The SEO industry is rapidly changing. While SEO has long been male-dominated, many of the leading voices driving innovation and inspiring others within the industry are women. In honor of Women’s History Month and to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re excited to highlight 10 incredible women in SEO, web, and content marketing and their achievements, along with their efforts to support fellow women in the industry.
Who are the top women in SEO?
There is an endless list of women leaders in search worth highlighting, but—for this article—we sourced the following women from our first-ever Women in Search Honorees list, along with three exceptional leaders at Conductor who inspire us on a daily basis. Keep reading to learn about the innovative strategies they are implementing and their inspiring efforts to help #BreakTheBias related to gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
10 Women driving innovation in SEO
Aleyda Solís | International SEO Consultant & Founder at Orainti
Aleyda Solís is a well-known and experienced international SEO consultant, author, and speaker, with over 14+ years of SEO experience in European, American, and Latin-American companies. She is the founder of Orainti—a highly specialized boutique SEO agency—and has been a featured speaker at over 100 marketing conferences across 20 different countries, including Women in Tech SEO.
Aleyda was nominated and named an Honoree for our 2021 Women in Search awards thanks to her efforts to provide in-depth learning resources for the SEO community. As a contributing writer for leading industry news sites like Search Engine Land, Moz, and more, she is the SEO expert that other SEOs go to for help when they’re getting started or looking to expand their reach—especially for those looking to rank well in multilingual markets. Aleyda creates detailed SEO learning paths and resources to teach more people SEO from trusted resources.
In addition to these accomplishments, Aleyda was also named the European Search Personality of the Year in 2018, included in Forbes’ top 10 online marketing experts to follow in 2015, and named by Hubspot as one of the 59 Female Marketing and Growth Experts You Should be Following. It’s safe to say she’s one to watch when it comes to women shaping SEO in 2022 and beyond.
Andrea Barnhill | Co-Founder & Director of Ops at Socratik SEO Agency
Andrea Barnhill currently works as the Director of Ops at Socratik, an SEO agency, which she also co-founded. She earned a spot on this list and was named a 2021 Women in Search Honoree due to the incredible mentorship she provides to fellow women in SEO. Beyond her skills making search more accessible to women by leading with empathy, open communication, and championing work-life balance, she also gets results, period.
Andrea’s dedicated SEO efforts have led to impressive increases in organic website traffic for Socratik’s clients. For example, she helped increase Celebrity Cruise’s organic traffic by 198% through high-quality content marketing and rigorous backlinking campaigns. Another client—Skin Regimen—saw a 308% increase in traffic to their eCommerce site after partnering with Andrea and Socratik.
Andrea is a rising star in organic search who never loses sight of the importance of being human—no easy feat when the majority of SEO work is focused on outsmarting search engines.
Areej Abuali | Head of SEO at Papier and Founder of ‘Women in Tech SEO’
Areej Abuali works as an SEO consultant and the Head of SEO at Papier. Aside from the results she produces at Papier, Areej founded Women in Tech SEO, a global community created for women in the technical SEO field to discuss, share, and learn from one another. The mission of the community is to empower fellow women in a positive, inspiring, and beneficial way, along with helping build professional networks to accelerate careers for women in SEO. The group recently hosted their 2022 Women in Tech SEO Festival in London.
Thanks to her efforts to support gender, racial, and ethnic diversity within SEO, Areej was named an Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing Award Winner in 2020. She has also been a featured international speaker at SMX, MozCon, BrightonSEO, and LondonSEO, to name a few.
We’re excited to celebrate what will be a lengthy career in SEO for Areej, along with finding ways to support her efforts with Women in Tech SEO.
Kathryn Parsons | Chief Digital Operations Officer at MACH9 Digital
Currently working as the Chief Digital Operations Officer at MACH9 Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in highly regulated industries, Kathryn Parsons has over 20+ years of experience in the SEO industry. In her previous role, Kathyrn led a global roll-out of SEO across 64 markets in over 130+ search engine and language combinations, which is truly astounding for anyone knowledgeable in the complexities of international SEO.
