Elisa Gabbert Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
My first day at WordStream was three years ago today. A lot has changed since I started this job. For example, this is how our PPC software looked in 2009:Check out the column headings in that “Keyword Group Segmenter”:“%v”!“%k”!“!”!I’d tell you what they mean, but I don’t remember I don’t think I knew what they meant in the first place.
o_OLuckily, at some point we figured out that prospects and customers wouldn’t understand that stuff either. We have completely overhauled our UI in the past year or so, and here’s what the software looks like now:Much, much better, right? It helps that we have a (stellar) user experience designer on our team! When I started, the design of the product was up to our engineers. We wouldn’t be here without our great engineers (some... > Read more
Announcing the WordStream Internet Marketing 150: The Top Internet Marketing Software/SaaS Providers 2012
The Internet marketing industry is a vast sea of companies of different types and sizes, operating in areas from email marketing to crowdsourcing to SEO.It’s virtually impossible to operate a business in 2012 without engaging in Internet marketing, and it’s very easy to get lost in this sea of providers.
So we’ve created a map to guide you on your journey through the Internet marketing landscape.The WordStream Internet Marketing 150 compiles the top software and SaaS providers currently doing business in 10 major business categories, including content marketing and blogging, conversion rate optimization, crowdsourcing, email marketing, marketing automation, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, search engine optimization, social media management, video hosting and management, and web analyt... > Read more
Negative SEO – have you heard this term before? To be perfectly frank, it’s new to me as of this week. “Google bombing” has been around for years, a kind of hack using links and anchor text to manipulate the search results as a prank – the famous example being a biography of George W. Bush returned as the first result for the query “miserable failure.
”But negative SEO is a slightly different animal. It’s the practice of trying to destroy your competitors’ rankings in the SERPs – for example by purchasing large amounts of spammy links to the site, damaging their link profile. (You may recall that some people suspected JCPenney was the victim of just such a scam.)Is this possible? Are nefarious SEO tricksters pulling it off? Yes, according to a case study featured in the ... > Read more
We're often on about the importance of AB testing multiple versions of your ads as a means of seeing what messaging really works with your audience and thereby maximizing your clicks and conversions. It's one thing to acknowledge the importance of testing, but it's another to implement that strategy if you're not sure what to test.
The folks at AdChop have put together an infographic with a bunch of ideas for things to test in your ads, including text ads and image ads (these principles also apply to landing pages, your home page and anywhere else you're looking to drive conversions and engagement). Check it out!AdChop – More Profitable Ad Campaigns... > Read more
Last week, waaay at the bottom of my post on the ethics of search, I included a couple of links to articles about Instagram culture. The photo-sharing app had just been made available on Android OS, which had a lot of Android users cheering and a lot of iPhone users jeering (as in, “Hey, WTF? Our exclusive little club just got a lot less exclusive…”)That was pretty minor news compared to what happened to Instagram this week, though – it was purchased by Facebook for a whopping, unbelievable $1 Billion!Instagram, both the company and the app, are very simple – beautifully simple, I’m sure some would say.
They have a handful of employees and the app “does one thing well” – take a photo with your phone, add some fun filters to make it look cute and retro (like a Polaroid, sa... > Read more
Are your Google Alerts not working? Maybe you've set it up wrong. But before we walk you through how to correctly set up a Google Alert for yourself, let's revisit how does Google Alerts work.Google Alerts are a way to monitor the search results for a given query. In theory, setting up a Google Alert is a great time-saver, because you get an email from Google whenever your specified query shows up on the web.
These web alerts are useful for a number of reasons:Brand monitoring – Keep track of mentions of your brand and products.Reputation management – Respond in a timely fashion to negative mentions and reviews.Link building – Push social traffic to positive reviews of your brand, or ask webmasters to turn citations into links.Journalism/Blogging – Follow media coverage of a topic ... > Read more
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Google’s warnings that it is planning to issue an “over-optimization penalty,” AKA the OOPS penalty. Similar to the Panda update, an algorithm change intended to punish spammy sites with “thin content,” the so-called OOPS penalty is supposed to prevent sites that are over-optimized from ranking.
