expertCoach - Steve Brownlie

28 May, 2019

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In this edition of expertCoach, we talk to Steve Brownlie, Director of Consulting at Reach Creator on his thoughts about digital marketing!

Please introduce yourself, your company, and what you do!

Reach Creator is a link-building and outreach agency that services agencies (white label for their clients), heads of SEO at brands with link-building requirements, and affiliate site owners.

My name is Steve Brownlie and I started out in this business almost 10 years ago working in the poker affiliate space. I went from there to helping agencies out with their tough campaigns (in niches like gambling, payday loans, and the big V) and since then we've become a much larger business supporting just about any campaign you can imagine for all different client types.


What factors, do you believe are the most important in a link-building strategy? 

The most important is making sure you can win. If your competition is all piling on 50+ good links/month and you can only afford/have the time to build 5 you'll be hundreds of more links behind in a year not moving ahead. The money is just wasted if you can't run a campaign big enough to be successful.

Creativity and flexibility are the most important once you get started. Too many businesses look to target just a few commercial pages. Not only are those links more difficult, and expensive to get, but they tend not to be in the best places on the site to benefit the rest of the site through interlinking.

If you instead look to build creative and powerful linkbait - whether that's interactive or animated content or just a fantastic research piece - you can not only build more links more quickly (at a lower time or $ cost) but you can place them in a supporting position in your internal linking 'mesh' that's more effective at spreading their impact throughout your site than if you link to a less aggressively interlinked page near the 'top of your sales funnel.


In your experience of using infographics, what impact have you seen them have?

Infographics in the form of a big embeddable image have declined in popularity since Matt Cutts called them infographics but they can still have a role in building quality links - I just wouldn't recommend producing dozens of them and making them the sole bedrock of your strategy.

Brian Dean 'revisited' them with his 'guestographics' strategy which is probably the only effective way to use them these days - combining sharing them with also giving some copy to nest your link within.

However more modern takes on the traditional infographic are becoming hugely more powerful - anything from animated full-page takeovers to interactive data can be used to get the highest quality links. Many agencies solely work on these to target the press etc. We tend not to work with clients looking to invest budgets at the top end of that scale but we work with a lot of animated full-page infographics where the format is HTML/CSS/JS rather than a simple image and they are proving very popular to link to.


What is one lesson you have learned from your time in the industry?

There are a lot of 'fakes' in our industry and people who pretend to do things they don't. Some of our biggest competitors, for example, claim to do outreach and use phrases like 'white hat' and really are just paid links shops. The same is true in various segments in our industry, including many of the 'leading speakers'. Anyone new to the industry should be really careful to understand whom they can trust out of the gate as the quality of discourse is significantly lower in SEO than in other industries.


Finally...what is the last thing you searched for on Google?

A flight... while I'll use ITA Matrix for more complex searches I think Google has done a fantastic job with Google Flights as a go-to for starting searches for travel. The speed with which you can fire through a series of searches involving multiple starting points, connections, and destinations is really top drawer.

Thank you, Reach Creator!

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