Her nomination from a fellow search industry leader for our Women in Search awards noted the following, “Kathryn is about as effective as it gets when it comes to getting an organization to execute an SEO program at scale. Global SEO is incredibly difficult, and I’ve probably never seen somebody run a global program as well as Kathryn.”
Along with the technical expertise and business acumen she applies to SEO, Kathryn is an outspoken advocate for inclusion and diversity. She works to create more opportunities for women, LGBTQ+, and neurodiverse professionals. Kathryn has also been a featured speaker at SMX, Pubcon, and other leading industry events.
Lily Ray | Senior Director of SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital
Lily Ray serves as the Senior Director of SEO and Head of Organic Research Amsive Digital, where she has tripled the SEO team within the last three years. Lily is also considered by many to be a foremost expert in EAT.
What earned Lily a spot on this list is her willingness to share her SEO knowledge widely. She has been a featured speaker at a long list of notable industry events, including SMX, and was named one of the Female Search Marketers of the Year in 2017 by Search Engine Land. Lily continues to contribute high-quality insights to the SEO community through her speaking engagements and her active social media presence—providing an inspiring example of what women in search are capable of and helping spotlight the remarkable efforts of fellow women leaders in the industry.
Expect to see Lily’s sphere of influence expand in the coming years, thanks to her deep understanding of both the tactical and strategic sides of implementing SEO at businesses of all sizes.
Lindsay Boyajian Hagan | VP of Marketing at Conductor
One of the many inspiring women driving innovation at Conductor, Lindsay Boyajian Hagan works as the Vice President of Marketing. She is the founder of NYC’s Product Marketing Meetup group, an active speaker at leading industry events like C3 NYC, NYC’s Product Marketing Conference, and London’s Product Marketing Conference, and a regular contributor to leading industry publications like MarTechZone and Search Engine Journal.
Lindsay earned a spot on this list for her commitment to fostering an environment of accelerated growth within the Marketing department, along with her passion for mentoring women on her team to set them up for long-term professional success. Under her leadership, the marketing team at Conductor has more than doubled. She was also instrumental in rebuilding the demand generation strategy and led a massive site migration which resulted in a significant increase in organic traffic and conversions to Conductor’s website.
Along with mentoring the women on her team, Lindsay is an active member of the Women of Conductor Employee Resource Group. She credits her growth to the invaluable mentorship she has received from Selina Eizik, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Customer Officer at Conductor, and another inspiring woman featured in this list. We can’t wait to see what Lindsay accomplishes next and the leaders that emerge thanks to her dedicated mentorship.
Mary Palumbo | Director of SEO Success at Conductor
When it comes to tapping an internal expert at Conductor for SEO insights and forward-thinking strategies, Mary Palumbo is the go-to resource. Mary does it all as the Director of SEO Success at Conductor, pulling from over 14 years of SEO experience. From building out our LatAm team of SEO analysts to ensuring fellow team members can effectively leverage the expertise of these analysts by developing a dedicated ticketing system process and operating the entire Marketplace function for the business, she has been instrumental in finding the right balance between our customer services and product functionality.
Not only does Mary pursue excellence in her day-to-day SEO efforts for our customers but she also earned a spot on this list for her commitment to prioritizing gender diversity within the hiring process for her team.
Along with managing our LatAm analysts, Mary also manages a team of analysts in the U.S. and the U.K. who are just getting their start in SEO. She uses this opportunity to mentor and help develop the skills these team members will need to progress into senior roles within the organization. It’s safe to say Conductor wouldn’t be where it is today without Mary, and the same goes for many of our Conductors themselves. We can’t wait for the next pioneering SEO initiative she implements.
Selina Eizik | Chief Operating Officer/Chief Customer Officer at Conductor
As Chief Operating Officer/Chief Customer Officer, Selina Eizik oversees Conductor’s overall strategy, growth, operations, and the Customer Success organization. Her SEO industry experience is extensive. Prior to Conductor, Selina was the CEO of a leading search marketing agency where she was the driving force behind their patented algorithm to bring together paid and SEO insights.
