Matt Salzl is a seasoned professional with over 10 years of experience in sales and 8 years in the advertising and marketing industry. Matt joined Boostability in 2012 as an Enterprise Account Executive, where he worked his way up the ladder to become the VP of Sales. After Boostability acquired Manta in 2018, Matt transitioned to become Manta's VP of Sales."
In today's ever-changing digital world, it is crucial for businesses to prioritize SEO practices when expanding their marketing campaigns and online presence.
From many types of SEO to consider, to finding the right keywords and staying on top of a multitude algorithms updates, SEO can be overwhelming. This is where companies like Manta come in. Manta is a marketing agency that offers services, tools, and guidance to help companies maintain competitive’ SEO and ensure their marketing campaigns effectively reach their target audience.
In this interview, we speak with Manta’s VP of Sales, Matt Salzl about the changes in the digital landscape, tips on how small companies can adapt, the importance of backlinks to SEO, and common mistakes to avoid.
Spotlight: Manta has been around for over 20 years now. How has the digital landscape changed over the years?
Matt Salzl: The digital marketing landscape has made massive changes in the last 20 years. Manta started out as an online search directory evolving into a results driven online marketing agency. While it’s still important for local businesses to be listed in these kinds of directories, trends have changed. Naturally, online marketing trends come and go so you have to stay agile, flexible, and pivot your strategies as they shift. Just in the last 10 years we’ve seen an increased emphasis on search, online advertising, and even the boom of social media.
Search algorithms have been more refined with helping users find what they are looking for. eCommerce has completely transformed the way we all shop and make purchases. Advertising opportunities have expanded across multiple platforms and mediums. Tools like social media have allowed businesses the ability to communicate directly with customers in brand new and innovative ways.
Specifically in 2023, the world of AI is revolutionizing many industries and growing rapidly, creating more tools and opportunities for efficiency.
Your customers spend more time online every single year and that’s where businesses need to meet them. This means keeping up with knowing your target audience and knowing where you want to launch your campaigns. Never stop learning, understand the tools available to you, and strengthen your brand voice, and your messaging to reach your audience.
What impact has this had on small businesses and how have they adapted to these changes?
In the past, it may have been daunting for small businesses to stay competitive in their industry with the growth of sites like Amazon and seemingly infinite resources of big box stores. It seemed the only way to get ahead was having access to the best tools and campaigns that cost a lot of money.
These days, there are a lot of affordable options available, like PPC consulting and affordable local SEO. Analytics are also easier to access which allows businesses to track metrics and see what works for them and what to change. Additionally, the current digital marketing landscape allows small businesses to adapt their strategies to changing circumstances. For example, if a business needs to update their messaging for new product launches and important customer information, they can do so quickly and easily through different digital channels.
Businesses that stay agile and adaptive, remaining on top of their competitors do so because they keep up with consumer behavior and utilize the tools available specifically for them. The current customer landscape has revolutionized the way we all do business and as businesses explore and refine the new methods available to them, the more success they will see.
Manta offers educational opportunities for small business owners. Can you talk more about that? What kind of resources are available and how can they help?
At Manta, we aim to not only help our clients find success with their digital marketing campaigns, but we want to provide meaningful resources to help them grow. One of our biggest tools available is our digital marketing blog of articles and resources that we constantly update. We share industry insights, digital marketing strategies and tools, industry related news, and actionable ideas to help small businesses succeed online.
Our blog articles are available 24/7 on our website and we send our newest updates out via email to our clients weekly. Additionally, we provide educational video material on our website and social media channels. These are available for current and potential customers to access for their strategies.
We also provide detailed information such as white papers and ultimate guides. These each relate to a specific business niche and dive a little deeper into how Manta can benefit your business. They provide an in depth look into different topics, niches, and industries. With a wide range of industries making up our client base, we create these guides to provide a helpful resource specific to their industries that our clients can then use to build stronger campaigns. Our case studies are also provided to our customers to help them analyze and see the successes they can achieve throughout their campaigns' journey.
Manta emphasizes the importance of building quality backlinks as part of its organic SEO strategy. Can you explain why backlinks are important for SEO and how Manta helps businesses build these links?
Backlinks are important for SEO because they serve as a signal of trust and authority to search engines, which are key factors to help you rank better on search pages. When you link to another website, it essentially vouches for the content on that site, indicating that it is valuable and relevant.
