Lidia Infante is the Senior SEO Manager at Sanity.io and former Senior International SEO Manager at BigCommerce.
Her BSc in Psychology and Master in Digital Business help her to think in the right way whilst pushing the SEO forward for international businesses across Europe and the US.
Lidia is an experienced speaker at industry-leading SEO and marketing related conferences including BrightonSEO, UnGagged, WeLoveSEO amongst others.
Lidia has a passion for engaging with the SEO community through featuring on SEO related podcasts, webinars and interviews just like this one.
Lidia is also a judge at SEO industry related awards.
The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Lidia Infante
Watch the interview
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(52 minutes long)
The unscripted questions Mark A Preston asked Lidia Infante
Who is Lidia Infante, the SEO?
What are you really passionate about when it comes to the SEO community?
I see that you have a BSc in Psychology. What area of psychology did you study?
Does having an understanding of psychology help you to understand the SEO world better?
What needs to happen for SEOs to really understand the customer instead of looking at them as data, keywords and users?
You mentioned that marketing is perceived more feminine, whist SEO is a bit more male dominated. Why do you think that?
Do you think things are actually changing in the industry to highlight women SEOs?
Are you seeing that speaker line-ups are a lot more diverse these days?
What do marketing conference and event organisers need to do in order to make it easier for women speakers?
There are lots of people on Twitter who say that diversity needs to change in the industry, but what can they actually do beyond just saying it?
Do you think that diversity is changing in the SEO industry just because some people feel forced into it rather than something they actually want to change?
In your previous role as Senior International SEO Manager at BigCommerce, what was your responsibilities?
For anyone wanting to progress into an SEO Manager role, what skills do they need to have?
When you are presented with thousands of SEO tasks you could do, how do you know which tasks you need to prioritise to gain the biggest positive impact towards the business goals?
How can the Dev / SEO relationship become a happy one?
What is your personal opinion on Web Core Vitals being a ranking factor and is it something a tech SEO should prioritise?
Have you seen any positive case studies that prove turning Core Web Vitals all green did indeed increase rankings, because I haven't?
If you had a magic SEO wand you could wave where tomorrow something in the industry would immediately change, what would that one thing be?
Many SEOs make decisions based on nothing more than assumptions and perception. How can they use psychology to make better SEO based decisions?
What does an SEO working on ground level need to do in order to create the right mindset?
Does the speaker selection process at marketing related conferences need to change? If so, how?
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The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Lidia Infante
Mark A Preston: Welcome to the unscripted SEO interview. I'm your host, Mark A Preston, and today we have Lidia Infante with us, senior SEO manager. Hi, Lydia.
Lidia Infante: Hi. I think it's really funny that the little panic face that everybody makes right before pronouncing my name.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, it well, I wanted to see if I could get it right. I'm not very good with pronunciations, but yeah, just for the audience who don't know who you are, please, could you give an overview of who Lidia is and what you do within the SEO industry?
Lidia Infante: Yeah. So I am Lidia Infante. I'm working a senior SEO manager for Sanity.io, which is a headless CMS instructor platform. That's pretty cool. And I've been in the industry for eight years doing SEO now, and it's going to be ten years in marketing next month, which is kind of insane because I'm only 29, but I did start when I was 19. But yeah, it just puts it in perspective to think that I've been doing this for ten years. I was born in Barcelona, and I've been working in media. I've been working in SAS in e-commerce. I would say one of my favorite verticals to work in is SAS. And I'm quite involved with the community of women in SEO. And I create some weekly threads every Thursday of the best content created by women in the SEO industry in that week. And you can find it on Twitter with the hashtag SEO women.
Mark A Preston: Wonderful. I was just looking at your profile on Twitter, and is it a degree in psychology?
Lidia Infante: Yeah. I got a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I actually specialize in psychology of marketing. I did my thesis in Persuasion to Click Online, which is Psychology of Frustration to Click, which was an interesting one. I was working for a publisher at the time, and I used the data sets of our publisher to kind of like, download all of their posts on Facebook for about a year. I classified the headlines and then measured the CTRL of each of the headlines. And that was pretty cool.
Mark A Preston: Do you think understanding psychology really does help in the SEO world?
