This International Women’s Day, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind.
Why? Well, women are expected to make up 47.2% of the workforce by 2024.
Yet even still, the gender pay gap still has a long way to go. Women’s wages were only 82.6% of the average man’s as of Q1 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
International Women’s Day focuses on a specific message each year, and this time it’s #BreakTheBias.
Employers cannot rely on their teams to naturally promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on their own.
It’s up to each and every one of us, from the front lines to leadership, to actively call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping where and when we see it.
What else can you do to nurture an inclusive culture in your organization – especially if it hasn’t been an area of focus before?
And how can you, as a woman in the industry, combat bias in their working relationships and situations?
These women in SEO and marketing have some tips to share with you.
Some are from the recent ‘Showstopping SEO: Women Making Waves‘ panel talk I attended, while others were shared with SEJ by email.
I hope each one inspires you to find creative ways to break the bias when you see it – and to recognize it more often as it happens.
Know The Value Of Your Skills
Julie Adams, Affiliate SEO
“Sometimes women are used as a buffer in the industry or in meetings.
Sometimes women are seen as the note-takers or a body double without providing any value to a conversation.
I busted my butt for 5-6 years learning SEO at an agency, managing 80-90 clients. Affiliate marketing was my way of making money without having to deal with clients.
I’m able to make money based on my skills and not my skills at keeping clients.
You have to exude confidence.”
You Don’t Want The Clients You’ll Lose By Getting Paid Fairly
Bibi Raven, Bibibuzz
Do you get nervous about asking for an increase or a rate you worry may scare off a prospective client?
“When showcasing your work to potential clients, try to be as transparent as possible. Show them, ‘This is how I work, this is what you’re getting, and manage expectations from there’.
I keep everything on my website so potential clients know what to expect. From there, I send them a questionnaire to see if they’d be a good fit.
You determine what you think you’re worth, then double it.
People sometimes see raising rates as a life or death situation. Surprisingly, if you raise your rate, you get better clients.”
Know Your Non-Negotiables
Cassandra Le, The Quirky Pineapple Studio
“Removing gender is a great start to inclusiveness when you’re writing. Refer to people as people.
With the way the world is currently moving, it’s better to be inclusive. There are a lot of people who identify with different genders, are more in tune with their identity.
The more inclusive you are, the wider the audience you can reach.
If you are a freelancer, sometimes your values don’t match your clients’ ideology or language. So think about what your non-negotiables are.
Sometimes, there are values that can be negotiated or flexible based on the situation.
Sometimes, it’s best to end a relationship with a client if they breach your non-negotiables.”
Get Used To Women In SEO Taking Space
Marie Ysais, Rule Your Rankings
“To be successful in SEO, being consistent is key.
Stubbornness is another quality to have. You can’t give up and have to want to keep going, no matter what.
Having a support system is so beneficial in this industry because you have a safe group of people to talk to, who you know will have your back.
Sometimes clients feel they know more than you do, yet they hire you. If I can’t run the show because they’re getting in their own way, I part ways with them immediately.
We need to speak up and be ourselves. Let’s get used to women in these positions and taking up space.”
Speak Up & Share Your Expertise
Kayle Larkin, Marketing Analytics Consultant
“I used a male pseudonym earlier in my career. I was a young woman in the space and it was challenging.
I also hid behind my agency name. When I started my own business, I didn’t want to be the face of the business.
The people I work with now want to work with me because of my skills. My alter-ego at the beginning of my own business was not respected as much as I am today.
Sometimes, what you think you’re getting out of doing actually provides the opposite effect.
Don’t be the note-taker. Be the speaker.
You’re going to be shaky, your heart will be pounding, but the more you speak up and show your expertise, the more people start to trust you and stop questioning everything you have to say.”
Challenge Your Own Biases – We All Have Them
Chiara D’Ambra, Clearpier
“Having gender balance and a diverse workforce is important, because the more diverse the group is, the more wisdom it contains.
Everyone has assumptions and biases, it is human nature. Unfortunately, they are not healthy and helpful.
That’s why awareness is so important.
Whenever I get caught in a bias, I try to switch perspectives and have a rational view of things.
Whenever someone is having a bias about me, I’m trying to not take it personally.”
Own Your Mistakes & Actively Move Your Career Forward
Alina Dobrzinsky, Spyke Media GmbH
“If you stand behind your work with passion and creativity you can achieve anything. Always follow your goals.
When we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses we can adapt better to different circumstances and positions.
We can only fully exploit our potential if we dare and aren’t afraid to take on responsibility.
Every woman should actively influence her career instead of waiting for others to do so. We do not have to be perfect as long as we do our best.
Don’t let setbacks or bad decisions lower your self-esteem. Everyone makes mistakes, including men.
Stand by your decisions and show passion for the job.
Be self-confident and open to learning new things, because, to continue to be successful in marketing, you should consider that technical understanding is increasingly required.
Always create an overview and stay ‘on top of things,’ and don’t be afraid of confrontation.”
Find Your Mentors
Iuliana Popa, Ads and More
“If you want a career in the tech industry, start as soon as possible. Be flexible and do the best you can.
Chase your idea no matter what and seek advice from people who started something similar or from those who achieved what you want to achieve.
