SearchCap: Google AMP expansion, musicians on Google Posts & Google Lens rollout

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

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SearchCap: Google AMP expansion, musicians on Google Posts & Google Lens rollout

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Google working to integrate AMP benefits into future open web standards


Google continues to make major investments in improving the performance of and user experience on the web. This has been primarily through the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, which was first launched in 2015 and has been aggressively developed, promoted, and integrated into publishing platforms ever since.

Initially viewed as another proprietary format (even though it is open source), in addition to only providing a limited feature set at launch, the AMP framework has struggled with widespread adoption. Support for AMP across the entire web currently stands at less than .1%.

However, sites that have adopted AMP have seen encouraging gains in site performance and conversions (which presumes a correlating better site user experience). These and other noted benefits have led Google to begin working toward taking the technologies utilized by AMP and folding them into open web standards.

From the announcement today:

“The standardization work motivated by AMP is well under way through various WICG projects. Google’s goal is to extend support in features like the Top Stories carousel to AMP-like content that (1) meets a set of performance and user experience criteria and (2) implements a set of new web standards. Some of the proposed standards in the critical path are Feature Policy, Web Packaging, iframe promotion, Performance Timeline, and Paint Timing. Equally important, the Chrome team last year released the Chrome User Experience report. Its underlying data provides, for the first time, web-wide real world measurements for performance and user experience.”

Noted in the post from Google’s tech lead for the AMP project, Malte Ubl, is that Google will continue to support, promote and develop the AMP project. The goal of working the AMP features into open web standards aligns with Google’s overall mission for a stronger, better, and especially faster web experience. Standardizing on these features will allow developers to utilize them without having to fully adopt the AMP framework. It will also allow sites to, for example, appear in the Top Stories carousel in Google search.

From the post:

“We are taking what we learned from AMP, and are working on web standards that will allow instant loading for non-AMP web content. We hope this work will also unlock AMP-like embeddability that powers Google Search features like the Top Stories carousel.”

There was no timeline given for when these features would become available outside of AMP, but we’ll be following along closely.

The post Google working to integrate AMP benefits into future open web standards appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google working to integrate AMP benefits into future open web standards

How to evolve your marketing in a voice-first world

In her 2017 Internet Trends Report, KPMG’s Mary Meeker named voice as one of the top trends of the year, noting the rise in mobile voice queries and improved voice recognition.

AI-enabled voice recognition is becoming a normal part of how we interact with technology. What humans say is becoming valuable data that businesses can increasingly use to sell products and create personalized consumer experiences.

It’s critical to think broadly about how voice will impact the entire customer experience, from discovery through to purchase. In this report from Invoca, you’ll find:

  • Real examples from innovative businesses meshing digital interactions with an increasingly voice-first world
  • Insights from a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers using voice assistants
  • New data from an analysis of over 50 million customer phone calls passed through Invoca’s platform in the past year

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “The Rise of Voice: What the Increase in Conversation, Voice Assistants and AI Means for Business.”

The post How to evolve your marketing in a voice-first world appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to evolve your marketing in a voice-first world

Google amplifies musicians in Google search through the Google Posts platform

Google announced that Google will now show images, videos, GIFs and text posted directly by an artist or musician, in addition to the Knowledge Panel directly in the search results.

Google launched this feature as a limited beta a year ago and then opened up Google Posts to all Google My Business users last June. Now Google said that any musician with a Knowledge Panel can get verified and start posting at posts.google.com.

Here is how it looks like in the Google mobile results for a search on [Sia]:

As you can see, the Google search result shows the Knowledge Panel information first, including the musicians name, title, photos, songs, albums, movies and more. It also has a link to their web site and ways of listening to their music on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and others. Below that you see the Wikipedia snippet, and then the Google Posts that the artist shared with their fans.

Google Posts is a feature that allows people and businesses to create content directly on Google which appears highly ranked in Google search results for their names.

