Women in Tech SEO December 2019

Women in Tech SEO December 2019

ROAST • 16/12/2019

Women In Tech SEO was started in May 2019 by Areej AbuAli to be “a support network… for women in the Technical SEO field to discuss, share, and learn from each other.” You can learn more about Areej’s brilliant work on the WITS website or Twitter.

Having been happy attendees since summer (read our write ups for October, September, and August),  we were pleased to return the favour by hosting the last instalment of Women in Tech SEO this year at the TIPi Group offices. Cue the hot chocolate and mulled wine!

It was great to see both familiar and new faces arriving at the door, with ample time for refreshments and catch ups before the first of the speakers began. This month, we were fortunate enough to receive wisdom from the fantastic Faye Watt, Alina Ghost, and our very own Paige Hobart. Without further ado, the talks…


  1. Paige Hobart – Redefining the SEO Landscape
  2. Faye White – Website Performance
  3. Alina Ghost – Why Start Your Own Site


Paige Hobart – SEO Team Director

@WeAreROAST  @PaigeHobart

First up was Paige. Paige is the crowning queen of the ROAST website, claiming authorship of our most visited content – her ever in-demand SERP Features Glossary! For anyone who may have missed her at Brighton SEO, here was a chance to go on a deep dive into SERP structure.



Redefining the SEO Landscape


There are 39 different SERP features in the UK right now (see full glossary here).

Why should you care?


Credit: @izzionfire

  • Keyword intent is more important than ever
    • Avoid FAQ rich snippet if dependent on informational traffic
    • If your competitor uses it though, they’ve ruined it for everybody
  • Almost half of the pixels on p1 can be taken up by SERP features on a standard fashion result
  • SERP features vary a huge amount (you can see all vertical variances in our whitepaper: http://bit.ly/search-landscape )
  • See Paige’s full deck here: http://bit.ly/serp-slides


Faye Watt – SEO Manager at Seeker


Faye is SEO Manager at Seeker Digital and organiser of Bristol SEO meetup. She travelled up to London to talk to us about Site Performance. It was a great talk and we’ve compiled some favourite tidbits below. For more discussion around Faye’s presentation, take a look at her Twitter.

Website Performance


Site performance is incredibly important to users. How often have you angrily exited a webpage that is refusing to paint?

Slow speed doesn’t just cost your users their sanity. Faye firstly points out the real cost to your users – to all those on low data plans, a heavy site is eating up their internet access budget.

Slow speed also has a dramatic cost for your bottom line – “a 1 second delay can cause a 7% reduction in conversions”. Furthermore, “79% of users who are unhappy with your performance say they’re less likely to buy again.” It’s worth bearing this in mind when pitching the value of SEO to businesses. So, how exactly can site performance be improved?

  1. Optimise images
    1. Serve scaled images
    2. Compress images
  2. Remove unnecessary files wherever possible – do you need social share buttons on every page?
  3. Cache wisely – use cache control to your advantage! Third time isn’t usually the charm when loading the same resources again.
  4. Clean up redirects – yes, it involves work going in and changing the original links. But the time taken for the server to respond and the client to re-request the new page adds up. The only redirects on your site should be technically necessary.
  5. JavaScript – defer your JS so that it is parsed and rendered after the main page content has loaded
  6. Combine CSS and JS files
  7. Serve resources from a consistent URL


Alina Ghost – SEO Team Lead at Amara


Alina has worked client-side for several large household names and currently heads up the SEO team at Amara. One constant throughout her career has been the learnings gained from her own website projects, giving her the skills to move into new roles and responsibilities. She runs not one but two blogs – SEO with Mrs Ghost and The Fairytale Pretty Picture, and comes to the meetup with the question:


Why Start Your Own Site?


Experience.  Confidence.

We think Alina is the big sister or best friend every woman in tech needs. She is a passionate advocate for building your public brand and having your own website, to gain experience and develop confidence. For Alina, starting a blog or other passion project opens up an invaluable space in which to experiment and make mistakes. You can deal with problems in a safe environment while strengthening your voice and direction.

The hiccups in your own project are an opportunity to deepen your understanding of vital topics, from choosing a hosting platform to site security. It’s a chance to develop your own contingency plans and improvement strategies so that by the time an issue arises for a client, you’re adept at handling it.

Confidence doesn’t just translate to pulling off tricky SEO manoeuvres. It’s often the make-or-break factor at the stages before: trusting the legitimacy of your solution to a challenge, then persuading others to, as well. Alina showed us that developing your confidence can be the next project your career needs.


Top tips:

  • Take every opportunity – offer to create websites for friends or family
  • Forge ahead without fear of judgment, particularly from the SEO community. Your site’s SEO doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Choose something that interests you and get started!


And that’s all for 2019!

Huge thanks as always to Areej for organising Women in Tech SEO. It really is an inspiring event where we both learn a huge amount and feel very at home. See you in January!

You can register for the next Women in Tech SEO here; it’ll be in London on January 9th 2020.


Read about previous Women in Tech SEO meetups