Google just can’t catch a break in Europe. The search giant has been embroiled in an intense legal battle over its allegedly anticompetitive position since 2009, and despite its efforts to appease European officials by displaying paid Shopping ads by competitors in the SERPs, the European Commission still isn’t satisfied that Google is playing fair.
Image via www.dw.deNow, Google could soon be forced to make an even bigger concession – breaking up its European business.What’s Going On?In short, the European parliament believes that Google is too big and too powerful, and that it is using its dominance to hamstring competition in the paid search space, particularly with regard to Shopping ads.As a result, a source close to the ongoing antitrust case leaked a preliminary legal motion ... > Read more
Things are about to get weird.Already stressing out about the traffic or the weather (or both)? Before you set off to wherever you’re going this weekend (which is probably work, if you’re anywhere other than the United States), check out WordStream’s best posts from November.Oh, and I won’t be making any lame Thanksgiving jokes, like, “Be thankful for these awesome posts” – sorry.
1. 5 Reasons to NEVER Use AdWords Automatic Bidding: If you’re using automatic bidding in AdWords, stop. Like, right now. In our most popular post from November, Caleb gives you five great reasons to stop relying on automated bidding in AdWords.2. Complete Guide to Content Remarketing: How to Win Friends, Influence People & Double Your Leads: In this in-depth post, Larry explains why remarketin... > Read more
It’s no big secret that Google has been cracking down on ad disapprovals lately. The search powerhouse is becoming stricter in order to better regulate the quality of ads being shown to users. On the managed services team here at WordStream, we work with many accounts from various industries, and it seems that all industries are being affected.
Google is even digging into paused ads and flagging disapprovals.Why You Should Care About Ad DisapprovalsFor frequent, repeat offenders, Google is entitled to suspend your AdWords account. Obviously a suspended account means that ads are not being shown at all, so your company will see an overall decrease in leads and conversions.On another note, agencies should keep in mind that clients get the disapproval emails too. This can make the agency lo... > Read more
Keeping up with what’s going on in marketing can feel like a full-time job. Sure, you can scan the headlines every morning to stay up to date with what’s happening in search and social, but if you’re like me, you probably wish there was an easier way to stay on top of developments in our industry.
Well, now there is!Introducing Larry’s LinksLarry’s Links is a brand-new email series I’ll be sending out. Every two weeks, I’ll be compiling the very best articles about paid search, social media, and internet marketing, and delivering them directly to your inbox – simple!One of my main objectives with Larry’s Links is to not only send you the most valuable articles from the industry’s best-known and trusted publications, but also to highlight the content that other blogs are... > Read more
3…2…1...Who doesn’t love a countdown? Countdowns can be used at any time, whether it’s New Year’s Eve, a rocket launch, or you just want to get people excited for something that’s about to happen (unless it’s a choreographed dance you came up with at a family party). You can also tactically set up a countdown whenever you announce a release date for a product/service or an upcoming sale.
If you have set up an AdWords campaign around an upcoming sale – such as a site-wide “50% Off” sale or a holiday sale – and tried to reflect this in your ad copy. Sometimes a deal speaks for itself and you see results right away. But you also want to create a sense of urgency for consumers to purchase your goods. Up-to-date values in ad text can have an amazing impact for consumers whe... > Read more
I've been doing a lot of presenting recently, and I have no problem admitting that it's tough. For those not born with natural eloquence, public speaking can be remarkably nerve-racking. But I’m getting a lot better!One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is that to be a great speaker, it’s key to develop a personal speaking style.
Since I know I’m not the most eloquent speaker in the world, I make up for it by packing my presentations with enthusiasm, unique/proprietary data, and tons of useful content as well as plenty of dumb jokes.We can't all deliver the next Gettysburg Address, but there are lots of small things you can do prior to your presentation that will help calm your nerves and set you up for a better presentation. Here are my 20 best tips to im... > Read more
Starting this blog post on Halloween took me back to the days of wandering up and down the streets of my childhood neighborhood. At the ages of 7,8, and 9 my neighbors and I were perfectly content with collecting Skittles, Starbursts, and giant candy bars from the house on the corner (that lady was the best), but as the years past we yearned for more.
We started branching out to the surrounding neighborhoods, even pleading with our parents to drive us to houses past walking distance. We graduated from small plastic pumpkin bowls to oversized pillow cases to accommodate the massive amount of sugary heaven we anticipated collecting.Image via Andre CThis is typically how advertisers feel when they hit a wall with search. Similar to a child’s need to branch out of their neighborhood on Hallo... > Read more
I’d wager that, if you’re reading this at work, you’ve probably checked Facebook at least once or twice today. Even if you haven’t, Mark Zuckerberg wants to change that.According to various news sources, the folks at Menlo Park are planning to make a power play against LinkedIn by launching a new service designed for office drones – but can it succeed?‘Facebook for Work’PC Mag reports that Facebook employees already use a modified version of the Facebook platform internally, and that the company wants to expand access to “Facebook for Work” to a wider audience – namely, you.