The post Google amplifies musicians in Google search through the Google Posts platform appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google amplifies musicians in Google search through the Google Posts platform

ClickZ Buyers Guide | Bid management platform review: Kenshoo

Search Engine Watch sister publication ClickZ recently launched an innovative new series of buyers guides, created with the aim of cutting through the complexity of the martech landscape to help our readers make better decisions about vendors.

The first in the series is dedicated to bid management platforms. With more than $90 billion spent on paid search in 2017, these software packages play a vital role in deriving maximum value from a brand’s digital media budget.

The role of a bid management platform has changed significantly over the past decade, in line with the increasing sophistication of the digital media industry. Although the foundations of a successful paid media management platform remain rooted in the effective spending of AdWords budgets, the modern marketer also requires support for social media advertising, attribution modeling, and cross-channel strategy.

Earlier this week, we profiled Acquisio, one of the leading bid management platforms featured in our buyers guide. In this article, we’re going to look at another leader in the bid management space: Kenshoo.

Kenshoo Company Profile

Kenshoo has been a leader in the bid management space since 2006 and its position as a third-party vendor allows space to innovate and work with clients without the potential for bias to enter the equation. This independence also allows Kenshoo to pursue new, promising channels and functionality that makes it easier for clients to work across channels – scaling, shifting budget, and measuring results across them.

Kenshoo company profile

Our survey revealed Kenshoo to be the market leader for enterprise-level digital media campaigns.

Although this is a highly competitive industry with many worthy contenders, Kenshoo shaded the assessment categories that matter most to advanced search marketers. These included cross-channel campaign management, strategic insight, and paid search automation. The overall scores can be seen in the screenshot below, with 5 being the highest possible score:

Kenshoo performance

Furthermore, Kenshoo’s Creative Manager for search and social adds a further dimension to the platform and places the company in a prominent position as search evolves into a more visual marketing medium.

Overall, Kenshoo’s focus is on developing technologies that make a tangible difference to their customers’ businesses.

The usage levels of its features are monitored constantly and the company’s sizeable team of engineers focuses on delivering the innovations that its customer base craves. It is this approach that leads to developments including highly effective performance forecasts, real-time reporting dashboards, and the ability to load high volumes of campaign data almost instantly.

Kenshoo: The ClickZ and SEW customer survey

Throughout the search industry‘s evolutionary process, Kenshoo has remained at the forefront of innovation. Within our customer surveys, vendor interviews, and expert consultation, Kenshoo was a consistently high scorer and was roundly praised for the features it provides for large, complex accounts.

The three areas in which Kenshoo received its highest scores in our community survey were:

kenshoo

In fact, Kenshoo was the leading scorer out of all platforms in our survey in the cross-channel and bid management categories.

A particular highlight was Kenshoo’s adoption of audience management for prospecting and
remarketing across Facebook and Google. This helps its clients to nurture their audience lists and gain maximum returns on their data.

Due to the development of the industry from a keyword-led approach to intent-driven audiences, this will be a core consideration for brands assessing the vendor landscape.

Search is about much more than bottom-funnel acquisition nowadays, with the advent of much more varied visual formats and the ongoing shift to video. Kenshoo’s support for emerging media formats and channels was seen as a core strength of the technology, particularly its early adoption of both Pinterest and Amazon advertising.

These campaigns can be synthesized into one strategy alongside Search, Shopping, and Social campaigns to provide strategic insight into overall performance. A natural extension of this category, and an area of increasing focus within the industry, is the availability of attribution models that elucidate campaign spend and returns by channels.

Once more, Kenshoo was among the highest scorers in this category as it is host to a range of attribution models and allows for a degree of customization by marketers, based on their company’s weighting of each channel’s significance.

Kenshoo’s bid management algorithms that deliver improved returns on cross-channel budgets also received very high scores in our survey. Recent architectural changes enable clients to analyze millions of keywords in a matter of seconds with no volume limits, a significant benefit when managing large, complex campaigns.

One highlight from the vendor interviews was the ease of use of their new Budget Manager, which allows clients to visually model a range of future scenarios based on their planned media spend across multiple channels, objectives, audiences, product categories and geographies. This capability allows marketers to plan more frequently and to quickly get answers to questions about the impact of their budget.

