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Interview with Jared Carrizales Founder at Heroic Search

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Steve Wetmore – Good afternoon Jared Carrizales founder at Heroic Search. Heroic Search is a link building company based out of the Dallas, Texas area. And Hey, welcome, Jared.

Jared Carrizales – Hey, good to be here. Thank you very much, Steve.

Steve Wetmore – You’re welcome. So, Jared, could you talk a little bit about who you are, what you do, and don’t be shy about your credentials, credentials?

Jared Carrizales – Like you mentioned, I founded a Heroic Search in early 2013. So we will have our seven year anniversary or birthday as it were, in just a few short weeks, and we started as an SEO company, a full service SEO and even social media company and over the years, we have morphed into a Link Building specific agency, we just realized that our team had a lot of talent in that area. And we had built out a overall process to facilitate a lot of relationships with editors and whatnot. And so we decided to niche down and get really, really specific with the services that we offer. And so we’ve been doing that for going on three years now. And it’s gone extremely well. We’ve been privileged to work with all kinds of companies all over the world. And currently, we’re a team of 10 people.

Jared Carrizales – We have a couple of writers, couple of admin people, such as myself on the sales and account management, project management side, and the rest of us are very PR oriented. You know, there’s a ton of outreach that goes on as you can imagine trying to get in touch with editors , webmasters, bloggers, all kinds of different people. And so the rest of our staff is primarily made up of people that do that in some form or fashion. As far as myself, I have a background in SEO, I built my own website 10 years ago and started doing freelance work, then got picked up by an agency and started a Heroic Search shortly after that. I’ve been privileged enough to work with a lot of really cool people over the years. I’ve done quite a few speaking events, training for various companies and private events here in Dallas. We have SMU so then with the University and I’ve been privileged enough to teach there for a few semesters as well on a digital PR course. So that was a pretty unique experience. It’s been a very rewarding career and and Heroic Search in general is a very good culture that we tried to foster and nurture one on one team building and honesty, which can be pretty rare in this particular industry unfortunately. We are proud to say we have built that reputation around us and so it’s been a wild ride as you can imagine.

Steve Wetmore – I can hear the enthusiasm in your voice. And I believe you are I believe your story – so good job. This is a great opportunity for our readers and audience in general to to learn about the the link building sphere from a blogger, a blog perspective. And I would really like to hear your perspective on how Google views backlinks that look like they’re sold and how you avoid getting perceived by Google as just simply a backlink farm. And I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say about how you qualify valuable resources as a blog post resource?

Jared Carrizales – We call them footprints. How Google or any search engine is able to find and potentially discredit any maliciousness as it comes to gaming their own algorithms. An example of a footprint would be a guest post, because that’s a regular culprit, a guest post bio or byline that is within the article. When you have so many posts by the same author it’s a very easy footprint to follow. But that’s not enough on its own to have that leak discounted from Google’s point of view, they will need some kind of corroborating evidence. Maybe all the websites that this person or single entity is getting links back from, have the same IP address, or they’re under even the same entity in terms of their Who Is domain data. It is theorized that Google looks at or can see and another footprint, the Who Is data that is assigned to a particular website so they can see if someone is operating tons of these websites that may have malicious intent. So those things can be considered footprints. And if you do enough of that, and you try to gain enough blatantly, more than likely, your time will run out. And what that looks like is completely up in the air. Sometimes, it does result in, very extreme examples and site being penalized manually. Or could be just not counting certain links. Google has come out and said that negative SEO has had such an effect after the Penguin update several years ago that Google had to come up with different solutions so that they could not be gamed in opposite and damaging ways to unsuspecting website owners. And so they have since changed the policy so that the links themselves will no longer be counted instead of harming the website in question in case they’re victims of negative SEO. So yes, the penalties can vary significantly but at the end of the day, if you are creating really good content and pushing out the message like outreach or social promotions, things like that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with promoting, your content. I think there are a lot of split hairs out there and different opinions when it comes to paid postings or pay per views or things like that. But that’s each person’s preference on what they’re willing to do in terms of strategy and tactics.

