It is heartbreaking to have to write that Russ Jones has passed away unexpectedly on Thursday. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters. I’ve known Russ since my early days in SEO, he was one of the brightest minds in our space, he was also one of the friendliest and funny people you could know. His smarts, smile and humor made him so special.
I just cannot believe he won’t be tweeting or that I won’t see him at a conference again. Russ was the Principal Search Scientist at Moz between 2015 and 2020, he worked at System1 and before that he worked at Angular where I also started this brilliant SEO blog named the The Google Cache, he has been writing there since 2006 amongst other places.
I am not sure yet where there will be a fund set up, but please check this story in a few days for any updated links to a fund. He has such a beautiful family, I am so devastated for them. Yes, this is a huge loss for our industry, the SEO space, but he was such a family man.
I interviewed Russ for my vlog a while back and it was the parts before and after the interview that stood out most to me about him – although the interview was just great. You can watch it over here. We chatted about being religious; him Christian, myself Jewish and being in this tech space. We spoke about a lot of the passion in the SEO community and how finding humor and fun in it was important.
I am going to miss him so much.
Here is some of the early reaction of this horrible news:
This is the last conversation I had with Russ. I know it may seem inappropriate to share this right now, but if you knew him, you know it’s exactly the kind of thing he’d find funny. Can’t believe there won’t be another one. pic.twitter.com/ytI42oexA6
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) June 26, 2021
Russ was always smiling. Always his weird, authentic self. The first time we met, I learned more about him than I know about 90% of my lifelong friends. He wore his heart on his sleeve, so of course, I wore mine, too. pic.twitter.com/TJvpLwiJiV
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) June 26, 2021
Ross pointed to the giant structure behind us and asked if that was the “famous Seattle pin needle?”
Russ, B, and I never stopped teasing him about it. pic.twitter.com/G0X1YfCPkf
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) June 26, 2021
We loved @rjonesx, our friend and longtime Mozzer. He was brilliant, bold, and courageous. His quick wit and charm never failed to make us laugh.
Losing him feels unimaginable, and we’re holding his loved ones close to our hearts.
— Moz (@Moz) June 26, 2021
Also, if you have (or know anyone) with any pictures/videos/etc of Russ, please reach out…. Trying to pull as much together as possible for the family. https://t.co/7EMEP62vhg
— Jake Bohall (@jakebohall) June 26, 2021
Heartbreaking! Hug the ones you love!! https://t.co/fXwRmlpjE5
— Cindy Krum (@Suzzicks) June 26, 2021
Devastated 💔 https://t.co/mmhs2KMfZd
— Britney Muller (@BritneyMuller) June 26, 2021
So shocked and saddened by this news.
— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) June 26, 2021
OMG. RIP. Terrible news. https://t.co/tXLilI7LhN
— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) June 26, 2021
I’m heartbroken. @rjonesx was a ray of intense, wry, bright sunshine. He was ready to debate any topic passionately and still be your friend afterwards. I can’t get his voice or his laugh out of my head and I sort of hope I never do. https://t.co/YoByu0WmDt
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) June 26, 2021
Russ Jones was my boss, SEO mentor, religious debate hornlocker…but above all one of my dearest friends. Truly one of those rare people who impacted everyone who knew him for good. Never known anyone more in love with his wife & children, or more consistent to his convictions. pic.twitter.com/BzJwW01BhT
— Mark Traphagen ✊🏾🏳️🌈 (@marktraphagen) June 26, 2021
Unbelievably sad to just hear of the passing of @rjonesx on Thursday. He was a good man, a good friend, a world class SEO and entrepreneur. May he rest in peace and may his family be comforted in this time.
— John Doherty ✌🏼on vacation (@dohertyjf) June 26, 2021
WHAT??!! What a sad news.
My thoughts and prayers go to his family.
You will be missed fondly missed Russ 😔 https://t.co/gfruG4bF62
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) June 26, 2021
Huge, huge loss for his family, his friends, and the entire SEO community. @rjonesx truly was one of the good guys.
Had the pleasure of meeting him at Pubcon, such a sharp mind and a genuinely lovely fellow. https://t.co/eiTsqfdkce
— Barry Adams 📰 (@badams) June 26, 2021
— Aleyda Solis 👩🏻💻 (@aleyda) June 26, 2021
We are hurting @Moz. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. We stand with them in this pain. The ache of loss is a manifestation of our love and appreciation for Russ. We will honor him and hold his spirit and memory close. 💜💜💜
— Sarah Bird (@SarahBird) June 26, 2021
One of the first things I read by @rjonesx… The article, which catapulted him into our consciousness, was brilliant and controversial. The first conversation I ever had with Russ was about ethics in SEO, and we revisited it many times over the years. https://t.co/3CMtrl6l5z
— Jenny Halasz | #BlackLivesMatter (@jennyhalasz) June 27, 2021
Incredibly sad to hear the news of Russ Jones passing away. A regular on /r/BigSEO who was not afraid to disagree with anyone.
— Colin McDermott (@ColinMcDermott) June 26, 2021
OMG this is terrible 🙁 https://t.co/Eo1Gt6AfmM
— Dan Shure (@dan_shure) June 26, 2021
Damn! Not @rjonesx!
I’m floored. https://t.co/8T9se4zffc
— MyCool King (@iPullRank) June 26, 2021
Terrible news, sending you a big hug.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) June 26, 2021
Again, this is just a tiny fraction of the posts on Twitter – it just shows you how much Russ Jones meant to the industry. I really can’t imagine how much he meant to his family and how they are doing now.
I am heart broken for his family, his wife, his three daughters and the industry for this loss. We are all praying your family durning this impossible time. You will be deeply missed.
Forum discussion at Twitter.