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In Memoriam: Search Marketer Ron Jones

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ron-jonesIt is with great sadness that we commemorate the life of Ron Jones, a former writer for Search Engine Watch, speaker at SES Conference Events, and most recently a ClickZ Experts columnist.

Jones passed away June 30 after a bout with metastatic melanoma.

Readers and conference attendees knew Ron as a sage search marketer, while friends and colleagues will remember him as a passionate professional, family man, and avid cyclist.

Jones was president and CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, a strategic SEM consulting and training firm. He served on the Board of Directors for SEMPO, and his book, "Keyword Intelligence: Keyword Research for Search Social and Beyond," received accolades.

Ron was a beloved and dedicated columnist at ClickZ, writing articles to help educate marketers as late as April of this year. Prior to that, Jones wrote for SEW, teaching our readers the basics of search engine marketing as part of our former SEM 101 section. 

Some memories of Ron from his close professional friends:

I had the pleasure of working with Ron on his Keyword Intelligence book, and those who know him will not be surprised to learn that he was an excellent author. He was passionate about his field and had the skill to clearly communicate even the most intricate nuances of his craft. He was a great collaborator, an enthusiastic author, and a delightfully conscientious and responsible person. If he said he was going to do something, you could count on it being done and being done very well.  

Our working relationship quickly blossomed into a friendship when we realized we had much in common. I particularly admired the way he would immerse himself in a city to get a feel for the place and its people, soaking in the ambiance of a city by walking about and mixing it up with the locals. One night we were leaving an SES party and happily discovered we'd both planned to walk back to the hotel. It was a beautiful night as we walked along and had a shared stories about our families – he was such a proud papa – and cycling and internet marketing and New York and other places we'd been or would like to go. Being in New York, it was only appropriate that we ended the night with a slice of pizza.

After his book published, he took me up on my offer for a cycling tour of SF. It was one of those golden SF days perfect for cycling, and we spent the afternoon going over the Golden Gate bridge and into the Marin Headlands, out to Ocean Beach, and back through the various interesting neighborhoods. Not surprisingly given what an avid cyclist he was, he cranked out 30 miles up and down SF's hills seemingly without breaking a sweat. I'll treasure that day and forever remember Ron as a good friend, loving family man, and consummate professional.  

- Willem Knibbe

Ron was a great friend of mine that I have known for a number of years. Ron gave a lot of himself to others both professionally and in his community. Ron proudly and enthusiastically represented our industry as a SEMPO board member, conference speaker, educator, and author. He was always giving to those who asked. After his sessions and workshops Ron spent time with the attendees long after the session ended, helping them better understand keyword research and solve their business problems without asking for anything in return.  

In his community Ron gave even more as a Boy Scout leader, helping enrich the outdoor experiences to the young men in his troop. He was also active in the community service projects and proud of his membership in the Order of the Arrow.  

I will miss talking to Ron at the conferences about biking and scouts and receiving his suggestions for improving my keyword management tool. We will miss him greatly but will always have Ron's wisdom preserved in his excellent book "Keyword Intelligence." 

- Bill Hunt

Ron Jones brought a level of optimism and promise to the search marketing industry that positively affected anyone around him. Each time I would run into Ron at a conference from London to San Francisco, his upbeat attitude and friendly Southern nature were great complements to his dedication as a marketing professional. He was always concerned with giving value and providing useful information. Ron was helpful to me as a peer author and I will always be grateful for his insights. He will be missed by many and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Stacey and the kids.

- Lee Odden

I knew Ron for several years since we both spoke at numerous Internet marketing conferences. Ron was not the kind of person to stand out - he did not try to get attention. Instead he was always low-key and thoughtful, with a twinkle in his eye. When he was considering writing his own book he turned to me and other authors for advice. Ron was a well-respected and competent professional. But what I will remember most about him is his gentle spirit, and kindness. After every interaction with him I always felt a little bit better. I am sure that the seeds of kindness and goodness that he planted will continue to grow and flower in everyone he touched.

- Tim Ash

Ron was a great teacher and one of the great leaders who helped shape the search industry. I'll miss the conversation with him about SEMPO and search marketing, going to the sushi restaurant after events, and most of all, his wonderful smile.

- Motoko Hunt

My enduring memory of Ron from our time in SEMPO and just from whenever we met at industry events, was that he always had a smile on his face. Ron was always upbeat and always happy to see you. Every time you met Ron, it was like meeting a great old friend who you hadn't seen in a while.

- Duane Forrester

I've had the pleasure of knowing Ron for the past five years, first as a fellow SEMPO member, then as a fellow SES speaker, and more recently as our guest speaker after his book on Keyword Research was published early this year. I always found Ron to be one of the most humble and nicest people I've met in our industry. I've found staying humble while scaling new professional heights is one of the greatest qualities anyone can have and Ron definitely had plenty of that. Ron will surely be missed!

- Bob Tripathi

Ron's wife Stacey, his four children, and family have asked that gifts, donations, and memorials be made by check to the funeral and burial fund:

Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Service
213 West Mountain Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
Mark check "For the benefit of the Ron Jones Burial Fund"

In addition, SEMPO is accepting donations from members for the burial fund.

This article was originally published on ClickZ.


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