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Google Keynote Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020: SEO and Diversity – Search Engine Journal

Google’s John Mueller at his session at PubCon Virtual 2020 offered his thoughts on where SEO is or should be going for the future, beginning with diversity in SEO hiring practices.

On Diversity in SEO

John Mueller’s first point was encouragement for more diversity. It didn’t really emphasize race but rather just diversity in general.

Here’s what Mueller said:

“I think the first one is something that’s really dear on my heart, is all about diversity in SEO. And this is something that from my point of view is something that you should be thinking about not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because it can really positively affect your business.”

What wasn’t emphasized in his keynote was that diversity makes sense because hiring people on merit rather than because they “fit in” results in a better workforce.

This theme of diversity in hiring isn’t about giving preference based on race, age, sex, sexual orientation, and so on.

Diversity is about removing the biases that prevent a company from hiring the best qualified people: It’s about truly hiring on merit. 

I personally know of a highly experienced individual with decades of programming experience for big brand companies who could not find a programming job because of his age.

He told me that the hiring process would proceed all the way to the in-person interview that’s where it would grind to a stop.

None of the organizations he applied to wanted to hire a person in their late fifties.

Here are Mueller’s talking points:

-> Help up-level new folks

-> Support diverse & new speakers

-> Support orgs like Women in Tech SEO”

In my opinion, it’s more than the “right thing” to hire a diverse workforce because this isn’t about ethics or morality. It’s the right thing to do because it’s smart to hire experienced and smart people based on merit.

John Mueller recommended:

“…make sure that you get different viewpoints, you get a little bit different backgrounds of people who are looking at your site and really making sure that what you’re building is something that is a little bit more stable because you’re kind of covering all the different angles there.

So my recommendation there would be to really actively work on this.”

Diversity in SEO

When I started in SEO, the web conferences were dominated by white males with some women in the mix. Today conferences seem to be evenly split between the sexes and I see more diversity in the ages and so on, which is a good thing because it means that people are being hired on merit.

In my opinion, hiring diversity is about removing unconscious biases in order to be be open to hiring people on merit, hiring people who are truly prepared, worthy and well qualified.

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