Clare McCafferty blog avatar
Clare McCafferty
April 11, 2022
AUTHOR:
Clare McCafferty
PUBLISHED:
April 11, 2022
LAST UPDATED:
Sept. 12, 2022

Q&A with Rejoice Ojiaku, Co-Founder of B-Digital UK

Our content writer, Clare, spoke to co-founder of B-Digital UK, Women in Tech SEO and Brighton SEO speaker Rejoice Ojiaku about her experiences working in the SEO industry - and got a few helpful tips and tricks too!

 

1. When was the last time you learned something new in SEO that was eye-opening? And what was it?

I learnt how Google my Business worked, especially fixing duplicate issues and bulk uploads. It was eye-opening because I’d always seen that SERP feature, but I’d never bothered to learn about it before, and hadn’t even attempted to work with clients that wanted their GMB optimised. 

I’m so happy to understand the gift of GMB now! I’ve even learned that you can set the location of your store as being inside a mall- that is so cool and makes a lot of sense. I want to shout out Claire Carlile (@clairecarlile) and Krystal Taing (@krystal_taing) because they are absolute superstars and answered a lot of questions I had. 

 

2. What is your proudest industry achievement?

Winning the Individual award for Diversity & Inclusion advocated by Search Engine Land. I was so surprised I won because I don’t even know how I was entered, and to be recognised for my work is always validating. 

I don’t even think about who is watching me when I rant about D&I issues. So for me, I’m just ranting and sparking conversations about diversity that should be had - but people always seem to run away from it. Winning that award meant a lot because I am now an AWARD WINNING SOMEBODY! Haha!

 

3. What are the basics that an SEO shouldn’t forget?

Optimise for User Experience and not for Search Engines! That is the whole point of SEO, I feel a lot of SEOers forget who they are optimising for - and it’s not Google. Google is not buying your product or using your service - users are. 

The basics of SEO is remembering who we are doing it for and ultimately we are not even doing it for the client, we are doing it for their users/customers. Once you grasp that then all other aspects of SEO start making sense and it will help how you approach strategy too.

 

4. What’s your go-to tool or resource that you can’t live without?

SEMRush! It’s a fantastic tool. It’s awesome because even if you are new to SEO, it’s not at all hard to navigate, and I feel like I always learn something new whenever I use it. 

I also absolutely love Sitebulb. Firstly, because it’s beautiful! How it represents the report back to you is stunning and I love the aesthetics. More importantly, it makes reading and understanding issues easier, especially if you are not that technical. I think it’s awesome that it considers people at all stages of their SEO career when it comes to technical audits. 

Lastly, a tool I like but need some more training on is Data Studio, because I hate reporting and Data Studio makes it much easier- I just need to learn how to build a pretty reporting dashboard. 

 

5. What is your favourite SEO task?

I absolutely love SEO copywriting and optimising Google my Business. Copywriting because I enjoy creating content a lot, as well as seeing how well the content does after. Google My Business is fairly new but is really enjoyable. Learning about things like UTM tags and Bulk Uploads is all about organisation- and so am I. 

 

6. What has been your biggest challenge as a woman who works in SEO?

I can’t help but answer this question from the perspective of Blackness. Although I am a woman and my experience can be similar to other women, I am also a Black woman, and my challenges as a woman will also stem from a racial perspective. So there are challenges I face because I’m a woman, and then added challenges I face because I am Black. 

One of these challenges is dealing with stereotypes. I’m naturally a loud woman and am passionate about how I speak, but unfortunately, those usually aren’t seen as positive things. I’ve even been labelled as angry, feisty or sassy- and I don’t think I’m any of these. 

Because of these labels, I sometimes struggle to recognise my feelings about something as valid, or I don’t feel able to express emotion, even though I am well within my right to have these feelings. 

Another challenge is being second-guessed a lot, and yes, a lot of women experience this- because if a man didn't think of the solution, then a woman couldn’t possibly have! However, I am also second-guessed because, again, I am Black, and normally Black women are seen as sub-par to White women. So not only do I have to prove that I am just as valuable as a man, but I also have to prove my value compared to White women, which is so draining. 

 

7. What skills do you think have helped you succeed in the SEO world?

I have great people skills - I’ve been able to use that to network and build solid connections with individuals and I am seeing the benefit of it. Another skill I think helps me is that I enjoy thinking outside of the box when it comes to ideation or problems. 

