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International Women’s Day is the ultimate day to uplift the women in your life and, if you identify as female yourself, to feel enveloped in love, kindness, and shared feminine strength. There is categorically no better place to celebrate International Women’s Day than at Women in Tech SEO Fest.  

This year, WTSFest24 was held at a beautiful venue in central London, and from the minute the doors opened, women from the SEO industry poured in eager, excited, and with their hearts and minds open.  

It was one of the highlights of my career so far: to witness so many incredible women (in an industry where women make up less than 25% of C-suite roles but more than 50% of the overall gender split1) coming together as one to support one another. I spoke to in-house SEO managers, Technical Leads of major agencies, and founders and CEOs, all of them brimming with knowledge, experience, and excitement to hear the talks from the incredible line-up. 


How to reunite SEO and PPC 

First up was Grace Frohlich, SEO Consultant at Brainlabs, who started us on the Analyse track of the conference and spoke so sincerely about how to reunite SEO and PPC. The two long-lost twins of the marketing world, she gave some incredible advice about how these two channels can (and should) be working more closely together to drive sustainable growth over time.  

Her five-step process gave me some real galaxy brain moments – sharing high-performing keywords, most viewed page optimisations, and Google Ads data between the teams being a top one – and also some ‘how did I not see that before?!’ moments too. Of course, we should be sharing roadmaps and reporting the benefits of cross-channel holistic search approaches! And the very clever Parent Trap analogy about long lost twins coming together to unite their joint powers was always going to go down well in a room mostly full of millennials.  


How to create a video-centric e-commerce strategy 

Stevy Liakopoulou, SEO Specialist at Search Magic, was up next and blew away the audience with slide after slide of insightful stats on how to create a video-centric e-commerce strategy (and why it’s important too!). According to Stevy, 87% of marketers say that video has directly increased the sales of their product or services, and product videos have been shown to directly increase conversion rates and average order value – so how can you achieve this yourself?  

Well, Stevy had plenty of helpful tips for us, including utilising user-generated content (UGC) for new products, using video for products that are visually appealing or complex, and always making sure you include closed captions, because most users don’t want to listen to sound, but want the information you’re sharing.  

My favourite stat was that 26% of all SERP results include a video thumbnail result, which was a great takeaway, especially because video can often convey information more often than written content (which hurt my little content-loving heart a little to hear, but you’ve got to get the video script from somewhere!).  


Linking technical fixes to performance milestones

Rasida Begum, Organic Strategy Director (who by the way had the best hair of anyone at the entire conference, incredible blow-dry, and was delightful to speak to), had everyone scrambling for the camera app on their phones to get pictures of all of her slides – this woman is a technical SEO genius! This was a really practical talk about how to take factors like click-through rate, search volume, and traffic and turn them into legitimate revenue projections that you can share with stakeholders and clients.  

Myself and Chloe on our SEO team have already been playing around with the online calculator that she shared – which you can find in her LinkedIn post, give it a like! – and it has really changed the game for us. As Rasida mentioned in her talk, 50% of brands said that return on investment (ROI) stopped their projects moving forward, so being able to prove the financial worth of your SEO and content projects is vital.  


The future of e-commerce 

Emma Russell, Founder of Oxford Comma Digital, led us into the next stream of talks called Advance, with another topic that is very relevant right now – what exactly is going to happen to e-commerce with the way the world is right now? Now don’t worry, Emma is hilarious and brilliant so we didn’t get too despondent thinking about the current state of the UK economy, but we did get very real about the facts of e-commerce.  

Emma informed us that people are still buying things, but they’re opting to spend a lot less (apart from the rich people, they’re spending a lot more than before!) and commerce SEO journeys are becoming much more varied and complex than they used to be. People are purchasing with much more intent now than they used to – so the focus should be much more on local keywords, product reviews with UGC (thanks Stevy), and ensuring that landing page copy acts as a conduit for buyers.  

Emma gave us three things to bear in mind –  

  1. Watch out for over-categorisation 
  1. Make product comparisons easier 
  1. Properly divulge your eco-friendliness – it’s very important to consumers. 


Bias in AI

The topic of AI always sends a shudder down the backs of content writers and creatives, but Joyann Boyce, Founder of Included AI, was definitely here to change our minds for the better. Her talk explored the concept of inclusivity bias in AI, particularly with content and design AI tools, and how you can use AI positively to ensure that your marketing is inclusive.  

