Friday ROASTing with Matt Hawes

24 Jul 2020

SEO Technical Director

Friday ROASTing with Matt Hawes

Each month we sit down with one of our ROASTies to find out what makes them tick, what they love about their job and the aspects of our company culture that they just can’t get enough of. In the hot seat today – Matt – SEO Tech Director

As SEO Tech Director at ROAST, can you explain a little more about your role?

I manage the SEO team alongside Paige, our SEO Team Director. I am also responsible for overseeing the training and development of the team, alongside the management of the tools we use to service our clients.

 Is there a digital trend at the minute that you are excited about?

I am interested to see how businesses react to the upcoming Google Page Experience update. Although it is pretty much a collection of six existing ranking factors, there is always a chance that Google may shift the dial on some of these factors, such as page speed, where the algorithm currently only looks to demote pages which “deliver the slowest experience to users”.

Which country in South America would you recommend to a friend and why?

I am going to cheat here and say Patagonia, which technically sits in 2 countries. I spent 5-days mostly alone on a 62-mile trek through Torres Del Paine National Park, a UNESCO protected reserve. The incredible landscapes combined with hiking through some rough weather was an experience I will never forget.

 

 

Google reacted to COVID-19 by releasing a series of updates to help businesses adapt, what did you make of their response?

It was good to see Google being reactive to the pandemic, I do not think we have ever witnessed this many updates being released in such a short time. The communication from Google seemed mostly effective judging by businesses response to adapting to these new features, especially the high amount of local businesses taking advantage of the ‘temporarily closed’ label now available in Google My Business.

We have witnessed some businesses go against Googles guidelines by disabling their websites whilst closing, resulting in a complete loss of rankings during the pandemic. These businesses now face the challenge of trying to re-obtain the rankings they had pre-COVID-19. Maybe more could have been done to communicate this to site owners, but this is by no means an easy job and is dependent on many other factors a business may be facing (i.e. Operating costs for hosting a website).

 

What makes Tech SEO such a fundamental part of successful digital marketing for businesses, large and small alike?

Tech SEO requires us to think about the experience from a user’s and search engines perspective. Improving the experience for both can have a positive effect not only for SEO but other channels too (E.G. Improved conversions resulting from page speed improvements).

At times, SEO can operate at a lower budget than other channels. I hate to use the term “Free Traffic”, but organic can seem that way to those who may not have a large enough budget to operate in paid channels.

 

Which TIPi culture/social activity are you looking forward to participating in when we return to the office (could well be the pub)?

Some casual drinks at the pub, or even a BBQ on the roof if the weather is nice.

 

Thank you for reading the latest Friday ROASTing, check out last month’s ROASTing with Tom or have a read of our Sunday Times’ Best 100 announcement

SEO Technical Director

Joining ROAST as an Account Manager in 2017, Matt has a passion for delivering results and technical SEO strategy to clients, as well as overseeing the training and development of the SEO team.