How Nobodies Can Build Personal Brands and No BS Link Building Strategies


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Alex Tachalova has built a personal brand that has gotten her on stage a Brighton SEO, in front of the Moz blog audience and opened the door to her own digital marketing conference.

Her blog post on Moz about link building sparked my interest in speaking with her, and the majority of the interview reveals the cutting edge link building strategies she uses daily.

What I loved most about this interview is how she breaks all of these tactics, both for link building an building a personal brand, into bite-sized steps that anyone can follow. Enjoy!
How did you build the personal brand that you have today?

  • She started at SEMRush that initially helped her connect with the right people across the digital marketing industry
  • They invested heavily in Conference Marketing – helped her get gigs like Brighton SEO
  • She now doesn’t have the same budget as she is now on her own
  • Guest writing on blogs has helped her significantly (Moz, Ahrefs etc)
  • Figure out what people want and if you can provide a solution to that, you’ll be successful in anything (that could be selling, starting a business or building a brand)

If you are first starting out, how do you go about getting those first couple of connections?

  • Being a part of a company that invests in sending their people to conferences
  • If you want to do it on your own, you can reach out to startup conferences like Digital Olympus and ask if you can speak there
  • An example is Laura Hogan. Her first 
  • Speaking at Webinars (like SEMRush) can be an excellent starting place
  • You can also start by doing guest posting

How did you elevate yourself to get to post on blogs like Moz?

  • She used SEMRush connections 
  • She recommends that you start on smaller blogs, but keep the quality of your blog very good, because you will use these posts when you post to bigger blogs
  • If you have to use a post on your own blog, you really need to have a big personal brand

Will including guest quotes get you links?

  • If you haven’t yet established relationships, consider following them on social and interacting with them. Also look at your subscriber list to see if there are any influencers
  • The experts themselves likely won’t link back to you. You already asked them for a quote and now a link is a second favor
  • HOWEVER – if you use this as a way to build a relationship, you may get link in the future down the road
  • If you both mutually decide to be involved in link building together, it can work

What does you link building process look like after your post is published?

  • We don’t do any email outreach
  • Don’t start by thinking about getting a link
  • Start with people that are already connected with your brand (followers, subscribers, partners)
  • Avoid a direct link exchange. Instead, think about how you can connect multiple people and all people exchange links naturally

When you have a new client with no following, what kind of strategy do you put in place to start building links?

  • Hire an agency that has already established relationships within your niche
  • If the agency isn’t in your niche, they won’t have the relationships which ultimately give you the best ROI
  • If you do it in house, find groups (on Facebook etc) and interact with these groups. Then you can connect with these people on Linkedin and mention that you are both in the same group. This works because they also are in these groups because they want to promote
  • You can also find people that are doing round up posts and reach out to them asking to be on the next one
  • Even better, offer to update old roundup posts and then you can reach out to the other people on the roundup post and mention that you are both on it

Do you recommend doing roundup posts on your own blog?

  • Yes! 
  • The only problem is that if you don’t have any domain authority, people will be less likely to link to you. Although if you aren’t in a digitally savvy niche, you might still be able to do this
  • Pro Tip: Do a roundup post on an external blog featuring 30-40 experts

If you are in a niche that doesn’t understand what linking is and was previously a primarily offline industry, how do you go about asking for links if they don’t even understand what it is?

  • She doesn’t work with these types of industries
  • It’s better to focus on what you are good at than try to be everything
  • Focused on Digital Marketing Industry
  • You could scale it, but you would have to be a rather big agency and have the resources to assign a person to build relationships with people in each industry
  • You will fail for a long time until you build relationships
  • You can’t give up easily
  • Also, don’t hire someone that specializes only in relationships. It should be a professional link builder

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