From strategy to copy and visuals, you should be wary of the inherent biases that AI might have – having been created and shaped by people all around the world, there are different preferences that AI will show, and you need to work hard to make sure that the marketing you have on-site and use in your socials represents the diversity of your target audience.  

A standout moment for me was when Joyann showed an AI-generated image from the prompt ‘SEO expert’ and it generated an image of a white man working on a computer – the scoffs from the all-female audience of SEO specialists were loud! Joyann had to include further prompts such as ‘female SEO Director’ or ‘black SEO Lead’ in order for it to generate images that showed something similar – very interesting…. The overall takeaway was to use AI with a lot of caution!  

 H2 – Where’s your <head> at? 

Sophie Gibson, Technical SEO Director at StudioHawk, started the next stream, Innovate, by coming out swinging with the most insightful technical talk on an aspect of SEO that I’m not familiar with at all! But I’m pretty sure myself and most of the audience sat with our mouths open while Sophie made a very complex topic easy to grasp. The topic was around how to ensure the <head> of your HTML is optimised to perform at its best for your site, and just to make sure I don’t botch it entirely, here’s the featured snippet from Google on what the <head> is:

Definition and Usage. The <head> element is a container for metadata (data about data) and is placed between the <html> tag and the <body> tag. Metadata is data about the HTML document. Metadata is not displayed. Metadata typically defines the document title, character set, styles, scripts, and other meta information.2 

My favourite slides were around how Google builds its search index, and how you can utilise this knowledge to improve your HTML. It was also just very interesting to get a look through a brief window into a side of SEO that I’ve not seen before, and I’m definitely looking forward to learning more.  


Technical SEO for improved accessibility 

Billie Geena Hyde, SEO Consultant and Founder of Uptake Agency and owner of fantastic dungarees, really brought us back to basics with her talk, reminding all of us how fundamental best practice is when we’re conducting SEO and Content audits. How often do you consider disabled users when you’re looking at your UX? Well, it transpires that 96% of the world’s top 1 million websites are not accessible to everyone!  

Billie went on to inform us that 15.8% of the UK’s internet population has a disability, so why are we not ensuring that our websites are optimised for these users too? Well, Billie gave us about 1 million tips on how to tackle accessibility issues with a website, and the top ones that have stuck in my mind include: 

  • Are your header, body, and footer easily defined for screen readers? 
  • Is your page content still navigable at 200% zoom? 
  • Are your links descriptive and clearly distinguished from the text? 
  • Are your background and text colours dyslexia friendly? 

Billie was also very helpful and gave a list of tools you can use to implement some of these accessibility changes, including Sitebulb, axe DevTools, and this Colour Contrast Analyser 


The future of user-centric search experiences 

The final talk that I was able to attend was by the energetic and wildly clever Veruska Anconitano, a multilingual SEO and Globalisation Consultant, on ‘the untapped potential of implicit search intent’. I loved hearing about Veruska’s experiences working with different companies trying to crack international markets and failing to grasp that sociocultural and sociolinguistic differences were getting in the way of them being able to make progress.  

With roughly 7,000 languages spoken around the world, there is a lot of room for marketers to miss the mark on both the structure and the culture of the people who speak it! Veruska spoke about the now confirmed Sapir Whorf hypothesis that “Differences in language structures cause people to view the world differently” and how keeping this at the forefront of your strategies when focusing on search intent can help you find exactly the right keyword structure to find your audiences.  

After all, context is fundamental to understanding why people search for different terms and phrases – for example, some languages attribute masculine or feminine qualities to objects, therefore affecting how they perceive different products. I honestly could have listened to Veruska talk for hours about the science behind sociolinguistics and how it shapes search intent, but unfortunately, her slot was only 15 minutes (although I’m sure that if you add her on LinkedIn you will find loads more great insights from her!). 

Overall, the conference was just an incredible opportunity to hear from some of the talented, experienced women in the SEO industry and to meet other fledgling strategists and executives like me who were awed and delighted to be in such an inviting and empowering space. Areej Abu Ali has gone beyond creating a conference for women – ultimately, she has created a community, a safe space, and a spectacular platform for female SEOs to be heard, valued, and appreciated for their contributions to the sector.  

You’ll definitely catch the entire female c3 Organic team heading down to WTSFest next year to join forces for International Women’s Day in 2025!