Megan Marrs's blog
Yelp has become the most popular Internet rating and review site since its initial inception in 2004. Yelp founders saw that word-of-mouth was a powerful purveyor of new customers, but with the classic local community structure breaking apart in an online era, how could individuals know which businesses to trust? Yelp was the answer – an online review site in which customers shared their experiences, helping others make informed decisions about restaurants, auto-repair shops, and more.
Many review sites have come and gone, but Yelp has continued to be the most trusted source for local business reviews and ratings. Why? Yelp noticed that other review sites are far too cluttered with spam and ads, so they’ve kept theirs to a minimum. Yelp also focuses on long-form reviews rather than... > Read more
Banner ads are largely seen these days as fossils from the internet’s dinosaur period, back when blinking text was cool and Angelfire sites were all the rage.Such online billboard ads have long been considered deceased, dead, and buried, with few mourners grieving the demise of web banner ads. However, a new breed of banner ad has evolved and is on the rise thanks to Google, and they’re hungry for blood (or clicks.
Whichever is easier).Today we’re looking at the horrific past of banner ads, their new and improved counterpart, and how you can make banner ads work for you!Everyone’s (Least) Favorite Ad: Why Most Banner Ads Stink Just like the Iraq War, slavery, and parachute pants, banner ads are an ugly part of our history. They’ve generally been seen as a public nuisance and... > Read more
Ever since Google introduced auto-complete in 2004, predictive search has become a welcome part of our internet interactions, helping us search faster, find results quicker, and discover answers to questions we didn’t even know we had.As predictive search becomes more powerful, tools like Google Now have become capable of delivering relevant, personalized information to users, all but eliminating the need for search as we know it.
Will Google’s continued efforts in predictive search destroy search engines as we know them today? Is Google Now the beginning of a self-destructive path for the king of search?In this post we’re looking at all aspects of predictive search – how Google uses it in search engines, the role it plays on mobile devices and in new features like Google Now, and w... > Read more
Due to the popularity of last month’s post discussing the pros and cons of buying Twitter followers, we’re tackling another contender – Pinterest.Pinterest has become the internet’s photo-sharing darling since its explosion onto the social scene in 2011. Pinterest has become a haven for recipe swappers, DIY enthusiasts, designers, and more.
Some of the most popular Pinterest users get their content shared thousands of times a day, and a high number of followers serves as a green light for other users debating who to follow.A user’s number of Pinterest followers is another internet glamour metric, similar to Twitter followers. Just as with Twitter, having an army of inactive followers won’t do you much good, since on Pinterest the real value comes from repins, comments, and liki... > Read more
Why is Social Media Management Important?With so many different social media sites to post, share articles, and track engagement on, finding a reliable social media management tool to help streamline your social media tasks is pretty essential.Social media managing tools can help marketers save time, stay organized, and optimize their efficiency.
Today we’re looking at some of the top contenders for social media management systems. While some overlap, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This guide should help you determine which tool is the best fit for your business.Social Media Management Tool ReviewsThe pricing design of these social tools is fairly consistent – there’s usually a set of plans ranging from the cheapest and most basic, to the more expensive and advanced. C... > Read more
We all know social media is a hugely valuable element of online marketing when it comes to building a customer base, search engine rankings, and brand recognition. As a major player, Twitter is one of the most important and popular social media networks frequented by users around the globe.Obtaining a high number of followers is a landmark goal of many Twitter users.
Getting those followers isn’t always easy though, which leads some innocent businesses to wander down the shady path towards the ominous castle black-hat, wherein lies the dark tactic of buying Twitter followers.With a simple swipe of a credit card, you can obtain legions of your own mindless Twitter drones! To buy or not to buy? Let’s review the reasons for and against buying Twitter followers.In this post, we'll be looki... > Read more
Measuring the success of various campaigns is a core aspect of a marketer’s job. It’s essential to see how your marketing efforts are contributing to the business’s bottom line. Yet according to Social Media Today, 70% of online businesses that utilize social media don’t bother to measure ROI.
It’s pretty shocking to discover that the majority of online businesses are conducting their social media marketing completely in the dark, with no clues as to how social media contributes to the success of their businesses. To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault – social media ROI is a difficult beast to tame, the bane of marketers around the world.Why is Measuring Social Media ROI Difficult?Some say that measuring the ROI of social media simply can’t be done! Like traditional bill... > Read more
Guess what WordStream readers?Our own Larry Kim is scheduled to speak at the upcoming 2013 Interactivity Digital Conference in South Beach, Florida! Larry’s session, “Reeling Customers in with Remarketing,” will cover the advantages of remarketing and top techniques for conducting a stellar remarking campaign.
