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Vanessa Fox

Seattle entrepreneur Vanessa Fox has been bootstrapping her search analytics business, Nine by Blue, for the past six years.

Today, the former Google employee is cashing out, in part because she’s found the right partner in Charlottesville, Virginia-based search marketing firm RKG.

“We’ve built up Blueprint as a robust enterprise-level search analytics platform and are proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Fox tells GeekWire. “The next step is to invest much more heavily in continued development — additional data sources, increased insights, and so on — as well as get the word out via sales and marketing channels. Selling to RKG provides immediate access to those resources, so that we can grow much more quickly than we would on our own.”

Fox declined to disclose the purchase price in the cash and stock deal, but said she is “quite happy with the outcome.” All six of the Nine by Blue staffers will join RKG, with the company planning to ramp up its operations in the Seattle area as a result of the deal with new openings for software engineers and designers.

“It’s great to join up with a company with the same vision who sees the value in what we’ve developed and the opportunities to continue to evolve the platform,” she said.

Fox is a well known search engine optimization expert, having previously created Google’s Webmaster Central. She’s also the author of Marketing in the Age of Google.

marketingageofgoogleAt RKG, she will be serving as chief product officer. Founded in 2003, RKG is considered one of Google’s largest independent paid search agencies. It was recently named by Advertising Age as the fastest growing search agency.

The company has offices in Charlottesville, Virginia; Bend, Oregon; Boston; San Francisco; and, now with the acquisition of Nine by Blue, Seattle.

“We are thrilled to have Vanessa, Blueprint and the Nine By Blue team join RKG,” said CEO George Gallate in a statement. “At RKG, we unashamedly see digital through the lens of search. By using data to understand customer intent, we make marketing smarter, particularly search and social, both to build brands and create customer fulfillment. Nine by Blue is a like-minded company that shares our values of smart people using smart technology, and we’re excited about what we can achieve together.”

Added Chief Knowledge Officer Adam Audette, who sold his company to RKG in 2011.

“There’s a deep need in the SEO industry for people and practices that focus on users rather than algorithms,” he said. “Vanessa understands this and is a clear leader in the space. Together we will be well positioned to help our clients solve the multi-million dollar questions: ‘What are customers searching for, and why?’; ‘How can we better target these customers?’; ‘Where and how should we invest our money?’ Through data we’ll gather the information needed to answer these questions, and integrate it with our shared knowledge to create informed, ROI-focused strategies for our clients.”

Previously on GeekWire: Fox was our guest on the GeekWire podcast in January. Listen in here.

Follow us on Twitter @GeekWire.

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