It is also worth noting that Kenshoo was among the three highest-scoring platforms for client support in our survey. This was driven by the company’s focus on providing expert support for enterprise accounts, with customers citing both the availability and the knowledge of their representatives as notable strengths. Kenshoo also has a large research team, with whom clients can work to dig deeper into search data and uncover new insights.

ClickZ overview: Kenshoo

Kenshoo is an effective technology that contains a multitude of advanced features that will help marketers extract maximum value from their media budget. Moreover, it provides additional value on top of the core bid management algorithms that marketers have come to expect.

By focusing on where the industry is headed and developing features that provide clients with a competitive advantage, Kenshoo looks poised to maintain its position as a market leader in this field for some time to come.

To learn more about our readers’ evaluation of the different bid management platforms featured, follow this link to download the Buyers Guide to Bid Management Tools on ClickZ.

ClickZ Buyers Guide | Bid management platform review: Kenshoo

How to effectively report competitor spam

In every competitive niche, you’ll find sites that do not play by or bend Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

If that’s how a direct competitor is getting ahead in the game, you can submit a spam report to Google to alert them to the violation.

Here’s how to get Google’s attention with it.

Make it actionable

Spam reports are for the most part processed manually. In essence, an experienced Google employee reads the report and then attempts to evaluate the violation highlighted. A detailed spam report is both actionable and respectful of the Googler’s time.

Describing at length why a competitor’s site needs Google Search team’s attention or listing respective queries for which it may be ranking isn’t very useful; it’s just not enough information.

Instead, clearly defining violations such as a site buying PageRank passing links or a site that is presenting different content to users and search engine bots helps clearly lay out the infractions.

A  site can be in violation of any number of Google’s quality and/or technical guidelines. With each violation reported, including a reference to the respective Google Webmaster Guidelines will demonstrate an in-depth investigation and consequently, a more promising case.

Provide details

Every violation highlighted must be supported by replicable examples, such as specific universal resource locators (URLs) of pages linking with a distinct anchor text to an optimized landing page. The more examples provided the better; however, common sense dictates there’s no need to go into hundreds of similar examples. A few dozen will do.

The Google employee tasked with processing the spam report will be able to verify if any of the examples highlighted are indeed an issue and act accordingly.

Get to the point

An actionable spam report should not include any information of little or no relevance. With the exception of a greeting, anything but an accurate description of the perceived violations is unnecessary.

This includes the personal motivation for submitting the spam report. The same rule applies to the person or organization submitting the report. Google’s primary concern is to maintain high user satisfaction and avoid manipulation attempts often called “black hat SEO.”

Google does not care who submits a spam report or why. Any information that does not help Google identify and replicate the spam issue wastes all stakeholders’ time. None of the “extra” information increases the chance for a manual penalty to be applied and should therefore be excluded.

An actionable spam report requires relevant, specific and replicable information.

Which violations to report

Any confirmed and egregious Google Webmaster Guidelines violation can be reported, but experience shows some violations are more likely to be acted on than others.

For example, “black hat” methods that relate to PageRank passing link building are not only most common, they also tend to be most likely to trigger an in-depth investigation resulting in Google taking visible action.

Large, content-lean competitor websites may also be prone to violating Google content guidelines by artificially inflating their on-page signals. An example of this might be adding keyword-rich, low-quality content landing pages on a large scale. This is why looking for auto-generated, thin content and/or doorway pages is recommended.

Lastly, the application of false or deceptive structured data which leads to increased Google search results real estate and better click-through-rates (CTRs) due to compelling rich snippets with overwhelmingly positive ratings and reviews are relatively easy to identify.  Since Google considers this highly important, they are more likely to take structured data spam more seriously.

Consistent, high review ratings are often a deceptive structured data lead that can be reported.

What to expect

Building a compelling spam report argument requires resources. Hence managing expectations, your own and those within the organization, with respect to the possible outcome of submitting a spam report, is important.

A competitor spam report is not an SEO magic bullet, even if it works exactly as expected. Chances are if the violation is confirmed and a manual spam action is applied, this will be only a temporary setback to the affected site.