Steve Wetmore – Obviously there’s the complete transparent, paid posting or our sponsored post where you disclose that you’ve been compensated within the post. And you even have a category on your blog for sponsored post. I mean, that’s completely above board. This is the question to you; will Google, penalize you if you have too many sponsored posts?

Jared Carrizales – Not to my knowledge, no. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with labeling that content and making money off of it. Absolutely not. That’s exactly what you are supposed to do in terms of Google. Own TOS Terms of Service, as well as the FTC, you know, which obviously, you, you the that is to say the Federal Trade Commission, you obviously need to abide by those rules as well. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with
earning money from paid postings as long as it’s labeled as such. But yeah, does that, I guess, does that answer your question?

Steve Wetmore – I think so. Yeah. So So how do you as an organization, how do you select that tential sites to be the host for backlinking blog article?

Jared Carrizales – For this example, you know, I’ll mostly stick to you know, a very organic type of approach. We will look at what we call these just prospects really, we will look at a variety of different things in the largely depends on the campaign itself, but let’s just say the clients campaign itself, but a few pretty standard and automatic, I would dare say, type of constraints and requirements that we look at is obviously is the site run by human that’s a huge, huge thing that shows there’s, care put into the site, it’s not just a cheap, you know, WordPress theme that’s thrown up and junk content, you know, thrown up on top of it. There’s usually a lot more due diligence on the webmaster side to take care of the domain and really care about the content that goes on it. Additionally, supplemental type of metrics, we may look at is the traffic is a pretty big one. The list of potential traffic that we assume is going to the website, how often they publish content is another one. You can look at metrics like domain authority, or DA, as well as you know, AHREF’s trust rating. That’s a very common tool that we use. But obviously, no spam on the website is a really, really huge one, we will actually do site operators. So we will search in Google through the entire side that are the pages that are indexed on Google. And we will look for spam words these could be anything could be you know, pharmaceuticals, gambling, you know, any kind of adult themes, all of that. We look at especially if we are not sure if they’re engaging in, you know, possibly paid links or any kind of sponsored information. Sometimes there is very easy for that stuff to fly under the radar. And when that does happen, it usually means it is very being done blatantly through the website. And very often, the blogger owner of the website can be playing you know, fast and loose with the rules and allowing a lot more things to be put on the website that he or she shouldn’t, or at least at the very least, things that we don’t want to be associated with nor do we want our clients to be associated with so those are some basics that we look at to to make sure that you know website passes the the overall sniff test for sure.

Steve Wetmore – Can you can you give us some more juicy juicy tidbit on that? Like, for example, let’s say, let’s say a site has posted a blog article will say one blog article on going to a casino and having a good time. Is that is that a deal breaker?

Jared Carrizales – Okay. So let me give you the maybe this is the golden rule that I have with the team. So I have a phrase that often nowadays, you know, the suggestions or the questions about whether or not we should post on a particular website, don’t come to me, but when they do I always respond with, you know, hey, is it relevant? Is it niche specific? So, one phrase that I will always tell them If a site is about everything, it’s about nothing. So relevance is what really moves the needle in terms of rankings, which is obviously a huge part of why clients come to us for link building specifically. And so if we can move the rankings, then all right, you know, the links that we built don’t really matter that much. So, so what we have found in some of the tests and things that we run in varying types of campaigns, relevance rules, everything, you know, the end of the day, there’s not a single metric that means anything, because none of that matters to Google. But what really, really does matter is relevance. So to you know, make this circle back to your question if, if there is a site that is posting about, you know, having a good time in a casino, and that same side is also posting about how to save money on car insurance, and also How to run a coffee shop. And you know how to you know, study effectively for your you know, Elsa and like, like those things are just so completely different. You aren’t going to have the topical relevance credit, if you will that Google does give look at with a website. So why are we going to post somewhere even if it is super easy to get a guest post or a link or whatever? Why would we want to do that? If we are going into it knowing that link is not going to be as valuable and it won’t, and it won’t be so. So know inherently that article is not bad. If the entire or that title I should say is not bad. If the entire website is about I would say either gambling or maybe feeling good. A mental health type of You know blog I think those two would probably be relevant the ladder relevant ish but but at the same time you also don’t want that article to have you know a ton of you know linking out to it’s on a very overly blatant casino websites like you don’t want that and if they are then didn’t know that’s a that’s a definite no no absolutely not. Not only will we not want to even be included in that content or anything like that we won’t really touch the site. But yeah, that’s that’s where I would definitely come down on that question for sure.

