Search as Strategy: Connecting with Customers in the Age of Google

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With 118 billion monthly US searches, search is no longer a channel, it is the medium in which business transacts. If you’re a marketer, advertiser, user interaction designer, business owner, or product manager, you can’t afford to think of search as a box to be checked or a task to be outsourced; you also need to be smart about incorporating search acquisition and SEO into your overall business strategy, including marketing and product development. This bootcamp session helps both technical and non-technical business professionals understand how to think like Google, so that findability is built into their strategy from the start.

Vanessa Fox, creator of Google’s Webmaster Central and author of the upcoming book Marketing in the Age of Google, will show you why our evolution into a searching culture requires a fundamental shift in how we think about the user experience, beyond simply accommodating search engine optimization (SEO).

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create searcher personas based on search behavior that increase web site usability, customer engagement, and overall visitors.
  • Use free search data to augment market research, customer surveys, and focus groups for compelling features and content.
  • Build search-friendly technical architecture for your web site
  • Weave search best practices into your organization

Whether you’re a marketer, web developer, user interaction designer, usability researcher, or run the whole company, this workshop will give you the tips and tools you need to better connect with your customers online. This workshop isn’t about AdWords, banner ads, or any other form of paid advertising, it’s about operating in a searching environment and focuses on using free tools to be more easily found in the free (organic) search results (that 85% of searchers click on).

The first half of the day will provide foundational knowledge about search engines and web content and development that will be useful for all search knowledge and technical levels. You’ll get the facts from those who have worked at the major search engines.

The second half of the day will include breakout sessions devoted to those who are marketing and business-focused and those who are development and technically focused. This will enable us to dig deep into the issues and let you get all of your questions answered.

We’ll end the day with interactive site reviews that fully illustrate what we’ve learned throughout the day.

Topics will include:

Marketing/Content Development

  • How search engines work
  • Searcher behavior and intent
  • Using search data for market research, competitive analysis, and deeper customer understanding
  • Building searcher personas
  • Using keyword research, competitive research, and other tools that provide search data
  • Using search engine-provided and technical diagnostic tools to be alerted to site issues

Technical Architecture

  • Architecting URLs, including use of dynamic URLs, tracking parameters, and canonicalization
  • Content management systems, including Wordpress and ecommerce platforms
  • Geolocation/internationalization implementation
  • Use of rich internet applications, such as Flash and AJAX
  • Diagnosing and troubleshooting technical issues, and the tools available
  • Technology platforms (, IIS, php, Apache, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: In order to attend this session, you must REGISTER for the Bootcamps and specify this session in the process.
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Vanessa Fox

Nine By Blue

Vanessa Fox, called a “cyberspace visionary” by Seattle Business Monthly, is an expert in understanding customer acquisition from organic search. She shares her perspective on how this impacts marketing and user experience and how all business silos (including developers and marketers) can work together towards greater search visibility at

She’s also an entrepreneur-in-residence with Ignition Partners and Features Editor at Search Engine Land. She previously created Google’s Webmaster Central, which provides both tools and community to help website owners improve their sites to gain more customers from search. Her book, Marketing in the Age of Google, provides a blueprint for incorporating search strategy into organizations of all levels.

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Polly P
11/23/2009 2:08am EST

This was a very informative and inspiring presentation by Vanessa.

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