Elisa Gabbert's blog
In a recent Webmaster video, Matt Cutts confirmed that Google has tried internal versions of its search engine that work entirely without links. The results are low-quality – “for now,” he said. But this suggests that the value of the almighty link has come into question at Google, and they may be working on a version of the PageRank algorithm that doesn't depend so heavily on the link graph – which means PageRank as we know it might be on the chopping block.
But when?Don LaFontaine, Master of the "In a World" Movie Trailer VoiceoverIn light of this, we asked some of our favorite SEO and inbound marketing experts to answer the following three questions:Do you see the link losing value over time? Do you foresee a future where backlinks lose some or all of their weight in the PageRan... > Read more
When I suggested last month that someday, search engines could work without links, a lot of people thought it was an interesting gedankenexperiment (they didn’t use that word but hey, it’s one of my favorite words) but didn’t believe Google is really moving in that direction. The future, by definition, remains to be seen, but today in his webmaster video, Matt Cutts revealed that Google has already experimented with a version of Google that doesn’t use links as a signal:A user asked:Does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevancy? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.
And here’s Matt Cutts’ response (emphases mine):We don't have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run e... > Read more
Folks, we have a winner. The results are in from our Grade and Get Paid contest, and the big winner is GetOutfitted, a small startup based in Colorado. If you missed the announcements surrounding the contest, here’s how it worked:We invited marketers and businesses owners to use the AdWords Performance Grader twice – once to get an initial report on their AdWords account performance, and then again after 30 days, to show much they could improve.
We then asked them to tell us what they learned about their account.The business that was able to show the most improvement in 30 days won a tricked-out prize package: $25,000 in free AdWords spend for 2014, plus a year-long subscription to our PPC Advisor platform to help them make the most of that spend. (They also got a subscription to Consta... > Read more
ugh i’m still writing “ugh i’m still writing 2013 on all my checks” on all my tweets— Andy Levy (@andylevy) January 1, 2014Funny story: I published the first few blog posts of the year with “2013” in the URL. Funny because a) I’m a cliché and b) our Drupal installation doesn’t automate blog URLs, I have to plug the date in myself.
Le sigh.Here’s to a 2014 with no stupid mistakes! Right? Right! (Right?) But before we head off into Month 2, let’s take a look back at our most popular blog posts this month:6 Social Media Marketing Strategies to Drastically Improve Your Efforts in 2014 – Margot, one of our client services superstars, wrote this great, actionable post with lots of tips for better managing your social presence.Toward a Linkless SEO: The SEO Link Is Dying.... > Read more
Whether they saw it coming or not, and whether they believe it or not, everyone in SEO sat up and noticed when Matt Cutts declared that guest blogging is dead. We’d all like to believe that we only guest-blog to share our knowledge, but the truth is, most of us have guest-blogged and gladly taken the links that came along with it.
And the conversation has really been about links all week: Can guest-blogging survive without links? How do we get links if we don't guest-blog anymore?But aren’t we just treading water here? Guest blogging was just one tactic as part of a larger link-building strategy. Google is slowly chipping away at all our link-building tactics. Rather than replacing guest blogging with another kind of link building, maybe it’s time to think about a system that isn’t... > Read more
Matt Cutts just declared guest blogging dead:Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.
Well, I’m convinced.Just kidding! Guest blogging may be on Google's radar, but I wouldn't close the coffin lid just yet. Here’s why.All SEO Gets Spammier. SEO Still Isn’t Dead.You could substitute almost any SEO technique into this sentence, and it would be true:Over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of keyword targeting then you’re hanging out with really bad company.Over time it’s become a more and more spammy pr... > Read more
You’ve read our picks for the best articles, guides, and case studies on PPC from around the web in 2013. But what about WordStream? We wrote plenty about pay-per-click marketing, Google AdWords in particular, this year, but some of our most popular posts were about Twitter, Facebook, and social media management.
Could it be that small businesses find social media marketing less intimidating than SEO and PPC?In any case, both Twitter and Facebook are coming into their own in terms of their advertising offerings. They have a long way to go before they catch up with Google, but it should be very interesting to see how the big two in social media step up their ad options in 2014.Other hot topics this year: Enhanced Campaigns (by far the biggest change Google has made to AdWords in years) an... > Read more
True or false: SEO is dead.If you said false, keep reading.But wait! That’s not all.You also need to be an excellent writer. Do you love blogging and sharing your knowledge?Then yay! You might be a good fit for our newest marketing role.We’re looking for someone who’s equally strong in search engine optimization techniques and content marketing to help our team out with a bunch of exciting projects in the pipeline.
