Larry Kim Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog

Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization Is Wrong

Conversion is a key element in your paid search strategy; after all, if you're not actually turning lookers into buyers at a high rate, what are you advertising for? Conversion rate optimization enables you to maximize every cent of your PPC spend by finding that sweet spot that convinces the maximum percentage of your prospects to take action.

But what is a good conversion rate? If you're already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you're going to go?We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry?Through our ... > Read more

March 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 21

Join Me for 2 Sessions at Pubcon New Orleans!

In just a few days, I'll be heading to New Orleans, home to Mardi Gras, the Saints and of course, Pubcon Spring New Orleans 2014! I'm speaking at two sessions, so if you're planning to attend the conference, make sure you stop in and see me!Hacking AdWords – There's Nothing Lucky About Being the Top DogOn Wednesday March 19, join me in Salon B at 10:10 am for Hacking AdWords: Quality Score Insights, where we'll get our PPC hacking game face on and learn how to lower your cost per click and cost per conversion with an advanced understanding of AdWords Quality Score.

The key to AdWords mastery lies in understanding that everything Google offers runs on an algorithm – once you understand the math behind ad ranking and pricing, you can optimize to the algorithm. This isn't black magic or di... > Read more

March 12, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 4

Want to Increase Your Conversion Rates? Here's How to Triple Them

We recently held a massively popular webinar packed with techniques guaranteed to triple your AdWords click-through rates, and we got a lot of people asking for help with the next logical step: boosting conversions. Once you've earned the click and have a visitor on your site, how do you most effectively convince them to sign up for your offer or purchase your product? Raising CTR’s is great, but raising conversions is even better.

Our next free webinar (THIS THURSDAY, March 6) will teach you just that: amazing – yet perfectly achievable – strategies to increase your conversion rates by three times or more. In Unbelievable Discoveries to 3x Your Conversion Rates, we're going to dive deep into tactics and features of the best converting campaigns in the market, with a replicable proces... > Read more

March 03, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 5

When Good Tweets Go Bad: Matt Cutts Burned on Twitter, Hilarity Ensues

When Matt Cutts speaks, people listen. As one of Google’s most influential figures, Cutts has a loyal following that hangs on his every word. Unfortunately for him, this doesn’t always work out so well, as a recent tweet demonstrated. Cutts took to Twitter yesterday to announce the launch of a new reporting tool designed to make it easier for site and content owners to flag instances when scraped material is ranking higher than the content’s source.

For many site owners and content producers, this was welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, for Cutts, the backlash was swift.Dan Barker was quick to point out that Google’s own Knowledge Graph is the biggest content scraper on the web. To add insult to injury, Barker included an image of a Google Knowledge Graph SERP ... > Read more

February 28, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 15

Going Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Ads with 3x the Average CTR

What’s the average click-through rate for a Google AdWords ad? When people ask this question, it’s often because they want to benchmark their own ad CTR’s. Unfortunately, way too many advertisers are content to reach an average click-through rate and leave it at that.We recently held a well-attended webinar packed with crazy techniques you can use to triple your AdWords click-through rate.

Sounds unbelievable, right? It’s not at all – in fact, we walked step-by-step through a process that helps marketers improve their ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.We’ve had a number of requests for more information on this webinar, so here we go! This post is a monster – use this handy guide to help you get around:What Is a Good CTR?Why Uni... > Read more

February 11, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 16

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land on SMX West 2014: More Search & Social, New Marketing Land Summit

Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land's founding editor (not that he needs any introduction in search marketing circles) is getting geared up for SMX West, the next in his series of search marketing conferences spanning North America, Europe and Australia. SMX is known as one of the best conferences to marketers to learn the latest trends and tactics to improve their marketing performance.