(Check out the full agenda here.)The Interactivity Digital Conference 2013 runs through May 15 & 16, hosted at The James Royal Palm luxury hotel in downtown South Beach, Florida. The conference features 14 sessions with over 25 industry-leading speakers covering a range of marketing topics, such as SEO, analytics, PPC, email marketing, social media, and more.Tickets are on sale now, and for a limited time, WordStream readers get a special discount – just use Discount Code... > Read more
Facebook continues to be the reigning champ of social media sites, as the #1 spot where friends connect and share online. More than just a meeting place for friends, Facebook has grown into a venue for businesses to market themselves through interaction with customers and self-promotion.In this post we will be looking at seven ways you can use Facebook for marketing.
Whether you’re a big corporation or a small local biz, Facebook is a powerful marketing tool – it’s a great space to keep customers informed, develop brand identity, and broaden your reach.1. Making the Most of Your Facebook Business PageA Facebook page is a great free marketing tool for businesses. These pages let businesses identify themselves – not just through listing product offerings and services, but also by shar... > Read more
Recently I came across a creative and smart marketing strategy that I thought I'd share with you, the wonderful WordStream community. Preventing newsletter followers from unsubscribing is a goal of many marketers. The Fab marketing team has taken an innovative approach to combating unsubscribers, and today we'll be taking a look at their unique technique.
Fab is a company that specializes in design-oriented retail. The Fab website exists as a marketplace for finding unique art, jewelry, cookware, furniture, etc. They sell some pretty awesome items, and their descriptions are fun as well. Take the product below as an example: "Being human is way overrated. We’re all soft and squishy, we don’t have enough feathers or horns, and we definitely don’t roar as loud as we should. But all... > Read more
LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals, so most business-to-business (B2B) companies should be putting serious energy into their Company Pages on LinkedIn.With recent renovations to the LinkedIn Company Pages, there’s more room for creativity and innovation when it comes to connecting both with other businesses and with consumers.
Here’s what your business needs to know.Why LinkedIn Is Worth Your TimeLinkedIn sometimes feels like the nerdy, awkward cousin of the cooler social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn spends a lot of its time organizing its pen protectors by color and enjoys making Excel charts in its spare time. Although social media socialites might feel inclined to give LinkedIn the cold shoulder, the business professional networking s... > Read more
Whenever you are looking to improve or gain mastery in a particular area, it is always smart to carefully examine the practices of those who are already doing a top-notch job. You can learn so much just by picking the brains of existing experts – our ongoing Ask The PPC Experts interview series continues to be popular.
Social media networks like Pinterest are no exception – looking at how others successfully use social media in a creative way will help you spark your own masterful ideas.Today we are looking at six unique Pinterest accounts and assessing what these Pinterest users are doing that sets them apart from the pack. Learn from them, and you’ll probably witness improvement. With better referral rates than Google+ LinkedIn, and YouTube combined, Pinterest is a social med... > Read more
The Google Antitrust Case: Is Google violating antitrust laws by using its search dominance to favor its own products in search results over competitors? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to decide whether or not to sue Google for antitrust violations. A final decision about whether to pursue an antitrust case is expected before the end of the year.
In addition to the U.S. Government and European antitrust investigations, there are a number of private lawsuits by Google rivals that make claims of unfair competition or antitrust violations against Google.There is no argument that Google runs the world's most popular search engine, with 67% of the market. But has this market dominance been obtained through antitrust violations?The government’s escalating investigation into ... > Read more
The social media site Twitter, in only a few short years, has managed to forever change the way generations of people communicate. Whether sharing breaking news, announcing political victories, or mourning the deaths of our heroes, Twitter has become an integral part of the social landscape.We’ve made a list of the top tweets of all time – not just the most retweeted tweets (those titles are held almost exclusively by celebrities), but also the history-changing tweets, the momentous twitter events, and the minute messages that reflect just how much can be said in only 140 characters.
WordStream presents you the best tweets ever.The Best Tweets Ever:ObamaMarsPhoenixMount EverestOccupy WallStreetCrime FightingAnthony WeinergateBP Oil SpillKennethColeOld SpiceOprahCharlie SheenJustin Bieb... > Read more
If you’re involved with SEO, content marketing or any kind of web marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “evergreen content” and been told that your site needs to have it. So what is evergreen marketing, and why are evergreen articles good for SEO?Today we’ll be explaining the basics of evergreen articles, how to write an evergreen content piece, and why incorporating evergreen posts into your blog strategy is essential for killer content marketing.
