It’s no secret that the SEO industry lacks diversity. You see it in the “Whiteness” of speaker lineups and authorship for top SEO blogs. But suspicion is not enough. We wanted to collect and analyse data to see the real picture of the color gap in SEO authorship.
Because authorship on respected industry publications like Semrush, Wix, SEJ and SEL often leads to more opportunities to sign high-paying clients, speak on big stages, get more social media followers and become a thought leader.
To get a sense of the diversity gap in the industry, we have conducted an analysis using data scraped from all the articles written for the top SEO publications in 2022.
This analysis was conducted to shed light on the current race gap in the SEO industry and draw data-backed insights to confirm it.
The dataset contains information on 2,141 articles written by 453 authors in 2022 from the following top SEO Publications:
The information from these articles scraped includes:
I used Screaming Frog platform to scrape data from the above-mentioned SEO blogs to build the dataset. Then, I manually searched and reviewed each profile on LinkedIn to identify White and BIPOC authors.
The following insights were obtained from the dataset
In 2022, Moz published 154 articles. 71 White authors wrote 129 articles, and 13 BIPOC authors wrote 25 articles.
Oncrawl published 55 articles in 2022. 24 White Authors wrote 32 articles, and 13 BIPOC authors wrote 23 articles.
Wix published 50 articles in 2022. 14 White authors wrote 21 articles, and 12 BIPOC authors wrote 29 articles.
Semrush published 161 articles in 2022. 38 White authors wrote 140 articles, and 6 BIPOC authors wrote 21 articles.
Search Engine Journal published 951 articles in 2022. 108 White authors wrote 653 articles, and 30 BIPOC authors wrote 108 articles.
Search Engine Watch published 53 in 2022. 24 White authors wrote nine articles, and 7 BIPOC authors wrote nine articles.
Search Engine Land published 521 articles in 2022. 69 White authors wrote 447 articles, and 14 BIPOC authors wrote 74 articles.
Ahrefs published 196 articles in 2022. 14 White authors wrote 130 articles, and 9 BIPOC authors wrote 66 articles.
We recognize that this is one of the reasons why there aren’t many BIPOC SEOs writing for these publications. To understand the reasons, we reached out to community members, and these were the responses we got:
“I’ve pitched to write for some of these publications but I never received any response. This was pretty discouraging. I’d like some form of feedback. It makes you feel discouraged; like you don’t have anything valuable to contribute.” – John Iwuozor
“I haven’t pitched to write for big SEO publications because I do not feel ready yet. I feel I still have to keep working on my portfolio pieces.” – Raphael Adesegun
The insight from this data is disappointing but not unexpected. Here are a few actionable steps SEO publications (and you) can take to become more inclusive:
Many BIPOC writers are skilled but haven’t been given the opportunity to showcase their work. Here are communities where you can find BIPOC authors in the SEO industry:
Women in Tech SEO
Sisters in SEO
Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries
Treford Content Marketing Community
Not sure how to connect with the founders of these organizations? A bit of Google search will reveal this information. Connect with them and find out how to hire BIPOC writers from their community.
Ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse for the lack of diversity in the industry. I’ve heard the excuse of “Color should not matter when creating content”. But the truth is that, Color matters.
I want representation when I go on Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Land to read content. I want to see authors who look like me because it motivates me to believe that if I pitch, I could get accepted. If I already struggle with imposter syndrome, seeing only White authors in industry publications discourages me further not to pitch to these publications.
I encourage you to carry out research on how to implement diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Attend conferences, join communities and follow BIPOC professionals in this space. There are tons of books and online resources that could help you understand racial bias and how to combat it.
Even if these issues don’t affect you, it is important for people of color to have allies who speak up when something isn’t right. It’s not enough to complain in the shadows as it doesn’t have any impact. I’m pleading with influencers and everyone who has a platform to use their platform to advocate for BIPOC marketers. If you see an event lineup with only White speakers, say something. If you see a site that doesn’t have any visible diversity, speak up.
Silence embodies racism and it’s only when we have public conversations about this problem that impactful action happens.
Companies can create a program where they spotlight BIPOC SEOs as authors and invite them to contribute content to their blog. You can also donate or fund programs for BIPOC communities to keep doing the meaningful work that empowers minority communities.
At the FCDC, we’ll be delighted to partner with leading SEO publications to create a program where our community members (1,670 at last count) can pitch, receive feedback to improve their pitch and work with editors to get their work published on top publications.
It’s not enough to say your pitch isn’t good enough. A partnership like we’re proposing requires you to go the extra mile and provide feedback to improve the pitch so your publication becomes more diverse.
For quality, we can screen writers whose talent are not up to snuff and only allow pitches from community members whose work will be worthy of your blog. We also encourage SEO publications to pay writers for their work because visibility and exposure do not cover living expenses anywhere in the world.
Semrush published the most articles by White authors followed closely by Search Engine Land and Moz. Wix published the most articles by BIPOC authors followed by oncrawl and Search Engine Journal.
The data also shows that Semrush platformed the highest number of White authors (83.6%) and the least number of BIPOC authors (13.36%). Meanwhile, Wix platformed the most BIPOC authors (46.15%) followed by Ahrefs (39.13%).
Now, Wix platforming the highest number of BIPOC authors is no accident. This is what happens when you have a diverse team making decisions, so shoutout to George Nguyen, the Director of SEO Editorial at Wix for doing such an incredible job.
The purpose of this report is not to shame any publication but to show the wide gap in SEO authorship. We’ve made giant strides in recent years to make the industry more diverse, but more work needs to be done.
It has to be visible if it’s going to have any real impact. I hope everyone who reads this report reflects on what they can do to provide opportunities for BIPOC talent who deserve a chance in the spotlight but can’t seem to catch a break.
Happy Black History Month to everyone who celebrates!
I want to thank Lidia Infante for her help in collecting and analysing the data. Please follow her on Linkedin.
Passionate about content and diversity, Jadesola is a content writer. In her free time, with a cup of coffee in hand, she binges on reality shows.
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