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Interviewing Serena Pearson

Date: 11/09/2021

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Serena Pearson
Based in London, from her very first piece of keyword research 6 years ago, Serena's been obsessed with everything SEO. She's spent the majority of her career working agency-side, meaning working across a wide variety of sectors including finance, retail, B2B, health and more. Alongside this, she's also known for her intensive appreciation of excel and formatting.

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?

Like most SEOs, it was sort of by accident. I was filling some time before heading off to university with a publishing internship, which happened to be SEO focused. It was such a good time, everyone was so lovely, and working with data to inform marketing strategy was just fascinating. I thought, if I could get a full time role in SEO then I'm sorted - and I did!

What is your favourite SEO task?

Anything involving larger data sets, or if there is a complicated problem where there isn't a straightforward solution. I love problem-solving, it's not the task itself but more the level of complexity there is which requires creative thinking. For example, I was working on a website that had an incredible amount of legal restrictions with their interstitials, impacting the approval for their shopping campaigns and we needed to investigate solutions and impact on SEO. That was a great time.

What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?

ExcelJet is the one. A good formula will save you hours, sometimes days worth of work. Pretty much all of the best and industry-standard tools will give you your data as an Excel export, so finding ways to automate it is a must. I'm yet to learn any of the coding languages, but that might be the next thing!

What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?

Not everything needs to be implemented or said. This was something that was initially quite difficult to wrap my head around, I used to produce 20+ page technical audits, with an entire half-page dedicated to 3 incorrectly implemented canonical tags which weren't affecting anything. Be savvy with your time, and focus on what matters. It wasn't until I had seen a few other technical overview documents, and technical SEO project approaches by other SEO, where I had the 'AHA' moment.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

I think I might have been the youngest person to have ever spoken at BrightonSEO? At the time of my first talk, I was 20 years old and was lucky enough to have a slot in the technical SEO stage which seated over 400+ attendees. It was an incredible experience, where I shared the stage with Roxana Stingu and Ashley Berman Hale. I wouldn't have gotten that opportunity if it wasn't for Areej AbuAli tweeting Kelvin her endorsement, as I had previously applied as was rejected!

What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?

Make sure you speak up about your achievements, not only to your boss but to the wider teams. I think it's almost expected, in general, for women to overachieve and expect less. Ensure that you are appropriately recognised, compensated, and rewarded for the work that you do. Progression should be an ongoing discussion between you and your employer.

Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why

First and foremost is Areej AbuAli. She's a badass, isn't afraid to speak her mind and call out gender inequality where it occurs. Beyond that, she's passionate about SEOs being paid for their time speaking out at events and giving workshops, along with the transparency of it all. Lastly, she really gives to the community and has impacted hundreds possibly thousands of women with all of her initiatives combined. Mad respect.

The second person I'd like to mention is Jo Turnbull. Similarly to Areej, she is very active in the SEO space, always setting up new initiatives. With this, she has a really creative mindset and approach to SEO, always looking beyond just the one channel and really understands how SEO fits into everything else. I've been lucky enough to work with her for the past year and can say that she's always coming up with new fresh ideas to bring to the table.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Tiffany Bushell. She's smart, energetic, friendly and hardworking. I love it when women progress in their lives and careers without compromising an ounce of their femininity and that's what Tiffany's done. I've had the opportunity to work with her for only a few months, but she was productive, organised, supportive and very caring to everyone she spoke with.

Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?

Honestly, having strong communities. Whether it be the Women In Tech SEO initiative, having supportive colleagues, or even family who know nothing about SEO getting really excited with you when you achieve something. For me, support is a massive factor in empowering me to be who I am in work and life, and I do what I can to return the favour.


Thanks Serena for a truly insightful interview, you can learn more about her and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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to share your story with the world! Simply fill this form here, we welcome brilliant SEOs from all walks of life! 🙌🏽