And always remember nothing is perfect and you should not be too: problems happen, good things too.
Having someone who knows tech on your side is always a clever idea: it can be a tech person you hire, a good tech solution, or a tech advisor.
This is the industry of the present and because of that, it is very volatile.”
Go Where Your Talents Are Appreciated
Oleksandra Gipsh, Apptrust
I believe the best advice I could have given to my younger self is – don’t be afraid to speak up.
So often, our fears of being judged or misunderstood stop us from contributing with our opinion. I think this advice comes along with ‘don’t doubt yourself,’ as well.
All ideas are valuable and all ideas are worth hearing – and if your work environment doesn’t appreciate your input – you probably are in the wrong place.
I am happy & proud to be working in an environment where ideas are welcome – processes are there to be changed and developed.
My source of energy at work is people.
Seeing our team succeed, seeing our interns growing professionally – is what gives me joy at work.
I believe the main priority for me was building a true team and I love seeing how people connect and create true bonds at work.
Shatter Your Own Glass Ceiling
Yogeeta Chainani, Swaarm
“Confidence and self-trust are key qualities that I would attribute to success in any industry.
Women can be held back for a variety of reasons, including a lack of recognition and trust from colleagues and peers – but also by their self-doubt.
My most important piece of advice to them would be to shatter the glass ceiling of social norms and mindsets and to flaunt their self-assurance.
No one else will believe in them if they do not believe in themselves.
Thank you to each of the above women for their participation in this campaign and advocacy for DEI in the workplace!
We have a lot more work to do together.
IWD 2022 organizers ask that women do the following this year:
“Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.”
You can learn more about IWD-approved charities, fundraising activities, and cause-related marketing on the official website.
Featured image: Shutterstock/Southworks
How To Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.
And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.
For example, if you’re looking to book a flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, Google can now show you options in rich snippets on search results pages.
Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.
If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.
In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.
What Is Structured Data?
As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.
For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.
Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.
Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.
Why Is Structured Data Important?
There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.
For one thing, it makes navigation easier for both search engine crawlers and human users.
This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.
This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.
In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.
With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.
Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.
What Is Structured Data Used For?
Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.
In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.
If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.
In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.
His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.
Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:
Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.
As a business, you can use knowledge panels to give users at-a-glance information about your brand name, logo, and phone number, among other things.
Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.
For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.
Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.
Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.
Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels:
- Educational Course.
For example, you could use them to provide information about a line of products, included features or services offered.
But, before you go inserting structured snippets into your webpages willy-nilly, you should know these are subject to standard Google Ads policies and must meet a number of requirements, a full list of which can be found here.
Getting Started With Structured Data
By now you should see the benefits structured data can offer, so let’s look at how to add it to your website.
The simplest way to add structured data to your webpage is by using Google’s Data Highlighter tool.
To use this, simply open the tool and highlight data like name, date, location, etc. with your mouse.
Google will note this information the next time it crawls your site and present the data in rich snippets on search results pages.
You can also manually markup elements on HTML webpages. Sound intimidating? It’s not. You just have to have a small working knowledge of coding.
For your convenience, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Click the “Website” tab.
- Select the type of page you’re marking up (e.g., job postings, restaurants, Q&A page, local businesses, etc.)
- Enter the URL of an existing page or raw page HTML.
- Click “Start Tagging.”
- Highlight the parts of the page you want to be included in rich snippets and identify them in the dropdown that appears.
- Fill in the required information. For an event, this includes the event name, location, and date.
- After you have finished tagging, click the “Create HTML” button and choose an output format. JSON-LD is Google’s preferred format, though you can also choose Microdata.
- Copy the code or download it. If you are using JSON-LD, paste the generated code into the body of the existing page. If you choose Microdata, replace your page with the generated HTML.
Some other things to note:
- To test the generated code, copy and paste it into the Rich Result test, which will show you any missing fields you need to fill in.
- You can have multiple items on one page, but Google recommends that they are all the same type, e.g., all movies or all job postings.
- All pages you want to display rich snippets for should be available to the public and not hidden behind login screens.
- It may take a few weeks for Google to crawl your new page, but once it does it can be shown in rich snippets.
Is Structured Data A Ranking Signal?
Now for the $10,000 question: Will structured data markup help your site appear higher in search rankings?
In a deep dive into the topic, Search Engine Journal found that while it offers many benefits, there is no direct evidence schema markup is used by Google to determine search ranking.
That said, because it helps search engines more easily understand the content of your website, it can help you show up in relevant queries you may have been excluded from in the past.
Traffic is always the name of the game in digital marketing. And leveraging structured data on your website is a great way to help attract visitors.
Not only does it enhance the appearance of your content in search results, but it can help your site get indexed faster.
Rich results (particularly positive product reviews) can also significantly improve your click-through rate and average time on the page.
If your page is used in a featured snippet, it will show at the top of SERPs.
In addition to the increase in visibility that provides, featured snippets are used to answer voice search queries. That means you’ll be the only result for anyone who uses Siri or Alexa for a query.
The final reason you should use structured data on your website is that it gives you more control over your information.
You determine how Google understands your brand and allows you to control how your information is defined.
Structured data is a useful tool in your toolbox. It doesn’t work for every site and every type of content, but if you’re in a field where it is useful, it’s something you need to be using.
Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock
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