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
Forrester flat out says Facebook marketing doesn't work. The Atlantic questions whether any Internet advertising is effective at all.They must be feeling silly right about now. Clearly, someone is clicking those Facebook ads. A whole lot of people, it seems.Facebook just announced over $2.9 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2014, a whopping 61% percent gain over the same period last year.
Advertising accounted for $2.68 billion of their total income, with mobile advertising responsible for 62% of the total advertising take. Over 1.5 million advertisers are now using their service, said Sheryl Sandberg.The social giant did manage to keep GAAP costs and expenses growth at a lower rate despite their astronomical revenue growth, up just 22% over Q2 2013. Overall, Facebook's GAAP net... > Read more
They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when it comes to bad clients, are you in better shape if you avoid the lemons altogether?We consult for a number of small AdWords agencies. One emerging trend that we have noticed among newer agencies is that they jump at the prospect of bringing on new accounts, regardless of whether or not these clients are a good fit for them.
These relationships quickly take a turn for the worse and the agencies find themselves in hot water. In many cases, the time and energy spent obtaining and onboarding these clients’ accounts outweighs the actual price they’ve paid to the agency.Here at WordStream, our agency team does an in-depth account assessment for every prospect who is interested in our paid search services. Not only do we consider ... > Read more
I know for most of the year I’ve been telling you that links are going to lose value – and I still think it’s true. However, I’ve been careful to point out that for now, links are still pretty powerful stuff in SEO.Further, even if links eventually lost all their (direct) power to move your rankings, they’d still have value for you as a marketer, because links are great for exposure and branding.
But the ultimate link is not just good for SEO and branding, it also sends referral traffic.What’s so great about referral traffic? Do you really have to ask?! Referral traffic is great because it gets your content in front of new audiences, creating new opportunities for audience engagement and conversions.A recent survey of MozCon attendees showed that after organic search, referral t... > Read more
Long gone are the days when clickthroughs and time-on-page were the most important content marketing metrics. Today, many publishers are changing their approach to shifts in audience behavior to focus on attention and engagement as the defining measurements of success.Although pageviews and unique visitors are still relatively valuable metrics to marketers, they don’t paint a complete picture of how people are interacting with your content.
In today’s post, we’re going to examine the trend of analyzing how visitors are engaging with your site, not just how many, and look at some examples of this shift and how you can start measuring audience attention.RELATED: 32 Free Content Marketing ToolsWhat is the Attention Web?Firstly, while the so-called “attention web” is a genuine shift i... > Read more
By Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.comSearch marketing is the ultimate in mature channels, dominated by best-practice marketers who have honed their programs to the point of near-perfection. In particular, Google AdWords is ultra-competitive and there seem to be little to no low-hanging fruit, making it difficult to find positive ROI without a sizable marketing budget and a lot of SEM expertise.
Taken together, these factors combine to make search engine marketing one of the most crowded, competitive acquisition channels out there—and for good reason, because all that active commercial intent can lead to quick conversions.While it might not be readily apparent on the surface, growth hackers and search marketers share a lot of the same DNA. I should know. I coine... > Read more
Google’s latest earnings call was a bit mixed – while Google saw a 22% increase in revenue over last year, bringing earnings to $15.96 billion in the second quarter of 2014, and the search giant narrowly beat analyst projections of $15.6 billion in revenue, their ad sales in the US and the UK, their two major markets, have slowed.
Non-US revenue (excluding the UK) of $7.7 billion accounted for 48% of total revenue. Their earnings per share were considered a miss as well, at $6.08.The proliferation of ads in emerging markets worldwide drove profits to $3.42 billion for the period, up from $3.23 billion in Q2 2013. More people are clicking on Google ads – a lot more. Total paid ad clicks were up 25% over last year and up 2% over the first quarter of 2014.However, the average cost per c... > Read more
It’s easy to let headlines take the back seat in your writing process. Headlines can wind up as a quick afterthought, but really should be treated with much more consideration. In fact, your headline is arguably more important than the article itself. After all, who cares how great your blog post is if no one even reads it?Headline writing rules have changed quite a bit since the great online migrationOut of all the folks who read your headline, only 20% will read the article copy.
Whether it’s for email subject lines, blog posts, ebooks, or webinars, you need a powerful, sexy headline to make readers swoon.Modern online article headlines are tricky – they need to be SEO keyword friendly, but also should be unique and creative. The end result needs to be super clickable, irresistible... > Read more
Love it or hate it, clickbait has become yet another weapon in the content marketer’s arsenal. These days, it seems as though no site is above resorting to dastardly tricks to get you to click on their content, and these techniques have become so familiar, some experts have questioned whether clickbait has a future.
Image credit: SlateTable of ContentsWhat is Clickbait?The Benefits of ClickbaitThe Dark Side of ClickbaitWhat Is Clickbait?As its name implies, clickbait is content that is written specifically to attract as many clicks as possible. Just about any type of content can be considered clickbait. News stories, blog posts, interviews, infographics, videos – packaged in a certain way, you can make any web content clickbait. However, clickbait typically has several of the following ... > Read more
In this latest in our series of the best tips from Inbound.org’s AMAs (Ask Me Anythings), we've rounded up the top social media marketing wisdom shared by expert marketers.Justin Isaf, Dharmesh Shah, Paul May, Oli Gardner and many others have given us all a chance to pick their brains in the Q&A-style threads on Inbound.
Here, you'll find the top social media marketing tips from the AMAs, organized by:Content promotion via social mediaSocial media marketing tools and tacticsSocial media measurement & ROIThe business of social media marketingBe sure to check out our first two posts in this series, 21 Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAs and Best of the Inbound.org AMAs: SEO Edition.Image via New Old Stock PhotosPromoting Content via Social MediaOn creating content... > Read more
Google's Matt Cutts announced July 3 that he is taking a few months' leave of absence from his position as head of web spam to spend more time with his wife. He assured webmasters and SEOs that there are still a ton of resources people can use to keep up to speed and contact Google while he's away.Even so, some couldn't resist cracking jokes in the comments on his post about the black-hat mice playing while the web spam cat is away.
No, you shouldn't run out and buy some links now. What you can do is take this time as an opportunity to give your online presence and SEO strategy an overhaul. When Matt gets back, he'll be so proud of all the hard work you've done! (And in the meantime, this is really something you should stop and do once in a while – it's good for your business. People get ... > Read more