What inspires the leaders and experts in our search engine marketing industry and community? In our new “Interviews with Experts” blog series, Anvil features fellow experts in an interview-style post discussing what inspires them, how they got into the search engine marketing industry and more.
We are thrilled to have had an opportunity to interview Matt Siltala and look forward to sharing his insights and passion. Matt is President of Avalaunch Media, which he founded in 2012 in Phoenix, AZ. He is a regular speaker in the SEM industry speaking at conferences such as Pubcon, SMX, Search Engine Strategies and SearchFest. Before forming Avalaunch, Matt co-founded Dream Systems Media in 2005.
And now for the interview, enjoy!
When did you know that the SEO industry was your chosen career path?
I fell into this industry accidentally. I was in college working on a computer degree (Network Administration) and while I was going to school I had a job at a radio station. I was a co-host on a morning country show, and did commercial production and various other tasks you do when working for a radio station. My employers knew I was going to school for “computers” and assumed I would be a brilliant candidate for web design. I really knew nothing about it at the time. I agreed, and began learning web design and eventually ended up building the radio station its first 3 websites (sister stations). In the process of all this I learned about links, title tags, meta data and all that fun stuff that used to make ranking websites so easy back in 1997. This really is what sparked my curiosity for the industry and what I was doing. At this point I still didn’t know that SEO would be my “career path”, it would be several years later when I teamed up with my old college roommate David Mink that things would start to get serious. It was about the time we started creating businesses together that I knew we had something special.
What is your greatest success and/or failure (what accomplishment are you most proud of)?
Founding my own businesses (several of them) and being my own boss. I am also very humbled to be able to employ great people and help them be successful. I remember several years ago (working for the man) in another boring Monday morning meeting that was honestly not needed and I had enough. I walked out of that meeting and went for a drive, later that afternoon called my wife and told her I was done and from that moment I have always been my own boss. Luckily I have the best wife ever and she never batted and eye or doubted what I could accomplish.
What are the top three tools you can’t live without?
Google (Yes I consider it a tool), Moz & my brain.
What is the best piece of advice you have for folks looking to get into the search industry (or best piece of advice that you ever got)?
This industry is still young and there is plenty of room for amazing ideas. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too late or that you can’t break into the industry. Even as much competition as there is today, I would still break into this industry right at this moment if I wasn’t already in it. Also, make sure and test things yourself, don’t rely on “SEO Blogs” or Google to tell you what to think or do. Not saying that you can’t get good information from these places, but remember to be careful. There is a lot of bad advice out there right now. Figure things out for yourself, burn a site or two (of your own) and really understand how this industry works. Push the limits and never stop testing. Eventually you will figure out how to play the game.
What new digital trends can we expect to see in the next few years?
I seem to be speaking about this a lot at conferences, but I really feel things are trending visual. If you look at the social networks that are out there (and booming – think Pinterest and Instagram) and what direction they are going you will see how apparent this is. Also, SnapChat is emerging and finally starting to even get brands on board. I really think the trend is going visual and visual content. We are a very distracted people with our devices these days, we want content that is easy to consume.
What industry blog or book has influenced or inspired you the most?
In the early days I think I learned and got influenced the most by Aaron Wall of SEOBook.com. Andy Beal and Debra Mastaler have been huge influences on me as well and I love them both dearly for all they have ever done (and continue to do) for me.
What is one of the biggest mistakes that many digital marketers are currently making?
Saying “Yes” to everything. Learn how to say no, and not stretch yourself too thin with a million projects.
Where can we find you online?
For this industry mostly on Twitter – my handle is @Matt_Siltala and that is the best place to connect with me.
What do you love most about your city?
No snow. :-)