Live blog from AIMA Atlanta, GA SEO event with Joshua Palau (, Vanessa Fox (, moderated by Lee Blankenship ( We'll be starting in a few minutes…. This is a live blog so please excuse typos and spelling errors :)

- Search is Search.
Majority of US searchers don't understand the difference between paid and organic so we should treat SEARCH that way. You don't have a paid or organic strategy but rather a search strategy.

How do I force change?
- Search has evolved from being confined to 10 blue links.
- As an organization you don't have to explain, just search.
- Everything you do needs a search strategy because it is what your customers demand.
- Stop treating these as silos.

Instead of forcing change it's possible to wait and adapt to change, for example folks in Atlanta will search for ADT no matter what so, what are the critical success factors?

Critical Success Factors for Search
- Analytics
- Belief and Patience
- Executive Leadership

Where should I start to work and how can we work together.
-shared KW research strategy
-message consistancy

- learn optimize response in paid and organic
- competitive monitoring

-group performance
- top paid vs natural by rank and conversion

Business objectives Measurement Strategy Competive Analysis should be your focus. For reporting success, set up a score card that shows "everything". Understand and explain how search fits into the digital strategy as well as the broader strategy.
Thanks Joshua!

Up next is Vanessa Fox....

Step back and focus on strategy. Changing search results provide a range of opportunity, local, news, maps, video and even Rich Snippet results. Vanessa mentions negative suggestions in suggestion box. As search becomes more the primary navigation it's important to think about search navigation. Vanessa illustrates the pattern map that we all do even when not aware. This becomes important when advertising because of words being used in search queries by users.

Instead of focusing on user intent Vanessa suggests personas to determine calls to action and

How does all this tie into life?

( was a social media campaign during the Superbowl in 2009 but users searched for "edit your own" but the site in question didn't rank for that result. In addition, little was spent on PPC for this site and as a result this ad drove traffic to sites other than the one desired.

This year's Bridgestone Superbowl ad included a link to but didn't optimize for these terms or buy ppc that keeps with branding. As a result opportunity was missed.

The big example though was the Dockers pants ad during the Superbowl. In this case users conducted navigational searches for the URL and not the kw. Problem being, the URL was a redirect and not an actual page. As a result spam marketers began implementing URLs with the domain name used by Dockers to intercept traffic.

Another example was 2012, a movie. In this case billboards seem to have been driving traffic to sites other than the advertiser.

Bottom line, every campaign needs to include search strategy...

Up next questions:

Vanessa Fox - Google for a long time has wanted to make pages faster and what they have found is that slow pages increase user experience. It's not that speed will boost rankings but could be a negative if pages are slow.

Joshua - At the core of good organic is good for the users. If sites are slow users will leave but he can't say for sure if this will impact rankings.

Lee asks if Mobile impacts speed.

Vanessa - isn't sure if mobile is part of speed.

First question from Delta:
How can brands prepare for campaign in advance?

Vanessa - plan, consider a microsite or other depending on situation.

JP agrees that planning is big but for companies this shouldn't be difficult due to crawl rate.

VF suggests checking server logs to establish crawl rates and make determinations based on that data in order to see spikes.

Next question from - What impact do you see microformats having in future.

VF- Google uses markup in snippets but doesn't use as a ranking factor due to scale. Using microformats for ranking could harm smaller sites.

JP- 4 stars is better than 3 stars and that is good marketing.

VF- sites with structured markup can have a 15% increase in click through from organic SERPS.

Next question, what is the best way to get up to speed on analytics?
VF - suggests and his two books.

DON'T LIKE NEXT QUESTION, so skip it.....

Talk about what engines know about the intent of a searcher….
VF- Engines have lots of data about intent, this is where there seems to be a divide. Google has so many search that they can assess searcher intent. By offering options to login Google can provide relevant results.
JP- Engines have more data than agencies which provide advantages in terms of targeting intent based on user query. While it's great this info is available is it sometthing users want? That is the question it seems...

Next question, an old professor got us thinking about where previous inquires where posted. According to the user Google couldn't provide the answer. Question is about Google Buzz and what impact it has on marketing.

JP - I don't see Buzz getting much better. He feels that Facebook has won.

JP- isn't confined by engine. He says users cant be forced into one spot.

Vanessa - (Youtube number tow engine and would suggest posting video to it because of Google SERPS) Google is trying to pull social results into main SERPs.

Next question about social impact and wall garden SEO.
VF- Social media is opening more and as a result that lives on.
JP- feels the same.

What do you think about Microsoft Bing deal?.
JP- says he feels like innovation had slowed and forced folks to move forward. At the same time he doesn't believe the answers are better and doesn't believe Bing will push Google off the top of the hill.

VF- Technical concerns, Yahoo has lost folks and integration will be a complex task. She doesn't see how yahoo can continue unless microsoft rebuilds.

What does it take to change search habits?
VF - text search is nearly solved. Why would folks want to change? We use search so much we start to apply same techniques in other places. For example Google Goggles a search you don't think of as a search.

JP - What Google can use from Tiger Woods. You may be all things but you'll eventually screw up. He thinks privacy is a big place for Google to screw up.

Why couldn't Google beat Microsoft?
JP - asks for a show of hands for who uses Bing. No hands! Even with money it's harder to pull the numbers...

VF- point out 1/2 market share increase even with all Microsoft is doing.

How is Google indexing sites with Flash?

VF- explains anchor URL issues....