Book Review Marketing in The Age of Google Fox

Title: Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy
Author: Vannessa Fox
Target: corporate executives, organic search for non-search audience

– Useful overview of Google Trends and Google Insights for Search.
– Keyword categorisation e.g. brand, product reference, other etc. e.g. San Diego B&B could have three main keyword groups brand, wine reference, things to do.
– Checklist for Hiring an In-House SEO and Hiring an Organic Search Agency.
– Search acquisition strategy process, loving the framework.
– Understanding query types and their part in the content strategy.

– Jupiter Research: 36% of those surveyed felt that “…seeing a company listed among the top results on a search engine makes me think that the company is a top one within its field…”.
– iProspect Search Engine User Behavior white paper : 62% of searchers click a result on the first page of results and 90% click within the first three pages.
– Enquiro Research: when searchers were asked if they remembered seeing brands in the search results, fewer than 30% did if the brand was only in a paid search ad, but nearly 60% did when the brand appeared on top of both paid and organic.

– Personas – the concept of providing snapshots of your potential customers at different phases of the buying cycle, including demographic data, different search query categories and different journeys (called conversion workflows). In other words, searcher goal, searcher queries, task completion, business goals, searcher motivated to convert by [e.g. price].
– Of course it’s not the focus of this book but still I thought Vanessa gave some tips for getting started with social media.
– Honest and authentic perspective on search from a experienced ex-Googler.

– Perhaps Vanessa is too passionate about search and sometimes I thought she doesn’t recognise the importance of other marketing channels or doesn’t provide the reader with an alternative, non-search perspective. As a result some of the case studies or tips are not very practical.
– Some of the messages are inconsistent e.g. one paragraph is tells you ‘not to focus too much on SEO but on what the search engines are trying to achieve’. I think I understand what Vanessa is trying to say, but equally it could be confusing.
– Generalisation, e.g. in the Preface Vanessa attempts to put all businesses into three categories: 1) don’t know where to start with SEM 2) don’t think SEM is important 3) obsessed with positions and rankings and don’t have strategy. What about businesses that have been doing SEM for years?
– Internationalization of search is mentioned briefly and it’s disappointing that not more information was provided.

“not participating in the conversation is a loud statement of its own to your customer base. You can’t control your branding message in any case because your customers are already talking about you online. The best you can do its to participate.”

“…unrealistic to think commercial content to rank well for information research queries.”

– I now follow Vanessa Fox and would recommend her book to my clients, some of her definitions and tips could help when speaking to non-technical audience
– take a look at the Google leaked quality guidelines doc
– note to myself!…new blog ideas: involving Jersey, universal search, personas, how to search tips.

Great book demonstrates that SEO is not only about positions and rankings. If only all senior executives and business owners read the book our lives as search consultants would have been so much easier! I certainly found it useful, learned something new and would definitely recommend this book to everyone working in sales, pr, marketing & research.


You can get it on Amazon:Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy

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