Ruth Burr Reedy at State Of Search 2015

State Of Search 2015: Ruth Burr Reedy

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The following is a live blog from State Of Search. Please pardon any typos or grammar issues as we really didn’t have time for much proofing between sessions.

Ruth Burr Reedy at State Of Search 2015

Ruth Burr Reedy from BigWing takes the stage after lunch to talk brands.

She starts with discussing the context of brands and that often owners don’t understand their own brands. She goes on further to put an illustration on the statement that I liked.

“If your customer is a fish, you are the water.”

The idea here is that you need to be everywhere they are and everywhere they’re going.

She brings up machine learning. Brands are considered entities and thus, brands are a strength. RankBrain covers:

  • Engagement
  • CTR
  • Vicitor loyalty
  • Entity relationships

Aside from SEO it’s important to view brands as the power to influence prior to search. A brand may not beat Home Depot for “dishwasher” but they can win for their branded terms.

So ask yourself …

Who Am I?

Do not say … Pricing or customer service.

Answer the question, “Why do I do what I do?” This is how you build relationships. Even stating what you don’t do well can move you forward by improving what you do and being viewed as authentic.

Define Your Audience …

Buffer and Hubspot Academy are great resources. You need to understand who your clients are, where they eat, their age, etc. Anything that will tell you more about where they are and how you should communicate with them.

Once you know their demographic and habits you can use forums in your niche to get ideas on what people are asking about (read: what you should write about). Ian Lurie does a great whiteboard series called The IdeaGraph on exactly this.

You’ll also need to find influencers. You can use FollowerWonk to find influencers with topical overlap with you.

Something I loved to hear was her saying, “PR is link building.” This is very very true. Reaching out to media, journalists and just being where people are is crucial to SEO.

The way to view terms is not …

“I need a new dishwasher.”

We now need to think about the real questions … why? Why are they looking for a new dishwasher. Is their floor flooded? Do they care about their carbon footprint? These are the questions you need to answer on your site.

When you produce the content to address these you need to think about your core values each time and make sure it aligns.


A hub and spoke model works great … product one really REALLY good piece of content and then create spoke content (takes a bit less time and geared to funnel them to the hub).

And she reminds us to … TRACK !!!!

Proper marketing and SEO is a lot of work. You need to track is and understand your conversions.

And in your analytics … enable demographic tracking.

An ignored are of analytics (and I’ll personally attest to this) if user paths (especially from spokes). See if people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and if not figure out why.

Monitor Brand Mentions:

Tools like Hootsuite, Topsy and Google Alerts help you keep on top of people discussing your brand.

Monitor Google Trends for your brand to track improvements as direct SEO efforts impact branded search now that SEO is PR. is a great tool to monitor what people are searching for as related to your brand.

She reinforces something that everyone needs to remember … it’s going to take a “long-a$$ time” and you need to think about other revenue generation ideas to carry you through.

Turn Customers Into Advocates:

If you have passionate users … use them if you can.

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