Matt will be speaking about “Small Business SEM” at Searchfest which will take place on March 10th, 2008 at the Portland Zoo.Purchase your Searchfest 08 tickets now.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.

I help businesses of all sizes improve their web sites so they can
acquire relevant traffic from search engines and related sources, like
blogs, social media, local search, and so forth. My official title is
SEO Manager for Marchex, and I work with external clients through our
TrafficLeader subsidiary in Eugene. Prior to this, I was a web
developer and SEO consultant for a small company in Tri-Cities,
Washington, going back to about 1997. And prior to that, in what seems
like another lifetime, I was a TV and radio sportscaster. But my TV
career was poorly optimized, so here I am.

Normally, I would follow-up with questions topically related to Matt’s presentation. However, Matt’s been doing some pretty intersting things lately unrelated to Small Business SEM, so I broke with tradition…

2) Can you talk about how you were able to link-up John Wooden’s Success Pyramid and SEO (which lead to IMO your best post ever).

Thanks for saying that. I think you’re right. 🙂

I’ve been a John Wooden fan for about 20 years now. Great basketball
coach and, more importantly, a great man. His “Pyramid of Success” had
a big impact on me in college and I still enjoy it today. I plan on
framing a copy and putting it on my son’s wall one of these days.

The SEO connection came in one of those rare moments of clarity when I
was frustrated by seeing so many people pigeonhole SEO as nothing more
than fixing title tags and improving some on-page copy. SEO success
involves so much more than that! Well, lightning struck and I had the
idea to try to explain SEO success in pyramid format, where you can
show specifically what the foundational elements are, and how each
strategy/tactic builds on the others. SEO isn’t necessarily a
step-by-step process, but you do need to have a lot of elements
working together to get it right. The response has been really great,
so I think the explanation worked.

3) Do you think some of the personality-driven debate that has taken
place over your SEMMY awards took the focus away from SEM
scholarship that you were trying to acknowledge?

No, not at all. I think, in this case, that all publicity really is
good publicity. And I don’t mean that selfishly — I mean that for the
idea of the awards. If people are upset about not being
included, that tells me 1) they think it’s a good idea, and 2) they’re
passionate about such recognition. If anything, I think the debate
added to the idea of honoring the SEM scholarship in our industry, and
how best to do that.

The worst thing would’ve been complete apathy, in which case I
would’ve chalked it up as a nice attempt but nothing that needs to be
done again. As it turns out, the response has been great — from
judges to nominees and to those I overlooked. Now the challenge is how
to cast a wider net to recognize our peers who are creating great
content right now in 2008.

“U2” a Diary…available soon!

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