NORTH’s Women in Marketing Month kicked off with a bang with the Women in Tech SEO Conference. The first of its kind, the conference saw 250 women-only digital marketing speakers and attendees coming together just two days before International Women’s Day.
Areej AbuAli, founder of Women in Tech SEO, opened the day-long festival with a mass of ardour from all the women in the audience – all clearly grateful for the women-friendly space Areej has created.
We were proud bronze event sponsors, and four members of our organic search team attended on the day, returning to the office to share a wealth of technical knowledge and understanding.
Separated into four sections, analyse, advance, innovate, empower, the industry-leading speakers discussed everything from improving page speed without compromise to tips on how to be heard in your meetings.
The event began with Roxana Stingu, Head of SEO at Alamy, and she took the listeners through methods to improve your TTFB (time to first byte). As Roxana’s specific field is image optimisation, with Alamy an enormous stock photo site, the talk focussed on image optimisation without compromising quality. It was an enlightened monologue highlighting practical technical solutions such as improving a slow DNS lookup or updating to TLS 1.3.
Following Roxana was Toronto-based Kristina Azarenko, founder of MarketingSyrup. The engaging talk, entitled How to Create High Quality eCommerce Categories, had our content consultants’ interests piqued. Kristina opened with two statistics:
“By 2040 around 95% of purchases will be made online”
“Category pages are typically the most visited pages on ecommerce sites”
With that in mind, Kristina took the audience through her tried and tested 8-step ecommerce framework for building successful category and subcategory pages.
Miracle Inameti-Archibong of Erudite closed the analyse chapter of the conference with Proving Your Worth: Demonstrating the Value of SEO Campaigns. Miracle’s focus was proving to clients the value of investing in SEO campaigns. When presenting to CEOs and any other non-digital marketing people in the room, pitches should always use language that will target their business interests and concerns. Instead of page ranking, discuss KPIs like return on investment and business growth. Miracle impressed the importance of KPIs that are “actionable”, “measurable”, and “achievable”.
The advance quarter began with Aleyda Solis’s SEO For Marketplaces: Overcoming Technical Challenges. More complex in certain aspects than traditional ecommerce sites, these intermediary platforms such as eBay and Amazon place massive value on competent technical SEO, due to site size and product diversity. From correct server response codes to URL structure, Aleyda outlined how to manage and maintain a high level technical SEO for marketplaces.
Izzi Smith, technical mage and SEO meme queen, followed with Building Up Powerful Entities and Connections in 2020. Using comedy and memes to simplify technical SERPs optimisation, Izzi discussed utilising SERP functions such as images, top stories and videos in modern SEO. With almost half of all searches resulting in 0 clicks now that users are attaining what they need from SERP entities, entity optimisation is an unavoidable part of technical and content SEO. To make it even better, Izzi’s technical expertise was interspersed with exclamations that the audience were “breathtaking” (in true Keanu Reeves style), because an all-women conference wouldn’t be complete without some effusions of inspiration.
Hannah Rampton opened the innovate portion of the conference. Delimit Your Data: Formulas for Success was a 20 minute introduction to the world of Google sheets and how, once learned, it can lead to a boost in work efficiency and more accurate data results.
Innovate was continued by Ruth Everett, a technical SEO consultant at DeepCrawl. Ruth made clear how Python isn’t just for devs and computer science experts. Ruth’s talk, Tackling Python: How it Can Help with Technical SEO, demonstrated just a few ways in which Pythoncan be used for data analysis to shed greater technical light to an SEO. Ruth explained that Python can help us find parameters, check for 404s and optimise images, amongst a number of other things.
Emily Potter closed up innovate with On-Page Best Practises That Harm Your Traffic. Taking the crowd through typical optimisation methods that, at first glance, appeared methodical and sensible, Emily debunked some of these classic techniques. The main focus of Emily’s insight was to use SERPs as your data field, demonstrating how you can add value to your customer’s experience by doing so. If Google is rewriting all your meta descriptions, that’s probably because it knows something you don’t about user intent. So instead of getting frustrated, Emily explained that it’s an opportunity to optimise based on user signals, rather than traditional ranking factors.
Concluding the day was the empower section. Separated into three talks, this section turned the conference into a motivational and honest space around being a women in digital marketing in 2020.
Stacey MacNaught’s conversation, In Pursuit of Work/Life Synergy, explained why the mentality that if you’re not working, you’re wasting time, is destroying your productivity and efficiency. Stacey used her own real-life examples to depict the importance of switch offing and allowing yourself to recharge.
Hannah Smith of worderist.com was next up, with a half an hour talk on Feckless Freelancing & Facing Down the Fraud Police. This covered Hannah’s own experience dealing with imposter syndrome. Hannah’s personal conversation with the audience discussed her transition to freelance, how she deals with the ‘fraud police’ – a synonym Hannah used for imposter syndrome – and how common imposter syndrome is.
Kirsty Hulse closed the conference with a motivating and empowering speech on Working it: Practical Tips to be Heard in Meetings, Get Paid More & Shine Like the Badass you are. Within 30 minutes, Kirsty had the crowd either crying, applauding or shouting “Yes! Yes!”, promising the audience that the days of feeling small, quiet or not smart enough were done.
Typically, energy at day-long conferences can dip by the afternoon. But the excitement and passion Stacey, Hannah and Kirsty brought to the room was permeating. Everyone walked out feeling energised, with a new fire to make their own workspace safer and kinder to all genders.
Areej’s dream of creating a community for women in an industry dominated by men came into full fruition at the Women in Tech SEO conference. Women travelled from across the world to attend the unique event for what proved to be an educational, informative, playful, emotional and incredibly human experience.