The as-yet unnamed product, which was first leaked by The Financial Times (paid subscription required), aims to usurp existing services such as LinkedIn, Google, and Microsoft’s Yammer by allowing ... > Read more
You already know that visual assets are essential to creating viral blog posts.Those crisp, clear, captivating images draw in your reader and keep them hooked. The truth is that you can’t have a truly great blog post without images.Despite the overwhelming necessity of blog images, writers can often get bogged down by confusing copyright stipulations.
Don’t worry though – things are about to get a whole lot easier. We’re presenting you with the ultimate guide to blog images, in which we’ll be covering:How to find free images for blogs (100% free, no attribution)How to create custom text over image graphics How to customize and repurpose blog images for social mediaWelcome to the world of photos – let’s get started.Finding Free Pictures For Your Blog: Open Source ImagesGood ne... > Read more
How would you feel about paying more for your Shopping Ads on branded search terms?A new Google Shopping test, spotted this week by Andy Taylor at RKG, actually directs branded search traffic to a Google Shopping results page, rather than back to your website or your own Shopping Ads.RKG published this screenshot of a test search for the clothing brand Anthropologie:In this test, the Anthropologie shopping results are organized by category in the top right.
The "Shop from anthropologie on Google" link takes the user to a Google Shopping page. In fact, clicking on any content (images or categories) in that ad box will deliver the searcher to the category on Google Shopping, not the Anthropologie website.In the example RKG found, at least, all of the products on the results page were offered... > Read more
Content marketing is all the rage and we know it can be incredibly effective. However, many marketers still struggle to maximize their content marketing ROI. So what’s the problem? You can’t measure the ROI of any marketing channel if you have no idea how it works.How do the best content marketers drive so many eyeballs? How can some businesses afford to keep turning out such awesome stuff? And at what point in the process do casual readers turn into hot leads?There's no black magic (or ancient alien mind tricks) involved.
Once you understand how content marketing really works, you can turn your blog and other content marketing efforts into a full-funnel, lead-generating machine.“I Have No Idea What I’m Doing”Recent research from Content Marketing Institute shows that just 39% of... > Read more
Email marketing gets a bad rap. Sure, it’s not quite as embarrassing as direct mail (which is somehow a $12 billion per year industry), but it’s pretty close.Image via G-Lock SoftwareMany marketers have been seduced by social media advertising, perceiving it to be not only “cooler,” but also more effective than email marketing.
There’s no denying that social media gets a lot more media attention than email marketing. However, claims that email marketing is no longer effective are simply not true, and any marketer worth their salt will tell you that email remains a cornerstone of their campaigns.Not convinced? Then check out these three examples from some of the world’s leading email management companies to see what makes email marketing so effective.1. Email Newsletters Can Be ... > Read more
Many things that seem too good to be true actually are. Candy corn flavored Oreo’s, Pop Rocks martinis, and classifying pizza as a serving of vegetables are a few such things that could make the long list. One more to add to that list would be AdWords Automatic Bidding.I recently shared some tips for switching from automatic bidding to manual bidding.
In this post, I’ll explain why you might want to do that. Some smaller advertisers with severely limited time might find comfort and see moderate results in the “set-it-and-forget-it” characteristics of Automatic Bidding. However, if you’re looking to optimize beyond the basics, there are five specific things to consider before choosing between Automatic vs. Manual Bidding:#1: Impression ShareJust because you’re bidding on a parti... > Read more
Online surveys are a great way to engage your audience and get feedback from them. You can use online surveys in any number of ways, including using them to:Find out what topics your readers want to learn more aboutGet product feedbackConduct market researchGet customer service feedbackGauge employee satisfactionPlus plenty of other uses!Making an online survey is easy – there are many great online survey creators out there to help you craft that survey.
Let’s take a look at your options!When it comes to online survey tools, you can choose between the free or paid route. If you’re just looking to do some light audience research, you should get on just fine with the free tools available.Usually the paid versions offer added capabilities like:Survey logic. Survey logic uses information... > Read more
Everyone has problems separating work and home. For me, sometimes it’s more about separating work and my cats. I must admit, I might be a bit of a cat lady (understatement of the year), so sometimes my mind wanders to my cats at work and to work when I’m at home with the cats. This combination of PPC and cats inevitably led me to find work advice from the unlikeliest of places: these 2 little furballs:Here are three PPC lessons I learned from my cats.
