again? Like, because getting

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
customers is almost similar to getting back links. Like I’ve said this before in our agency that back, like getting links is similar to sales in a lot of ways. Um,

Alex:
Yes, I agree.

Paris Vega:
okay. So

Alex:
I agree,

Paris Vega:
is it

Alex:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
like an extension of your network since you’ve gotten all these relationships and you’re kind of a known name and the, you know,

Alex:
We

Paris Vega:
search

Alex:
don’t

Paris Vega:
engine

Alex:
really

Paris Vega:
marketing.

Alex:
use my name.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
We kind of, so it’s not really my network. We have, you know, I don’t really build links nowadays. I used to do that for sure when we were starting everything.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
Yeah, but for sure, right, you’re right that it’s kind of a network for sure. We know that those editors, because I couldn’t imagine coming randomly to house put any other similar brand, right?

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
And just telling them, look, we know a wonderful brand’s vector of pride. Could you please make me a favor and link back to this beautiful page, which is actually optimized to rank perfectly well in Google? And thanks to your link,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
we will finally reach the right results, right? So could you please share your link juice with us

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
so we can reach our goals finally, right?

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
Especially

Paris Vega:
So that’s the.

Alex:
from a page that has quite good rankings, right? and have already reached a good

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
number of referring domains.

Paris Vega:
But that’s the situation I think most businesses find themselves in is they’re staring at all the big names and all the awesome websites that some of the tools recommend getting links from and have some of those big high domain authority sites listed. And they’re staring at that like a mountain of impossibility of how to actually get those links. And it sounds like that’s where your company steps in. to be the bridge between these, you know, all these companies or brands who

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
need

Alex:
but we

Paris Vega:
those

Alex:
are not

Paris Vega:
links

Alex:
unique,

Paris Vega:
and

Alex:
right?

Paris Vega:
then.

Alex:
There are some other for sure, you know, similar

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Alex:
companies that, you know, can do quite the same, maybe with some minor or bigger, right? But on the general note, right, the way we approach the building is no longer unique. It was quite unique, like… Five years ago, and we’ve been

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
the only agency that were more or less talking about relationship-based lean building and so on. I think now, with the growth of the market and with having so many players, very small, bigger ones, people kind of starting to hear more and more about that type of lean building. You know, they have some different vendors that they can choose from, right? Besides just kind of, you know, one more time, going to any kind of marketplace, right, the hosts buying their links and so on.

Paris Vega:
So you said relationship-based link building. So again, it’s an extension of networking and building those relationships with editors, it sounds like is key. So that when you do have a client that’s relevant to their website, you can call them up or your team does and you have a higher chance of getting a link.

Alex:
Yeah, kind of, exactly. So we can’t really, one more time, we can’t guarantee anything as well, right? Because the decision-making process is happening on the side of this or that particular editor. But for sure, we basically help companies to get results faster, right? So instead of just kind of, and any company can do this, right? There is nothing, there is no magic behind this, right? It’s just kind of tons of hours and hard work, right? So you kind of, you can also reach out to the same editors and build a relationship with them, right? One more time and finding a way to show them, you know, your content have a meaningful conversation and so on. It just takes a lot of time

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
and you know, dedication was probably. And having the right, most probably, experience, right? Just because we kind of, for sure, we’ve been doing a lot of improvements in terms of our email outreach, because we are constantly looking for new editors. So it’s an ongoing process, right? And

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
we work across various niches. So for instance, having a conversation in the travel niche is one story, right? And you can’t really approach editors across different niches with the same pitch. And you can’t really have the same conversations, expect the same answers from editors that are working in different niches.

Paris Vega:
How do you get leads now for your company? Like your sales leads, where do they come from mostly?

Alex:
I think word of mouth, which

Paris Vega:
Word

Alex:
is very

Paris Vega:
of mouth.

Alex:
sad. Yeah, we are trying to fix this. We are working hard on this, but, and that is quite unpredictable. So I don’t really wanna, you know, kind of recommend anyone being in our shoes nowadays, especially.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Okay. So is there, all right, then what about maybe some tactics you’re trying? Like are you posting on certain social platforms

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
more than other platforms? Are there different types of, are you doing like content on blogs or, you know, kind of what

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
are the, some of the tactics that you’re trying?

