Areej Abuali is the head of SEO at Papier and the founder of Women in Tech SEO.
Areej is an amazing teacher and has spoken at MozCon, BrightonSEO, and Blue Array’s LondonSEOMeetup.
With over 6+ years of blended experience in digital marketing, technical SEO, data analysis, account management, and web analytics, Areej has led the search teams of reputable companies like Zoopla and Verve Search.
In this episode, she spoke about;
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💡Transitioning Challenges and Opportunities for International Students
Areej shared her personal journey of transitioning from her home country to the UK for her master’s degree and subsequent career in tech SEO. She highlighted the challenges faced by international students, especially those from developing countries, in terms of visa restrictions, limited working hours, and the difficulty in securing work visas post-graduation. She emphasized the importance of gaining relevant experience and skills before moving abroad to increase chances of securing a job and successfully transitioning to a work visa.
💡Diversity and Inclusion in Technical SEO
Areej highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in the field of technical SEO. She mentioned that the industry was initially male-dominated and lacked representation from various backgrounds. This prompted her to create a safe community, “Women in Tech SEO,” where individuals from underrepresented groups can connect, ask questions openly, and receive support.
💡Navigating Visa Restrictions and Career Progression
Areej discussed the challenges of navigating the visa system, which restricts the opportunities for career progression for international students. She shared her experience of encountering limitations on job changes and promotions due to visa constraints. This insight shed light on the struggles faced by many international professionals who aspire to grow their careers but are hindered by visa-related obstacles.
💡Building a Personal Brand and Community
Areej emphasized the significance of building a personal brand and community presence within the tech SEO industry. She discussed how sharing her experiences and expertise through her website and community initiatives like Women in Tech SEO helped her gain recognition and network with professionals worldwide. This insight underlined the role of personal branding in career growth and networking opportunities.
Agency vs. In-House Work
Areej recommended starting a career in an agency to gain exposure to a variety of websites and industries. She noted that agency work allows individuals to learn different aspects of SEO, work with multiple clients, and face diverse challenges. The exposure gained in an agency setting can provide a solid foundation for future career moves, such as transitioning to an in-house role.
Balancing Skill Development and Career Growth
Areej highlighted the importance of striking a balance between skill development and career growth. She discussed how her technical SEO skills evolved over time and how she expanded her knowledge to understand other aspects of SEO, such as content and marketing. Her journey showcased the significance of having a well-rounded skill set to collaborate effectively with cross-functional teams.
Imposter Syndrome and Overcoming Challenges
Areej Abuali discussed her personal experience with imposter syndrome and how it’s something that can affect even successful professionals. She emphasized that imposter syndrome can actually be used as a driving force to work harder and excel in your field. She recommended using imposter syndrome to your advantage by preparing more, practicing diligently, and building confidence.
Working with Developers and Engineers
Areej provided insights into the dynamic between technical SEOs and developers/engineers. She dispelled the misconception that technical SEOs need to be proficient coders and emphasized that technical SEOs collaborate closely with developers to implement fixes. Areej stressed the importance of clear communication, explaining the issues to developers, and working together to achieve the best SEO outcomes.
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