Never Stop Playing With Something … Even If It’s DeadCats can sometimes be a little, well, creepy and continue to play with their prey long after it’s, well, dead. As a cat owner, this tends to not be very pleasant or fun, but the cats do seem to enjoy batting around some mouse or bird.It can be easy to look at a campaign and see tha... > Read more
Unlike the sugar in your iced coffee, social media and content marketing blend together effortlessly. One of the key metrics that determines the success of a piece of content like a blog post is the extent to which it is shared via social networks. BuzzSumo is an excellent tool in gathering valuable insight into the success of your content on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you three ways to use BuzzSumo in your content marketing efforts.BuzzSumo Tip #1: Analyze Top ContentWhen it comes to getting the inside scoop on content’s social media life, BuzzSumo can act as a private investigator, tracking its whereabouts through social media circles around the internet. The free version allows you to search for the most shar... > Read more
Content marketing is all the rage, but once you create that perfect piece and send it out into the universe, how do you know you're getting the maximum benefit from it? People may read it and love it – but will they ever come back?Marketers have to take the next step to recapture audience attention and turn more lookers into leads.
How? With content remarketing. It's such a crazy effective marketing tactic I can't believe everyone isn't doing it, but they're not. If you're not, you're not just leaving money on the table – you're throwing it out the door. Stop doing that!I recently presented this session at the epic Inbound 2014 conference and wanted to share it here with you, as well. It's a bit of a deep dive, with a lot of non-obvious advice (huge hat tip to our data genius Mark Irvi... > Read more
In the American workplace, few things are valued as highly, or pursued as aggressively, as productivity. On average, Americans work more hours than just about any other industrialized nation in the world. They spend more hours at the office, take fewer vacations, and even go to work when they’re sick.
For many, this isn’t a choice – it’s just what they have to do to survive. For some, however, the cult of productivity has become an all-powerful idol, and one that businesses all over the country fervently worship.Work-related stress has become a badge of honor. Employees regularly boast of how early they come in, how late they stay, and how little vacation time they’ve used. Even in casual conversation, many Americans simply can’t help mentioning how hard they’re working.Admit ... > Read more
Recently, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) suggested that a code of ethics be created to govern how SEOs conduct themselves. In light of the black-hat tactics that regularly make headlines in industry publications, it’s understandable – but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, or even practical.
A Code of Ethics Will Create – Not Solve – ProblemsSEMPO’s proposal for a code of ethics is admirable. After all, with many self-styled SEOs still using underhanded tactics on behalf of their clients or for their own sites, something needs to be done. However, the creation and enforcement of a formalized code of ethics would create many more problems than it would solve.Increased Risk of Frivolous LawsuitsAs numerous SEO experts have said, the creation of a... > Read more
Since 2009, Google has been the subject of antitrust lawsuits from almost 20 companies across Europe. Although the plaintiffs in these cases come from different sectors of the tech industry, their complaints are universal – that Google is too big, too powerful, and isn’t playing fair.At the heart of the matter lies Google’s dominance in the European search market, and its engagement in business practices that other tech companies operating in the sector perceive as unfair.
Although Google already settled in several cases, and relented to provide more real estate to competing businesses in European SERPs, the appointment of a new European competition commissioner could reignite the debate all over again. Margrethe Vestager, who formally takes office tomorrow, could levy additional char... > Read more
Shhhh – be very quiet. Don’t move. Stay exactly where you are – they might see you.Okay, I think they’re gone. No, I don’t just mean the shambling corpses wandering past the window, I mean the most popular posts from the WordStream blog in October. Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of “The Walking Dead” lately, and I rarely get the opportunity to work zombies into posts about marketing strategies.
Whether you’re preparing to be besieged by trick-or-treaters later tonight or have grand plans for a night on the town in your best “murderous hobo” costume, read our round-up of October’s most popular posts from October – before they find their way in.1. Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action: In our most popular post of the month, Billy McCaffrey gives... > Read more
New England can be a fabulous home for adventure. A recent weekend included a kayaking excursion on the open ocean, bouncing from island to island off the coast of Portland, Maine. In such an environment, kayaks can be tricky things to control. Abrupt changes in wind, spontaneous large waves from the intersecting boating lanes, and the general instability of the craft can make for a challenging experience.
