Ken Lyons Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
So looks like the ongoing rumors of Toolbar PageRank's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Amid rampant speculation that the lil' green pixel bar would soon be extinct, Google has once again updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) metrics. I can hear the collective groans of SEOs across the globe on this one.
The Google PageRank update is occurring as I write, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, 2010. If you're keeping score at home, this is the first PageRank update of 2010. It coincides with previous year's changes, which have all occurred in April the last three years. Maybe this is Google's way of heralding the advent of Spring. Who knows... I noticed the changes occurring while doing some client work this morning. As I was editing text on the client site's home page, I watched in deligh... > Read more
Go to any SEO forum and you’ll find the obligatory post from a confused, link building noob wondering, "How do I create amazing backlinks?"In the post, the frustrated linker claims they’ve tried everything to build quality backlinks: free directories, profile links, article submissions, comment spamming, etc.
But nothing works. Despite all their low value efforts, they can't leapfrog their competitors in the SERPs, so they're pleading with others to share their secrets to building amazing, stupendous, superfantastic backlinks.Trouble is, those secrets don't exist.There are no magic shortcuts, no highly classified insider hacks to getting quality links for your website. Building amazing backlinks takes work. But that's the last thing the forum vagrants want to hear. They want a quick fi... > Read more
The following post is from a recent email discussion thread I was having with one of our guest bloggers Richard Kraneis. The topic we were discussing was affiliate marketing, in particular, how to find profitable affiliate niches to target. This is a question many ask when starting out in affiliate marketing.
It was a question I had too when I was learning about affiliate marketing. So I thought it would be valuable to share the conversation we had about getting started in affiliate marketing and which niches to target using SEO. I’ve pulled out specific references to my affiliate sites to protect my competitive edge ;). Now, by no means do I consider myself to be an expert on affiliate marketing and these are not hard and fast rules. These are just my opinions and my advice to Richa... > Read more
A few months ago, I published an article about the Best SEO Rank Checkers. In it, I wrote a quick review of a keyword rank checking tool called Rank Tracker, by Link-Assistant.com. Of all the paid rank checkers I featured in that article, Rank Tracker was one that intrigued me the most. So recently, I decided to do some more extensive work with Rank Tracker to get a real taste for the tool's full capabilities.
And I'll tell you, after using this keyword SERP tracker for the past few weeks, I'm hooked. So let's take a closer look at Rank Tracker, so I can explain my newfound enthusiasm for this tool. Rank Tracker: Key Benefits There are a lot of keyword SERP trackers on the market, but they have their share of issues. First, they can be agonizingly slow. Some can only run checks on groups o... > Read more
Keyword research isn't just for search marketing. It's also a highly effective method for social media marketing. Whether your target audience is on YouTube or Twitter, your social media marketing efforts should start with determining which keywords they're using. That way you can match your message to their interests.
With that, I've put together The Experts' Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media. In this comprehensive guide, I give detailed instructions on how (and why) to conduct keyword research for social media, and I break it down with tips and techniques for research keywords on four of the most popular social media platforms: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. Enjoy! READ: The Experts' Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media ... > Read more
Recently at WordStream, we launched our first link bait campaign. By our standards, the campaign was successful, and we thought we'd share the details on how to build a linkbait campaign. How to Get Links from New York Times: A Case Study In a nutshell, we attribute the campaign's success to setting clear objectives, creating killer content and aggressive marketing.
What resulted from our hard work, planning and execution was a link from one of the most trusted sources on the planet: The New York Times. Case Study Contents: Planning Phase Goal Setting Link Bait Creation Link Bait Promotion Campaign Results How did we do it? Read on and find out how to get a link from the New York Times. Link Bait Campaign Intro: Before You Start, Have a Plan! You may be wondering how to start link baitin... > Read more
Despite a global recession, budget investments for search engine marketing continue to grow year after year. Many experts predict that spend on search engine marketing (SEM) activities will double in the U.S. from $13 billion in 2009 to $26 billion by the year 2014. With more and more marketing dollars flowing into paid and organic inbound marketing efforts, we wanted to poll our readers to see if their organizations are following the same trend.
We conducted an extensive survey of industry professionals and business owners to get an idea where budgets for search engine marketing are headed this year. We wanted to find out if spend on search marketing activities will rise, fall or remain the same in 2010. Here are the results. 2010 SEM Spending Trend Survey Results Survey Acronym Key SEO ... > Read more
It's an age-old question that many in search engine marketing struggle with: "How do I judge competition for keywords?" Do it wrong and you could waste countless hours and dollars chasing after an impenetrable market. Do it right and you could uncover a very profitable keyword vertical. Given the importance competitive keyword analysis, we reached out to 35 of the world's top search marketers and asked them a single question: “What is your best tip/trick for determining how competitive a keyword is?” We've collected the answers and compiled them into the Web's first comprehensive guide to analyzing keyword competition.
The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competition features advanced tips and tactics from such search gurus as Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, Michael Gray, Todd Malicoat, David Harry... > Read more
Search engine marketing (SEM) spend is expected to rise in the U.S. from $13 billion in 2009 to $26 billion by the year 2014. With more and more marketing dollars predicted to flow into paid and organic search marketing efforts, we wanted to poll our readers to see if their organizations are following the same trend.
We're conducting a brief, 10 question survey on search marketing budget trends in 2010. We want to know: will your spend on SEO, PPC and SEM-related activities in general rise, fall or remain the same in the coming year? The Poll is now closed. To view the results of our survey, go to 2010 Search Marketing Spend Trend Survey Results ... > Read more
As part of my SEO services for clients, I build links. Most SEOs agree that manually building and begging for links is tedious and even loathsome, but a necessary evil. Without links, you don't rank. It's that simple.Like many link builders, I've discovered what I call "link equity wells:" prime link juice target sites that pass trust, equity and aren't impossible to acquire links on.
