Digital Marketing in 2020: Interview with Jono Alderson
Jono Alderson has over a decade of blended experience in digital marketing, with expertise in SEO, analytics, brand strategy, campaign strategy, lead generation, eCRM automation, conversation rate optimisation and web development. He’s also the man who had attendees at our UnGagged London 2016 event wearing hats made out of tin foil. We caught up with him for an exclusive interview ahead of his session at UnGagged Las Vegas 2016.
UnGagged: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in SEO.
Jono Alderson: I started out as a web developer, but I became a little obsessed about trying to perfect my coding techniques and outputs; and before I realised it, what I was doing had become more like technical SEO than site development. I was lucky enough to join an ambitious agency with a growing SEO team, which gave me the opportunity to work with some really big national and global brands, and to gain a broader digital marketing perspective and focus than just SEO – I learned about brands, politics, strategy, and so forth. From there, I’ve kept on broadening and learning, and now I’m primarily thinking about the future of our industry, and what that’ll mean to us as individuals.
UnGagged: What will you be speaking about at UnGagged?
Jono: I’ve spent the last 18 months observing, analysing and building an understanding of the strategies which the mega brands like Google, Apple and Samsung are employing to win in their space. I’ll be exploring the implications that their actions will have on us as brands, consultants and practitioners in the digital space. There are some big changes coming with things like personal assistants, machine learning systems, and next-generation tech – my session is a bit of a whirlwind through all of that and more.
UnGagged: In your niche sector, what’s the most annoying SEO misconception?
Jono: That ‘doing SEO’ is an alternative to having a brand which deserves to rank – that you can take an undifferentiated organisation with a weak proposition, poor reputation or bad customer relationships, and ‘do SEO’ to fill in the gaps. That positioning is why we struggle for budget, are misunderstood, and are stuck executing on tactical, commodified activity. If people pivoted their thinking, to consider that good SEO is (at least, in part) what happens naturally as an output of developing a meaningful brand which wins hearts and minds – rather than a band-aid – we might finally step out of the shadows and make some real change.
UnGagged: What is your current favorite SEO tool or platform?
Jono: Of course, I have to say Linkdex! We’re about to launch some really awesome new tech which we think will shake the industry up quite heavily, and solve a lot of people’s problems. I can’t say much more than that at the moment, but watch this space.
UnGagged: What is the best thing about UnGagged?
Jono: The calibre of content is high, the speakers are empowered to run the schedule without politics or restriction, and the attendees are hyper-engaged. Even as a speaker, I come to learn, and to make sure that I’m keeping an open mind – as a technical and strictly ‘white hat’ SEO, I find it all too easy to create a filter bubble and ignore what’s going on around me, so being thrown into a pool of people with very different perspectives is hugely valuable.