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Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy Is Your Business Strategy by Vanessa Fox

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Foreword

There's a special place where customers gather each day, willingly seeking businesses that can help them. They want cars. They want plumbers. They want music downloads. They want vacation rentals, lawn care products, tax advice and more. You name the product or service, this place has someone looking for it.

This venue is the ultimate destination for those after a prequalified audience. Everyone there is ready to buy or convert in some way. Everyone is explicitly asking to be contacted. Everyone is even willing to take part in market research to help guide a business forward. Here's the best part: As a business, it costs nothing to be admitted.

What's the catch? There isn't one, other than being aware of the opportunity this place provides and tapping into it.

The place? The major search engines used by millions each day. Yahoo!, Microsoft's Bing, and the largest of them all, Google. Consumers increasingly depend on these tools to locate products, services and information. Search engines continue to usurp more "traditional" means of reaching customers, such as newspapers, phone books, or television. But unlike those traditional means, getting in front of consumers through search engines doesn't require a huge marketing budget.

Search engines mine web pages and other digital content to automatically provide answers to those searching. Becoming one of those answers can require no work at all. Many companies just naturally turn up in the search listings—for free.

With a little ...

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