Summer is fast approaching its end. Pumpkin-flavored drinks and snacks have already begun to appear in coffee shops and liquor stores across the country, and before long, everyone will be sporting tasteful sweater/scarf combos and taking leisurely walks through the beautiful autumnal foliage of local parks.
Pretty soon, there will be nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. Just as Don Henley promised in his 1984 hit single “Boys of Summer,” our love for you will still be strong after the posts of summer have gone. However, contrary to Mr. Henley’s assertions, we can indeed look back. Here’s a round-up of the most popular posts from the WordStream blog in August.And yes, in case you were wondering, I am listening to Don Henley as I write this post.1. RIP Exact and Phrase Match in Ad... > Read more
WordStream recently launched a call tracking initiative and naturally we have been asked tons of questions about how our new service offering compares to Google AdWords’ existing Call Extensions and Call Forwarding features. (These services are different from Google’s new Website Call Conversions feature; learn more about that here.
) It is easy to be confused since all these offerings focus on tracking potential leads, so it is important to understand the differences and benefits of each service.First, let’s break down what each of these service offerings do and how they work.WordStream Call TrackingWordStream Call Tracking allows you to see through the software which campaigns, ad groups, ads, match types and keywords are driving leads to call your business. How it works is:Customer... > Read more
Calling all tweeters – Twitter’s new and improved analytics is a major upgrade that provides rich Twitter data you could only dream about before. And as of yesterday, it's available to everyone, not just advertisers!Absolutely thrilled to open up access to http://t.co/wcU6oj9hFM to EVERYONE. Check it out, and let us know what you think!— Ian Chan (@chanian) August 27, 2014Twitter analytics hasn't been getting a ton of attention, likely due to the fact that the analytics were hidden away within the ad platform.
Now you can find this new analytics data by visiting https://analytics.twitter.com/. Then prepare to be amazed.New & Improved Twitter Analytics: Sweet Tweet Data!Upon first logging into the new Twitter analytics, you’ll feel like a fat kid at an ice cream factory. Sorry, ... > Read more
My fellow paid search advertisers, our world is always changing. It seems like we can’t go a month without a new ground-shaking announcement in this industry. Whether it’s policy changes, sitelink changes, changes to what impacts your Quality Score, new demographic targeting options – the paid search environment never sits still.
This is particularly true for advertisers who value the mobile market. The mobile landscape is growing and changing rapidly and it has real consequences for advertisers.Mobile ReachIt’s not news that it seems like everyone has a smartphone these days. In 2013, smartphone users officially became the majority in the United States:US Mobile PenetrationSource: Google: Our Mobile PlanetAs these devices become better and more affordable, and their networks become... > Read more
Not two weeks ago, Google effectively killed off the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords – pissing a lot of paid search managers off in the process – and now, Bing is following suit.Bing Ads is testing the inclusion of close variants in a portion of US exact match queries, according to an announcement on the Bing Ads blog.
Unlike Google, which removed the option to turn close variant in exact match off, Bing Ads will still give advertisers the ability to opt out of it (at least for the time being).If Bing moves this beyond testing and implements close variant in exact match across the board, it will affect all Bing advertisers, whereas Google's recent forced migration affected only about 3% of AdWords advertisers. Google took away the ability for advertisers to opt out, but... > Read more
Good webinars can be a little like independent movies – they leave you feeling wonderful, inspired, and ready to take on the world. Bad webinars, however, are more like Michael Bay movies – after two hours, you begin to wonder how somebody could have possibly been paid to make something so unapologetically terrible.
If you’ve ever wondered how to do a webinar that people will actually want to watch, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’re going to look at whether you should even be planning a webinar, a checklist of webinar best practices, and we’ll also learn some valuable lessons from two of WordStream’s seasoned webinar pros along the way.Should You Even Produce a Webinar?Believe it or not, this is a question that most marketers fail to ask before diving he... > Read more
Paid search is one of the most effective means for businesses to gain new customers. However, the PPC playing field has changed dramatically in recent years, and strategies that might have been effective in the past simply no longer cut it.In this post, I’m going to show you why you should stop wasting time with low click-through rate PPC strategies or bidding to a particular position, and what you can do to improve the ROI of your paid search campaigns.
What is a ‘Low CTR Strategy’?Before we go any further, I’ll explain what I mean by “low CTR strategies.”There are two main types of low CTR paid search strategies. The first is the type of campaign in which you target broader keywords within your market. These keywords include both informational and navigational queries, as well... > Read more
For the second year in a row, WordStream is listed on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America. We're incredibly proud of this honor, which speaks to the importance of successful, measurable PPC advertising for businesses across the country. This year, WordStream ranked #673 on Inc.
