Women in Tech SEO Conference 2019 – A Recap

524842ebb0d2279aa88f3c9f7f6e727b?s=50&d=mm&r=g Izabela Grochowska

From A/B testing and keyword research to keeping up with web developers and JavaScript issues, the Women in Tech SEO September 2019 event was brimming with insights and snippets of wisdom for the 60 female attendees to take back to the office with them.

London’s Women in Tech SEO is described as a ‘support network aimed for women in the technical SEO field, to discuss, share and learn from each other’, and I was very lucky to be a part of this exciting event, hosted by such knowledgeable SEO professionals.

At Candlefox, we’ve always been curious about new developments and ideas arising in this space. One of our core values centres around remaining open to new ways of doing things and continuously learning. Likewise, our young, vibrant culture puts growth opportunities for the whole team at the forefront; which is why events like this one and other initiatives are also always encouraged.

Read on for some insights from the event’s speakers!

Emily Potter – Analyst at Distilled

In her talk, Emily discussed the split-testing software, ODN (Optimization Delivery Network) created by Distilled, an award-winning digital marketing agency. The software acts as an independent platform, situated between website servers and website visitors, and seeks to remove a lot of the pressure both SEO experts and web developers feel amid rising backlogs.

The ODN, Emily explained, can implement numerous changes without the need for developer interventions and expert knowledge – for example:

  • Adding self-referencing canonicals
  • Fixing soft 404s
  • Adding title tags
  • Adding meta descriptions in bulk

Most importantly, however, the software has the ability to conduct large-scale A/B tests on carefully targeted pages. Using only 100 days of Google Analytics data, the ODN can predict, with great accuracy, what will rank and what both developers and SEO experts should be prioritising at any given time.

Paola Didone – SEO Analyst at Distilled – ‘The Many Faces of Keyword Research’

In her presentation, Paola urged the audience not to view keyword research as a one-size-fits-all kind of task. Though we may feel confident conducting keyword research and having it inform our optimisation efforts, Paola stressed that there are some questions we need to ask ourselves first:

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • Who are we trying to reach? (crucial)

What she says is even more important, however, is shifting our mindset from ‘what’ users are searching for, to ‘why’ they’re searching for it. We must always seek to understand the motivations lurking behind users’ queries. 

Paola pointed out that the content of the search query only makes up a small percentage of its importance; it is the intent we must aim to extract from said search queries in order to drive conversions. By failing to account for the motivations driving search queries relevant to their business, SEO experts stand to lose high-quality traffic and ultimately revenue.

Getting an idea of the intent behind relevant search queries can then inform the type of content we publish; the kind of title tags we opt for as well as our overall strategy.

Rachel Costello – Technical SEO & Content Manager at DeepCrawl – ‘The Future of Tech SEO’

In her talk, Rachel stated that the biggest challenge currently facing Tech SEO is the rift between SEO experts and web developers. She alluded to the new technologies developers keep creating and the struggle this presents to SEO experts who try to keep up, while trying to ensure Google crawlers keep up, too.

While new technologies bring with them exciting prospects, once implemented, they also require maintenance. This is not always something that SEO experts are able to do with their, often limited, knowledge of web technologies. Developers likewise commonly display poor knowledge of SEO and search, ultimately leading to fractured communication between the two.  

And though some may dismiss this rift as inevitable and universal petty office politics, its potential consequences can hardly be overstated. As pointed out by Rachel, SEO experts serve as the ‘middleman’ between web technologies and search engines and it is on them to ‘sell’ the fruits of the developers’ labour to Google and ultimately users. Poor communication between the two can be problematic for this reason especially.

One point of contention between SEO experts and developers is that of JavaScript (JS), a programming language enjoying increasing popularity amongst the developers. From adding complex animation to enhancing the user experience, the wealth of possibilities it offers means it’s becoming the go-to programming language for web developers.

JavaScript, warns Rachel, comes with its own set of issues, however. The most significant is that of crawlability. The programming language is known for making Google’s crawling process hard (or impossible, in some cases) and therefore potentially having an impact on how well sites rank.

As stated by Rachel, the JavaScript dilemma brings into sharp focus the need for better communication and more attempts being made by both SEO experts and developers to understand each other’s work in order to best serve the business and workplace relations.

All of the speakers at the Women in Tech SEO September event have breathed new life into old concepts and given us all some food for thought to carry into the work we do daily.

At Candlefox, we welcome every opportunity to stay ahead of SEO innovation, to make sure our products and services best meet the needs of our students and clients.

524842ebb0d2279aa88f3c9f7f6e727b?s=100&d=mm&r=g Izabela Grochowska

Izabela is a content writer and Digital Marketing Assistant; forever in awe of how the power of words and SEO can be harnessed to drive business results.

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