Lidia Infante: Absolutely. Yeah. So I think some of the most useful stuff that I learned in psychology to help me in my job wasn't in the psychology of marketing or psychology of consumer class. It's was in psychology of Perception and memory. So how do people perceive and remember? This includes reading patterns, colors, experiences, emotion. I thought that was, like, an incredibly, incredibly useful subject. Motivation to Action was also a subject that was really, really good, and it came with, like, a ridiculously thorough book that was probably the best read that I had on my degree. And we did a lot of statistics. So I do think that psychology is like an amazing entryway to marketing, to digital marketing most.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, I mean, unless you understand the audience and how they think and how they take and what they're going to do. SEO is just literally keywords.
Lidia Infante: Yeah.
Mark A Preston: That's the thing. I don't think the industry yet some of the industry are but I don't think the industry yet is in that right mindset on really understanding and thinking about the customer, that we see them as numbers and data and users and keywords. And I think that side of it really needs to come forward.
Lidia Infante: Yeah, I think we've been thinking about Google for so long that we've lost kind of sight of what we're doing. Also, I think marketing might be and this is a theory, okay, this is an editor, so it's going I think that marketing is perceived as a bit of a more feminine industry at times, and SEO is a little bit male dominated. So I feel like there's some rejection from some classic SEO to consider themselves marketers, because that's like more of a feminine discipline. Which is why, and I see that especially in my country, everyone's obsessed with the tech side of things, and we're going to hack it this way and we're going to hack it that way, when that's not necessarily going to move the needle. And I feel like part of what is playing innovation in the industry is a masculine rejection to being called a marketer. We're trying to be like, you're not a programmer, you can code maybe, for sure. But if you're an SEO, you're a marketer. Does that make sense?
Mark A Preston: Yeah, the objective of SEO is part of the marketing piece. The way I see it, it's just a big jigsaw puzzle and SEO is one piece of it. But you did mention there that you still think the SEO industry is predominantly male orientated. Now, I know that lots of things are happening in the industry to obviously bring the women forefront, like for speaking and everything. Do you think that is actually changing?
Lidia Infante: Yeah, I do actually think so. Sometimes we catch glimpses on Twitter of a side of the industry that's not on with these changes. Right. Most of the time I think, oh, this is so inclusive. This is an amazing industry. I'm surrounded by people who get it or like, yes, innovation comes from diversity, so let's bring everybody forward, and then sometimes people will have it that I take glimpses of the other side, right? So I get agency owners or CEOs tweeting at me, or I see them tweeting about how women are just less interested in SEO. And it's like, oh yeah, that gene, the SEO gene that we all have, that's like the gender that makes women less interested. That's absurd. And I think there's a point that we are not communicating correctly. And I'm going to try to communicate it now. We're not saying that we need to sacrifice quality for the sake of a quota.
Absolutely f***g not. What we're saying, what we've not communicated correctly is that there is a quota already that is sacrificing quality for the sake of the quota. It is a male quota, right? It's not a written down quota, unconscious, biased kind of quota that self-perpetuates and lends men a little bit more power within the industry. I wouldn't say that it's due, but then. That is stifling innovation and taking extremely high quality SEOs out of the picture, out of the conversation. I guess what I'm trying to say is, we're not trying to get women into speaking slots or writing slots or jobs just because they're women and we're willing to sacrifice quality for it. We are sacrificing quality to get men in these places in an unconscious bias that leads to this unconscious male quota. I don't know if I finally managed to explain it, but there it goes.
Mark A Preston: Right now, there's quite a few people, especially on Twitter, who mentioned things who say, this needs to change, that needs to change, but nobody is actually auctioning things. You know what I mean? What I'm trying to say is, some people who said, yes, this needs to change, have been then told, well, instead of just saying it, why don't you action something? So for anyone out there, male or female, that can help push the industry forward as a total neutral based on skills and knowledge and nothing else, what needs to happen? What can people actually do?
Lidia Infante: That’s great…
Mark A Preston: Instead of just saying it. Saying it's one thing, but what can they actually do to make this happen collectively?
Lidia Infante: So there's different aspects of it and there isn't a perfect solution yet. In fact, there's a lot of research and science happening, not for the SEO industry, but like for business in general, around how to prevent these unconscious bias and get a bit of a more inclusive environment for everybody. There are some people who are already actioning stuff. Like, for example, the way that Areej has created the women in tech community. It's really interesting because she's driving mentorships. I was a mentor last year. I'm a mentor this year. She's building a table for women to network and uplift other women. So that is an excellent initiative. The stuff that I do, where I highlight when female creators in the industry is also pretty relevant. Right? Because it helps break the bias that women are not making content or that women are not as good as SEO as men.
