Growth Hacking Interview Series #54: Matthew Edgar

Matthew Edgar is an online marketing analyst at Elementive Marketing Solutions.

Since 2001, Matthew has helped hundreds of companies grow through a process of analyzing, optimizing, and improving their websites, search presence, and other marketing efforts.

Using a strong analytical framework, Matthew helps clients integrate all aspects of their marketing efforts to better connect with customers and users, resulting in significant business growth.

You can connect with Matthew on Twitter @MatthewEdgarCO.

How would you explain specifically what you do as an SEO?

To be honest, SEO is only a part of the work I do. My focus, and our focus at my company (Elementive), is on analyzing and testing marketing activities.

Our aim is to help companies measure their marketing work to figure out what works and what needs to be improved. A large part of that includes analyzing and testing a company’s SEO efforts.

More specifically to SEO, at Elementive we do a lot of analysis and testing of a company’s online content to ensure that the content uses the right keywords and topics, matches the intention of users conducing that type of search, and is targeting the right audiences.

Along with content analysis, we also support clients with technical SEO consultation, ranging from the basics (like getting your title and meta description tags right) to more complicated issues (like duplicated content, broken links, and website migrations).

What is your primary marketing goal when it comes to delivering results?

The most important goal is to deliver understanding. My job is to make sure my clients clearly understand where their marketing (SEO and more) is performing well and where there is room to improve.

From there, we help our clients figure out what their biggest opportunities are and how they should move forward given those opportunities.

As well, there is a lot of confusion around what makes for “good” SEO and confusion around how SEO should work alongside other types of marketing.

Given that, part of my job is helping to educate clients about how search marketing works and what the best ways to utilize search marketing are to achieve their goals.

What do you find most rewarding about SEO?

The long term benefits of SEO outmatch those of nearly any other type of marketing.

While there is an upfront investment to create high quality content and earn those rankings, that investment more than pays off in the long term as the pages you’ve ranked continue to rank and bring in traffic with minimal investment required to maintain those rankings.

How do you stay updated with the latest SEO industry news?

I read a variety of SEO/marketing blogs and frequently visit a few different SEO forums. I also attend conferences once or twice a year.

As well, at Elementive we’re constantly reviewing search result pages and reverse engineering how websites are ranking.

Doing that kind of work and running our own tests on search result pages is an incredibly great way to spot new trends and changes that are occurring.

Are there any particular SEO trends on the horizon that really excite you?

I’m excited that SEO is really starting to include, and prioritize, a lot of aspects of user experience. It isn’t just about keywords and links any more.

Those so called “black hat” tactics like keyword stuffing or spammy links that (sadly) use to (kind of) work just don’t cut it anymore (yeah!).

You really have to have a good website (and, typically, a good company behind that website) that delivers for visitors.

The most recent example is the release of Google’s mobile usability guidelines earlier this year which was a clear signal that bad usability can affect rankings (though, the extent to which it is affecting rankings is questionable).

You can go back over the years and see how Google has been building toward this.

For instance, the roll out of Google’s Panda update in 2011 to weed out poor quality content certainly was part of getting sites to offer a better experience. 

It is great to see that Google is really paying attention to whether the websites they rank deliver a good, usable experience to users and I’m excited to see more of this in the future.

What are some of the top tools and apps in your SEO stack?

There are so many it is tough to list them all. Some of the tools we use most often at Elementive to understand how a company’s search efforts are working are Moz and SEMRush.

The wealth of information they provide is impressive. Outside of paid tools, though, Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console are quite beneficial to understand how your search marketing is working.

Beyond sort of the more “pure” SEO tools, and given that SEO is trending toward good user experience, there is a lot of value that can be gained from using tools like Crazy Egg or Inspectlet to know how your visitors are moving through the site.

Both tools let you look traffic from a particular source (like search) to see what kind of experience they had when visiting their site.

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