Every penalized site gets another chance to get back in Google’s good graces and apply for reconsideration at any point in time. Once the violation has been addressed and fixed, Google may remove any manual action applied. Depending on the technique used that resulted in the penalty, the affected website may or may not recover to previously enjoyed search engine result page (SERP) visibility, even after successful reinclusion by Google.

Organic search visibility is in a constant state of flux and depends on a great many factors, some of which can not be influenced. Even if the offending site drops in Google search considerably, a penalty will eventually time out.

Also, the competitor may find another way of boosting other, more relevant search engine optimization (SEO) signals by, for example, improving page speed or doing legitimate outreach and link acquisition.

A successful competitor spam report does not, of course, fix one’s own website’s SEO shortcomings, which may provide infinitely more opportunities to act upon and improve.

No feedback given

Finally, Google does not provide any feedback in regard to how successful a spam report has been, which can be frustrating.

They also do not appear to check any websites associated with the account used for the spam report.  While keeping a clean SEO house is always a good strategy, SEO skeletons in one’s own closet are not roadblocks to reporting a competitor violating guidelines.

Still, despite all the points raised above, and particularly in fiercely competitive niches where every position counts, maintaining a vigilant eye over the competition’s adherence to SEO best practices is a must.

Compared to the time needed to conduct an in-depth, technical on- and off-page audit for your site, submitting a spam report is a relatively low-cost effort that is often worth doing.

If in doubt, the entire process of investigation and analysis can be outsourced to a third-party specialist with a proven track record of successfully uncovering Google Webmaster Guidelines violations.

The post How to effectively report competitor spam appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to effectively report competitor spam

IWD 2018: Eight SEO ladies give their advice on being a woman in search

Like many tech and tech-adjacent industries, SEO is a largely male-dominated field.

Relatively few statistics exist on the exact gender split within the search industry, but a Moz 2015 Online Marketing Industry Survey put the percentage of men working in SEO at close to 70%.

SEM was a little more even gender-wise with around 60% men working in search marketing, while PPC was even more male-dominated, with the survey finding that some 80% of PPC professionals were men.

Image: Moz

Even without the numbers, it’s fairly obvious to anyone who works within SEO that it’s a majority male industry – from the speaker line-ups at events, to the rosters at companies, to the bylines on industry blogs.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of hugely successful and brilliant women working in SEO, because there are. But there are still comparatively fewer of them.

What do the women who work in SEO think about the gender division within the industry? Do they notice it or feel that it affects their work? Do they think that women in SEO need to do anything differently to stand out? And what advice would they give to other women working in the field?

In honor of International Women’s Day 2018, we wanted to highlight the perspectives of women working in SEO, and how – if at all – they think gender affects the industry and the work that they do. Search Engine Watch spoke to eight successful ladies in SEO to find out their thoughts and advice on being a woman in SEO.

Sam Charles, Founder of Float Digital

Sam Charles is an SEO consultant with more than seven years’ experience working in the digital industry.

In 2016 she founded her own agency, Float Digital, which aims to demystify the art of SEO for businesses, particularly small businesses. She has been nominated at the UK Search Awards, and featured in The Drum’s ‘50 under 30’ list in 2017, which celebrates young women making waves in digital industries.

Charles got her start in SEO in her early twenties after studying advertising at university, working first at a branding design and web development agency, before moving on to manage the marketing at Australia’s largest professional haircare and skincare company.

“Nobody really told me what SEO was but my daily tasks revolved around blogger outreach and creating content based on keywords,” Charles recalls. “Once I moved back to England in 2012, I picked up the first copywriting job I could find, and it was only then, I was introduced to the lovely world of SEO, and suddenly everything I had been doing made sense.”

Charles says that she didn’t initially notice the gender disparity in digital marketing, as her first few jobs were at companies that had plenty of women on their payroll. “It was only when I moved away from content creation and focused on improving my technical SEO skills, that I felt I was in a male-dominated industry,” she says.

“Attending events such as Brighton SEO and engaging with communities online, it’s clear there are more men working in SEO than women.”