Sophie Gibson provided she's the technical SEO director at Studio Hawk. She provided bit of a guideline of what to do when you're invited to a panel or an event to speak and you think there are some underrepresented minorities within that panel, so you can ask what the panel is going to be like before accepting. You can refuse to participate if you're the only woman, for example, that kind of action. But there isn't really a solution yet. I think maybe I'm naive, but I think tackling the unconscious bias might be the best way to go about it. And empowering women along the way is also an excellent way to go about it.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, the women in Tech SEO community, she's done an absolutely amazing job and I've spoke to her personally a few times on it and I don't know if she does it.[Lidia Infante: Me either]. I don’t know how she actually has a full time job and now as a mother and still does that and she said it's because of the team behind her. I think what it's doing, it has highlighted things that maybe I was unaware of, you know, I mean, I get paid to speak on stage at corporate events. It's different for me. I don't often speak at the SEO events, marketing events, so I haven't been heavily involved in that. I mean, the latest one I saw on Twitter was absolutely stupid that with no women's speakers because they are on holiday. I mean, that was just pathetic. [Lidia Infante: I know]. I mean, that’s just even complicated.
Lidia Infante: I got some private messages from the organizers, and they were interesting, but yeah, that one was really stupid. I agree. That one was dumb.
Mark A Preston: Yeah. But like I said, there are some exceptional women in the industry who are doing amazing jobs, because I've seen their work. I mean, the results and the strategy behind things they're doing blows a lot of the male opponents out of the water.
Lidia Infante: Yeah, I think women tend to be a lot less gatekeeper. I don't know if your LinkedIn feed looks like my LinkedIn feed, but often there's like, men posting, like, upwards drafts without any context or numbers or telling you how they did it and that's like, yeah, good for you. But then we've got people like Aleyda Solis. Aleyda, is another picking force of nature. Like, she has a full time job. She's an international speaker. You never know what country she's in. She leads the SEO for more newsletter, which might be, out of any tools newsletter, the most followed one in the industry. She creates templates, resources, frameworks. She's carrying the learning SEO IO website. That's probably my bias, but I feel like women are not as gatekeeper in some aspects, and a lot of the work that they do is directed at opening the doors and empowering others and welcoming others into the industry. Now it's my turn to panic when I pronounce the name Seema, and I don't remember her last name. So sorry. Is leading the Federation of Freelancers. I can't remember exactly the name of her project, but essentially she trains and teaches people of colour to get jobs in SEO because they're highly paid jobs and a very good way of breaking inequality right? Is just giving franchise people money.
Mark A Preston: Yeah. I mean, that mentored a few people from Nigeria. Basically, they were so over the moon that I actually spoke to them. Basically, I just give them guidance and literally they put all the hard work in themselves and in the end they changed their life. I didn't change the life because they did the work. They just needed some direction and help. And it's so empowering when that happens. You feel as if something has happened and changed. From that I do feel as though things are changing. Now. Yeah. I always ask awkward questions, but it's in my head, so I have to ask it. Do you think things are changing because people feel forced into it or they want it changed?
Lidia Infante: Bit of both. I feel like there's we've created a discourse that's a public discourse where we assume that everyone agrees with us, right? We assume we speak as if everybody agrees that there is a bias that puts men on top in the industry, right? And we want to look good and we want to belong. So people who disagree with this are not likely to publicly challenge this discourse. They're going to challenge it at small tables. They're going to speak to each other about it, just like women speak to each other about who are the creepy guys that you need to avoid. Men are probably like some men are probably like, oh, what is this b***? They're just not been in the industry for that long, so it's normal that they don't get as many speaking. So, yeah, I feel like there is a bit of a forceful stream to this where we have effectively changed what's acceptable to say and think. And I don't think everybody who disagrees feels like they can publicly disagree with it.
Mark A Preston: Right. Digressing from that subject on to yourself. You are a senior SEO manager. So as a senior SEO manager, what do you do on a day to day basis? What do you your actual role look like?
Lidia Infante: Well, that's a very good question, because I am three weeks into this job. Four weeks into this job, I recently changed from I was at Big Commerce before as senior international SEO manager.
Mark A Preston: BigCommerce?
Lidia Infante: Yes.
Mark A Preston: I tell you a funny story. I used to use the Big Commerce platform many, many years ago when it was hosted into spire when you could self-host it. Then obviously, they stopped selling the actual script to call it Big Commerce and host it themselves. So I was a very earlier adopter of the actual technology behind it.