Alex:
So we actually, for sure, we run our blog, but that is a very, very long-term investment. So guys, if you’re kind of waiting for short-term results, short-term wins, then especially if you’re talking about, if you target highly competitive search sums related to ASO services, well, that might take ages. But at the end of the day, You know, it’s kind of an investment, right? We also have our own podcast. I think it works quite well. It’s kind of a part of our brand awareness because, um, you know, the more people one time it’s like with lean building, the more people know you, the more people can consider your services. Right. And I understand that it’s, uh, it’s, it’s one more time. It’s, it’s not for today and it’s not even for tomorrow. But maybe next year or something like that, it starts to pay off, right? Sooner or later, it will start to pay off and it will start to work as a source of new leads and so on. And as more like quick wins, I would say, right? I’m kind of exploring actually the ways to scale word of mouth. by connecting with the right people that know, basically, that can recommend us, and just kind of basically finding the right intensity for them. Besides, just kind of because the intensity of I will pay you a commission is not working nowadays. Just because what the point of, you know, because you don’t really know each other, right? And the person kind of thinking, okay. Do I really need to invest my time in connecting someone with Digital Olympus if I don’t really know the final result, because no one can guarantee, right?

Paris Vega:
Right.

Alex:
So I need to find the right incentive, most probably money and the right words to stimulate this process, to make this person genuinely interested. Right?

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
And so that is very much it. So you just kind of pay, right? for their, you know, you might take some coach lessons, whatever you want, a consultancy from them, whatever you want to call this, whatever they can kind of suggest to you. And then basically, in order to investigate and in order to understand where there is an opportunity, right, to team up with them and to basically to pitch during those consultancies, services, what you want from them in reality.

Paris Vega:
Okay. Do

Alex:
So,

Paris Vega:
you post

Alex:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
on certain social platforms?

Alex:
Yeah, I run my LinkedIn, but I can’t say because one year ago, for instance, whenever I was posting on LinkedIn, it was really generating leads straight away. But it’s not like that nowadays. So it’s like, you know, you kind of, it’s a part of brand awareness, I would say more.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so, and I’ve heard people say that more recently LinkedIn has changed their algorithm or something to they’re not getting as much reach. So I don’t know if that may be part of

Alex:
It

Paris Vega:
it,

Alex:
has

Paris Vega:
but

Alex:
started to work a little bit differently, I would say.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
So whenever, you know, a few months ago I was posting something, I was getting engagement immediately.

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Alex:
Right now it’s kind of, um, I think I get nearly the same engagement, but with a huge delay. So. This means I started to post less just because I noticed that whenever I post too often, I kind of cut the engagement of my previous posts. Yeah, so there is obviously a delay that is kind of, they kind of rebuild their algo. And now, right, whenever, and it’s kind of taking more than 24 hours in order to collect all the engagement. And I actually noted that just because one week I just had no time to post it. And I noted that my post reached kind of the final engagement within Two, three days.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so you think that it’s almost like they were limiting your account to only so much engagement. So if you posted more posts, it was just spreading out across all those posts.

Alex:
Yes, it’s just kind of cutting everything. I don’t really know what will be. Maybe it’s just the best solution will be posting more, but something

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
really big, well-prepared.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
So it’s going to reach more people at the end of the day. Because I kind of feel that there are some certain milestones that your posts go through. And then it’s kind of then LinkedIn decide whether this post should be shown to more people or less.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, it seems like shorter video clips get a little more engagement. I guess that’s kind of the trend across all platforms right now. Are you doing

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
any video

Alex:
videos

Paris Vega:
posts?

Alex:
are kind of. I agree.

Paris Vega:
Okay. Do you post on kind of any of the other social networks, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, anything else or is it just LinkedIn focus when you do post?

Alex:
I don’t really. Well, being honest, I have two horses and each time I go to a stable, I just, I think like, you know, I want to make a video for my Instagram, right? And each time I just kind of forget about this because there is something else I need to do there. Because, you know, the stable is very beautiful where my horses are. Everything is so beautiful there. And, you know, whatever. I have some problems most probably, you know, this kind of, you know. Well, I always feel a bit awkward whenever I need to post something about my life.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Did you say whenever you go to the stable?

Alex:
Yeah, I have two horses, two sport horses.

Paris Vega:
Oh, okay, cool.

Alex:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
That’s really

Alex:
so,

Paris Vega:
cool.

