Ruth will be speaking on SEO at Engage 2020 which will be taking place March 12th and 13th at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I’ve been working in SEO since 2006, and have worked in-house, at search marketing agencies, and as an independent contractor, even trying my hand at PPC for a few years until it became clear to me that I just didn’t enjoy it as much as SEO. In 2012, I became the Head of SEO at Moz, where I worked for two years, including spearheading SEO planning for the new site and working on a successful migration from to After I moved to Oklahoma, I left Moz and was the Senior Manager for SEO at BigWing, a digital marketing agency in OKC. Since 2016, I’ve been working for UpBuild, first as the Director of Strategy and now as the Vice President of Strategy. UpBuild is a technical marketing agency specializing in technical SEO, advanced web analytics, and whole-funnel conversion rate optimization; at UpBuild, I lead client strategy for our team of senior technical SEOs, as well as working to grow the business.

2) How much do clients want to hear about algo changes like BERT and what’s the most effective way to communicate them?
It really depends on the client; I’ve had clients who were very plugged in to search industry news and had questions about every development, and clients who didn’t want to be bothered with that kind of stuff unless it meant they needed to do something. So part of communicating effectively is gaining an understanding of who the client is and how much information they want. In general, we want to communicate proactively with our clients if we’re seeing a change that we think will affect them directly, whether that’s a new opportunity coming up in their market or a devalued tactic that we want to pivot away from. Of course, if we’re seeing an impact to a client’s traffic or rankings as a result of an algo update, we’ll let them know. If something is getting a lot of buzz, especially in national media coverage, we might proactively message our clients to give them our take on what’s happening and what needs to be done; I think it’s better to let your clients know that you’re abreast of the situation than to have them panicking because they hear about an update and don’t know what you’re doing about it.

3) What’s your initial read on Google’s Featured Snippets change?
It’s hard to tell since it hasn’t been that long, but so far I’m not seeing a huge impact to any of our clients’ sites. Removing the duplicated site makes a lot of sense to me as something that Google would want to at least test. If you’re targeting featured snippets as part of your overall strategy, you’re used to some volatility already, since Google is constantly testing whether or not a SERP for a given query should have a featured snippet; so far, that volatility has way more of an impact on my clients who are heavily targeting featured snippets than that change has.

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