Steve Wetmore – I do sell spots for sponsored posts, and some SEO link building on a couple of our blogs. I’m always concerned about the quality of writing. And I’m also surprised that, in most cases, there’s very little regard given to SEO, within the article. How do you approach the actual content writing? And what I find is that so many of these firms they don’t pay any attention to ranking and I guess they really don’t care. How would you respond to that?

Jared Carrizales – So yeah, those things very often are disregarded, as unimportant for actually getting paid on their end is what it mostly comes down to.

Steve Wetmore – And I guess technically, you could say that they’re really not paid to do that. They’re just simply paid to create a backlink.

Jared Carrizales – Well, that depends on your perspective. You know, I think that we are paid to do a good job and accomplish the goals. Clients do not come to an agency for better rankings. They don’t. Not a single client really has ever gone to an agency and just wanted better rankings. They want more money, right? They want more money, they want more traffic. That’s what they want. So if we are fulfilling our goal, our ethical goal to providing that and not hiding behind a shroud of, “Hey, you’re only paying us to do these deliverables. If we are acting with good intent, then yes, I would say they absolutely are paying for that due diligence because that goes hand in hand with the job. Now if they’re being super blatant and selling customers on look, we are only going to do this and we are not responsible for your ROI then Okay, you know, and the client still signs on then. I mean, fine, it is what it is, I guess. But no, I think we have an inherent risk and accountability to try to accomplish the monetary goals in whatever form or fashion that our specialization allows us to do that.

Steve Wetmore – Thanks for your candor Jared. Now let’s talk about what SEO tools you use and skip the “staples”. What tools do you use that are unique?

Jared Carrizales – We use several tools that I’m sure a lot of people haven’t heard of, but I would say there isn’t anything that’s a huge mystery either. So, for example, we pretty much live and die by BuzzStream.com which is an outreach CRM and very popular with SEO and link building agencies as well as PR agencies. It’s essentially your little black book for outreach and contacts, on websites. Except the little black book is so big it can handle 10s of thousands or more contacts and it tracks our conversations and allows us to slice and dice data in how long it’s taken to complete certain things, who’s working on certain campaigns. It is extremely helpful from an organization standpoint, when you are, building as many links as we are every single month and sending out, you know, 10s of thousands of emails a month as well. So, very helpful. But again, you know, a lot of people will use that tool. I would say, another one is probably Scrapebox. Scrapebox allows us to just scrape the hell out of a lot of websites to compile and really get down to the nitty gritty of who we want to reach out to, and gives us a very raw list of hundreds and thousands of resources. Sometimes if we deem unnecessary, URLs that we can then filter or decide whether or not we want to reach out to them. But yeah, that tool is super helpful and saves a massive amount of time.

Jared Carrizales – There’s one more that I’ll mention. It’s more of a PR type of tool but it is so awesome. It’s Twilert.com – So I do not have any kind of partnership with him, I just really enjoy the tool. Basically you put in a very specific set of parameters search operators within Twitter and it will automatically pull the results and bring them back to you whether it be on a daily or weekly/monthly interval. This is very helpful for us when we are wanting results to come to us for things like, guest blogging contributions or sponsorship, opportunities for events, speaking opportunities, even researching competitors, what does a competitor do the first place they go to announce some type of speaking slot or a new client, hiring or any parameters that you can come up with. So it’s extremely powerful in saving time. But, also finding those results that you really only see in conversation. Twitter is just a giant conversation. And if you don’t really know where to pick out the pieces of that conversation that you want, you’re going to just miss them. So it’s very helpful from from that perspective as well.

Steve Wetmore – That’s very interesting. Well, again, some useful information Jared, I really appreciate your unique perspective on guest posting, backlinking and the tools you’re using, and the marketing sphere, each in its itself, it’s unique. And the fact that you’re specializing, you certainly have a very strong advantage – so kudos to you Jared.