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Interviewing Katherine Watier Ong

Date: 26/06/2021

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Katherine Watier Ong
Based in USA, Katherine is the principal of WO Strategies LLC, where she provides digital marketing strategies for science-focused enterprise brands, including,,, and American College of Cardiology. She has spoken at Voice Global, BrightonSEO, SES, and OMS.

We asked her everything from how she first got into SEO to what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is πŸ’ͺ🏽 You can learn more about how Katherine first got into SEO in her video.

What is your favourite SEO task?

Technical SEO troubleshooting and training clients on SEO.

What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?

I use Ahref's Traffic Share by Domains for competitive analysis. LinkedIn to find the staff at competitors who work on SEO.

What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?

I was diagnosing a site with a considerable amount of crawl waste. After using my brother (a developer) as a brainstorming partner, we discover that a relative link error in the search function was creating infinite URLs. The web platform was not kicking out 404 errors for those fake URLs. Once we flagged the issue and got it fixed by the development team, the site increased its traffic by about 100K in just a couple of months.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

My interview with Barry Schwartz. It was so cool to be interviewed on such a well-known SEO publication. That was followed by losing a website for four days due to my digital marketing plan (and not enough server load testing by IT) and still getting 1.2 million visitors a month for a 300K/mo site. I've also helped launch about 16 different digital marketing careers - young people who came to me without any background, and I trained in digital marketing. I'm proud of their accomplishments. They are now at Google, Facebook, Twitter, digital marketing agencies - all successful in their own right.

What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?

Find mentors when you can. Realize that you know more about SEO most of the time than others. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know, but I'll get back to you.

Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why

Shari Thurow. I loved watching her speak at shows, and she became a mentor and provided me with free advice when I started working on sites impacted by Google Scholar. Janet Driscoll Miller - another of my SEO mentors who had helped me over the years and let me hire one of her former staff when I built my team at Ketchum.

Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?

When I was 16, I discovered the following quote from Margaret Mead:

β€œNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead, anthropologist, recipient of the Planetary Citizen of the Year Award in 1978.

At the time, it drove me to create The Rainforest Challenge; a rainforest preservation organization focused on engaging young people in preserving the tropical rainforest. We gave presentations to schools, community groups, and conferences, I wrote a curriculum, built an email list, got grant funding and press coverage on NPR, PBS, and NBC. I eventually put it all online in 1994, when I build my first website. That experience made me realize that anyone can create change with enough passion and determination. I use both of those perspectives in my work as an SEO today.


Thanks Katherine for a truly insightful interview, you can check out Katherine's website and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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to share your story with the world! Simply fill this form here, we welcome brilliant SEOs from all walks of life! πŸ™ŒπŸ½