When I worked at Google, I talked to thousands of business owners seeking my help and advice. To them, Google was somewhat of a black box. They knew that organic search (the unpaid result set) was important, but they had no idea how to use search data and customer acquisition from organic search in their business processes.
We built Google Webmaster Central as a way to give business owners and Webmasters insight into how their sites were performing in Google and to help them identify problems and make improvements. During my tenure at Google and since, the business owners I talk to often fall into one of the following camps:
Those who know search has become an important part of the customer engagement cycle, but aren't sure where to start.
Those who don't think search is that important and believe that even if it is, businesses shouldn't have to concern themselves with it. It's Google's job to sort things out.
Those who get so caught up in optimizing their sites and ranking number one that they don't step back to look at the bigger picture: to understand how searchers behave, how to engage with them, and how to turn them into lifelong customers.
After I left Google, I wanted to take what we started with Webmaster Central and go beyond helping people pinpoint issues that might be preventing them from doing well in search. I wanted to help them fix those areas, improve their sites, and take the focus off of ranking and put it on connecting with the right audience. In short, ...