Lidia Infante: That's really cool.
Mark A Preston: Yeah. I've been in the industry forever, so there is a story to everything, but that's a different thing.
Lidia Infante: Yeah. So I've moved from Ecommerce recently, and at Ecommerce, my day to day was essentially I would say there was a lot of overseeing agency relations and a lot of trying to push things along, like what's the ETA of this thing? What's the ETA? And this other thing. Please push this to publishing. Come on, let's get going. There was a lot of just making sure that I was in the right room to have the right conversation, so things wouldn't break when we launched new markets or when we went international. Ensuring data quality was something that I was doing as well. We had a really funky analytics. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to talk about it though. And yeah, I think that job was essentially trying to keep things from falling apart while trying to advance the work and just deliver good content internationally. I think, though, the most important thing that I did was around enablement. So we had a lot more agency budget that we could absorb.
We had some internal bottlenecks. We had essentially three bottlenecks. One on legal approval of things, one on content approval of things, and then publishing. So our tech stock was very unfriendly to publishing. And we needed a really big publishing team that know how to use a headless CMS that shall not be mentioned, maybe unless it slips in a little bit. That is definitely not sanity. It needed so much work just to get anything done right. And there were some assumptions that the leadership team were taking into, this cannot be changed. This is how things are. These are challenges that I challenged. And I feel like moved the culture towards a more can do culture, a culture of more not assuming that things are what they are and just go ahead with it. I hired the right agencies. I hired the right tools. I cleaned up the data and created the right dashboards for the team to be able to keep track of the process. By the time I left, I had delivered the work for the entire year.
So I gave them, like, six months, you've got all the briefs. Everything is with the agency. I think I did the best off boarding that I have ever done in my career, where I literally documented every project that I was working on and had meetings with every person that I was going to afford to it to. It was a really interesting job where I didn't do what I wanted to do right. I didn't get to publish the cadence that I wanted to publish. I didn't get to front load my content strategy. What I did was remove two of the three bottlenecks, point the team in the right direction to remove the third bottleneck, which was the CMS bottleneck, to hire the right agencies that were going to provide work that was not locked by the bottlenecks. And one of the tools that I think is crucial for what they have at the moment is Content King. So I got them set up with the Content King sales team because our text was like ever crumbling. So at some point, 634 blog post disappeared from the Australian website. And we noticed only three months, few weeks later when we were looking at all.
The traffic for a blog has gone down. I wonder if we have no blog. You should know this way faster than we figured that out and there was a wider agreement that yes, we should definitely keep a monitoring tool on. We also had some issues with the way that our canonicals were kind of like created and they were changing everything on a daily hourly basis. So that is crazy. That should have never happened. I got them on with content king. I had the conversations with the tech teams. I feel like at that point would be commerce needed maybe with someone more junior or for me to come in, do this work, change this culture, create this enablement and then bring in someone more junior that's not going to get frustrated because I get to publish one article every two months, right? This is so inadequate. Okay. My job right now is quite different. I'm actually not super sure what my job is at the minute. I can tell you that in my task list for today, let me check it. I've got one buying shoes for my wedding. That's my personal task list. I'm going to send some budget requests for some subject matter experts to write some stuff. I'm going to be working on some internal linking for some Shopify initiatives that we've got going on.
And I'm going to create two briefs for one of our external writers on two landing pages that I want to see in the next week. And I'm here, right? Because one of the aspects of my job is SEO evangelism, which I think it's an interesting aspect of my job. I absolutely adore working in SAS, and I love technical innovation. So a lot of the stuff that I'm doing is getting sanity out there within the SEO community. Right. Or anyone who's listening to this. If you want a free listed plan, hit me up. I will get you, like, I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of API requests for free. Yeah, hit me up. That's also my job.
Mark A Preston: Right. So anyone that wanting to progress into an SEO manager type role, what sort of skills should they have behind them?
Lidia Infante: So I think one of the biggest skills that you have to have is ownership and communication. I know that I made this mistake really early in my career where I knew that my work was great. Right. I was working in a SAS platform. Our MQL from Organic had grown by 67%, which is absolutely ridiculous for the SAS vertical in which I was in, but yet people thought it was underperforming. Right. The numbers said differently, but I just had not communicated properly. What I thought my job was, what they thought my job was, and what I was doing with my time, right? So if I was super set on fixing technical stuff and my manager actually preferred for me to write blog post, I knew that what was going to move the needle was fixing those technical things. But instead of going communicating, talking to all the relevant and stakeholders, getting everybody on board with the plan, setting some goal metrics and some targets and be like, oh, we smash the target doing the same work, it would have been perceived so differently. But the mistake there was mine, right?