At Conductor, Selina leads with authenticity with an eye for identifying and implementing innovative growth strategies while still prioritizing the best possible customer experience. Her in-depth understanding of the organic marketing and search landscape makes her an invaluable asset to the executive team.
Along with her SEO expertise, Selina is an outspoken advocate and mentor for fellow women in search. She serves as the executive sponsor for the Women of Conductor Employee Resource Group, whose main mission is to create an inclusive and inspiring environment for members to support their personal and professional growth. She is passionate about helping fellow women succeed in SEO, and her direct mentorship has produced some of the strongest women leaders in Conductor’s history. Selina will continue to be one of the major players in search for years to come, and we’re beyond grateful to have her on our team.
Susan Reichley Watanabe | Director of Digital Content Strategy at Johns Hopkins Medicine
Susan Reichley Watanabe is the Director of Digital Content Strategy at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where she has implemented a hugely successful data-driven approach to content creation and management.
Along with her Women in Search Honoree designation, Susan joins this list for the innovative data-driven content strategy she implemented related to Johns Hopkins’ COVID content. Her team’s SEO efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in John Hopkins being the top hospital system ranking for constantly evolving questions like “what is coronavirus” and “coronavirus diagnosis.” The content was instrumental in educating the public and providing a necessary public service during a crisis—underlining how impactful SEO can be when reacting to real-time search trends and news.
Susan is incredibly smart, insightful, and recognizes opportunity quickly when it comes to SEO. She is adept at meeting users where they are in the journey. Keep an eye out for the forward-thinking content marketing strategies she’ll generate in the future.
Valarie Bastek | VP of Digital Operations at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Valarie Bastek is a top SEO expert with over 15 years of experience. In her current role, Valarie serves as the Vice President of Digital Operations at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. She got her start at Wyndham as a Copywriter but quickly climbed the ranks and helped evangelize SEO within the organization, which led to the development of an SEO-focused team.
When it comes to her content marketing and SEO initiatives, Valarie’s approach is very much focused on quality over quantity. She relies on a data-driven approach to increase organic traffic and looks to engage with customers to the fullest extent possible throughout their journey.
Valarie’s hands-on, innovative approach to Wyndham’s day-to-day SEO strategy, along with the true leadership she exemplifies for her team, landed her a spot on this list. She has gained the respect of her team and many in the industry based on her thoughtful approach to leadership and her openness to source suggestions from her team and fellow SEO peers.
Full List of Conductor’s 2021 Women in Search Honorees
Women driving innovation and leading the latest SEO efforts is by no means limited to the list above. Here is a look at the full list of our 2021 Women in Search Honorees to connect with and learn from as well:
- Abigail Limbert | Digital Marketing Lead of SEO/SEM at Croda
- Anna Acerra | Digital Integration Director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Ashley Bentlage | Associate Digital Product Manager at BraunAbility
- Clair Marr | SEO Outreach Manager at Phillip Morris International
- Gina Zettl | Director of Paid Digital Marketing and SEO at HomeServe USA
- Jen Sprance Cusenza | Associate Director & Digital Experience Leader at EY
- Kristina Reidy | eCommerce Marketing Manager at BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Maggie Bellew | Executive Director & Head of Search at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Min Yang | Co-Founder & VP of Digital Marketing Services at iQuanti, Inc.
- Pulak Patel | SVP of Digital Marketing & Product Management at Citi
- Sandrine Desmares-Vaury | Global Search Manager at GSK
- Vanessa Carberry | Senior Global Search Marketing Manager at Dell
- Wendy Storey | SEO/SEM Manager at Sunbelt Rentals, Inc.
Women run the (SEO) world
These are just a few of the women shaping the SEO, content marketing, and organic marketing world and inspiring others to do the same. We’re honored to feature them as our 2021 Women in Search Honorees and look forward to supporting them and celebrating their future accomplishments.
Know a woman leader in search who has made an impact in their organization, on their team, or across the industry? Follow Conductor on Twitter to get alerted as soon as nominations open for our 2022 Women in Search awards.