What a week. What a year. Not sure about the rest of you but around these parts SEO doesn’t seem so relevant right now.
The country is in the midst of some deep soul searching brought on by a fierce and rapid grass roots struggle to end the extrajudicial killing by police in the Black community.
I think about this stuff a lot.
This isn’t a brag actually, it’s a beat. We have long wanted to field a diverse team of SEOs, engage in training and mentorship and help the industry reflect more the places we live (The greater SF and LA areas respectively).
We have failed, and more particularly I have failed.
In 6 years of being able to influence and determine our hiring practices, I have failed to add a single Black face to the Local SEO Guide team. Definitely not the high ideals in terms of hiring that I had always aspired to. And trust me, it isn’t because I haven’t tried. I have, just not nearly hard enough or in the right ways. But more on that later.
Sex and gender diversity is great, bringing in people of different background and ethnicities is great. But like most in America I have failed the very community at the heart and soul of struggles for justice and equality in this county.
Okay, enough of the pity party.
We fucked up, now what?
I’m not content at making sure we get more Black faces at LSG. Andrew and I both agree that the most important thing is that we change the way the hiring pipeline works. We are only a week into this and it’s way too early to talk about specifics, but this what I want to do with our organization to help.
- We are opening up localseoguide.com/blog to posts by underrepresented authors. Not only that, we will be paying $300 per article. Exposure isn’t enough, most of the voices that could use the exposure are also underpaid and overworked.
This isn’t just a publishing platform. I am here to train SEOs. Both Andrew and I are committed to working with you on editing and writing to improve and find your voice. On top of that we will also have our content team help with the structure of writing. Sorry, it’s just not my strong suit.
- I am in the process of addressing our hiring processes. The two things at the top of my agenda are:
Yes, I said it! I generally do a lot of hiring by recruiting and until some recent self reflection have been really proud of it. Yes, I get fantastic SEOs. Yes, it helps push towards better gender diversity. But it fails to allow the space and time to get a proper mix of diverse candidates that are outside of your network. And if the SEO industry mirrors the tech industry, our networks aren’t diverse enough. A small solution to help address hiring blindspots is interview quotas. This is simply to ensure you are interviewing the same diverse mix of candidates that you want to hire. So, pending our lawyers telling us this is legal – seems like it is, we are going to commit to an interview mix for all roles and will share that when it’s more defined. Hopefully it will be useful to other orgs. Hiring Pipeline:
To me this is the big one. Part of the reason diversity in SEO is so terrible is we pull from generally non-diverse talent pools. Hiring from the Black community requires an active process. Well, I’m going to be putting in the hard work. I’d also like to thank Wil Reynolds for being very active in attempting this at SEER Interactive and being vocal and public with it. Expect more updates as they transpire.
- Pipeline in the industry as a whole. We are going to do even more about the hiring pipeline in terms of the SEO industry as a whole. But we want to leverage our skills, not just our voices, in order to make this industry better. Lots of discussions in the works, but something that we are really committed to do in terms of our own time.
These are just where we are today. We still need to figure out how to implement changes to our hiring policies, and building a pipeline takes time. But we are committed and will be updating our progress. Also we are taking pitches by underrepresented authors right now. Feel free to reach out via our contact form or directly.