Evergreen content definitionEvergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers.So Why is it Called “Evergreen”?The term “evergreen” sounds familiar even to the non-marketing ear because evergreen trees (usually the pine or fir variety) are often used to decorate homes at C... > Read more
Having a poor performing AdWords landing page is bad news – not only will Google be less likely to show your ads, but you are probably missing out on valuable conversions. It also negatively affects your Quality Scores, which means you end up paying more for each click.In an effort to be more “transparent,” Google now makes an attempt to tell you why your Quality Score for a given keyword is low.
One reason might be the quality of your landing page experience. If Google thinks your landing page experience is “below average,” it could hurt your Quality Score.According to Google, you should focus on three things if your landing page quality needs improvement:Relevant and original contentTransparencyEase of navigationIf Google has deemed your landing pages to be “below avera... > Read more
Well WordStream fans, I have some bittersweet news—I’ll be leaving WordStream soon to spend time in Europe.It’s been such a joy to work here and be part of our mega-marketing team.Normally a year isn’t all that long, but in startup years it’s a decent chunk of time. I started at WordStream during its haywire adolescent stage, and have had the unique opportunity to be here as it has come into its own and really begun to thrive.
Blogging and discussing the latest online marketing happenings with you guys has been awesome. While I’ll miss WordStream immensely, I’m excited about my travels and what’s next.Now dry those tears, this isn’t the end! I’ll be spending a couple weeks in Italy teaching a bed & breakfast some SEO basics, so I’ll continue blogging here from time... > Read more
Facebook Ads Whisper Sweet Lies While Kinect Emotion-Detecting Ads Slap You With the TruthA few weeks ago I encountered a bizarre advertisement on Facebook that caught my attention:I spent a moment trying to puzzle out how a decapitated baby head related to social work. The whole point of course is that it doesn’t—the creepy-baby-head-ad I encountered is a classic shock & awe Facebook ad, determined to capture a user’s attention with a strange picture with hopes that you might be curious enough to click through.
It’s quite the lowly form of advertising, banking on Facebook users’ curiosity alone to drive clicks. But this idea of embracing the “silly” factor that is ever-present on the internet can be successful for some, like the Plenty Of Fish ads made in Microsoft Paint ... > Read more
Sayonara May, Hola June! Here’s a quick roundup of what you might have missed this week, in case you’ve been stuck in Memorial-Day-beach-mode. Say Hello to Google+ LocalGoogle is shelving Google Places in exchange for new Google+ Local pages. The new Google+ Local pages are integrated with Zagat reviews (now that Zagat acquisition finally makes sense), and will allow businesses to connect better with customers.
SEL has a great comprehensive guide about what to expect when you’re expecting Google+ Local.Haters Gonna HateIn lieu of the new Google+ Local business pages, Socialnomics published a great blog post about how to deal with negative reviews. Here’s a hint: Don’t flip out! I will say though, I’ve seen some businesses use those “People Hate Us On Yelp” stickers and... > Read more
Generally speaking there are three kinds of website traffic: direct traffic, search engine traffic, and referral traffic. All are valuable and serve different purposes, but this post focuses on the third kind, referral traffic.Referral traffic is valuable in online marketing because it sends interested readers and qualified potential customers to your site from new domains.
It also provides added SEO benefits, since by definition referral traffic is driven either by an inbound link or social activity, both of which send positive signals to the search engines about your site.Need some of that sweet ol’ referral traffic? We’ve got you covered with five simple referral traffic strategies to help.Guest PostsGuest posts are a great way to build up referral traffic. Especially in light of th... > Read more
Remarketing is an interesting online advertising technique that involves tracking and displaying ads to users after they have left your site.This can be an effective way to get more conversions out of your web visitors – but if you go too far, it can also be incredibly creepy.Part of why remarketing is successful is that many people don’t really know what it is.
The average internet user is completely unaware that they are being digitally stalked across the web-a-verse.Did They Forget About You or Do They Just Not Like You?In a video advocating remarketing and explaining how it works, Google claims that remarketing is useful because people get distracted easily (what do you expect with twenty open tabs?) and when something unexpected comes up, they might leave your site and forget... > Read more
The potential marketing advantages of Pinterest have been well documented recently, as the fledgling social sharing site boosts traffic and sales for niche retailers like Etsy. Pinterest is serious business.Regardless of your personal feelings for Pinterest (huge time waster or glorious godsend?), it’s impossible to deny the marketing opportunities ripe for the picking! Read on to find out why.