But where is the line between regular optimization and over-optimization? Nobody really knows. Google’s own answers have been vague at best – some of the techniques they’re now calling spammy, they advocated themselves in the past.Good Cop, Bad CopWhen Google seems to be criminalizing SEO, it’s not surprising that the search community has ethics on the brain. Last week, Joe Hall wrote a post that declared “SEO outing is immoral.” “SEO outin... > Read more
Yesterday Google announced another big round of “search quality highlights,” i.e., changes to the algorithm that serves up your search results. These lists – which Google has been publishing on the Inside Search blog since December 2011, supposedly in an effort to “push the envelope when it comes to transparency” – have just gotten more unwieldy and impenetrable over the last several months.
The first list included 10 “algorithmic and visible feature changes.” Yesterday’s announcement listed 50 changes.That’s too many updates for this little soldier, and I tweeted so:Apparently I’m not the only one who finds these lists semi-unreadable:According to Google, “we make roughly 500 improvements in a given year,” and it would seem that almost all of them have a cutesy c... > Read more
Here you’ll find a steady stream of strategic search marketing advice as well as smart commentary on emerging web marketing trends. This content is hand-picked for customers to help you make the most of PPC Advisor, your AdWords campaigns, and other marketing endeavors. We hope you’ll find it interesting and insightful.
Check the PPC Idea Center often – you’ll find fresh tips and ideas every week! ... > Read more
What do you guys have planned for April Fool’s Day? I have always hated April 1st – as a kid I dreaded going to school that day and walked around braced for stupid pranks. Wait a second, I’m really setting myself up to get punked here, aren’t I? I’m just going to assume that most of you don’t know where I live.
This April 1, don’t be made a fool of! Take this opportunity to study up on our top 10 most popular, happening blog posts from the past month:PPC Bid Management Guide: The Best Bidding Tips from 18 PPC Experts – I crowdsourced this guide, which is chock-full of awesome bid management tips, from some of the best (and nicest!) PPC practitioners I know. It’s can’t-miss.5 Lessons from A/B Tests: Improving AdWords CTR with Smarter Copy – In this post I looked at some... > Read more
Search suggestions: They’re sort of like that annoying friend who’s always trying to guess what you’re going to say before you’re done saying it. I often think, “Nope, Google, that’s not where I was going with that, not at all, at all,” but like many an annoying friend, I’d miss the search suggestions if they went away.
Google’s Autocomplete feature provides search suggestions as you type to save you time when you’re typing a common query. For example, start typing “Fa…” and Google guesses that you’re probably looking for Facebook. Sometimes the search suggestions are so ridiculous that it seems like they must have been handpicked by some Google employee with a bizarre sense of humor, but according to Google, the suggestions are determined algorithmically:A... > Read more
Is your SEO over the top, Vegas-style?At South By Southwest (SXSW) last week, Matt Cutts was quoted as saying that Google is rolling out a new algorithm change that will penalize sites for “over-optimization.” Here’s the transcript of his statement, via Barry Schwartz:What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO.
We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who a... > Read more
We’ve been running guest posts by Ryan Healy, a copywriter for BoostCTR, for quite a while now. Each post focuses on a single A/B test and analyzes the strengths of the winning ad (that is, the ad with the higher click-through rate). There’s so much good ad writing insight in these posts, I thought it was time to dig back through them and pull out some takeaways.
Here are five ad writing lessons gleaned from Ryan’s A/B tests that you can use to improve your AdWords CTR and Quality Score.Lesson #1: Leave Out the LingoDon’t use insider jargon that your audience might not know or understand in the context of your ad. For example, look at the below ads: PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 The second version increased CTR by 70%. The first version uses some confusing terminology: “No XP reqd.... > Read more
For a while now, there’s been chatter about whether “inbound marketing” should replace the term “SEO.” The conversation came to a head this week (if heads are something that conversations can come to) when Rand Fishkin blogged about it at SEOmoz in “The Brand of SEO and the Trend of Inbound Marketing.