I had a few questions for Danny Sullivan about the upcoming event and the state of the search industry in general. Here’s what he had to say about the evolution of SMX and what marketers will need to focus on this year:Danny Sullivan on Knowledge Graph, Predictive Search & Social SignalsLarry Kim: You have Google’s Amit Singhal doing a keynote on recent Google updates and the future of search, but wh... > Read more

February 03, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Hacking AdWords: Winning at AdWords the Weird Way

As search marketers, we spend a lot of time analyzing crazy SEO algorithms (hello, Panda and Penguin) and constantly trying to reverse-engineer ranking factors in an attempt to increase our organic rankings.Yet when it comes to paid search, there's not nearly as much research, despite the fact that PPC, like SEO, is largely driven by an algorithm (Quality Score) which determines ad position, cost per click and many other factors.

By understanding how Quality Score works, AdWords can be cracked.In my article today, I'll quantify the impact of Quality Score on your cost per click and cost per conversion. I'll also explain to you (mathematically!) how Google calculates your Quality Score. Finally, I'll share my three best tips on how to raise your Quality Scores, all in an effort to help you h... > Read more

January 29, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 31

Pubcon Founder Brett Tabke on the Future of Google Search & the Decline of the Web

Internet marketing legend and conference organizer extraordinaire Brett Tabke took time from his busy schedule recently to discuss a number of issues with me, from the impact of Google search updates and upcoming trends in online marketing to the future of his popular Pubcon conference series. Read on for his fascinating insights into Google’s changing business model, the secret of content marketing and more.

Thanks for talking with me, Brett!Referral Data Losses a Game ChangerLK: Back in November, you and Joe Laratro spoke at SLC/SEM about the Year in Search Marketing. What do you think were the biggest game changers in search in 2013? BT: The Snowden revelations gave search engines cover to implement SSL connections on all searches. That has led to the loss of referral data. Not h... > Read more

January 27, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

Live Webinar: Totally Insane Techniques Guaranteed to 3X Your CTR

This might hurt a little – apologies, but I promise it will feel better in the long run. Coming to terms with this important realization is the first step in your PPC recovery. Are you ready for it?You’re doing PPC wrong.I know that’s frustrating to hear; if you’re like most SMB marketers, you think you’re already doing everything you can to better manage your paid search campaigns.

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re following conventional wisdom and managing your account in the same way you and every one of your competitors has been for the last several years, you’re throwing money out the door.In an upcoming webinar, I’m going to show you how to break free of the mold the vast majority of PPC marketers have trapped themselves into.You’re throwing out your 1% CTR a... > Read more

January 15, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

Need a PPC Audit? Get a Fast, Free PPC Audit with AdWords Grader Plus

January is the traditional time to take stock of your life, assess what’s missing, and set new goals. Chances are, your PPC account could use the January treatment. The holidays are over, you’re back from vacation, and your AdWords account is probably as messy as your kitchen, or as bloated as … never mind.

The point is, it’s time for a PPC audit – you need to benchmark where you’re at so you know where to focus your efforts in the new year.Two years ago, we created the AdWords Performance Grader to help advertisers audit and analyze their Google AdWords accounts. It’s basically the fastest, easiest, and by far the cheapest (you can’t get cheaper than free) way to audit your PPC account. You link the tool up to your AdWords account through a 100% secure OAuth connection (on... > Read more

January 07, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Best of PPC: The Hottest Guides, Case Studies & Articles of the Year!

Over the last year, I’ve spent about 3 hours per day reading about online marketing, and paid search in particular. It’s worked out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 780 hours of staying up to date on the latest case studies, tips, detailed how-to guides, and original research – we’re talking thousands of articles here! On the off chance you haven’t been keeping up to this extent every day, I wanted to share my picks for the best, most informative, absolute must-read PPC articles of 2013.

Some I had bookmarked, others were filed away in my mind, and others still were contributed by industry peeps including Robert Brady, Melissa Mackey, Danny Goodwin, Sam Owen at PPC Hero, Michelle Morehouse at Clix, and AJ Kohn – thank you all! (See more awesome contributions in this Twit... > Read more

December 23, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

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: 38

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: 17

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: 48

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: 13

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: 7

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
 
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