So this post isn’t going to be one complaining about how few women there are in SEO, or how hard it is for women to get into the male dominated SEO industry but more of an exploration as to why there aren’t that many women in SEO and is it a bad thing.
For starters I run a very male dominated company. For many years I ran Bronco as the only woman in the SEO team, doing much of the SEO work alongside Dave as well as managing the whole company. The only other woman that worked for Bronco at the time was Janet, part time in accounts. I’m not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination and really do prefer an office full of guys than an office full of girls believe me! I used to manage a purchasing team, (pre Bronco) that had 10 women and 2 men and believe me it comes with its issues. It was only a few years ago that we employed Zoe who is now a lead SEO and Hannah who is part of our content team. Out of the 19 people that Bronco now employ there are still only a small percentage of women… 4 out of 19, so around 20%.
If you include myself in the SEO team.. as on a day to day basis I run the SEO team, manage all of the 30 or so SEO clients and deal with all the of new SEO enquiries that we get… then out of the 15 staff that work on the SEO there are 3 women (20%). We have tried over the years to rebalance the SEO team, especially with skilled on page and off page female SEO’s but have always struggled. So why is that?
Personally I believe that SEO isn’t a career for everyone, the same way that programming doesn’t fit with everyone. It’s a specific skill set that is required and the SEO work that we get involved with can be pretty technical, dealing with fixing source code and server set up issues. This I feel requires a certain mind-set that woman aren’t necessarily at comfort with, maybe differences in the way our brains are set up or just the lack of encouragement at school level to go into a technical discipline. For me when I went to Uni back in 1993 Google didn’t even exist and the internet was only just in its infancy. I remember the fear when I had to hand my first Uni assignment in as an electronic typed document, double spaced in a specific font and to me who had never done anything with computers or word processing at school this was a daunting task. I never thought at the time while doing my Management degree that I’d end up running a very successful technical company. Many of the best SEO’s are self taught with an interest in coding as the basis and these tend to be the best, the ones with the passion and drive for results. Often the best SEO’s have already run their own websites and got their own rankings so know what is achievable. Many women just don’t get the opportunity or have the desire to do this given their education.
Again personally I love the male dominated industry but would like to know more about the woman out there and their experiences as to how they got started. Where are they all hiding? There are some women SEO’s that I know who have a high profile in the industry, perhaps blog or speak at conferences, but there must be more woman who maybe are inhouse or part of an agency team who just get on with the job and get the same excitement that I do when you look at rankings or check out the latest Google algorithm change. I have often been asked to speak at conferences given my knowledge of SEO and the industry and I’d rather be a bit behind the scenes and let Dave do the speaking, but have recently joined the Advisory board for the iGaming Affiliate Conference which was great to have input in the conference session schedule.
So where are you all hiding? Where are all the low key, seasoned women SEO’s, that don’t speak at conferences, but are busy in their day to day life working on challenging projects battling with the rest of us in the rankings, and maybe like me balancing a career and a family? What percentage of female SEO staff do other agencies have?