We’re here to champion 15 of the best, brightest. and fiercest women in SEO, and while this list is far from exhaustive, these are 15 female SEOs who inspire and educate us time after time.
Women in SEO have been a driving force in the community since its inception, so whether you’re a newbie in the field or racking up another decade of your career, this list is sure to intrigue and inspire.
We’re lifting the top 15 women in SEO to shine a light on their achievements and help balance the conversation. Each of these strong females has demonstrated success and determination in building both content and communities.
Take a look at how these SEO gurus have impacted a constantly evolving industry. Each individual brings a unique approach and background to their marketing career, providing tips and tricks for you to use to improve your SEO efforts in 2021 and beyond.
Hopefully, their stories will encourage you to support women in SEO, apply a few new SEO strategies yourself…or even pursue a career in SEO!
Ready to find your favorite new SEO expert? Let’s get started.
1. Marie Haynes: Google Algorithm Debunker
Looking to align your content with Google’s search standards? Dr. Marie Haynes is the expert for you.
Dr. Haynes has been a leader in SEO strategy since 2008 and developed her own methodology for improving site quality when it comes to search rankings. Her approach combines mastering Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines, Patents, and E-A-T metrics (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).
Extending her impact beyond her consulting firm’s client base, Dr. Hayes hosts a popular podcast, “Search News You Can Use” highlighting Google trends and changes like:
Changes to Featured Snippets
She also boosts the community of SEO influencers with weekly mentions and linking to other content producers in the industry.
Bringing in new and qualified traffic without spending hefty sums on pay-per-click is the dream goal in online marketing. And Daria Khmelnitskaya has mastered this craft and the tactics required to rank higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
SERP rankings can be critical in increasing organic traffic for web-based businesses and Daria Khmelnitskaya is known for her strategic approach to optimizing content for prime SERP positioning.
Exploring topics in personalization and user behavior, she stands out for her creative approach to nailing client content rankings. And with 67% of clicks attributed across the first five results in an organic search, this approach is critical.
Creative turned content coach extraordinaire Ann Handley knows a thing or two about marketing AND writing. Her journey shows just how far women – and entrepreneurs from all walks of life – can take their careers.
Handley was at the forefront of online marketing before digital marketing was considered to be its own industry. Her strong background in English literature and writing translated to roles where clear, concise messaging is key to motivating readers to take action.
She has applied her creative talents while founding companies including the well-known ClickZ, writing the bestseller “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content”, and spearheading the content strategy as CCO at MarketingProfs.
Handley now directs programs to teach other marketers how to design impactful content marketing.
Looking for an SEO role model that has conquered consultancy at hyper-local and worldwide levels? Look no further than Aleyda Solis.
Solis personalizes an SEO approach for every client focused on organic content and scalable growth. She shares her expertise on the global stage as a published author and keynote speaker.
She also provides resources to her social media followers as guides to help newcomers build their skillset and solid foundation in SEO. Solis also actively engages with Women in Tech SEO to mentor other women and support them on their career journey.
Amanda DiSilvestro embraces this mentality by combining freelance writing and marketing management for a dynamic career approach. She shows other women how there is no single way to style a career in SEO and marketing – follow the path that reflects your skills and creativity.
From Pinterest ads to working with influencers to leveraging web tools like IFTTT, DiSilvestro shares SEO guru expertise on how to diversify your content marketing and achieve results.
She also underscores the importance of developing thought leadership and content pieces that support marketing initiatives – and propels her own success in a crowded SEO market by doing the same for herself.
It is hard to believe that the first blog was created in 1994 as blogs are now core to content marketing approaches, but are only truly effective when done right. That’s where Ann Smarty comes in.
Ann Smarty is one of the women in SEO today who combines a blogging background with marketing expertise to help people collaborate on content and get more from their social media accounts.
The founder of MyBlogU, Smarty has created a community and marketplace for marketers to work with content experts and add SEO best practices for maximum results. By bringing professionals together, she helps people with complementary skills help and learn from each other while creating an effective copy.
And she doesn’t stop there – Smarty runs multiple social media networks for her personal and corporate brands.
She also serves as an excellent example of a woman who is not afraid to put herself out there – speaking at conferences, hosting web chats, and servings as a contributing writer for many news sites and blogs.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the SEO realm, you’ll know the name Joy Hawkins. If you are new to SEO – welcome, and allow us to introduce you!
Hawkins has been a key player in pay-per-click (PPC), organic search, and all things Google ads with local SEO history going back to 2006.
As a search engine marketing (SEM) expert, she combines strategies for PPC and SEO to help improve client rankings.
While many marketers approach SEM and SEO separately, a surprising 86% of experts say that they use data from their PPC campaigns to help them plan or recalibrate their SEO strategy.
Hawkins has also made a name for herself as a speaker in the Local SEO community – attending and presenting at almost every event multiple times over. She is an unabashed leader in the industry and in her faith and dedication to her family.
SEO is largely about finding creative solutions to specialized challenges facing client marketing plans. Carrie Hill brings an analytical approach and 15 years of experience to local search optimization for every client she works with.
If ever there was an area that can benefit from agile problem solving, it is small businesses with quick growth goals disproportionate to their conservative budgets. While the average marketing budget allows for 41% spend on SEO projects, not every business can afford these expenses.
