Larry Kim Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog

ClickZ Live, Not Just a Search Conference Anymore: An Interview with Mike Grehan

If you’ve been a marketer for more than a year you’ve surely heard that SEO is changing (or, alternately, dead, dying, evolving, etc.). It’s a cliché, but it’s true: Today, SEO doesn’t mean what it used to.I recently spoke with Mike Grehan, publisher of ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, about the changing SEO landscape, why SEOs need to be generalist marketers, and his predictions for Internet marketing in 2014 and beyond.

We also talked about why these changes need to be reflected in ClickZ live, the conference formerly known as SES, which has always been a must-attend conference for marketers. Read his fascinating insights below, and register for ClickZ Live in New York this coming spring!What is the thinking behind the recent rebranding of the SES Conference & Expo as Click... > Read more

December 10, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

Twitter Retargeting: Now On Twitter, Ads Follow You

Twitter will reportedly make just made a big announcement confirming the expansion of the ad retargeting program they began testing this summer. The new offering, dubbed Tailored Audiences, is a logical next step for a network that went public just months ago and now has a lot to prove to investors.

But how will Twitter Tailored Audiences work for advertisers?TechCrunch earlier this morning cited anonymous “sources” confirming the launch, but say the details were hazy. Here’s what we did know:Twitter advertisers will now have access to external data for ad targeting.It’s almost guaranteed that Promoted Tweets will be open to retargeting; whether or not Promoted Accounts are is unknown.Twitter began experimenting with retargeting in July and made it clear users were able t... > Read more

December 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 5

RIP Google AdWords Editor??

A new feature that allows marketers to undo changes in Google AdWords is welcome and probably long overdue, though it begs the question: is the AdWords Editor dead?Right now, the AdWords “Undo” button seems to be a limited test, available only in select accounts. What it does, however, is gives advertisers the ability revert to the way their campaign was before changes, or to download a fresh version of account or campaign specifics.

This should make testing much easier.With all of this functionality in the web interface, are we now hearing the death knell for the Google AdWords Editor, desktop version?Why I Used to Use AdWords EditorBack in the day, AdWords Editor had a ton of advantages, including:Offline editing, which was a real issue in and around 2005. Now, however, we have wi-fi... > Read more

December 04, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 35

The Top 10 Google AdWords Updates of 2013

The folks at Google AdWords have been busy elves over the last year – so much so that just keeping up with all of the changes is practically a full-time job. By my estimation Google has rolled out over a thousand new AdWords features and changes in the last year alone. That’s almost 20 new features or changes every week! The challenge for marketers is that we often just discover the new stuff as we make our way through our accounts; Google doesn’t even announce the vast majority of their AdWords updates.

Don’t worry – we’ve got your back! We’ve kept on top of the notable changes this year and identified the ten most impactful updates for paid search marketers. Some were great and necessary improvements and others… not so much. However, they’re all changes you should know a... > Read more

December 02, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 16

Should I Help This SEO Spammer or Should He Suffer?

As the owner of a popular internet marketing blog (this one) that gets around a half million unique visitors / month, I’m used to getting all sorts of spam.Every week I get dozens of requests to purchase links on my site (which I ignore), and every month, and we delete hundreds, possibly thousands of spammy blog comments and link drops.

But more recently I’ve been getting a different tune of spammy emails from SEO spammers, like this one asking for help with link removal:Oh how the worm has turned…I’m guessing their back-link profile is full of anchor-text-rich, no-followed blog comments and that Mr. Penguin doesn’t like that too much.Seriously, what to do here – should I help out this SEO spammer or should he suffer?Reasons to Help This SEO SpammerWe’ve all dropped a link wit... > Read more

November 15, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 42

Do Twitter Ads Work? Comparing the Ad Performance of The World's Largest Social Networks

Twitter vs. Facebook: Comparing the Ad Performance of the World’s Largest Social NetworksTwitter’s initial public offering (IPO) is approaching, and Twitter just raised its price range to $23-$25, suggesting it’s feeling optimistic about the outcome. Investors may be a little more nervous though.

According to polls, just 35% of Americans think buying Twitter stock is a good idea, whereas 51% of Americans thought Facebook stock was a good idea before its IPO last May.As for me, I’m not planning to buy any Twitter stock. I’ve always said that Facebook makes a weak showing when it comes to ad performance for direct response marketing (lead generation), especially compared to comparable offerings from Google. But what about Facebook vs. Twitter? The fact is, Facebook ads have improve... > Read more

November 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 11

Meet Bing’s New “Hero Ads”

Bing Ads has today announced a way to potentially one-up Google’s Image Banners in Search Listings.The new ad format, called “Bing Hero Ads,” were shown off at a Bing Ads event at the Microsoft Campus, and are currently visible on a subset of keyword searches conducted within the recently released Windows 8.