's annual list of the 5000 fastest-growing, privately held U.S. companies. And, as noted by BostInno, we're the 6th fastest-growing company in Massachusetts.Paid search is the advertising channel of choice for an increasing number of businesses, with advertisers spending 25% more on PPC this year over last. Our core purpose of bringing the power of search marketing to businesses of all sizes – with free grading tools for AdWords accounts and landing pages and now our free learning resourc... > Read more
How I Stumbled Into PPCIt was the first day of my Spring semester internship at one of the big advertising agencies here in Boston. In the application process I was asked to specify my top three choices of departments in which I’d like to work. My choices? Account Management, New Business, and Content Marketing.
The listings were handed out to the 40 interns, and most people sighed a breath of relief when they found out they were granted one of their top three choices. I breathed a sigh of anxiety when I saw the department in which I was placed. Yes, you guessed it! – Search Marketing. I had only briefly learned about SEO and SEM in a marketing class at Suffolk University. I barely knew the difference between organic and paid search results.Fast forward about 5 months, and I began to re... > Read more
As of today, Google’s app promotion ads, first launched on the Display Network in June, are now available across the Google Search and YouTube networks.It’s great news for app promoters, particularly those interested in the YouTube network, where users are 2.2x more likely to download apps. Promoting an app on YouTube is as simple as linking the app’s ID to an active TrueView campaign.
TrueView Mobile App Promotion AdsOn YouTube, the app promotion ads are an enhancement to TrueView ads and send users directly to the appropriate app store to download. You can choose an ad format optimized for app promotion that displays the app name, icon, price and ratings next to the video ad and in the ad preview.Advertisers can target YouTube audience members based on whether they've viewed content... > Read more
You work hard to optimize your ads and either get consumers to your website or get them to call your business directly. But how can you tell when the person who calls your business did so as the result of your AdWords ads? If the number on your website and in your ads is always the same, you have no way of knowing.
Now you can measure phone calls that are triggered by your ads in AdWords. Google has just announced the launch of website call conversions, a dynamic forwarding number insertion feature that enables the measurement of calls from a website visitor who landed on the site as a result of an AdWords ad click. This is similar but not identical to WordStream’s own AdWords call tracking software (more on that later).The ability to track where your calls are coming from and how your PP... > Read more
We live in a wondrous age my friends. Knowledge and learning can be obtained with a few clicks of the mouse, opening education and intellectual stimulation to anyone with a scholarly spirit.Below is a list of our favorite online marketing courses, most of which are free or very nearly free. Let the learning begin!WordStream’s PPC UniversityPPC University.
Our new PPC University is an awesome one-stop shop for learning all the ins and outs of PPC. With easy-to-browse lessons for beginners and advanced PPC users, there’s something for everyone at the grand old PPC University. Toga, toga, toga!Google’s Online Marketing ChallengeGoogle Online Marketing Challenge. Is there a better source to learn about online marketing than the big G itself? Google’s Digital Marketing Course is packed ... > Read more
If you had the chance to read my recent post on why it’s so easy to fail at mobile advertising, then you’ll remember that we discovered:Mobile search volumes have been growing exponentially the past few years.Mobile CTR drops off 45% faster in lower positions than desktop or tablet.Search CPCs have been rising dramatically for mobile over the past 12 months.
The mobile impression share penalty is more dramatic that its desktop counterparts.These trends make the mobile PPC market appreciably harder to control. Advertisers without a clear mobile strategy are almost certain to fail. So what can you do to beat the mobile curse? Our Client Success reps here at Wordstream and our loyal blog followers shared their best tips:#1: Use Mobile Bid Adjustments to Control What You Pay for on MobileMo... > Read more
Holy smokes! Google has today effectively killed off both the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords!While the keyword match types will still exist, starting in September, AdWords is redefining the definition of how keywords set to phrase and exact keyword match type will trigger search ads by applying close variant keyword matching – meaning your keywords will also trigger for misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents, acronyms and abbreviations of the keywords that you specify.
Close variant keyword match was introduced in 2012, and was already the default option when using exact match and phrase match – however previously you could opt out of it. Going forward, this is no longer the case. Here’s everything you need to know about this keyword match type shake-... > Read more
Ask a marketer or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more customers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic to their site. There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at some of them.
1. AdvertiseThis one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, paid social and display advertising are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before you reach for ... > Read more
A few weeks back, I took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) in the Big SEO community on Reddit.I love participating in AMAs – they’re a great chance to see what’s really on people’s minds right now and which issues are causing the industry grief. Each one is also an opportunity to connect with marketers of all experience levels, across a range of industries and in different types of roles.
