Background by President Micah Fisher-Kirshner: We’re doing a series of interviews with local SF Bay Area SEOs (starting with the board) as a launching point for future blog posts. If you’re an SEO in the SF Bay Area and would like to be interviewed, please contact us here.
Micah Fisher-Kirshner: How did you get into SEO and how long have you been doing SEO?
Matt Storms: I fell into SEO. I was in a college class where a professor brought it up, and right then and there I started researching it. I jumped into an internship paying a whopping $9 an hour and I really enjoyed the work. I had no mentor, I had nobody teaching me so I had to learn on my own.
Micah: What would you say your strengths (or preferences) are within the SEO field?
Matt: Technical SEO. It is fun as that is what worked on when I started out rebuilding a website in my internship. I actually built a website from scratch in Php and had a good time doing it in 2008. So the code for me is still fun.
Micah: Who inspires you in the SEO space?
Matt: They hunted after me for a few years and it was the right time to join them in Jan 2016, the time since I joined has flown by as it feels like I have only been here a few months still. Working on the Viator site came with a million more issues then I thought were going to be there but I have learned that it does not matter how big or little a brand is, every website has the same issues. Viator did not have a 404 page till a few months after I joined.
Micah: No 404 page in 2016? that’s crazy! How did that happen to come about?
Matt: Not the highest quality of SEO at the time. But with me joining, we have turned it around.
Micah: What advice would you give a mid-level SEO to advance their career into the top tier?
Matt: DO NOT GIVE UP! The sweet spot is at the 10+ year mark, if you think you are hot shit, you never are. If you want to advance your career you are only as good as the current website you are working on, so do your best, do amazing things and people will notice it.
Read all of the leadership books you can and help people understand that the site you are working on is a personal mission for you, that the website is a reflection of you and that you have to fix things and make it amazing. Once people understand that, you will have the backing you need to do amazing things.
Micah: What leadership books would you recommend?
Matt: Extreme Ownership
Micah: If you had a say, what factor would you wish to modify/add/remove with Google’s algorithm and why?
Matt: That to be listed in Google that a company would have to install Google Search Console. This would fix billions of SMBs that do not know what they are doing and just guessing for them. Business owners might not understand the data they are seeing but they will get alerts and they can understand when they are hacked and or are doing bad things.
Micah: Why are you personally helping to build BayAreaSearch?
Matt: In Fall 2016, I pitched the idea to my VP or hosting a gathering of SEO’s to create a working group to help share ideas and create contacts. He approved it and I sent a message to every SEO I could find that I was connected with in the Bay Area at the time. So I was the crazy guy that started this whole thing by taking the first step. Life is about taking a step, a first step and them moving forward. I did not have the ability with family, work and everything else to keep it going but other amazing people did. And now we have a non-profit, a board and I am not able to help as much as I want but I think that BayAreaSearch can grow into a working group of 300+ talented and amazing SEO’s & SEM folks to help advance each other and to life each other up.
Micah: Thank you Matt and best of luck in your continued SEO career!