1.Hero Ads provide a bold, strongly-branded, task-completion oriented experience for certain branded searches, as you can see by the photos I snapped here for Home Depot, Radio Shack and Disney:The pilot project is currently limited to searches conducted in Windows 8.1 in the US. No word yet on if this will make it to the Web version of Bing Search. The test is being run with a limited number of big brands. If you don’t see them, it’s because they’re only show up on a subset... > Read more

October 30, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 5

Google Stock History Shows Shares Trending Up, CPC Trending Down – Here’s Why

The Q3 2013 earnings call revealed that Google shares are at an all-time high – and yet, average cost per click (CPC) continues to fall.With Google stock up, you’d expect CPC to be up as well. After all, something has to be driving the growth. So what gives?Attention Shoppers: AdWords PPC Ads Are On Sale (Again!)The trend is clear – cost per click on Google’s paid search ads continues to fall.

The average CPC in Q3 was down 4% since last quarter and down 8% versus the same quarter last year. This is the 8th consecutive quarterly decline in average CPC since Q4 2011.Our own internal customer data aligns nearly perfectly with the official earnings reports – we found average CPC to be down by 9% this year. And as you can see by the trend line, we don’t see things bottoming out any... > Read more

October 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

Google Shared Endorsements: Who Are the Real Winners and Losers?

Shared Endorsements are the latest in a line of updates that bring user reviews and ratings into the Google results. Announced earlier this week and coming to the SERPs in November, the newly expanded shared endorsements will allow reviews and +1’s from Google+ profiles to appear in the paid search results (not just organic).

For example, if someone searches for “hot springs in Colorado” and you reviewed a hot springs resort that has an ad on the first page for that keyword, your review (along with your name and Google profile image) might show up as part of the ad. Shared endorsements look like this (the one on the far right is an example of a shared endorsement appearing in a Google ad):Shared Endorsements: The Latest in a String of Ratings-Related FeaturesAs I mentioned, this isn... > Read more

October 16, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Case Study: The Anatomy of a Killer Quality Score

I’ve told you over and over that Quality Score is super important. It lowers your cost per click. It lowers your CPA. It improves your ad rankings. In short, high Quality Scores correlate really well with overall account success.OK, OK, you’re saying, I get it! But how do I actually get these high Quality Scores? Rather than spout the usual list of advice, let’s take a close look at a real account that has exceptionally high Quality Scores and see how they’re getting it done.

The account we’re going to be looking at belongs to a WordStream client, a small business in the insurance industry. Despite this being one of the most competitive verticals in AdWords, this advertiser is killing it with his AdWords campaigns. In fact, he has an average impression-weighted Quality Score of 8.... > Read more

October 01, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

New! Build Landing Pages & Manage Leads with WordStream

Landing pages are the bottom of the funnel in PPC. Even if you get your keywords, ads and bids right in your AdWords campaigns, it will be hard to realize great ROI through PPC without a landing page strategy.Once you’ve got the click and the prospect is off the SERP and on your site, you’re tantalizingly close to sealing the deal – but without a clean, well-designed, relevant, and persuasive landing page, you can lose them as fast as you got them.

In our experience, landing pages are a constant challenge for PPC advertisers. Here are some of the obstacles that AdWords users face:Building Landing Pages is Hard: Generally you need Web development resources plus a graphic designer and a hosting environment in order to set up PPC landing pages. It’s hard, it’s time-consuming, and it... > Read more

September 10, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 13

Register for My Upcoming Webinars with Moz and PPC Hero!

Hey Internet marketing maniacs, I’ve got a couple of new webinars coming up in the next week and would love for you to join us!Are You Spending Your PPC Budget Wisely?“Are You Spending Your PPC Budget Wisely?” will be a joint webinar, presented by Hanapin Marketing’s Carrie Albright and me. We’ll be sharing best practices and creative tips for PPC budget management, including:Reconciling  PPC budget with your overall marketing costsAdjusting your strategy for large or small accountsChoosing the right metrics to help define your spendIncorporating expenses like agency or staff overheadThis webinar will serve as a great refresher for spend planning, overall budgeting, and cost measurement, whether you’re planning your initial PPC budget or re-evaluating c... > Read more

July 24, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

RIP Syncapse: Syncapse Announces Huge Layoffs

It was just about a year ago that we reported Clickable Inc. was acquired by Syncapse. It was a bit of a surprise at the time, since Clickable used to be primarily a provider of SEM software for SMBs (and therefore a direct competitor of WordStream), while Syncapse is a social media management tool company.

I was even more surprised this morning to read the news that Syncapse is restructuring and laying off most of their employees.According to CBC News:In the past five years, the company had been expanding aggressively, employing 110 people at offices in Toronto, New York, London and Gurgaon, India.On Monday, the majority of staff at the company were told they were being laid off."Despite our best efforts, the organization lacks the resources to move forward successfully and as such must en... > Read more

July 23, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

News Flash: Google AdWords CPC Down by 6% Year-Over-Year in Q2 2013 - Here's Why!

