James Bavington started his career in web design and now 10 years on he is the Director of his own agency, StrategiQ. After giving a talk at UnGagged London earlier this year on technical SEO for small businesses, James will be joining us at UnGagged Las Vegas. Prior to his session, James gave an exclusive interview with UnGagged.
UnGagged: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in SEO.
James Bavington: My career in digital really started after I graduated in traditional Graphic Design, specialising in digital design for the web. After joining a small agency who specialised in building websites for local businesses, I naturally moved into SEO as the golden age of SEO was in full swing.
From the moment I launched my first client’s website, I had a fascination with search rankings and a curiosity for how they could be improved by tweaking the website and building links. I remember seeing results quite quickly for all of my clients back-then and it was very rewarding and addictive!
Having worked in digital for over ten years now, my background has seen my role evolved from website design, to front-end development, technical SEO and now consulting as a director and partner of my own agency.
UnGagged: What will you be speaking about at UnGagged?
James: My session at UnGagged shares up-to-date, actionable tips that we at StrategiQ leverage for our small and local businesses. With my specialisms being around conversion, technical SEO and strategy there are of lot of amazing tricks, tools and services out there that I don’t think marketers are aware of or have the confidence to implement.
Alongside the lesser-known light-side of SEO, my talk also shares a few darker strategies that wander a little closer to the grey-hat line that work, or in some cases must be avoided!
UnGagged: In your niche sector, what’s the most annoying SEO misconception?
James: That SEO is simply link-building and off-page. I personally believe that technical and on-page SEO is an equally important factor that should be up-to-date, on-point and can drive fast, real results for clients. I know this because we’ve done it for countless small business who work with us at StrategiQ.
Whether it’s a sitemap restructure, pagespeed improvement or simply improving content, solid on-page SEO is the cornerstone and foundation of any digital marketing campaign for our clients.
UnGagged: What is your current favorite SEO tool or platform?
James: Whilst there are so many I use, HotJar has to be my favourite at the moment. Their heatmaps, recordings, funnel analysis and polls really help marketers to analyse the traffic they’re working so hard to drive to the website.
The interface is so easy-to-use and now that it’s available as a built-in Tag within Google Tag Manager, it takes minutes to install. Although we have a premium account, you can sign-up and leverage all of the tools for free. If you’re interested in conversion as much as driving the traffic, this tool is so easy to adopt and utilise.
UnGagged: What is the best thing about UnGagged?
After recently attending UnGagged in London 2016, what really stood out to me was how much the speakers are comfortable sharing because the sessions are strictly not recorded and delegates are not allowed to take photos either. You really have to be there to absorb the content that world-leading marketers are happy to share when the camera’s not rolling!
Because of the discretion, I noticed a lot of the speakers were also happy to share real-world examples of their recommendations (and sometimes failures) without fear of their talk contents reaching the outside world. I’m very much looking forward to attending Vegas this year!