I know there are standard ways of doing things, but being able to think outside the box makes me ask questions about why things have to be done a certain way. At the end of the day, even if I decide to do it the way it’s always been done, I’ve still expanded my knowledge because I thought differently.

 

8. What is your definition of gender equality in the industry?

For me, gender equality means that if I’m doing the same job as someone else and have the same responsibility as them; I should be paid exactly the same BEFORE negotiation. The reason why I mention negotiation is that if, for example, I negotiated my salary and a man didn’t, it'd be fair that I got what I negotiated for - but the initial offering should have been the same if we both brought exactly the same value. 

Gender equality for me also goes further than pay; we also have to think about the equality of policies, so this brings up things like paternity and maternity leave. Gender equality as a topic requires nuance, but essentially, people should be treated fairly and paid equally regardless of gender. 

 

9. How can we promote diversity in SEO?

For us to promote diversity in SEO, we need to get uncomfortable. I think people in the SEO industry are too content with the way things are because they don’t want their privilege threatened, which is where the pushback comes from. 

To promote diversity is to amplify the voices of marginalised groups, and sometimes turn down certain opportunities so a marginalised person can have a chance. This can be a really difficult thing for people to grasp, but Azeem Digital does it well. 

From what I see, there are times when he has been asked to speak at an event after having already done so, but will often turn down the opportunity and ask if a person of colour can take his place. It’s that easy to call out a lack of diversity. So, calling out a lack of diversity doesn’t have to be rude or disrespectful, it can actually be educational and provide a solution. 

Lastly, DO NOT centre yourself if you are not part of the marginalised group. It comes across as disingenuous and doesn’t show you actually care to promote diversity; it just makes it seem that you want attention. 

 

10. What industry skills do you wish you’d learned sooner and why?

I wish I learnt Python or SQL sooner, not because I want to be super technical, but because I think automation is cool! I know it’s never too late to start, but when your life gets busy, it can be hard to pick up a new skill. Attending WTSFest and listening to Lazarina Stoy’s talk about Machine Learning made me really want to give it a go; and I will…one day. 

 

11. Where do you see the future of SEO?

I am positive that SEO will always be here and will always be necessary, but can we have some fresh talent, please? The future of SEO can only be as bright as the talent we keep within it, and if as an industry we are not trying to bring in new eyes, new minds, and new perspectives; it will get boring fast.

This wouldn’t affect the importance of SEO, but what makes the industry so amazing is the clear differences in thought which is always fun to explore. So, I’m manifesting that the future of SEO will continue to be awesome, and hopefully content heavy!

 

12. Has your Master’s in Marketing helped you in your job as an SEO manager?

My master’s did help me during the beginning of my career, but I don’t think it’s been the most helpful thing. I think the public speaking skills that I learned throughout my university years have had a bigger impact on my career, as now I love speaking at conferences. 

 

13. As a Co-Founder of B-DigitalUK, why was it important for you to create this platform?

Everyone wants a safe space to share experiences. My co-founder Wilhemina and I recognised that a lot of Black people didn’t know that digital marketing was a viable career route. So we wanted to bridge that gap and provide resources that many would not have access to.

It also gives us a space to discuss issues and frustrations we face as Black people without being questioned or gaslit. We are still shocked we have grown the way we have, but we’re always grateful for the support from the SEO community. 

 

14. Could you share some of the challenges Black people face in the digital marketing industry?

The knowledge gap is a huge challenge because there are so many resources out there for SEO / Digital marketing, but for some reason, a lot of Black people didn't know how to access it, which I think reflects a wider issue. 

Another challenge has been training and entry jobs. What I mean by that is that a lot of Black people are very eager to enter Digital Marketing, especially those with no previous experience- but sadly there aren't many entry-level jobs. We keep hearing people complain that there isn't enough talent out there, but no one wants to train which is very frustrating. 

 

15. What would be your advice for Black marketers who wish to get into leadership positions?

Have the same audacity white men have- honestly I think that’s the only way. It’s not an issue of not being qualified, it’s an issue of boldness and confidence. 

Another piece of advice I would give is to document all the things you’ve done, so that when you speak to your manager about progression into leadership; your work cannot be questioned.

 

Head over to Rejoice's socials for more wise words!