Welcome to a new
We asked her everything from how she first got into SEO to what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is 💪🏽
How did you get into SEO?
When I left university with a French and Management degree under my belt, I had no clue what I wanted to career-wise. Marketing caught my eye and I ended up as an in-house Digital Marketing Manager, looking after multiple digital channels.
Years of managing and updating the WordPress site, planning and writing blog article content, and realising the site was getting traffic and leads from Google made me sit up and pay attention to SEO. I taught myself the basics and foundations and quickly got up to speed on what an incredible, ever-expanding industry we work in. I was hooked.
What is your favourite SEO task?
Keyword research is the bedrock of any solid SEO strategy. I really enjoy getting under the skin of a brand. Exploring its keyword universe. Dissecting the SERP landscape for different keyword categories, topics and intent.
It’s easy to disappear down an SEO rabbit hole with overly specific or niche tasks. But for me, the lifeblood of SEO is understanding search. Getting that right underpins all our optimisation efforts.
What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?
Google Search Console is my desert island tool. With data straight from the horse’s mouth, you can leverage a multitude of tactics, ideas, and opportunities. I use it every day without fail.
Sistrix is also up there for me. Every time I use it, I’m bowled over by its power and discover surprising features. You can scrutinise and explore a website’s organic reach (and opportunities). But they also regularly publish commentaries, with huge sets of data comparison analysis on SERP changes after each Google algorithm update.
What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?
Working unguided on my first website migration. Talk about being in at the deep end!
Having said that, you need to be able to make mistakes in SEO. That allows you to learn from real-life experience and know what to expect next time. That first migration was scary at the time, but it allowed me to build my knowledge and understand potential migration issues. It made me realise what can go wrong, and how to mitigate it.
Another revelation was learning to look in the DOM, use Developer Tools and inspect web elements in the browser. This helps to home in on a specific issue and be able to relay details and communicate with Dev teams better, translating my SEO requirements into their language.
What is your proudest industry achievement?
Seeing great results from SEO efforts always makes me proud. You can often get bogged down in the numbers, spreadsheets and reporting. But when you step back, see the bigger picture and reflect on your work's impact, that's the reason we all turn up every day.
Client meetings are also one of my favourite things. During the pandemic, I really missed the positive boost they can provide. I find it energising to dive into a client's strategy, understand what they want to achieve and show how we can support them organically. And it’s so refreshing to regroup as a team, reflect on the progress made and keep your eyes on the horizon.
What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?
Make as much time as possible to listen and learn. In my early SEO days, I watched Moz Whiteboard Fridays religiously and tried to absorb as much as I could.
Try to attend events where you can. There are lots of free ones out there too. BrightonSEO has a free ticket ballot and the Women in Tech SEO Festival has a scholarship ticket option.
Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why
Dr Marie Haynes has such amazing insight, especially around EAT and the QRG. Her ‘Search News You Can Use’ newsletter has so many nuggets of information and actionable tips too.
Aleyda Solis – I saw her speak at Women in Tech SEO Festival on SEO reporting and my hand couldn’t write my notes down fast enough. Her #SEOFOMO newsletter should be in every SEO’s inbox.
Britney Muller has some great resources on machine learning & NLP in SEO, plus her article contribution whilst she was at Moz is what got me started in SEO.
Roxana Stingu did an amazing talk at my first Women in Tech SEO Festival. It was on The Internet for SEOs and connecting the dots between the SEO & Dev worlds. To say it blew my mind is an understatement.
Claire Carlile gave such an insightful talk at BrightonSEO on local SEO (an area that's often overlooked). Lots of actionable ideas too.
Lidia Infante has written some resources on international SEO and headless CMS. I watched her speak at Women in Tech SEO Festival and BBC SEO Community meet-up — in awe at the way she can articulate technical topics.
Areej AbuAli has got to be one of the nicest, most considerate people in the SEO community. I’m sure anyone reading this knows she founded Women in Tech SEO, but she also continues to push for it to be a supportive, nurturing, judgement-free space. That's so refreshing.
My Women in Tech SEO mentor Laura Rudd. She’s an inspiring woman with a lot of wisdom to offer. Not to mention an altogether lovely person with such upbeat, contagious energy.
The brilliant women in my team - Amy & Ella. It’s heart-warming to watch their SEO careers unfold and grow. And they have also taught me a thing or two!
Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?
Being part of Women in Tech SEO (and the SEO community as a whole) empowers me. “Empowered women empower women” as the saying goes. Growing up in the 90s and 00s, you couldn’t move for glossy magazine headlines pitting women against women. We’re not in competition with each other. It’s refreshing to see so many people in the SEO industry lifting each other up and sharing their learnings. Collectively we can learn and grow, rather than indulging in territorial ‘one-upmanship’.
Empowering others also empowers me. Listening to my team’s ideas, experience, opinions, training requests and pain points enables me to give them the right tools, templates and processes—so they can reach their potential and advance their careers.
Thanks Fiona for a truly insightful interview! You can connect with Fiona on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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