I definitely learn a ton every time I do one!I did an AMA on Inbound.org back in April and put together a list of the top PPC questions I was asked. This time, I wanted to share some of the super smart SEO questions the Reddit group had for me, along with my answers. Enjoy! (Also check out our Mega Collection of SEO Expert Advice from other Reddit SEO AMAs.)1. What’s Your Keyword Research Secret?... > Read more
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you already know that the mobile market is becoming increasingly important. The big guys know this too – last summer, Google pushed advertisers into mobile with the transition to Enhanced Campaigns, and Bing recently announced it would be following suit this September.
Experts are seeing mobile search volumes grow much faster than desktop, and some forecast they will even exceed desktop search volumes as early as next year.Mobile vs. Desktop Local Search Volumes (BIA/Kelsey Forecast)As mobile searches have been heating up, so have rumors about the implications for mobile advertisers. Rather than speculate, let’s quantify what’s important for mobile marketers out there today with real data. What’s a good CTR for mobile... > Read more
Dr. Pete just tweeted a screenshot of a SERP that he spotted last night – Google appears to be running a test with paid local search results!Just popped up on Google last night - Is this paid local? pic.twitter.com/9VUanoXpfX— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) August 11, 2014As you can see in the screenshot he grabbed, the local map results have the yellow “Ads” label that designates them as sponsored results:Compare this to a typical organic local pack:Following the recent loss of local “pack” results, which came to be dubbed the “Pigeon” update, this is an extremely interesting development.
It’s just a test for now (I couldn’t reproduce the results on a live query), but it would make perfect sense for Google to monetize the local results, because that’s exactly what happen... > Read more
What is a Rank Checking Tool?There is an abundance of SEO rank checking tools on the web, each promising to deliver results on where your site ranks on Google for your chosen keywords.For most keyword rank checking tools, all you need to do is type in a keyword, and the tool’s bot will scrape data from Google and spit out a number showing where you rank in Google for your key phrase.
Sounds like a dream come true? Well, sure. But a dream is all it is. In truth, keyword rank checking tools are pretty useless.The Ranking Myth: There’s No Such Thing as RankingThere was a time, years ago, where SEO rank checking tools were fairly accurate and could provide a decent assessment of how your site was performing and allow you to check website SEO rankings.But those days are over, and this is no ... > Read more
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a marketer quite like being asked to write a blog post. Some marketers would rather wrestle with pivot tables (or grizzly bears) for days on end than write a blog post – but why?Writing doesn’t have to be this painful.Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living or blog on a regular basis.
The good news is that writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can hone their writing skills with a little discipline and a willingness to learn. In today’s post, I’m going to share 16 ways you can start improving your writing skills right now.1. Brush Up on the BasicsBefore you can start writing incredible content, you’ll need at least an intermediate understanding of the basic principles ... > Read more
Larry Kim and Will Critchlow from Distilled recently did a great webinar revealing all their personal keyword research strategies. It went pretty in-depth, so if you’re in the mood for digging in, scroll to the bottom to see the slides and video.Today, I just want to share three quick tips inspired by the webinar.
If you’re looking to accomplish something beyond just dumping a seed term into a keyword tool, these clever tricks should jump-start your next keyword research session.#1: Spark Content Ideas with Google Suggest Wild CardsIn the webinar, Will mentions picking this tip up from Tom Anthony at Distilled. You’ve probably used Google Suggest as a means of keyword research before, but I love this trick because it allows you to mine suggestions that don’t just come at the end of... > Read more
It’s almost here! Next week ClickZ Live, the conference formerly known as SES, will descend upon San Francisco for an intense four days of internet marketing training, inspiration and – the best part? – networking.If you’re an experienced conference-goer, you already know how difficult it can be to take everything in with just a few short days to do it.
Newcomers – get lots of sleep before you go and don’t forget your business cards. There’s always something happening in and around the conference hotel and the networking opportunities are priceless.Make sure you don’t miss any of these social and networking events in San Francisco next week:Mon Aug 11: Newcomers Meetup and Meet & GreetClickZ Live Newcomers MeetupIf you’ve never attended a ClickZ event before, plan to ... > Read more
Everyone knows the old saying – the more email subscribers you have, the better you feel, so get folks to signup, and give them a good deal! What, you’ve never heard that one before? Something about beans? Whatever, you’re crazy.Email newsletter subscribers are valuable soft leads that, with the right amount of gentle cajoling, could end up one day as full-fledged customers or clients.