I need to be my own advocate and I failed to do that. So I think communicating the value of your work is going to be really key. Also thinking big picture. I don't know if this is still relevant, but just don't believe what tools are saying. Just because Tool X says. You've got this many URLs that have a 308 on them. Don't leave that. Like what? Where are these URLs coming from? How does the tool work? How is the tool finding them? What is the issue? Is there an issue? What is the basement impact? Just be more strategic and ask questions. Don't just trust tool experts at all. Never ever.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, I think a lot of people in similar roles, they just doing stuff they don't really understand. Not why they're doing it, but how it's going to impact the business itself. They just have a list of things, like I said, from tools. Number one, switch machine on. Number two, crawl this website. Number three, fix what the tool tells them to. It's very robotic and I think that we do need to come away from the more robotic things into prioritization based on impact, looking at costs. Obviously, two of them will give you 20,000 things, but out of them, 20,000 things, how is somebody supposed to understand what they need to do in order to gain the biggest impact towards the actual business goals?
Lidia Infante: So, an example of what I was telling you earlier about, I had this colleague that I mentioned for a little while, and she was doing an audit of one of our sites. And I see that she creates a ticket, and it says, fix 308 URLs and a list of URLs. And I go, on the list of URLs, these URLs are not relevant. I can't find them. Where are they linked? Right? Is this a problem now? How did the tool find it? So I went on to the code, and I was like, this is coming up on the hreflang. For some reason, these random URLs are being put in our hreflang in here. So fix 308 URLs, it's not going to do anything for the tech team. It's actually going to irritate them and be like, I hate SEO. How many developers say, I hate SEOs? So many. And that's one of the reasons, right? We give them a tool export, we tell them to fix the thing. They don’t get to say why it needs to get fixed. What are we expecting from the fix? And that was the wrong recommendation to give. But it came from a very tool based approach instead of a business based approach or an approach that had a better understanding of the tech stock that we were working with.
Mark A Preston: Yes. So the whole emphasis on SEO dev relationships as you touched upon, then how can SEOs because obviously a lot of them just blame the devs. But how can SEOs create a seamless happy relationship with the dev team?
Lidia Infante: I don't know. I've been trying to marrying one.
Mark A Preston: Well, I noticed that. But I think that's far.
Lidia Infante: For pure scale. Marrying them doesn't scale.
Mark A Preston: No, but understanding their job, is that a big impact into the whole because after all, the purpose of an SEO asking the dev team to do something is to increase their impact and achieve their goals. But obviously the dev team have their own goals.
Lidia Infante: I think it comes down to communication and also psychology. Right. Like, what is the dev team's motivation? What do they enjoy working on? And what are the misconceptions or bad experiences they've had with SEO teams in the past? They are going to make them resistant to listen to you. Right. Different them as much as you can, but definitely try to pair your goals with their goals. Right? So I want if I go to my debt team and I said I want core web Vitals to be perfect, right. Well, that's not going to make sense. That's not a ticket and that's not motivating for them. Like, yes, the number goes higher. Congratulations. But what might make that change is our users are not having a very good experience because this image loads a little late and it changes the entire layout. And then you can see that they bounce around pages because they take the wrong thing.
The user experience is negative because of this image that loads a little late. What can we do to change this? Right? Something that I've also found helpful is instead of going to them with you need to action this thing, it's like, this is my problem. What can we do to solve this? And pairing your goals with their goals. If my goal should never be get perfect lighthouse scores. Right? But if that's how I'm phrasing it to myself, because I want to measure the impact of the work in that way. I cannot tell them that way. I need to tell them in a way that's going to matter to them. So I want our website to be faster so that our users have a better experience with it. It's something that they're going to get much more on board with. Then I need a perfect lighthouse of course because Google says so.
Mark A Preston: What's your personal opinion on the whole core web files being a ranking factor?