There’s been a ton of grumbling and conspiracy theories in the search engine marketing community about how new enhanced campaigns - the biggest and most disruptive upgrade to the AdWords advertising platform in the last 10 years - are just a ploy to raise CPCs. Various vendors including Adobe, Kenshoo, Covario and others have recently released studies claiming that CPCs are already rising by 6% this quarter.

So I was surprised to hear that the exact opposite happened in Thursday evening’s Google Earnings conference call. AdWords CPC was down. Here’s an excerpt from the call:Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased... > Read more

July 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 17

Enhanced Campaigns D-Day Is Less Than a Week Away – Are You Prepared?

Many advertisers we work with at WordStream have already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns. I’ve been bullish on the changes since they were announced in February – though Enhanced Campaigns do come with some loss of control, I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the costs for most advertisers. Namely, those benefits include:Easier management of mobile campaigns and better measurement of mobile ROIMore powerful bidding tools for local ads and display banner adsFewer campaigns to manage overall – a big timesaverIf you’ve been happily chugging along with your legacy campaigns, I’ve got bad news for you.

On July 22, this coming Monday, upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns will no longer be an option. Basically, in about five days it’s sink or swim. Any campaigns that you have not alread... > Read more

July 17, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

How to Reduce Your Cost Per Conversion by 16-80% (Sorry, Haters, Quality Score Still Matters)

Quality Score: Is it the be-all-end-all of AdWords metrics, or no big deal? You’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Proponents believe Quality Score is a good measure of the health of your account – high scores tend to correlate with lower costs and better results across the board.

Detractors will say QS is a distraction and all that really matters is your cost per conversion, because that’s how you determine your ROI.So who’s right? What should you focus on in your PPC reporting?What Is Quality Score?As a quick refresher, Quality Score is a metric Google uses to determine where advertisers rank on the SERP and how much they pay. Although AdWords functions as a kind of auction, if the system was purely determined by bids, spammy companies with lousy, irrelevant ads ... > Read more

July 16, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 24

How To Get Even More Google Sitelinks!

Google has today made it easier than ever to get new bigger and better Google Sitelinks for your ads, which help people find information deeper in your site so they can get to where they want to go faster.  Previously it was already possible to specify clickable anchor text for all of your Google Sitelinks.

And with today's update, AdWords is going even further by enabling you to designate specific text for your Google Sitelink descriptions from within your AdWords account. This will enable more granular control over the descriptions that display when your Google sitelink is shown to searchers.What Do Google Sitelink Ads Look Like?We're glad you asked. Here’s what the new super-sized Google Sitelinks ad look like:These huge new sitelinks are like the AdWords equivalent of the T-Rex ... > Read more

June 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

How Product Listing Ads Are Stealing Your Conversions

If you’ve ever done a Google search, you know already that Google ads are occupying more and more space on the SERP. What you might not know is that the fancy Product Listing Ads you see are commercial intent-sucking monsters and are stealing all the conversions from both the organic and non-PLA search results.

Today, when someone searches for anything related to a product name, Google automatically populates most of the above-the-fold space on the SERP with PLAs and other blinged-out ads:When I search on “keurig coffee maker,” about 80% of the screen is devoted to sponsored results featuring keurig products– I have to scroll below the fold to see more than two organic listings. All the ads you can see here make use of extensions (such as offer extensions, location extensions, etc.)... > Read more

June 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 21

News Flash: PPC Is Inbound Marketing

What is Inbound Marketing? The Story of How PPC Became "In"The industry is all a-buzz today with Rand Fishkin’s announcement that SEOmoz is relaunching and rebranding as simply Moz. They are distancing themselves from their history as an SEO company and positioning themselves as a provider of more general marketing tools, with a focus on “inbound marketing,” the phrase that local Boston company HubSpot and others made (relatively) famous.

I couldn’t help but notice that Rand’s blog post explaining the change included a revision of a diagram he had previously used when discussing inbound marketing. Here’s the new diagram, which distinguishes between inbound marketing and “interruption marketing”:And here’s the old diagram, from Rand’s March 2011 blog post:Notice anything ... > Read more

May 29, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 40

Reporting Is the #2 Biggest Time Sink for PPC Managers – Is There a Better Way?

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been conducting an informal survey before all of my PPC webinars. I ask attendees to tell me how much time they spend doing PPC every week, as well as which task is the biggest time sink in PPC management. For the first question, answers vary from less than an hour up to 40 hours a week.

For the second, they’re a bit more consistent. I averaged the answers from the past several webinars and found that PPC managers find keyword research to be the single biggest time sink in PPC (wow, you guys really spend a lot of time on keyword research). This was followed closely by reporting and analysis:Why do advertisers spend so much time on PPC reporting? Because the available PPC reporting tools are often too complex. You go into AdWords or Analytics to chec... > Read more

May 29, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7
 
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