Why Developing a Pinterest Marketing Plan is Worth Your TimePinterest has shown remarkable marketing potential as some sites begin to receive more referral traffic from Pinterest than social media heavyweight Twitter.Some quick Pinterest marketing statistics and facts as we get started:Pinterest is dominated by women, with 90% of users being female21% of users have purchased something they found on... > Read more
This Sunday is Earth Day 2012, when us earthlings devote the entire day to planting trees and recycling plastic water bottles in retribution for the havoc we’ve been inflicting on the planet for centuries.(Almost) everyone knows how pollution has affected the Earth and the disastrous consequences of relying too heavily on fossil fuels rather than migrating to renewable, alternative energy sources (I’m looking at you big oil).
You probably already know that it’s important to buy local rather than encourage supermarkets to ship exotic out-of-season fruits across the country in refrigerated units, resulting in huge carbon emissions. Maybe you even ride your bike across town to get to work, recycle every slice of unwanted paper, unplug all electrical units at night, and scoff at factory f... > Read more
CAPTCHAs are a necessary evil in a modern world. CAPTCHAs, also known as those-annoying-boxes-with-the-weird-words, are used to prevent evil robot spam attacks.Well the other days I came across a new, never-before-seen (at least by me) CAPTCHA that could have some pretty huge advertising implications.
Introducing, the CAPTCH-AD!CAPTCH-AD: The CAPTCHA AdvertisementWhat’s crazy about the CAPTCH-AD is that you are required to watch (and pay attentionto) the advertisement in order to fulfill the CAPTCHA box. There’s no getting around it – you will read that ad. It’s like when you see advertisements plastered over your tray table on budget airlines; you roll your eyes, groan, cover it with a book or a laptop, but there’s just no avoiding it and the ad demands acknowledgement.It s... > Read more
Chances are you’ve seen this new addition to Google’s black bar and wondered, what is this new Google Play?Ready, Set, Google Plays BallIn a nutshell, Google Play is the rebranded Android Market.Those who have Androids will see Google Play replacing the old market icon. Google Play is the one-stop-shop to buy apps, ebooks, movies, and music.
Sound a bit like iTunes? Yup, that’s the idea. Google Play even introduces itself in an Apple-style manner, with big, crisp images and minimal text. iTunes does a great job of being the central location for iPhone users to purchase anything and everything for their mobile devices, so naturally Google is picking up the hint and following in due fashion. Purchases can be made on the Google Play site online, or through the Google Play mobile ap... > Read more
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many seo keywords onto a page as physical possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching their text color to the background color, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.Naturally this led to a terrible user experience, because most people aren’t looking ... > Read more
Pinterest continues to be the social media hot topic, astounding us with its colossal breakthrough in popularity. Now I’m a pretty big fan of Pinterest, but a recent NPR article discussing the ever-growing social bulletin board site got me thinking about the lack of “social” interaction within the social media sphere.
As NPR interviewer Teresa Tomassoni notes, “… online interaction with people you don't know is an emerging trend in social media.” While this is absolutely true, something about that statement seems counter-intuitive. Susan Etlinger, an Altimtere Group analyst, observes that while people look to connect with others who share a similar style or interest, "It doesn't mean that we're best friends or connected on Facebook, but it means these are people that I lear... > Read more
Online businesses know that user engagement is incredibly powerful. Better than chocolates or flowers, getting users to “like” your posts or engage you in conversation through Google+ is a dream come true! But often, it can be difficult to obtain that valuable user interaction.With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought today we could evaluate Boston Globe’s online Love Letters column, a small niche of a large news site that has managed to obtain some exceptional user engagement.
I heard about Love Letters through my mother, who habitually sends me her favorite posts. Although my mother works as a computer programmer, she is the farthest thing from a techie, virtually inept at anything outside of COBOL. A once-a-month Facebooker, she’ll often call me to ask how to “send a mess... > Read more
Yesterday I was walking through Boston when I came across quite an unusual scene – a huge golden heap of Butterfingers smack in the middle of Copley Square. What kind of sorcery is this? I thought as I stared in awe at the giant mound of crunchy candy. Several people stood around the pile, gingerly picking up a candy bar here and there.
But after about 30 seconds, kids swooped down in hordes, cramming piles of bars into their backpacks in sheer ecstasy. I snapped these photos to document the event:Upon closer examination, this was no glorious miracle, but actually a clever advertising ploy by Pawngo, an online pawnshop business and apparent Giants fan. Their candy bar jab gives new meaning to “bittersweet.” I wasn’t beyond cramming some into my pockets before leaving though.I... > Read more