We are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Search Engine Land Award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing is Areej AbuAli, the founder of WomenInTechSEO.com.
For those aware of Areej’s contributions, it won’t come as a surprise that she received the overwhelming share of nominations for her work and leadership in founding, building and fostering the Women In Tech SEO community and for her advocacy in creating opportunities for women’s voices to be heard throughout the industry.
Areej founded Women In Tech SEO a little more than a year ago — we encourage you to read her anniversary blog post — with a mission to create a support network aimed for women in the Technical SEO field, to discuss, share and learn from one another. “The aim is to empower each other in a positive, inspiring and beneficial way, and to help build our network and accelerate our careers,” she says.
Women In Tech SEO’s impact on both individuals and the greater SEO community can be heard in every nomination for Areej. Here are just a few of the nominations in their own words:
“[Areej] has built a supportive community for women in the Tech SEO industry (also welcomes people who identify as female in any SEO role). There are well over 1,500 individuals in the Facebook group and there is also a Slack community,” said content writer and group member Rebekah Dunne.
“I hope everyone knows by now that Areej has grown her Women in SEO groups exponentially, but what you might not know if you’re not in the groups is how much she encourages the women in them. Her organizational approach to the Slack group in particular is impressive, as she makes sure each person is seen and encourages everyone to participate. Areej explicitly asks for racially diverse voices for speaking events, writing opportunities, and mentoring, passing up opportunities for herself to open them up for others (which is truly ‘diverse’ — not just asking the same speakers over and over again but getting new voices). Areej is admirable and works tirelessly and she should clearly be recognized,” said Lindsay Mineo, SEO specialist at The Nature Conservancy.
“Her work with women in tech SEO deserves recognition for giving women and BIPOC the opportunity to get credit for their work,” said Jonathan Berthold, VP Customer Acquisition at PathIQ.
“I don’t think anyone has done more to further the cause of diversity in SEO up to this point than Areej; not just with her TechSEOWomen initiative, but her support and spurring of similar initiatives across the industry, her championing of BIPOC, and other initiatives,” said Jessica Peck, Senior Analytics Consultant, CVS.
“Areej has been at the forefront of equality for anyone who identifies as a woman in SEO, particularly through founding Women in Technical SEO. She speaks up and supports all types of diversity in SEO, and I know she will always continue to do so. She does this through the kindness of her own heart, and with meaning, rather than through empty, shallow and self-promoting performative allyship,” said SEO consultant Natalie Arney.
“Her work for both WomenInTechSEO & the wider industry is incredible. She works tirelessly to help those around her and remains one of the most genuine people,” said Matt Williamson, SEO manager at Blue Array.
In addition to the Facebook and Slack groups, the group hosts events and meetups. The website features interviews with female search marketers and leaders and, with the aim of equalizing female representation in event speaker lineups, an open Community Speakers Hub for event organizers to find talented female marketers who can speak on a range of search marketing topics, including analytics, content, digital PR, local SEO, tech SEO and PPC. More than 120 speaker profiles were created within the first 48 hours of the hub’s launch in May, said Areej.
Based in the UK, Areej is a deeply experienced SEO and data analyst and is currently SEO Manager at Zoopla where she focuses on technical and on-site SEO.
You can find Areej on Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow Women In Tech SEO on Twitter and if you are looking for a community for women in the Technical SEO (digital marketing) field, to discuss, share and learn from each other, request to join the Women In Tech SEO Facebook group or the Slack channel.
Congratulations, Areej. The community you have brought together and your advocacy and values have made a substantive impact for individual women in their careers as well as on the industry as a whole — in just one year. We can’t wait to see that impact multiply exponentially in the years ahead.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.