”Rand starts by noting the SEO industry’s bad reputation:Last night, a startup friend of mine was over, reviewing a slide deck I'm building for another round of fundraising pain, when he received a spam email trying to buy some links on his site."Ha. You SEO guys never quit do you?"Then today, in an interview with a candidate, I asked her about her background in SEO and she replied, "I told my husband about SEOmoz and he said 'SEO company? Watch out, those guys are spammy... > Read more
WordStream has had a big year, posting record-breaking results month over month. It's an exciting time, we're growing fast and we need to add some new manpower (and womanpower) to the team! We're looking to hire smart, dedicated individuals to fill a several open positions in our Boston office (we will be adding more than one team member for each role):Paid Search StrategistsWe are looking for dynamic and passionate individuals to drive the success of our clients through successful PPC campaigns and hyper-focus on communication.
Ideal candidates will have at least 2-3 years of experience managing the paid-search and other search marketing initiatives for companies with demonstrated success. You will become part of a kick-ass team of experts who truly love their job, the company and lead th... > Read more
PPC bid management is one of the more complicated areas of PPC marketing, so many advertisers choose to automate using either the automated bidding option in Google AdWords or a third-party bid management solution. Both approaches have their upsides and downsides – Google’s automated bidding feature is free, but requires you to give up complete control, and it’s less than transparent.
Third-party bid management software is generally more robust, but (obviously) it comes with a price tag, so it may not be feasible for smaller, budget-strapped advertisers.I was curious how most AdWords advertisers handle the PPC bid management process, so I asked 18 practicing PPC experts three questions:Do you use automated AdWords bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?If not, when do you raise an... > Read more
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Yay women! And before you get all uppity about why there isn’t an international men’s day, there is:That’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to focus on why yesterday’s Google Doodle was so, so terrible:Let’s just do a quick run-down:The capital G is the gender symbol for woman, AKA the Venus symbol.
Fair enough.The second “o” is a flower. That seems pretty weak. It’s not International Flower Day, and women aren’t really that into flowers.The next thing that pops out to me is the little “g.” It styled so it looks a little like a gender symbol. But what it primarily looks like is a bra. Maybe even a coconut bra. Really, Google? This is how you represent women across the world? Flowers and bras? (Andrew Hanelly suggeste... > Read more
It’s baaaaaack! And by “it,” I don’t mean Poltergeist, I mean Pimp Your PPC Ad, a regular irregular feature in which I scan the SERPs for lousy text ads and give them the Pimp My Ride treatment. (For those of you who were born, I don’t know, last year, Pimp My Ride was an MTV show that ran between 2004 and 2007.
)For previous editions, see:Pimp Your PPC Ad: 5 Lessons from Lackluster Text AdsThe Return of Pimp Your PPC Ad: Lessons from Bad PPC AdsLet’s get starting, shall we?Lesson #1: Use Capital Letters (Properly)I’m pretty sure Google automatically applies initial caps (i.e., title case) to your headline, because I’ve never seen an ad that looked like this in Google (yes, these look just like Google ads, but I assure you, they’re from Bing):These ads were served in... > Read more
Happy Leap Day, earthlings! Does anyone else find this day kind of creepy? I’m actually getting on a plane to Chicago later, and I’m a little worried that maybe we’ll fly into a wormhole and I’ll end up on the other side of a black hole. I don’t know, my physics is a little fuzzy. I just know Leap Years are weird.
(And did you know there are leap seconds too? The next one is coming in June 2012. Watch out! No pun intended.)Since the universe has given us a whole extra day this year, why not use it to catch up on your reading, hm? Here are our greatest can’t-miss hits from the past month:5 Blog Redesign Mistakes That Kill SEO – This guest post from our friends at Boxcar Marketing reveals some common gotchas that can make a site redesign more painful that it needs t... > Read more