Elisa Gabbert Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
Wired this week published a fascinating profile piece on a company called Demand Media: "The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell." The company's approach to content generation almost sounds like science fiction or satire, but it's real, and it works. It's a purely algorithmic, data-driven method of prioritizing content designed to rank on the first page of the Google SERPs: basically keyword research in hyperdrive.
And like it or not, this may be where we're all headed. Keyword-research-driven content production is nothing new; we practice this ourselves (to an extent). Workflow is based on the keyword groups that are currently driving traffic and conversions. If tons of people are finding our site after searching on "keyword organization tools" an... > Read more
If you've been working in the search marketing industry for long, you know that every so often some scheming troll (or major news corporation) comes along and delivers a rant against SEO, usually including most if not all of the following sentiments: Search engine optimizers are snake oil salesmen (Would that those fighting the war on SEO were also familiar with the war against cliché) SEO is just common sense; it's obvious Most of what SEOs do is smoke and mirrors SEOs are scam artists Information on optimizing a site is freely available on the web, so why pay for it? This week, that troll was a Derek "Powa-jerk" Powezek (hat tip to Ken for the wrestling name), who I guess is a designer (his actual job titles include Creative Director and "Chief of Awesome").
... > Read more
Remember MTV's Pimp Your Ride? Well today I'm going to pimp your PPC ad. Roll in with your Chevy Cavalier and I'll send you home with a Cadillac. Of pay-per-click ads. OK, these advertisers didn't ask me to revamp their ads, but I'm doing it anyway (for free!) and I think we'll all learn some valuable PPC ad writing lessons in the process.
Lesson #1: You have limited space. Don't waste it. Below are the first-page sponsored links for a search on "web design firms." This ad is redundant. The URL tells us the name of your company, so use the headline to say something more—tell us a little about what you offer and what sets you apart. (And one or the other could include the keyword to increase relevancy.) Notice how the competing ads have included useful information about pri... > Read more
Disagreeing with Seth Godin is basically a cliché now, but I'm going to do it anyway—or quibble with him, at least. I like this chart on Seth's blog (who doesn't like charts?) that plots some broad cultural phenomena against two axes, the sophisticated/tacky axis and the techie/tech-phobic axis.
The challenge, he says, is in designing structures and transparency that will attract the good guys while burying or repelling those that seek the new technology (because they can't find anywhere else to go). In other words, you either need to move the top left to the top right (not easy, but possible*), or educate the bottom left of the grid in how to contribute to the culture (really difficult indeed). The best new media (like blogs and possibly twitter) open doors to people who didn... > Read more
This is Part 6 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. Part of the power of web marketing is the abundance of data it creates. Web analytics put you in the control room—with so much to measure and analyze, you can take control of optimizing your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
However, analytics are only valuable insofar as you put them to work. Unless you take action on that data, data is all it is. In order to actually benefit from analytic data—to see the right numbers go up (traffic, clicks, conversions) and the right numbers go down (bounce rate, cost per action)—you have to act on it. That's why, at WordStream, we believe that analytics should be actionable. Most analytics ... > Read more
Lisa Barone is a co-founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outpoken Media. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter. You're kind of famous on Twitter. When I first started working at WordStream, I signed up for Twitter and you were one of the first people I followed, because my coworker referred to you as her "girl crush.
" :) How long have you been on Twitter and what do you say to detractors and people who just "don't get it"? How can businesses use Twitter to their advantage? No one is famous on Twitter. Let’s just get that out of the way. :) As far as how long I’ve been a member, the experts say I joined Oct 18, 2007. That sounds about right. I do think Twitter is something you either “get” or you don’t. And if you don’t get it, it’s because you have forgotten how ... > Read more
Google this week began sending out invitations for the beta version of Google Wave. Demand for these invites has been pretty high—Matt Cutts tweeted that he's already out of invites (Really Matt Cutts? Can't you like, snap and someone rollerskates up with more invites on a tray?) and one invite sold on eBay for over $150.