Lidia Infante: I mean, some people question whether or not it is a ranking factor. I think if Google said that it's a ranking factor, then it just is, right? They just like, what? Thousands of ranking factors? It's just one of those, right? So, I think technical SEO has two roles to delight the users that land on your website and allow them to enjoy your website and to let Google crawl, index and understand your website. The fact that Google has had to say core Web Vitals are a ranking factor so that SEOs start thinking about core Web Vitals, I think, says more about our Google obsessed culture than anything else. Does that make sense?
Mark A Preston: Yeah. I mean, Google have released lots of things like they said, https it's good to secure your website, but they said unless they call it a ranking factor. I personally, I don't know about you, I personally haven't seen anything that impacted the rankings in a positive way. Because the core Web Vitals has been green. Have you?
Lidia Infante: Since the core vitals have been released, I've not had the chance to impact them as much as I wanted to. So I can't really tell you from my experience.
Mark A Preston: Right. Do you think the….
Lidia Infante: There was a study from Citrix, I think that caused a lot of conversation. Where Citrix? I think the statement was that it was 10% of ranking or something like that had to do with core Web Vitals. Later studies from other people and I don't remember who has been making this disprove that. I think it's just really hard to measure and irrelevant to a point. Right. I think the best thing about Web Vitals was the way that they were designed. These are the three metrics that are going to impact user satisfaction the most. I think that's where the bulk of the work that Google did there really benefits the wider ecosystem of web creators and administrators and SEOs.
Mark A Preston: Now, I think I know the answer to this question. But if you had a magic wand that you could wear and tomorrow everything would be okay, what would that one thing in the industry be? [Lidia Infante: Oh], so suddenly you were given a magic wand and you could do anything you wanted in the industry is and tomorrow everything would be just how you wanted it. What would that one thing if you have the power to change something, what would it be?
Lidia Infante: I would make every CEO and CMO love SEO.
Mark A Preston: Do you know what that answer proves that you should never take perception into account? Because I wasn't expecting that.
Lidia Infante: You are expecting me to say something about the paycheck, but that doesn't fix the industry.
Mark A Preston: No, exactly. But that you know what? That is such the number of times I've been in meetings with the C Suite, they just say, well, you just a money pick. You just keep asking for more money. It's like, yeah, I mean, oh my God, that's a totally I can still relate to that. But perception is as SEO some people presume certain things. They make decisions based on assumptions and perception without actually looking into it. And that's what I mean. So people make statements out there saying, well, this is how it is. Well, is it actually how it is? So when it comes to and I think this is where the psychology side comes in as well, understanding exactly what's going on? And how can somebody take assumptions and perception out of the equation to create something better rather than doing things just because they think that's the right thing to do?
Lidia Infante: Yeah. Well, I thought about many answers, right? I thought, I'd give every SEO a psychology degree. And then I thought, why would I say that? Because then they can communicate better through CMOs and C level. And it's like, well, then make the C level. Love them. [Mark A Preston: Yeah]. Nobody needs a psychology degree. Well, yeah, many people need a psychology degree, especially therapists. But yeah.
Mark A Preston: No, I'm very much mindset driven, very much in the industry think if you're in the right mindset, then you'll start to open up and think about things more. But what does somebody need to do as an SEO working on the ground to be in that right mindset?
Lidia Infante: I would say step away from stereotypes about how SEO (user 41:51 not clear) and I think we've given this up already, but we used to say that it was hard to measure the business impact of SEO and not at all. Not at all. I think the moment that you start thinking about your work in terms of business impact, that's the best step that you can take towards getting into that mindset. That's going to get you the senior roles, that's going to get you the ears of sea level and all of that. Yeah.
Mark A Preston: Wonderful. So if there was something that the industry and Edmund watching, they saw, listening to this could do to help you with something in the industry, what would it be?
Lidia Infante: Move to Sanitize. That would help me plenty.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, but is there anything industry changing that you think industry changing?
Lidia Infante: Industry changing would be more transparent with your pitching process for speaking and be more transparent with how you select the authors for your blog, for your publication, for your magazines in the SEO industry. Right. I think that would significantly make the industry better because it would strip away some of the unconscious bias that leads men, especially white men, to being power in the industry. And it would tilt it to a more varied based type of approach, and that would ultimately lead to more innovation, lead to SEO being driving better results, being better valued by the C level, salaries raising for everybody. Like it's just such a no brainer.
Mark A Preston: Yes. So transparency is key, but within transparency, to get into the nuts and bolts of it, what transparent things do they need to document or say or come out with in order for that to happen?
