*Originally posted on Brightlocal, written by Jenny Bernarde
We recently sponsored and attended the 2022 Women in Tech SEO Fest, a full-day conference with speakers from all corners of the SEO industry. The session covered four important topics: analyze, advance, innovate, and empower. Every session gave attendees a huge amount of information and inspiration to support their work in SEO. Not to mention motivation for them to progress in their careers and find their own personal successes both in and out of the workplace.
Although the event helped celebrate the achievements of women in SEO, the work still isn’t done.
Women in Local SEO
In our upcoming Local Search Industry Survey 2022, 35% of people who completed the survey identified as women, compared to 62% who identified as men (3% identified as ‘Other’ or preferred not to say). A survey from Moz also found that “men outnumber women by more than 2 to 1 in SEO”.
The gender imbalance also means it’s often harder for a woman to progress their careers in SEO too. Results from our Local Search Industry Survey tell us that nearly 80% of male respondents described their roles as Senior-level, compared to just 60.7% of women. On average, a higher proportion of females described their SEO-based positions as Junior (8.6%) or Mid-Level (30.7%) than men (2.9% and 19.3%, respectively).
In this typically male-dominated industry, amplifying women’s voices is much needed and one woman working hard to do this is Areej AbuAli.
Women in Tech SEO
Areej founded Women in Tech SEO back in 2019 to champion women in the tech SEO industry.
“Women in Tech SEO is a global community for women in the Technical SEO field, to discuss, share and learn from one another. The aim is to empower each other in a positive, inspiring, and beneficial way, and to help build our network and accelerate our careers. In less than 3 years, we’ve grown to over 4,000 brilliant members and we host a number of initiatives throughout the year; including our newsletter, podcast, mentorship program, virtual workshops, and more.”
Advice for women, from women
To celebrate Women in Tech SEO Fest and meet more marvellous experts within the community, we spoke to women within the Women In Tech SEO online community. We encouraged members to share their advice with those looking to start their career in SEO and invited them to discuss their biggest learnings to date whilst working in the industry.
“The biggest piece of advice I’d give my younger self: get started sooner. Plus, when others on your team can’t brag about themselves, brag for them.”
Sigþrúður Dóra Jónsdóttir
“The best advice I ever got was to DO SEO. Just start using your knowledge to audit websites and create a website to optimize. You learn so much!”
“I had a boss once who told me that the way I speak wasn’t ‘professional’ enough for the clients we had. So I took that away and tried to change the way I speak. I tried until one client called me out on it and told me they specifically call me because I talk like a human being. That honestly made me feel better and stuck with me. It’s helped me continue to be myself and feel more confident about finding clients for whom I won’t have to change the way I talk.”
Senior SEO Strategist, Evoluted
“You can get started in SEO at any point in your life; it doesn’t have to be fresh out of school/college/university. Try a bit of everything in SEO and you’ll find what you enjoy most, then find a role that focuses more on that and you’ll have a happier working day.”
Digital Content Manager, Conklin Media
“One of the biggest things I learned is just to be less afraid of breaking things! I was so overly cautious that it was limiting. Things will break. This leads me to the second-best piece of advice I’ve received: befriend your development team. When it comes to technical fixes, they can really help you become more efficient and knowledgeable.”
SEO Account Manager, Mindshare
“I would advise anyone who is starting out in SEO to make use of all the amazing resources available online to help you learn. It’s important to take one step at a time and not overwhelm yourself with too much at once. The SEO community is really a lot more friendly and approachable than it may seem. It’s just a matter of reaching out!
The most valuable advice I was given was that it was totally OK to not have all the answers right away. If a client asks you a question that you can’t answer, it’s completely acceptable to let them know that you will either ask the wider team for their opinion or research further before getting back to them. Taking time to give a well-researched answer is always better than rushing to respond at the moment.”
Ecommerce and Digital Marketing Consultant
“The best advice I’ve received was, you can’t beat yourself up about what you didn’t know at the time if you learned from it – you succeeded!”
Founder, Joyful SEO
“SEO is a craft! Staying up to date and upskilling is very important but the fundamentals still prevail. SEO bridges the gap between what someone is looking for and what you offer, hence those providing great user experiences on-site (and off-site!) are rewarded by Google.”
Head of SEO, coolblue
“Go to conferences, talk to others, learn from them and realize what you already know. Believe you’re not an imposter, even though it feels like that.”
SEO Specialist, Moving Traffic Media
“Real knowledge and expertise grow while you do the everyday ‘grunt tasks’. No matter what the task is, whether it’s boring, grueling, or hard, never turn down the opportunity to learn. It’s in these menial moments where you learn tactical skills that build your level of expertise.”
Annette Vest Choti
President, Law Quill
“The most important thing I’ve learned is that I absolutely deserve to be in the room with the “big boys” and know just as much (if not more) than them.”
Kimberly Alycia Vogel
Founder, Adenine Design
“The most important thing I’ve learned is everything; all the tutorials, certifications, and opportunities to use platforms go way beyond anything I could budget for personally.”
SEO Account Manager, boxChilli
“Find a company culture that champions growth because you have to feel comfortable asking questions. When I moved [roles] and was able to ask questions, I would panic about asking them in case they were silly. Once I got over my fear, I learned so much because I always asked for help.”
CEO and Founder, The Bartoli Consulting Group
“Always remain educated in SEO. Always learning = the fastest path to growth. Keep educating others in your company about SEO including developers, product teams, & especially C-level. Keep challenging yourself to take on more ambitious SEO work including technical, strategy, etc. – that’s what makes you the best and most diversified SEO.”
SEO Assistant, Brafton
“For years I was afraid of all technical stuff. Having zero background in tech made me feel that I wasn’t qualified enough for SEO-related tasks. I even restrained myself from applying to way too many amazing jobs. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my expertise in content marketing gives me a great head-start on SEO. There’s more to SEO than all that ‘scary tech stuff’. If you understand user intent, buyer’s journey, and UX, and have amazing writing skills, you’re already halfway through a terrific on-site SEO strategy.”
Owner, Virtual Surge
“SEO is always changing and it is important to stay updated on those changes. Consider it to be a revolving business. Clients will always come and go and you should never take it personally or give up.”
Katherine Watier Ong
Founder, WO Strategies LLC
“Your network in SEO is everything. Connect and stay connected with others in the industry as they will help you more than you will know. Start giving back to that community as soon as you can.”
Breaking the Bias
Events and organizations such as Women in Tech SEO mean we can continue celebrating women’s achievements at work. They create opportunities to engage others to move into the industry and empower everyone to succeed in their SEO career.
But there’s more to be done. It’s up to all of us to break the bias in our communities and our workplaces. By amplifying women’s voices and hearing their experiences, we can make a change towards a more equal and balanced world.