Welcome to the new, female-led Tech SEO industry…
As a female-run business, we champion all the exceptional women of our industry. This is just one of the many reasons we wanted Areej AbuAli to take part in our Making Of A Marketer series.
Along with her admirable digital marketing career at Zoopla, where she has specialised in Technical SEO, Areej is the Founder of Women in Tech SEO (WTS). Let’s be honest, she’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of SEO! Most recently Areej announced the expansion of her popular WTS events, launching the first-ever full-day Technical SEO conference with a women-only speaker line-up and attendees. clockworkTalent are proud to be the recruitment partner to this event. Areej has featured on the world-famous BrightonSEO and MozCon stages so, it was only right I asked (begged) her to share her story with our readers!
Throughout this blog series, we’ve been tracking down accomplished digital marketing professionals from a variety of backgrounds to talk us through their career journeys with the aim of inspiring digital marketing jobs seekers, aspiring freelancers and the trailblazing entrepreneurs amongst you! Over to you, Areej…
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut! I was obsessed with everything related to space. I had print outs of each planet and my dad gave me a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time that I struggled to understand at the age of 7. My favourite novel was Sphere by Michael Crichton. I re-read it at least 30 times as a kid.
What and where was your very first job?
I did an internship with a local Fujitsu office during my bachelor’s degree back home in Egypt. It was a 2-week internship, I don’t remember too much of it except that myself and my co-interns had to pick up breakfast for the team every morning!
When and how did you first discover digital marketing?
I moved to the UK to do an MBA in Information Technology back in 2013. My MBA introduced me to the world of digital marketing; something I used to have very little knowledge of. During my studies, I did a few internships and charity-based work around digital marketing and that’s when I stumbled upon SEO. I started off in an agency-side content specialist role and one month in, I was switched to the Technical SEO team.
Share a mistake you made or an event you regret from your career:
I’ve lacked confidence in quite a few things which consistently made me stop and rethink whether I want to pursue certain opportunities. I graduated with a Computer Engineering degree, yet I’ve always been convinced that I’m a crappy programmer. I worked for people who told me things like ‘Do you need hand-holding?’ and ‘You’re not strategic enough’ that woke up the imposter syndrome in me. And I’ve constantly questioned whether I’m a good enough Tech SEO. These are all things I’m currently working on which I hope will improve with time but what I’ve learned the most is to not hold myself back and to not let others dictate my strengths and weakness.
Jumping in a time machine, what pearls of wisdom would you give your 18-year-old self?
It’s going to be okay! At 18, I was in my second year of university feeling lost and unsure what I wanted to do next. I was over-stressing about grades and the future. If I could go back in time, I would’ve relaxed a bit more and enjoyed being young.
What industry skill do you wish you’d learned sooner, and why?
Growing a network – I’ve only started speaking to people and building a community this year and it’s been so helpful. I feel like this is something I’ve missed out on in my first 5 years or so in the industry.
If you were to publish your autobiography in 20 years’ time, what would it be titled?
Don’t Stop Me Now!
What is the one thing you want to be remembered for from your career, and why?
Helping and supporting others! I was beginning to lose interest in SEO until I started the Women in Tech SEO community this year – it made me change my entire perspective about this industry and the work we do. By getting to know lots of women in our industry and discussing our challenges with one another, it’s motivated and inspired me to give more to this community.
Thank you to Areej for taking part in this series! It’s amazing to hear about the range of career journeys people have made into digital marketing and your memory of ‘falling into’ SEO isn’t at all uncommon! Thank you for also talking about how you’ve been dealing with imposter syndrome. Lots of brilliant women I’ve met in the industry this year have spoken about their struggle with it. I think it could begin to be quashed by us sharing our stories, worries and stresses with each other… which is exactly what you’re enabling us to do with your events!
Again, congratulations on the successful launch of the Women In Tech SEO Festival, keep up the industry-changing work!
We’re the proud recruitment partner of the March 2020 Women in Tech SEO Festival. It will be the first-ever full-day Technical SEO conference in the industry with a female-only speaker line-up and attendees! You can learn more about the organisation and secure a ticket HERE.
Keep an eye out for more in this MOAM series as I’ll be publishing new editions on a regular basis from inspiring digital marketing experts!
Could your career story encourage others to further their own digital marketing careers? Do you know someone whose story needs to be told? Get in touch with me, Emma on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you’re looking to explore the option of a career in digital marketing yourself, visit our contact page.