However, Charles doesn’t feel as though her gender has been a hindrance in the industry – possibly because her name makes people assume that they’re working with a man. “Too many times I’ve turned up to a meeting or answered the phone and I’ve been greeted with “I thought you were going to be a man”.”

With that said, she emphasizes: “People’s respect for you isn’t based on gender. The last few agencies I’ve worked in have celebrated women, and this sentiment is echoed in online circles, too.”

Charles says that the advice she would give to women in SEO wouldn’t be any different to the advice she would give anyone else getting started in the industry. “There’s no tips or advice I would give to women in SEO because we, as women, are no more or less than our male counterparts.

“Male or female, if you work in SEO there are two pieces of advice I’d offer: learn every day and be completely fearless when it comes to engaging with online communities, speaking at events or chasing clients.

“That said, to me, there’s nothing more empowering than meeting other women in search. There are meetups and lunches especially for women in business, digital or SEO. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from, do a quick search in your area and go along to one. Every event like this I’ve been to has been so welcoming.”

Dewi Nawasari, European Head of SEO at Monster

Dewi Nawasari is a hugely experienced SEO with close to twelve years of industry work under her belt. She jumped straight into SEO as a graduate with a degree in Business Supply Chain Management, landing a job as a Natural Search Optimization Analyst doing link-building for an agency. From there, she worked her way up the industry, and is now the European Head of SEO at recruitment company Monster.

Nawasari reflect that SEO was “not the easiest industry to start in” as a woman. “I remember at the earlier years of my career, coming to any industry event and being one of the few women who attended.

“There were occasions when I was not heard or taken as seriously as the men in my then-workplace, who had formed their exclusive circle of authority. But by the same token, I was really lucky to have also came across men in the industry who confided in my ability purely as a person. They are now some of my dearest friends.

“Do I think women have to do anything differently in order to stand out? The answer is yes and no.

“Yes, because I think women have to stop selling themselves short and start communicating their brilliance and expertise with one hundred percent confidence. Being willing to make mistakes or say something wrong is the only way to find success!

“No – because women should just be women. Never think that you have to fulfil certain stereotypes in the industry.

“Women tend to be quite humble about our achievements, and refuse credit beyond what we feel we deserve. This quality truly brings balance to any workplace because when women are part of the team, they make sure that the team work together to a high standard of performance.”

Nawasari’s advice for other women trying to make their way in the industry is, “Being credible, humble and over-communicating are your weapons.

“Even when you have a slightly rough start to the career, always ensure that you research, analyse, and know your work inside-out before presenting it to anyone. Once you have presented your work, share and over-communicate it – do not sell yourself short! Keep at it and you’ll be incredibly proud when you climb the ladder because of pure merit.

“Oh, and of course, don’t forget to congratulate and clap hard when you see a fellow woman succeed!”

Amanda DiSilvestro, Writer for HigherVisibility and Marketing Manager at Workshops for Warriors

Amanda DiSilvestro has spent seven years working in the marketing industry as a content editor, writer and marketing manager, and is one of the most popular and prolific writers here at Search Engine Watch.

She got her start in the industry through content marketing and worked her way up to a management position in SEO. “While it took several years, I found it to be a great foundation and path forward,” DiSilvestro says.

“I have found throughout my career that ghost writing opportunities are plentiful, and while this is a great way to really dig into SEO and learn the industry, it’s important to balance ghost writing with writing under your own byline. In short, don’t get too comfortable writing for other people – I see this happen all the time!

“Big websites like Search Engine Watch can seem intimidating, but if you reach out and express your passion for the topic and desire to write with your own byline, even if you don’t have years and years of experience, you will find success. At a certain point, it turns into a domino effect and you get more and more opportunities to show off your expertise through content writing.

“The community of women SEOs is great as well, so don’t be afraid to reach out to those you admire.”

Lexi Mills, Managing Partner at Shift6

As a specialist in both PR, a typically female-dominated field, and SEO, a largely male-dominated field, Lexi Mills has a unique perspective on gender in her professional life – she is simultaneously in the majority, and the minority, in both of her intersecting fields.