Carrie Hill joined Joy Hawkins and several women in SEO at the Sterling Sky consulting firm, where she helps small brands work toward big business goals.
Prior, Carrie Hill put her entrepreneurial spirit to action by founding her own technical SEO consulting firm specializing in niche areas and maximizing returns with small budgets. Carrie Hill is also a foremost member of the local search community, speaking at countless conferences and working to help educate and advise professionals on a variety of web-based marketing tactics.
The team of SEO gurus at Moz is known for their industry-leading approach to search engine optimization made simple. Nearly any SEO-related search will turn up results tied back to their thought leadership content and experience.
Miriam Ellis is just one of the many experts contributing to the Moz community. With over 20 years of experience in local SEO strategy, her regular posts are cornerstone content for beginners and advanced SEO influencers alike.
Miriam Ellis has a knack for breaking down larger concepts into more actionable steps or tactics that can be applied in specific scenarios. Topics covering beginner’s guides, tips for success, and deep dives into critical areas for local Google rankings are just a few ways she shares her expertise.
She is also a wonderful example of a strong, confident woman and marketing professional, sharing her successes and opinions on Twitter and across her blog content.
What do SEO, fitness, and DJ music have in common? The answer: Lily Ray
This talented woman refuses to let one role define her or exclude her from pursuing other passions.
Lily Ray is an award-winning SEO specialist that works across industries and oversees teams of other professionals. Ray also conducts research, monitors trends, and looks for new ways to connect people with content.
A self-proclaimed “SEO by Day | DJ by Night”, Ray shows women in SEO everywhere that they can be more than their profession and define themselves however they want. Ray pursues and shares passions in music (as a DJ and a drummer) as well as fitness, wellness, and her vegan lifestyle.
If you ever think you don’t have what it takes to succeed with your goals (SEO or otherwise), consider Rae Hoffman’s story.
Rae Hoffman had the deck stacked against her from the start, growing up in foster care and unable to complete high school. Overcoming a myriad of challenges and managing difficulties as a mom to a handicapped child, she managed to establish herself as a successful entrepreneur.
Rae Hoffman’s resume is impressive: establishing agencies, winning industry awards, and consulting for brands and thought leaders. She is also a renowned contributor to over 20 industry blogs and speaks at international conferences.
While she no longer works in digital marketing, her career and example to others are simply inspirational. Hoffman openly shares her experiences, struggles, and stories so that other women in SEO (or any other field, for that matter) can feel motivated to keep working toward their own goals.
One way to learn a new skill is to go to the source. And Vanessa Fox wrote the book on Google Marketing.
Her book “Marketing in the Age of Google” has served as cornerstone content for marketers and SEO influencers since it was published in 2010. Vanessa Fox wrote her bestseller based on years of experience working at and developing for Google.
Vanessa Fox set out to establish SEO not just as a marketing effort but a holistic business undertaking that requires management and executive buy-in. At a time when SEO was relatively new and undervalued by businesses, she set the standards for how to integrate SEO into corporate strategy as a whole.
With a background like that, it makes sense that Fox has over 36,000 Twitter followers. She engages with the community on SEO topics from URL parameters to email testing.
Her latest venture, Keylime Toolbox, leverages technology for marketers to make the most of their data with forecasting and supplemental analytics.
When you truly love writing, you keep going back to it. And Lisa Barone has shown that her writing and journalism background is put to good use in her latest role as CMO.
Lisa Barone is honed in on telling a story with every project and every chance she can get. Even as she moved into leadership positions, she continues to write and manage newsletter content showing that you can carve out a niche for yourself even as your career takes off.
Now looking at the broader picture for her agency’s clients, she combines SEO know-how with critical marketing services across content and design.
Lisa blogs often about how to successfully venture into new areas like press releases and how macro events such as the COVID-19 pandemic affect how businesses need to approach their marketing.
How do you make data analytics interesting to others? You brand it ‘annielytics’ and show how exciting data insights can be for a business.
Annie Cushing brings her own brand of branding to the marketing scene with an emphasis on measuring, not just manufacturing, content marketing. After all, how do you know if all the time and effort you put into those campaigns is really worth your while?
She has also turned a successful career into one with entrepreneurship and authorship with her trademark straight talk. Annie mixes her insights with blog and video content to help take complex concepts down to manageable learning moments.
Last but not least, Julia Joyce is the leading voice when it comes to link building and analysis. Her firm, Link Fish Media, has provided these services for over 14 years.
Joyce offers a dual perspective on link building: accommodating industry standards while building with your niche in mind. Building effective backlinks requires a deep understanding of your brand and your buyer.
Julia has also taken to sharing her knowledge with others as a webinar series host and columnist for various online journals.
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Turning inspiration into action: Use our favorite female SEOs as role models
SEO is a vast industry with many ways individuals can have a broader impact.
Exploring the impact and innovation these 15 fierce females have added to the landscape is an inspiration to women, marketers, and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.
While women may be underrepresented by men in the SEO workforce, their influence is just as powerful. From SERP to analytics to content creation, there are many opportunities for women to revolutionize SEO and marketing as a whole. Whether you are new to marketing or a search engine optimization veteran, you can disrupt the conversation and direct trends by sharing your story and giving your ideas a voice just like these leaders have.
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