Yet this tandem craft was equipped with an extra device for control: a rudder. This small feature enabled you to agilely control the entire vessel with the slightest adjustment on its petals. This made it possible to shift quickly for waves approaching the boat, gently banking into the shore, and ultimately getting where we wanted to go in the shortest time.You’ve probably realized at ... > Read more
It seems that every few months something huge is going down in the world of online marketing. It’s such an action-packed industry that it’s often easy to miss some of the awesome content and major milestones that occur in the field.It’s no fun to be behind the times, which is why we’re bringing you the 31 best internet marketing articles from a variety of sources and experts.
From modern link building guides and content promotion plans to industry news and groundbreaking studies, there’s something for everyone.Best Internet Marketing Articles: Content Marketing and Promotion1. How to Create a Winning Content Promotion PlanBuzz Stream gives a run down on how to create a top-notch content promotion plan, ensuring that your stellar content gets the attention it deserves. 2. How to Cr... > Read more
As is true of so many things in life, the big boys have it a whole lot easier than the rest of us. Fishing for backlinks in exchange for money can be risky (not to mention deeply unethical), but that didn’t stop Hotels.com, an Expedia property, from sending out spammy emails asking travel bloggers for precisely that.
What Happened?Earlier this month, Tnooz reported that a number of influential travel bloggers received an email from an as-yet unnamed “SEO Manager” for Hotels.com’s Americas division. The poorly-written email was sent from a Hotels.com email address, and claimed that the SEO Manager had been reading the bloggers’ posts. The sender went on to ask if the recipients would be interested in some “brand promotion for our hotels.”So far, so good, right? Unfortunately (f... > Read more
If you’re a marketer working in a highly specialized industry, you might be wondering about how you can maximize your impact and make your mark. Some marketers mistakenly believe that being in a niche industry is a disadvantage, but it’s all about how you look at it.Being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I thought I’d offer some suggestions to poor, beleaguered marketers working in very specialized industries.
Follow these seven tips to get the most out of your niche marketing campaigns.1. Know Your Target Market Inside OutJust because your product or service only appeals to a narrow range of people doesn’t mean you can be lazy when it comes to researching your target market. In fact, running a business offering a product with limited or niche appeal can make it even more difficult t... > Read more
Google AdWords is a seriously powerful, dynamic online advertising platform, yet few users ever even begin to reach their full potential within the service. Google is constantly updating AdWords, adding new features, killing off ones that don't work, and changing the way features function, thousands of times a year.
It's no wonder marketers can't keep up! Thanks to this ever-changing nature of AdWords, there are some really significant features that hardly get any play at all. However, these underused features can have a serious impact on your PPC performance.If you want to really bury the competition, you have to move beyond the AdWords basics and get creative. I went searching for the AdWords features with the lowest adoption – we're talking under 10% – that have the greatest potentia... > Read more
Hot on the heels of raising $5.5 million in venture capital funding, new social upstart Ello -- hoping to achieve the precarious balance between remaining a truly ad-free social network and financial feasibility -- has converted to a Public Benefit Corporation. What does this mean? Should we all be super-excited? Let’s take a look.
Paul Budnitz, Ello CEO. Image via Re/codePromises, Promises: Ello Raises $5.5 Million in VC FundingThe funding news should come as little surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. After all, at the height of the Ello buzz (which seems to have been a couple of weeks ago), the site was reportedly being bombarded with as many as 50,000 membership requests per hour. According to Re/code, which broke the news about Ello’s successful round of funding, the s... > Read more
To be successful in any type of advertising, whether it be digital, radio, or out-of-home, you must keep tabs on your competitors and their tactics. If they are advertising on the subway, chances are you should be too. Likewise, if they are targeting a specific keyword in PPC, so should you.Via PaulThere are a lot of free benchmarks for data available to all AdWords users.
Here are four of my favorite tools for analyzing your AdWords competition.Auction InsightsThe Auction Insights report allows you to look at who else is bidding on your keywords. You can see impression shares, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page rate that each competitor has on a particular keyword. With this information, you can effectively better manage your own bids in comparison to who... > Read more
Our blog is a HUGE inbound marketing channel for us, driving over half a million visits every month through sources including organic search, referral links, social and email promotion. HubSpot built a whole platform around the power of blogging for inbound lead gen, and they “eat their own dog food” – tech speak for practicing what you preach.
Together, the WordStream and HubSpot blogs drive millions of views every month, and all that top of funnel traffic builds brand awareness, feeds our email and remarketing lists and more! In short, a successful blog is marketing gold.Next week, we’re going to show you how we do it. In a free webinar, “How to Drive a Million Monthly Blog Visits,” Ginny Soskey, a blog editor at HubSpot, and I (the content marketing manager here at WordStream... > Read more