A digital marketing expert who has won multiple awards in the course of her career, Mills got her start in digital marketing as a graduate working in the Brighton nightlife industry, who convinced the company director to let her manage the company’s marketing and promotion online.

“I learned SEO way before I even knew what SEO was,” she recalls.

Working as a woman in the digital marketing industry, Mills says that she wasn’t always aware of whether people were biased against her because of her gender. “I have a couple of other biases that I have to champion – I’m very petite, I’m female, and I used to look very young for my age.

“Ageism was probably a bigger issue for me – when you’re someone who has worked super hard to get super good at something, and you walk into a room, people think, ‘I don’t want a kid working on this.’ Those were far bigger issues for me.

“I’m sure there was gender bias, but I tended to put things down to those issues a lot more.”

When she ran up against bias in her work as a professional SEO, Mills says that she found it more effective to approach the situation with gentle humor, which tended to be more successful in swaying people’s unconscious prejudices.

“By choosing to believe that people meant well, that they didn’t mean to be biased – even when they were – it changed how I dealt with them.

“I would walk into a meeting room with a client, and someone would say, ‘Oh, I’ll have a tea! And I’ll have a coffee, two sugars!’

“I would go and get the teas and the coffees, come back in, put the tray down, and say, ‘Guys, I specialize in SEO and PR, but I’ve done my very best with the tea and coffee.’

“And these guys would look mortified! But then I’d giggle, and I’d laugh with them – because the reality is, their assumption that their SEO specialist was going to be male and older is actually statistically correct; and these are statistically-driven people. You could say it was gender bias, but it was a statistically accurate assumption to make.

“And instead of me getting angry about it, if I made them giggle, there was a bond that formed – because they didn’t mean it. Or I chose to believe that they weren’t intending to be biased. And they probably came out not thinking that the next time they walk into a meeting room, they’re going to order tea and coffee off a young female, presuming that they’re not the specialist.”

Mills stresses that she has never identified as a “woman in search” or a “woman in tech”, preferring to think of herself as a “person who works in search”. Nevertheless, she believes that women in the industry have to be more aware of how they present themselves, as this can sometimes cause them to meet with more resistance professionally.

“At least five years ago, if you got up on stage wearing a bright pink dress, that would have caused a bunch of fairly unpleasant tweets,” she says. “It makes you look different.

“And while there’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to wear very feminine clothing – at all – it might mean they have to fight a little harder. And maybe they want to put that energy into doing such awesome work that they’re subconsciously changing people’s perception of women.”

She also advises women in the industry to “recognize when it’s time to move rooms. If the room you’re in is biased – go make a better room.

“I move between different projects with different clients, and sometimes I’ll fight that battle, but other times I just think, ‘Hey. I’m going to go to your competitor and kick ass.’”

“As women, the way we’re socialized from a young age means that we develop different language behaviors, different ways of doing things – and that’s okay. You should take those advantages, and play to your strengths.

“Take stock, give back, help others, and be fierce.”

Chelsea Blacker, Co-Founder and Managing Director of BlueGlass

Chelsea Blacker is a hugely experienced digital marketer and the Managing Director of SEO and content marketing agency BlueGlass.

She has worked in SEO for more than 10 years, and got her start in the industry doing SEO for a small personal blog at university, before becoming the assistant to an SEO consultant – at which point, she says, “I was hooked!”

On gender in the SEO industry, Blacker observes, “The SEO community is extremely fair compared to other industries like investment banking or entertainment.

“People respect each other for sharing knowledge, explaining findings, and asking boundary-pushing questions. I have never worried that being female has a negative correlation to thriving in SEO.”

Her advice to other women working in SEO is to make sure their voices are heard – and on a practical level, to not shy away from the technical side of SEO.

“If you’re the only woman in a room, it’s a good room to be in. Participate with value added words (not chat) to prove your voice is worth listening to so you don’t get left out of conversations.