Aside from this crazed desperation for invites reminiscent of the search for golden tickets in Willy Wonka (that's right, I compared you to Augustus Gloop), most of the conversation has revolved around the question of success: Will Google Wave be a game changer? Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal lands squarely on the fence: "Could be yes or could be no. It depends on how good it will [be] and how much users will actually use it in their daily online activit... > Read more
This is Part 5 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. Ongoing negative keyword discovery is an important part of optimizing your keyword research, keeping it "clean" and high-quality. From a pay-per-click perspective, negative keywords are terms that might match your ad but which you don't want to bid on.
For example, if you're running a PPC campaign for a stationery store, you might have an ad group for the keyword "notebooks." If you're using the broad match option to catch long-tail variations like "bulk reporter's notebooks" and "back to school sale notebook paper," you run the risk of matching for unrelated search queries like "notebook computers." To en... > Read more
Believe it or not, September is over. The aisles of your local CVS are probably already clogged with Halloween candy and plastic pumpkins, if not Xmas decorations. Damn you, time's winged chariot! Point being, it's time for a monthly roundup of highlights from the WordStream blog. In case you missed them the first time: Top SEO College Websites 2009 – In this popular post, Ken looked at several ranking factors to determine which university websites get A's for search engine optimization.
Perhaps not surprisingly, he found that colleges with an online learning presence often came out on top. Read the full post to see how your college measures up, and if it's not on the list, check out his two-part guide to SEO for colleges. 2009 Search Marketing and Social Media Salary Survey – ... > Read more
This was a big week in the blogo- and Twittersphere for poorly received product launches: Two new products from Google and Squidoo threaten to become reputation management nightmares, if they manage to catch on. Ironically, the products also threaten to (further) tarnish the reputations of their creators.
Brands in Public: A Big Misstep from Seth Godin? Seth Godin this week announced a new product/service from Squidoo called Brands in Public: If your brand has any traction at all, people are talking about you. Of course, they've always talked about you, but now they're doing it in writing, in video and in public. Today, Squidoo (a company I founded) is launching Brands in Public. It's a neat idea and I wanted to give you an overview and a first look. You can't control what people are sayin... > Read more
Despite billions of searches month in and month out (more than 9 billion in July alone), Google continues to report that nearly 20% of all search queries each month are unique—that is, they have never been searched on before. To help address this challenge, we launched a free keyword suggestion tool last week for specialists and agencies providing pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) services.
Initial market adoption and feedback have been overwhelming. In the first week we have provided more than 100 million keyword ideas to early adopters of the tool. The Free Keyword Tool’s database of over a trillion search queries, the tool’s ease and speed of use, and advanced features such as related keywords and filters have search experts favorably c... > Read more
This is Part 4 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. One of the most powerful aspects of search as a marketing channel is the abundance of data you can measure and respond to. Web analytics applications provide a wealth of information about your website, your audience and how they interact.
Specific to search, they tell you exactly how people are finding your site: What key words and phrases are users typing into search boxes to discover what you offer? If you look at this data but don't respond to it, you're throwing away potential gains in traffic and revenue. Search marketing, if it's going to offer strong ROI over the long term, requires dedication and commitment. The SEO and PPC related tasks you n... > Read more
OK, what happened this week on the World Wide Web? A couple of important things: Kanye West made a jackass of himself, and we launched a new free keyword tool! Larry blogged about the tool on Wednesday, covering why and how we developed it, what it offers that other tools don't, and why, as awesome as it is, you still need keyword management to really get somewhere in SEM.
You can read yet more about the tool in our Free Keyword Tool FAQ. Today I want to point to some of the other conversations going on around the newly launched tool, and thank everyone who took the time to mention us on blogs and on Twitter. First up, Aaron Wall over at SEOBook mentioned the keyword tool ("The coolest feature it offers is that it allows you to download thousands of keywords at once") and our keywor... > Read more
Following in the footsteps of Ken's very popular post on title tag formulas, I've noticed that search marketing and social media marketing gurus (AKA bloggers) love to write linkbait in the form of "X Things You Can Learn About Y from Z." You can do it too—plug some numbers and concepts into the formula and the post practically writes itself! For best results, follow this handy guide: X should be an integer, preferably between 5 and 10.