Backlinks also help to drive traffic to a website, as users may follow the links they see in different content to find additional information or resources. This can help to increase the visibility and reach of a website, as well as potentially improve a business’s credibility within a given industry or niche. Backlinks play an important role in building a strong online presence and improving search engine visibility, which can ultimately lead to increased traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Some may argue that backlinks don’t matter in the SEO journey anymore and Google emphasizes good content in its algorithm updates, but you can’t argue with the data. Building authority, by having a strong backlink profile, of both internal and external links to and from a website, means higher rankings for our clients. Those with strong backlinks rank higher and faster than those who don’t.
How does Manta measure the success of its organic SEO campaigns? What metrics does Manta track to evaluate the effectiveness of its strategies?
Manta organic SEO strategies focus on four different areas: local SEO, national SEO, eCommerce, SEO, and technical SEO. Each requires its own strategy to reach success for these campaigns. Depending on a business's needs will help us build the best campaigns for success. We have helped over 6 million businesses grow online through our proprietary technology platform, built specifically for small business success.
Our technology, driven by trusted advisers providing consistent effort, drives sustainable growth for business over time. Our platform tracks the progress of each of our clients’ campaigns. In the platform, they can measure the keywords ranking and the progress of their campaigns. Tracking keywords success is going to help our clients’ growth on search engines.
Doing effective keyword research and implementing the right keywords for a campaign will boost their website and online presence, which in turn can help close sales and increase customers. Much of the organic SEO success is based on our clients’ keyword progress. SEO can't guarantee traffic, clicks, or conversions, but our team’s deliverable is getting our clients’ keywords to rank on the top results of the SERP.
We report on both main keywords' progress as well as other keywords we track in order to show their growth in organic ranking. We track metrics that specifically tie to the keywords' rankings, comparing them month over month. We also analyze traffic and impressions month-over-month. Traffic and organic growth means more potential customers clicking through to a site, which can lead to more customers and revenue.
Manta also has dedicated customer representatives that work with each client to help build the right strategy for them. Ranking, keyword difficulty, local keywords, keyword research.
What are some of the common mistakes that businesses make when trying to improve their organic search rankings? How does Manta help businesses avoid these mistakes and achieve better results?
We live in a very on-demand society and when we want something, it can often take only minutes or even seconds for us to obtain what we need. But instant gratification doesn’t build a strong foundation. There is an importance to taking the needed time for long term gain and success. This can be said about SEO.
Some businesses may be unfamiliar when seeking out SEO for their website. They give up too quickly around 6 months when things are just getting started. SEO takes time. In the first 6-9 months, Google just starts to recognize your business, website, content, and presence. Every website needs to build E-E-A-T (expertise, experience, authority, trust,). Better E-E-A-T means better changes of ranking higher or winning a spot in a featured snippet.
SEO is not an overnight strategy, but when done right, it yields high and long-term results and a return on your investment. Part of Manta’s priority is educating our clients on this importance, teaching clients why each step in building an SEO campaign is vital for success. We want to set the right expectations for each campaign.
But ranking in the top 10 Google search results isn’t the end of a campaign. Algorithm changes, industry competition, and unexpected factors can instantly affect your rankings without warning. But when you have a solid foundation, you can keep building and growing with these changes. SEO continually builds on itself for success for years and years to come.
We always emphasize patience with our clients. We continue working on their SEO and identify what areas of their website could use improvements (content, off page elements (site speed/loading speed), image/video quality & optimization, etc.). With solid strategies and work in place, sometimes good things take time and waiting to see your results can help you learn more from your mistakes and where improvements can be made. Also, we look into what our customers are interested in targeting for their campaign. This can help make pivotal decisions for their website, keyword choices, SEO, etc.
Finally, with the rise of AI technologies like ChatGPT and GPT-4, how do you think these developments could potentially impact the future of SEO? What opportunities and challenges do you see on the horizon?
The world of AI has definitely shaken up the digital marketing landscape. It’s been a big topic within the SEO industry, as well. Both SEO and AI have similar goals: they each focus on answering/resolving a user’s question. Instead of seeing AI as a type of threat, we see the positive impact that it can have on your digital marketing strategy. AI can be a tremendous tool for all businesses.
But in order to be successful, we believe there always needs to be a human element. AI and good content for a website created quickly and effectively, meet with marketers.
If you’re using AI to help with your content, make sure to edit and personalize it with your own brand voice. As AI pulls from a lot of the same sources, you don’t want to create duplicate content which can hurt your SEO. That being said, it is a great resource to help answer questions. AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s BARD are still new so it’s still growing and evolving in the digital space.
Manta fully embraces these new technologies. It goes back to what we talked about earlier. In order to be successful, businesses need to be adaptive and agile. AI is one of those new trends and technologies coming to change the game, and we’re fully on board and excited about the opportunities with AI to help our customers even more.
Thank you for your time, Matt Salzl and best of luck!
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