Diversity and inclusion in SEO

Nov 27, 2020 by
Diversity and inclusion in SEO

If you work in SEO and have ever felt discouraged from applying for a job or sharing your thoughts in the office, it might be a feeling that has some rather deep roots. Many of those roots are buried firmly in a lack of representation, which is why it’s never been more important that we ensure every step is taken to bring greater visible diversity into our sector.

What’s representation like in SEO?

Moz recently performed a Diversity and Inclusion in SEO survey which found that, of the 326 SEOs who completed the survey, 231 (70%) of them were white. What is really encouraging, however, is that 203 of the SEOs surveyed identified as women, which is double the 109 who identified as men. This proves that SEO is an incredibly inclusive sector at least when it comes to gender. When it comes to race, however, there is still a bit of a mountain to climb.

The survey also found that 26% of respondents believe bias and discrimination are more prevalent in SEO than in other industries, though interestingly, many more people had a positive opinion of how their own companies were handling things. Indeed, both BIPOC and white SEOs felt more significantly more positively about their own companies than the industry as a whole.

Is it getting better?

Generally speaking, you’ll always find that you get more diversity in junior SEO roles and as you advance through the ranks in seniority, it becomes less visible. Is this because those in senior roles are less likely to promote and support people who don’t look like them? Quite possibly. There is definitely a greater public push towards diversity in the sector but if you are not seeing people who look like you at the conferences and in the office, it’s very difficult to have the confidence to put yourself out there.

Why should we care?

Simply put, your audience wants to see themselves in your content and know that you understand their needs. It’s also valuable to have more than one kind of voice in your site’s content. When it comes to ads, it’s the more relevant ads that go beyond tokenism that really have a bold impact on a brand’s profile and the same should be true of SEO.

There’s a fine balance to be found between diversity hiring for the sake of diversity hiring and ensuring you’re filling the ranks with a diverse staff that better represents the audience you’re trying to reach. Finding that balance is key.

Steps to promote diversity

Finally, here are a few steps you can be taking to help promote diversity in the SEO industry:

  • If you are used to being given opportunities to speak at regular industry events, why not give up your slot to someone whose voice might not otherwise be represented?
  • It can be daunting to turn up to a job interview if nobody there looks like you. If you’re in a position where you hire talent for SEO roles, ensure your hiring committee is made up of diverse individuals.
  • Companies that actively want to diversify should consider creating a diversity committee and starting grassroots initiatives that promote inclusion.
  • Use social media as a force for good by sharing stories of diverse individuals and stepping up to the plate when you notice any kind of discrimination.
  • Finally, sometimes all it takes it to just sit back and listen to what other people have to say.