Save lists longer than 10 items for your Facebook meme. Y should be a broad, Web 2.0-ish concept like "SEO," "PPC" or "social media." Don't veer too far off course from your job description; that's what Z is for. Z should be a pop culture reference, the geekier the better. Old standbys include Star ... > Read more
This is Part 3 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. Whether you're conducting keyword research primarily for search engine optimization (SEO) efforts or primarily for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, we believe that effective keyword grouping and organization techniques are crucial to long-term success.
Why is keyword grouping so important? Let's walk through the process. The point of doing keyword research is to inform your site's content creation as well as its information architecture (how content is topically organized), in addition to your campaign and ad group structure in Google AdWords (or other PPC marketing platform). Even small companies can amass thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions o... > Read more
This Week in Search: SEO Needs You to Need It I saw a lot of links and tweets this week pointing to Virginia Nussey's excellent post on the SEO hierarchy of needs, based on Maslow's hierarchy, a psychological theory that says physiological and safety needs have to come before stuff like love and belonging (I almost typed "blogging").
I've created a handy (and tall) illustration to show where the SEO hierarchy fits into Maslow's hierarchy. An SEO's basic needs for Diet Dr. Pepper and a paycheck must be met before he/she can move up the hierarchy. It goes without saying that for search marketers, link-building is more basic than "intimacy" or "sense of connection," and self-esteem and self-actualization are impossible without proper website optimization. Co... > Read more
This is Part 2 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. We firmly believe that the best source of keyword data is your own customers. Too often, search marketers over-rely on third-party keyword suggestion tools and neglect their own website data (server log files and keyword analytics), a completely private, self-renewing source of keyword data.
Keyword suggestion tools are fine as a jumping-off point for keyword research, but then you need to go beyond that. Build on public keyword data by refactoring insights from private data into your list for an extensive, expanding keyword research database. We believe your own website data has a number of advantages over typical keyword tools: Personalized keyword... > Read more
Don't Market for the Sake of Marketing Socialnomics' Erik Qualman is becoming something of a favorite around here for Friday roundups—I can't help it if he posts the most interesting stuff! This week, he offers some free marketing advice to Boeing, whose ongoing advertising campaign as a sponsor for Meet the Press makes it, Qualman says, a poster child for old-school marketing.
He points out some of the mistakes they're making, not the least of which is poor consideration of audience: Is a television or iTunes media buy really the best way to target the airplane buyer? As my wife shouts every time the commercial plays – “Honey can we buy a Boeing Today?” There are only a handful of airplane buyers, why would you spend $100,000 plus on ... > Read more
This is Part 1 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. At WordStream, we believe that keywords (including SEO keywords, PPC keywords, meta keywords, long tail keywords, etc.) form the foundation of all your search marketing efforts, both paid and organic.
These keywords represent the way people search for the products and services your business offers. Given the potential power of search engines as a sales and marketing channel, this information is a valuable asset not just for marketing but for your entire business. Public keyword data from free keyword tools is a commodity, but data about your own site is a proprietary asset. As such, we believe that your company's keyword database should be treated wit... > Read more
Obvi, SES was the big event on the blogs this week. It’s already been recapped and live-blogged all over the place so I won’t spend too much time re-recapping it or dead-blogging it now. But I do want to highlight some of the excellent coverage and connections we made in San Jose. First up, the coverage.
Worth going back and reading if you missed it: Virginia Nussey live-blogged many sessions over at the Bruce Clay blog, including the death of last-click attribution and SEO tools of the trade. Check out the aimClear blog for coverage of topics including landing page optimization, conversion rate optimization and viral marketing. Rebecca Kelley at the 10e20 blog covered social media-related sessions (with extra snark). SEO-PR rounds up all the coverage on the Search Engine Stra... > Read more