This Is Jamie Indigo’s Origin Story

In this episode of Make SEO Simple Again, I have a conversation with Jamie Indigo – technical SEO at DeepCrawl. I ask her about she got started in SEO, the challenges she has faced as a female and leans into her vulnerability and provides actionable advice for women of color and in the LGBTQIA+ community when they encounter aggression.

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About Jamie Indigo

“I’m that blue haired tech SEO who keeps popping up in your feed. I do like to talk a lot about ethics, the human aspects of search and I like to advocate for technology serving humans, not the other way round.”

Here’s just a few of her appearances including Google’s Mythbusting series.

And this piece that Jamie authored, ‘What Is Ethical SEO’ published on Search Engine Journal brought back a lot of memories from my ethics elective when I did 75% of an MBA.

Here’s a few things you will learn about Jamie in this episode:

  • Currently is a technical SEO at DeepCrawl.
  • Runs her own consulting at Not A Robot.
  • Graduated college with a writing degree in 2008 just as the GFC hit.
  • Worked at a sushi bar waiting tables to make ends meet and made hand puppets with salmon heads to produce musical numbers with the crew.
  • Her grandfather won a lottery and used the winnings to buy Jamie a Dell laptop. She use this to learn HTML and css.

How She Fell Into SEO

“I had a lovely human take an opportunity on me and I took it and ran from there.”

Jamie recalls having to learn things on the go as there wasn’t a whole lot of documentation. She was working in-house within the marketing team for an ecommerce site, mostly working on on-page elements and getting the right content onto the site.

“One week, we just started bleeding out thousands of pages from our index every day.”

She spent the next 11-days scraping and dissecting every SERP and chasing every single lead looking for answers. She found the answer and sat outside the CTO’s office for an hour so that she could report her findings and propose a solution.

From there, Jamie spent the next 2 weeks in a sprint with the developers to fix the problem and this experience was the catalyst for her love for technical SEO.

On The Topic Of Ethics

“Just because it is white hat does not mean it is not malicious or done to undermine a user’s autonomy and their informed consent.”

Jamie describes a number of pragmatic SERPs that are ethnically/racially defamatory, exploitation of brand names in combination with a scandal, and data voids.

“There is rarely a right or wrong answer in ethics.”

Jamie recommends that when we come across data voids and exploitations of fact in the SERPs that search professionals should bring up issues out in the open by having conversations about it.

Similar to something a previous guest (Victor Pan) had said, Jamie recounts a story where a former Facebook VP of Monetization at a Senate hearing admitted that the system is designed to get you to click and when content is highly emotive, people engage with it.

She also tells the story of a recent dismissal of AI Ethicist Dr Timnit Gebru and how this should be a concern.

My Favorite Quotes From This Episode

  • It doesn’t really matter how we arrange the words on a page. It matters how the user gets to experience it and the value that it provides.
  • The people we are most critical are the ones we see aspects of ourselves in.
  • Code inherits users biases.
  • Trauma is not that bad things happened. Bad things happen to everyone. Trauma is what happens where there is not a compassionate witness – even internally.
  • Self-care is going, “Hey babe, I know that deadline was at 5pm but it’s 11pm. Your eyes are very tired and you’re not doing good productive work and it’s ok. You can wake up and be a badass tmr. You need the rest now.”

Entities Mentioned

  • Areej AbuAli, Women in Tech SEO (website)
  • Dr Timnit Gebru, former Google AI Ethicist (Twitter)
  • Rachel Anderson, DeepCrawl
  • James Leisy, DeepCrawl

Did You Enjoy This Episode?

I’m Daniel K Cheung and I produce Make SEO Simple Again. Check out the other stories that other people have shared on my podcast by clicking here.

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