Alex:
you know, but you know, and each time it was literally as today, I was kind of driving there. I was like, yeah, we’ll make a video. And my house name is Barbie. And actually, you know, Barbie

Paris Vega:
Hey,

Alex:
is

Paris Vega:
there

Alex:
kind

Paris Vega:
you go.

Alex:
of a hot topic right now

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Alex:
and

Paris Vega:
yeah.

Alex:
she’s beautiful. I will make a joke or something like that. Ended up with nothing, zero content. Because I was kind of so tired after working two horses. I was like…

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that would have been perfect timing. There’s still probably a window here with all the Barbie stuff going on. That’s funny. Okay.

Alex:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
It’s really cool. All right. So you’re doing, you guys put content on your own site. Are you using your own tactics for building links for your own business website?

Alex:
We did so, but the problem that, you know, one more time, the gap between Digital Olympus or some other brands is so big that I kind of decided to put it on pause because I haven’t been seeing much traction there and I decided to kind of reinvent things in a bit different things. So it’s kind of, you know, one more time, you can decide what you wanna do. You want to invest more in the long term, in long term strategies, or you want to kind of split it. And I decided to split it a little bit. So, yeah, you know, one more time, it’s more about what you want to do because we want to also launch, you know, our own lean building Slack channel. Um, just because we know all those editors,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
you know, we want to kind of invite them, but we don’t really want to talk much about, you know. pitching content there and so on. We wanna talk more about link building, sharing some knowledge there and so on.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
So more like that

Paris Vega:
Thought

Alex:
type of

Paris Vega:
leader

Alex:
a thing.

Paris Vega:
being the thought leader about link building for editors. So that, okay. Giving

Alex:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
back to the community that you’re going to ask something from in the future.

Alex:
Yeah, but it’s more like, you know, one more time as a natural organic way of also, you know, recruiting new editors from one side, from other side, also a natural way of becoming more visible for potential clients, right? So, yeah, just because, you know, nowadays it’s very, very hard to create engagements on literally any social media platform, right? So

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Alex:
I’ve been thinking, why not to take, you know, we have 1,000 editors, right? And if we kind of, you know, invite them to the channel, the engagement will happen organically.

Paris Vega:
So that’s how many editors you have in your company’s network is about 1,000.

Alex:
Yeah, a bit more, I think something like that. Not all of them are extremely active, I have to say, right? But at least maybe half or a bit more than half of them are quite active.

Paris Vega:
And do you run any paid advertisements for your company to get customers?

Alex:
No, we’ve never tried, but I don’t really believe much in this because I mean, you, in order to be successful, right? With pet channels, you need to have a very good sales team.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
I think it’s kind of, you know, and also you should have a quite big budget because it requires a lot of experiments. You can’t really put the button start and then kind of waiting for the clients because they’re going to, you know, start sending you, you know, their inquiries and so on. So I think, um, and you know, whenever, whenever I talk with potential clients, I mean, at least the one that we have, um, The decision-making process is more based on what they see across social media platforms, what other marketers are recommending them, rather than looking at paid results or something like that.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. All right. So not running any ads. You’re investing in content with the podcast. Where do you publish your podcast? Is it on YouTube as well? Or and what’s the name of the podcast? So people can check

Alex:
Uh, it’s

Paris Vega:
it out.

Alex:
called SERPs of the week. It’s on YouTube.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
So, um,

Paris Vega:
We’ll put

Alex:
basically

Paris Vega:
the link to it in

Alex:
I

Paris Vega:
the

Alex:
can

Paris Vega:
show

Alex:
share

Paris Vega:
notes.

Alex:
with you a link to it. Just give me a second. Um,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
so the idea is pretty simple. We just invite, right. Yes. Um, with which, uh, we can discuss SEO related topics. I would say, right. Um, and that is. very much it. So I’m just trying to find… here you go. So it’s our channel, here is the link. Here we go.

Paris Vega:
Digital Olympus. Okay.

Alex:
Yeah, and then you can see…

Paris Vega:
Serps of the week. Okay. Oh. Started to play.

Alex:
I’m sorry.

Paris Vega:
Okay, yeah, I’ll share the screen real quick so people can get a look, but it’s digital Olympus is the username on YouTube and little preview. So each week you do serps of the week episode.

Alex:
Yeah, each two weeks. It’s on a weekly

Paris Vega:
Every two

Alex:
basis,

Paris Vega:
weeks.

Alex:
but

Paris Vega:
Okay,

Alex:
yeah.