“Celebrate technical learning, don’t avoid it; if you feel out of your depth, it’s a good place to keep swimming until you re-emerge at a higher level of performance. Learn to code, how major tools work and how to break down complex data sets in Excel.

Blacker’s other piece of advice to anyone wanting to stand out in SEO is to specialize. “SEO is well established now, and it’s more difficult to become a thought leader in an industry that’s been around for 15 – 20 years.  I would recommend finding an optimization niche in an emerging industry to develop as a thought leader of tomorrow.”

Hannah Thorpe, Managing Director at White.net

Hannah Thorpe has become a well-known name in the search industry, particularly the UK search industry, in the four years that she has been working in digital. She regularly presents at industry events including SMX Advanced, Search London and Brighton SEO, and last year won Young Search Professional of the Year at the UK Search Awards.

On being a woman in SEO, Thorpe believes that, “SEO is SEO regardless of your gender, like in any industry. I genuinely think that if you enter into the industry passionate about what is we’re all working on, then you’ll be successful regardless of gender.

“The more you try to act differently because of a perception that you have to fit in with the male-dominated crowds, the harder you’ll find it. I love what I do, but I still want to have long fake nails, wear outrageous sparkly shoes and drink champagne, rather than beers.

“That doesn’t make me bad at my job – and if you’re a woman who doesn’t like any of those things, then equally, you should be able to embrace that.

“So much of the pressure to be a certain way is something we are putting on ourselves or creating by segregating into ‘women in SEO’ versus ‘men in SEO’.  I would love for our industry to stop thinking of ourselves as male-dominated and to just think about everyone as individual people.”

Ann Smarty, Founder of ViralContentBee and Brand & Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is a marketing consultant with more than 10 years’ experience, and is another one of our most popular and respected authors here at Search Engine Watch, sounding off on content marketing, keyword research, marketing tools, video optimization and much more with authority.

She is the former Editor-in-Chief at Search Engine Journal, founded social media and content marketing platform Viral Content Bee, and is the Brand & Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas.

When it comes to being a woman in SEO, Smarty says that, “I have never felt that I was in any way treated differently than men in this industry.

“I think our niche offers equal opportunity to both men and women, and I have to guess that the reason why it may be male-dominated is possibly that women shy away from it.

“Likewise, there are probably more men in the IT industry, not because men do anything special to influence that but probably because women just don’t like playing with numbers and computers that much. I don’t have any studies to support my thoughts here, but it’s the feeling that I get.”

Jennifer Jackson, Digital Manager at Sawday’s Canopy & Stars

Jennifer Jackson is another hugely experienced digital marketing expert with close to ten years’ experience working in the industry. She first got into SEO through a university work placement, writing search-optimized content to answer questions that people were asking over the phones.

Even at this early stage in her career, she was successful – “My piece I wrote for them still ranks #2 for ‘data protection act summary’, so even my first venture is doing well!”

As a woman working in search, Jackson hasn’t encountered a lot of negative bias. “I personally have never felt that being a woman has been an issue. I’ve found the SEO industry to be full of brilliant brains and not as many egos as you might find elsewhere.

“But maybe I’ve been sheltered by being on the client side, where I can call more shots because I’m paying the bill.

“I personally don’t think women have to do anything differently to other colleagues. I’m naturally quite vocal and not afraid to be the one to ask what might be a stupid question, so maybe that has helped me.

“I also love to understand as much of the technical details as possible so that I can confidently communicate with more technical roles, which has probably helped me too – but anyone can do this, not just women.”

“At the end of the day, every team needs different brains, and having female input in a room full of males can be truly invaluable – especially when lots of research shows in many categories the buying decision in a heterosexual household are made by the female!”

Jackson says that her best advice for women working in SEO would be the same that she’d give to anyone: “Learn and don’t stop learning. Sign up to industry newsletters; find the answers to things you don’t know; read around the technical jargon so you understand it.

“Don’t be put off when you’re faced with a room of ‘experts’, and don’t be afraid to ask the stupid questions, as you’ll always find someone else saying ‘I was thinking the same thing’.”

IWD 2018: Eight SEO ladies give their advice on being a woman in search