That’s why today, we’re bringing you 27 genius (if I do say so myself) strategies to boost newsletter subscribers! Can you sense the impending full inbox? I sure can! Here we go.Blowout the incentives. One DMA report shows that 60% of users sign up for an email newsletter to receive offers and sales. So push it – push it good. Here are some incentives that might attract signups:Sign up now for Pu... > Read more
Today I’m happy to share an interview I did over email with Erica McGillivray. Erica is a die-hard geek who spends a ridiculous amount of time being nerdy (her words, not mine!), both professionally and personally. At Moz, she's the senior community manager and helps wrangle a community of over 400,000 members, co-runs the annual MozCon conference, and works on whatever else is thrown her way.
She's also a founder of GeekGirlCon, a nonprofit run by volunteers that celebrates and supports geeky women with events and conventions. In her spare time, Erica's a published author and has a comic book collection that's an earthquake hazard.We’re all secretly jealous of the community that Moz has built over the years. Let’s hear from Erica how they did it.We’re so impressed with the online ... > Read more
Ah, July – a month of sunshine, fireworks, and of people gently nudging irregularly shaped meat patties on the grill while wearing novelty aprons. July was also a very interesting month in search marketing, with a lot of shake-ups on the SERP, starting with authorship photos.Oh dear.Let’s take a look back at the most popular WordStream blog posts from July, just in case you missed them while you were out camping, kayaking or whatever else you ended up doing.
1. The Real Reason Google Plus Authorship Photos Are Gone: In our most popular post in July, Larry delved into the real reasons why Google decided to remove Google+ authorship photos from the SERPs (which, if they looked anything like the… unfortunate yearbook photo above, probably wasn’t a bad thing).2. The Smoking Gun: Deleted... > Read more
Many companies approach brand voice as an afterthought. Although it’s important to ensure that you’re creating great content, publishing on a regular basis, and keeping an eye on your overall content strategy, without a cohesive and consistent brand voice, you could end up confusing your most loyal fans or deterring would-be customers.
In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the elements of brand voice, how to develop brand voice through content, and we’ll also examine several examples of brands that have leveraged content to strengthen their brand and reinforce key messaging.What is Brand Voice?Simply put, brand voice is how your company expresses its messaging. Brand voice touches virtually all aspects of corporate communications, from advertising and slogans to blog posts and visu... > Read more
Have you ever heard the saying knowledge is power? ... Well, then why don’t you have any idea what days of the week and times of the day your ads are knocking it out of the park in terms of impressions, conversions, CPA, or whatever other metrics are important to you?If you’ve been running your AdWords account a few months or more, it’s time to dive into the Dimensions tab (aka one of my favorite spots in to hang out in AdWords) and see what times and days provide the most value to your business.
In AdWords, this is known as dayparting (not to be mistaken with day partying) or ad scheduling.“Drunk Firefighters w/ Southie Girls” via Bryan MaleszykThis valuable setting is something I often bring up in conversation with my clients, although common objections include: But why is this... > Read more
If you want to maximize your online advertising budget and get the most bang for your buck, you need a solid understanding of how paid search works and how to best manage your AdWords account. But where do you even start?Paid search marketing can be incredibly intimidating for beginners – there's a lot to learn and the industry is changing all the time.
Google AdWords is the most popular PPC platform, but can also be the most complicated for marketers to manage. In 2013 alone, Google made over a thousand changes to AdWords. It's almost impossible to keep up.That’s why we created WordStream PPC University: an organized educational resource enabling marketers of all skill and experience levels to take their AdWords strategy to the next level – for free!Millions of visitors have already... > Read more
Marketers get by with a little help from their friends – well let us introduce you to 32 new friends! These free and nearly free content marketing tool should help make your job a little easier.Note: The aim was to only list free content marketing tools, but there are a few paid ones in the mix as well (freebies only get you so far).
Unless marked as a paid tool, all content tools listed here have at least some kind of free offering.Content Curation Tools (finding great stuff to share)Content Creation Tools (create your own awesome stuff to share)Tools for Finding Content Creators (find folks to make custom content for you)Content Promotion and Management (sharing and managing your content)Content Analytics & Measuring (analyzing and measuring your content's effectiveness) Other... > Read more
Google has given AdWords advertisers a pretty awesome gift: new dynamic sitelinks, free of charge, for the top three ad positions. That means Google will automatically generate sitelinks for certain ads, and clicks on those dynamic sitelinks won’t cost you anything.In their announcement this morning, Google said, "This is another example, like selling ratings, of AdWords tools adding value to your ads while saving time and simplifying campaign management.
" As with Enhanced Campaigns, Google is basically catering to smaller businesses who don’t have the time or expertise to set this stuff up themselves.When Adoption Is Low, Google Forces AdoptionThe big idea behind Enhanced Campaigns was to increase adoption of mobile advertising, since so many AdWords advertisers weren’t doing it on ... > Read more