Lidia Infante: Yeah. So publications, key publications such as the Semrush blog Ahrefs blog, search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land. I believe everybody should have a very clear pitch to be an author process, and this is how we choose the authors and this is the form that you fill out and this is how you pitch to us. And maybe there could be a way of removing the gender of the authors in the selection process or in the pitching process. Right. Be it removing the name while you're choosing and selecting, that could be a way to go about it. That's actually been proven, like, an efficient way to break subconscious bias in gender and race when it comes to hiring. And there's, like, some studies on it. So I think in practice, document how you choose your authors and your speakers and have an open application process. I know that can be, like, maybe too much, so you can pre-qualify the work in different ways, but yeah, also, like...
Mark A Preston: Yeah. So, like a criteria process, having a strict criteria process, will that not have a negative impact on new and upcoming people?
Lidia Infante: It depends on the criteria that you choose. Right. So if you're choosing to be a speaker in this conference, you need to have been a speaker in a major conference before that's. That's going to self-perpetuate further. Right. Alternatively, maybe you could have, like, two slots for new speakers and four for permanent speakers. That's another way that you could prevent cycling innovation that way. But, yeah, the criteria that you choose and the criteria that you choose and how you go about creating quotas to fight that self-repatriating circle of speakers and writers.
Mark A Preston: Yeah, suppose it's not creating a criteria based on high success, rather than create a criteria based on the value of the information.
Lidia Infante: Yeah, exactly.
Mark A Preston: Having that kind of scenario, do you think events and conferences are actually changing?
Lidia Infante: Yeah, definitely. They definitely are. We are seeing more women. We're seeing more people of colour. We're seeing just more diversity in general. But that's also comes back to what I was saying earlier about, like sometimes I feel like I'm in a circle, a bubble where everything is perfect in the industry moving forward. And then all of a sudden, we see an event with all male, and it's the women are on vacation. Well, maybe that has to do with the fact that women are the main caretakers of children and this event is during the school holidays.
Mark A Preston: Yeah.
Lidia Infante: Not spoken to enough women or whatever.
Mark A Preston: Yeah. I have had private conversations with certain women who said, I'd love to do this, but unfortunately, I'm a single parent, you know, things like that. There's things beyond the norm that I have to prioritize. And that's why I can't do these things, understanding the reasons and well, okay, how can events cater to more single women? Do we have a crash? All these different things is maybe thinking about how, okay, well, you can't do it because you're a woman, single parent, and you need to be with a kid. Okay, so how can we help? I think that's the question. What do we need to do as event organizers to help solve that problem so we can help you?
Lidia Infante: So one of the things that, for example, Arish has been talking about is paying first. The less of an economic burden that you put on your speakers to speak at your event, the more likely it is that you're going to get people who are more typically marginalized or different choice women make less money. Like, the pay gap is so proven at this point that I feel to be trying to justify that it exists. So if you want more marginalized people or disenfranchised people to participate in your event and be speakers, you need to make the burden, the economic burden of speaking at your event smaller. Right? We've got travel, we've got food, we've got Childcare to think of. So, yeah, I would say that's a very direct way to go about this. But I do understand that some event organizers make no money out of the events, so it's a difficult one to think about, to be honest.
Mark A Preston: Yeah. Yeah. I interviewed Simon from Blue Array last week. Oh, I love Simon. And he put the London SEO XL conference on and he said he invested 100 grand to put that event on and made zero profit. But, yes, well, time's rocked on. And I'd like to thank you for joining us today.
Lidia Infante: Thank you for having me.
Mark A Preston: Yes, and I'm sure that once this goes out, people start to think a little bit differently. Yeah. Just to finish off, is there any last words you have or where can people find you and what sort of conversations would you like to have with them?
Lidia Infante: So you can find me on my Twitter @LidiaInfanteM or my website LidiaInfante.com. Feel free to reach out if you are looking to understand how to grow your career, if you're looking for a mentor, I will have some time after my wedding. Or if you're wondering like how can you do better to make the industry more equal and you're an event organizer or publisher, just reach out to me and I will connect you to the right people.
Mark A Preston: Okay? Right. That's amazing. Thank you for joining us today and giving up your time. And yeah, all the best with your wedding.
Lidia Infante: I need the help.
Mark A Preston: I was going to say.
Lidia Infante: I need as much light as possibly organizing.
Mark A Preston: Okay, thank you.
Lidia Infante: Thank you.
Mark A Preston: Bye.