Now, I'm not talking about low value article directories or forum signature links. These are solid, moderate value links that I tap for juice to client sites as needed. Downside is, revisiting the same link wells again and again is not only laborious, it's inefficient. Face it, link building on its own sucks, but having to repeat the exact same link activities on each new client site can be mind-numbing. It's... > Read more
Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering online GED services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question from Richard I'm in the proces... > Read more
As the link profile of WordStream.com continues to grow and grow, we realized it was time to purchase software that would assist us in managing our ballooning link database. Up until now, we'd been tracking all of our link acquisitions and link outreach efforts in Excel. But Excel has serious limitations, due in part because it's not built for link management.
As active link builders, our goal was to find a product that was designed specifically for our link management needs. And as Garret French espoused in Link Building Trends for 2010: "2010 will be the year of “link relationship management” software, and more and more link building firms will shift away from spreadsheets." I wholeheartedly agree. Why do you need a link management tool? If you're serious about link building and... > Read more
Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering GED online services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some really great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he poses questions and seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question fro... > Read more
In 2009, the scientific community treated search and social media marketers to what seemed like a never-ending supply of meaty and game-changing research projects, covering everything from information retrieval, to personalized search, to integrated SERP analysis, to studying user behavior on social networks.
I decided to compile and share a list of my favorite Search and Social Media Marketing Research Projects of 2009. Hopefully, these research papers will inform and inspire your marketing efforts going into 2010.By the way, if after reading all the papers on this list you find that you're jonesing for more, here are two great resources for marketers to find research papers on social media marketing and search engine marketing:Google ScholarYahoo ResearchVideo LecturesSo fire up your neu... > Read more
So despite claims of ditching the little green pixel bar, Google has once again updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) about an hour ago, at 8 p.m. on December 30, 2009. I noticed the change immediately when I was doing a little WordStream brand searching and saw in the SERPs that we'd jumped from a PR5 to a robust PR6.
The change literally took place before my eyes. One minute we were PR5, then next search: BOOM! PR6. Totally geeky, I know, but my heart skipped a beat. The actual SEO for Firefox Toolbar has yet to update though. It's still reading PR5, but I'm sure that will change by tomorrow. I'm also seeing changes across many of my sites, all for the better, which is a nice way to kick off 2010. By my count, this is the sixth and final update for 2009, with the last PageRank update oc... > Read more
With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to take a break from my hectic holiday shopping schedule (ah, who am I kidding...my wife does all the Christmas shopping, even for herself) to see which toy companies have killer SEO'd websites as part of our ongoing series, Top SEO Websites. So I made this "top toy keywords" list and I've checked it twice.
I'm gonna' find out whose SEO is naughty and whose is nice. Okay, okay, cheesy Xmas parody aside, there are definitely some surprises on this list of Top SEO Toy Websites, which includes one very popular toy company that really Scrooged on the optimization this year and deserve a big, honking lump of coal in their stockings. Wondering who it is? Read on and find out. Top SEO Toy Websites: SERP Analysis Process My process for determining whi... > Read more
Okay, so I've been running my share of real time SERP testing recently to get an idea how this may or may not impact SEO. As expected, others in search have been doing much the same with some very funny (yet scary) results. But nothing concerned me more than what I found last night. I was doing a branded query for WordStream to see what if anything was being integrated into our real time search results and here's what I find: So the WordStream home page was pushed out of the first position for our branded query in favor of some random RTs from Twitter that are totally unrelated to the WordStream brand.
I was pretty ticked when I saw this. The reputation management implications are huge if this is what Google has in store for brands. I mean, it's one thing to integrate real time resu... > Read more
To be an effective and successful SEO, it's imperative that you're always testing, testing, testing. Why? Well, for starters, the variables that comprise and dictate the SERPs are totally out of our control. How do you know what truly works unless you test? Another reason is that's it's very unlikely you'll ever run into a search engineer from Google at a bar who's so hammered that he reveals Google's ranking algo to you.
But to be more specific, continuous testing is valuable and necessary because: Algorithms are constantly being updated, so what worked yesterday may not work today Without evidence or cold hard facts, you're operating blindly Every test you conduct adds to your knowledge base There's a lot of misinformation and SEO myths, so you can't believe in and rely on everything yo... > Read more
Okay. I admit it. I'm a big ole' search geek. My life pretty much revolves around search. I mainly read search marketing blogs, have a SEO consulting biz on the side, and work full time for WordStream, where I'm surrounded by other search marketers all day, and we sell search marketing tools to members of the search marketing industry.
So my search geekiness should come as no surprise. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to create a list and share some of the truly nerdy search stuff I’ve done that makes me an uber geek. Plus, this should help anyone who's on the fence, wondering if they are or aren't a search geek too. Because if you've ever done any of these things, then well... You Know You’re a Search Geek if... You're impressed by domain names When we moved into our new office last ... > Read more
If you're under the impression that you control what searchers see in the meta description snippet of your SERP listings, you're living in fantasy land. Static meta descriptions are like Santa Claus, Unicorns and men who look "good" in toupees. They just don't exist. That's because the meta description is a chameleon: always changing its appearance.
That snippet you tag to show in the SERPs is often discarded by Google for text more germane to a searcher's query. And given that Google’s goal is to return the most relevant results to their audience, I can see how personalized meta descriptions make sense. But that doesn't mean search marketers have to sit by idly and let Google dictate what an audience will or won't see. There are ways to take control of your text snipp... > Read more