Matt Beswick is the co-founder of Aira with Paddy Moogan. He will be speaking at Search Elite in Manchester, end of September. In this interview I ask Matt about what it is like to run about his own company and how the lines of SEO have become more blurred in recent years.
“1) You run your own business with Paddy Moogan. What three issues/areas prompted you to set up your own company?
I fell into all of this (as most of us do) completely by accident. I was working for an IT Company and, about 10 years ago, Facebook opened up their API to allow you to develop applications. I made a game that did “okay” and got to about 15,000 players, at which point my other half told me to make a game that lets people own a virtual pet. So, I did.
Pet Pupz launched in January 2008 and got to somewhere in the region of 250,000 daily players. We were also one of the first to use virtual currency which meant that we could monetise a picture of a dog. One thing lead to another and I ended up spending about £60k of my own money trying to get people to look at said dog pictures, which in turn lead to working with clients on social campaigns. I’m also quite geeky so app development segued into website development, which in turn lead to SEO and PPC.
I originally ran an agency called Hidden Pixel but, during Mozcon 2014, Paddy and I were with our other halves having a few drinks. They were off to Vegas the next day, but Nicola and I were going home which seemed like a rubbish idea… so we changed our flights and flew to Vegas. 48 hours later I’m drinking whisky in the Aria hotel with Paddy and we decide to team up. The rest, as they say, is history.
2) You worked in SEO for a number of years and you also do paid social. How would you suggest an SEO to break into paid media (PPC and paid social)?
Honestly, unless your a hardcore technical SEO, there’s so much overlap nowadays that it’s really easy to move between the various disciplines. SEO has moved away from being a “dark art” that nobody really understands and now needs to be much more tied into an overall marketing strategy. If you understand keywords it’s not a huge leap to understand PPC, and if you understand audiences then you’re half way there to being able to run paid social campaigns.
3) Do you think we can prioritise certain areas of SEO? Eg technical, on page and off page or do people need to implement all to see results?
Everything needs to work together, and that’s not just SEO. Whether it’s on page, off page, PPC, Social Media, or any other marketing activity, it all needs to work in tandem so that you’re maximising the benefits. If you work in a silo there’s only one thing that’s going to happen: you won’t be effective as you would be looking at, and thinking about, the whole picture.”
Thank you Matt for taking the time to be interviewed on the Search Elite. We look forward to your presentation.