Interview with Jon Cooper – Link Building Today & Tomorrow

By On April 23, 2012 • Link Building Comments (0)


Link building will always be the main key on being successful in search engines. Forever, links will always be the fuel on every search engine optimization campaign. The first time that I met link building, I thought that it was just all about building links (Since links act like votes to your website) and spamming the internet to deliver (x) number of links per month to clients. Then I met Jason Acidre, kaiserthesage, got inspired and started picking up things to improve my SEO skills and link building techniques. Became a day-to-day lurker on some of the best industry blogs and began reading great ideas from many of the best SEO and link builders today.

Today, I am so blessed to share my interview with one of the youngest and brightest mind in link building today – Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO (Exclusive right here on

Question #1: Why is it called Point Blank SEO? Does it literally means “Aimed Straight” what made you choose this name to your blog?

Jon Cooper answered:

Unfortunately I don’t have some awesome story behind the name of “Point Blank SEO”. I came up with it when I was brainstorming blog title ideas for one of my first clients, and one of the names I came up with was “Point Blank *insert their niche here*”. They didn’t go with it, and I still really liked the ring to it, so when I got around to creating my own blog about a month later, I used it as the name.

Question #2: Since I already read about who Jon Cooper is, I am wondering how big PointBlankSEO is? Do you have people working under you? Big paying clients like this and that?

Jon Cooper answered:

It’s more of a hobby than anything. I really wanted to blog & try to show off some of the creativity that I felt was strongly lacking in the link building niche, and I never thought it would become so big so fast. I don’t intend for it to turn into a lead generator, and I could easily start my own SEO agency, but that’s just not what I’m looking to do. At the moment, the clients I consult with are all that I want.

Question #3: Superb list that you have on PointBlankSEO, Link Building Strategies – The Complete List. Tell us the story behind the list? Like how long did it take you to compile it? What motivated you to create the super list etc.

Jon Cooper answered:

Back in (I think?) September of last year, I spent about 5-6 hours putting together a mega list of roughly 150 link building techniques (you can check it out here). I was REALLY proud of it, but after it went live, it go no traction. Why? I was a no name; no one came to Point Blank SEO really at that time. So it sat there for a while, and come February, I wanted to redo it & make it even better as I saw two things: 1) Room for improvement (the one I ended up publishing totals 190+) and 2) People finding the old one in the archives and absolutely loving it.

After deciding to create it, I was planning to spend two days on it (about 3-4 hours per day), then publish it right after that. It took longer than expected, and I wanted to make sure it was perfect, and in the end, it cost me about 15-20 hours over almost a week. Needless to say, it was definitely worth it.

Question #4: In relation to your link building list, can you name 5 strategies that you believe most link builders often neglect? Or seldom use. How much value can it give when utilized?

Jon Cooper answered:

1) Broken link building – it might get used a lot, but still not used nearly enough; broken links are everywhere and always will be. I use it all the time, and I usually get a pretty high success rate (sometimes in the 8-9% range) for only a small amount of my time.

2) Linking out – Why aren’t more people doing it? This community talks about it all the time, yet few listen. Just look at my blog as a tangible example. Most of the links on my posts are to external sources and not even to my own blog (one of my posts has 10 external links, 1 internal). It might mean very little to you (30-40 clicks away from my blog tops in most cases), but to the person who just got linked, it means a whole lot more, and not only leads to one link down the road, but usually a handful.

3) CSS Galleries – If you have a half decent designed site, these are practically 100 free links. And if your site looks like crap, then a redesign is long overdue (did I just tell you to redesign your site to get links? Yep).

4) Images – There are SO many things you can do with images to build links. A client & I just came up with a brilliant strategy (might talk about it on my blog in the future) that utilizes them for close to the majority of all of their link building. Actionable thing you can do right now – create awesome images (just like a blog content strategy) and reach out to bloggers & let them know they’re ripe for the taking to embed in their posts.

5) Reverse engineered strategies – Find something that worked (i.e. a badge strategy), but is now outdated. For example, see an extremely successful infographic from 2007 with old numbers? Recreate it! add new data & make it even better, then reach out to everyone who hosted the old infographic’ they’ve already proven they’ll host it.

Question #5: Google over-optimization penalty, negative SEO and many link building fuss  – What is your take on this? Should link builders panic with such buzz that Google is taking a closer look on websites and link profiles?

Jon Cooper answered:

I’m a little scared about Negative SEO, but I think there’s only a small chance I’ll run into it with clients. And with the over-optimization penalty, I’m not sold as to this being huge – if you build a ton of low quality, spammy links, then yeah, be afraid, but if you’re doing it the way white hats like me tell you to do it, then don’t worry about it. This doesn’t concern us.

And that’s how it should be; you should look forward to updates in Google. That’s the beauty of going white hat. 

Question #6: I read your post “What Link Building might look like in 2014“ and I agree on the fact that automation tools can destroy a link building method just like Infographics –, directory submitter software and even article marketing software. How do you see link building 5 years from now? What link building methods will still exist (considering that it’s hard to automate it).

Jon Cooper answered:

The point I was trying to make in the post (I know, didn’t come off as the main point as I intended) is that the end point is changing. For the last 14 years, link building was determining how you could get to point A (higher search rankings). The different routes you took were the strategies you used. Going forward, you’re going to be aiming for a different point or end goal: higher traffic & sales. Why? Search engines are changing rapidly, and the reward for ranking 1st diminishes as CTR dramatically drops when there’s tons of paid ads and fancy markup all around your listing. Those big fat blue title links won’t be in charge of the search real estate like they used to be. As a result, we’ll have to make up for the drop in search traffic by trying to build links that directly send traffic & sales. For example, when’s the last time you slaved over trying to get a link in a relevant newsletter, and compare that with the last time you tried to land a big time link (i.e. trying to get mentioned in a news outlet). Chances are you’re going to say you can’t remember when you did the first, and the second happened just yesterday.

The newsletter link is just an example. We’ll still be building links, but for different reasons. In that example, you just got a link in front of a large, highly targeted audience, which directly sends you traffic & sales, and aren’t those the end goal that Search is trying to deliver?

Thanks a lot Jon! Appreciate your answers man :)

You can follow Jon Cooper on Twitter @pointblankseo or read his blog




Jayson Bagio is the lead strategist of SEOteky. A digital marketing team from Manila, Ph who specializes in content marketing and link building. Get in touch with him using the contact form on the side or by visiting the about page. You can also follow him on twitter & google+.

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