Paris Vega:
cool. And it looks like you have… So Kevin Endig was on an episode. And what does the podcast cover?

Alex:
We are talking about… We kind of… we either talk about some particular research terms, right, and trying to understand why this or that website is ranking so well, or we just talk about the most interesting things that our guests have recently seen in search engine results. So for instance, the upcoming episode will be about the new way that Google kind of introduced search engine results. And we will be talking about what we can expect from this and what will be the next steps and so on.

Paris Vega:
Okay, that’s cool. I’m gonna, I’m gonna check that out for sure. I’m gonna get a little SEO insights. All right. And does this match up with like a blog post or something like that on your site? Or is this kind of independent content that you just put on YouTube?

Alex:
It’s just independent at the moment.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
Yeah, while we think about creating a separate section on our website, we’ve just been waiting. We’ve been waiting for a good number of episodes in order to create a separate page. By the way, I absolutely forget about our own conference. So we have also our

Paris Vega:
Oh.

Alex:
own offline conference. And we will

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Alex:
do it. There was kind of, we put it on hold. For a few years, there was a combination of COVID, then we had an online edition and so on. So that was kind of a lot of back and forth. But right now, we are preparing the new offline edition here in the Netherlands. And so

Paris Vega:
Okay, what’s

Alex:
we

Paris Vega:
that

Alex:
want

Paris Vega:
conference

Alex:
to…

Paris Vega:
called?

Alex:
That is a good question, because we are trying

Paris Vega:
Thanks for

Alex:
to brainstorm

Paris Vega:
watching.

Alex:
the new name, because it was just called Digital Olympus Conference. But…

Paris Vega:
Gotcha.

Alex:
I want to do something like in terms of a combination of on-page and on-page SEO, so where those two elements they kind of meet. And so people can learn about two sides of SEO at the same time, because I think it’s quite important not only to talk about on-page SEO or not only about off-page SEO, because they are interconnected, right? So you can’t really split them because if you are going to rely only on links, nothing will happen. Right.

Paris Vega:
Hmm.

Alex:
And if you’re going to rely solely on content, right. And for sure, if you’re, if you’re not Amazon, right. But that is separate story, but if you’re just kind of a small brand and you just kind of try to nail your, uh, on-page SEO and expecting to see some solid results, then most probably it’s not going to happen. just because your brand is not really well known and Google doesn’t want to get priority to, I would say to content pages of websites that are not really, that search engine is not really sure in terms of accuracy and, you know, whether this particular vendor can provide the right content to users to solve their problems, because that is the problem of, you know, authority on the general note.

Paris Vega:
Last episode of the First Customers podcast, we had Ali Schwankie on and she focuses on posting YouTube videos. And for her, it’s like a big source of lead generation,

Alex:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
like a thousand leads or something from just posting really niche videos. Have you seen any leads come in from your YouTube channel yet? Or is it just, you know, more focused on that long-term brand awareness at this point?

Alex:
No, it’s just for long-term brand awareness and we don’t really try to do something there, which I think for sure is possible. But if you type in any link building related search quarter, you will see videos of branding and similar guys. I mean, it’s not really a new niche, right? It’s not the one that you can enter easily

Paris Vega:
Right,

Alex:
because

Paris Vega:
for sure.

Alex:
a lot of people… have started to generate content related to lean building 10 years ago, something like that.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Okay. This is really cool topic. It’s I know it’s critical to all of the businesses that live on the Internet, which is pretty much most businesses these days have some kind of online presence. So real quick to close out the show. Why don’t you give the reason why companies should reach out to Digital Olympus and work with you guys?

Alex:
Good question. I think, um, you know, one more time, it all comes down to what kind of links, um, I looking for, but if you’re looking for links that, you know, you want to then to use as a solid foundation for your future online success, for your future rankings. And you really want to start ranking. better for pages that don’t really have any links at all, right, then I think we are the right vendor to help you and to guide you through the process of acquiring links and to help you with acquiring those links for sure.

Paris Vega:
cool. And we’ll have links in the show notes to your company and

Alex:
Thank you.

Paris Vega:
things we’ve mentioned here today. So, Alexandra, thank you so much for making time for us today.

Alex:
Thank you very much, Paris, for having me. It was a pure pleasure being here today with you.

Paris Vega:
And everybody listening, thanks for tuning in, and we hope to see you next episode on the First Customers podcast. Later.

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