Here’s what you need to know:You won't be a cog in ye olde machine. We’re a young, venture-backed software company in the search marketing space. We’re growing really fast. We're winning awards. Everyone who joins WordStream has a chance to make a palpable difference in our success.Our marketing team is widely known for performing at a level way beyond our size and ye... > Read more
With Google constantly rolling out new features and design on the search results page, including personalized and location-based search results, there's no longer such a thing as a standard SERP for everyone. So what’s driving the new Google search results page layout?The team at VirtualHosting.com has put together a new infographic that examines what today's Google SERP looks like and what it means to be at the top of Google’s search results.
According to VirtualHosting, the new Google search results page is driven and defined by:Click-through rates (CTR) – Which parts of the page get the most clicks? How much does CTR fall off after page 1?Searcher intent and location – Does the Google user have intent to make a purchase? Are they looking for local businesses or trying to co... > Read more
Happy Halloween!You’re probably too distracted by candy and costumes today to get any real work done – amirite? – so why not kick back with some hot cocoa or what-have-you and catch up on the WordStream Blog’s greatest hits of the month? Here are our top 10 most popular posts from October:1. Find Your Old Tweets: How to See Your First (Worst?) Tweet – Ever wonder what your first tweet was? Here are two easy ways to find your earliest tweets, plus first tweets from a bunch of celebs and high-profile search marketers.
#fun2. How to Get Phrase & Broad Match Traffic Data Back from Google Keyword Planner – Victor offers three methods for hacking Keyword Planner to get data beyond exact match.3. &n... > Read more
Here’s your “duh” of the day: You don’t have to be an SEO to be a good blogger. I bet 90% of search marketers read a blog or five that has nothing to do with search marketing, whether it’s a cooking blog, nail art porn or Andrew Sullivan.Some of the best and most popular blogs in any given niche get high rankings and lots of links without thinking too hard about SEO.
Instead, they focus on:Great content: Popular blogs develop huge readerships primarily because the content is awesome; it’s that simple. (Here’s a reminder of the eight qualities that make great content great.)Great design: Almost as important as great content is great design – your blog needs to be both attractive and usable. High-quality photographs or illustrations are a big plus.Community building: The best... > Read more
Can’t remember what your first tweet was? It was probably “Hello world!” or “Is this thing on?” or “I finally joined Twitter, am I doing it right” or “Twitter sucks,” but if you want to know for sure, you’ll need to dig back into your archives.Unfortunately, Twitter only displays your last 3200 tweets in your timeline, so if you’re anything like me (I’ve been on Twitter since May 2009 and have well over 40,000 tweets), that won’t cut it.
Here are the two easiest ways to find your oldest tweets, including your first tweet. (I promise these work – a lot of the methods and tools you’ll find in the Google results don’t.)How to Find Your Old Tweets Using Twitter SearchOpen up Twitter.com and go to the search bar:Type in the following string but with your username ... > Read more
Are you a small business using Google AdWords to market your offerings? That’s great!The bad news is, you’re probably wasting about a fourth of your budget.We recently did a survey of 500 small business AdWords accounts, and found that the average account owner is wasting over 25% of his or her AdWords budget.
Since the typical small business spends $1200 per month on PPC, that means $300 is going in the trash every month – adding up to $3600 a year. And that’s just the average – many companies are wasting closer to half their total spend.That’s not all we found. There is plenty of room for improvement in the typical SMB AdWords account.We identified the top five areas where small business marketers need to renovate their accounts. Learn about the opportunities you’... > Read more
Recently, I shared some great examples of e-commerce content marketing – three companies that are using content to promote their online product sales. It was a hit, so let’s do it again – but this time, let’s look at some service professionals that are doing great content marketing work.As ever, the goal of content marketing is primarily to build authority, trust, and interest in your brand.
By positioning yourself as an authority on a topic related to your business, you’re greatly increasing the chances that people will turn to you when they need your services. In other words, content marketing is a great method of lead gen for service professionals.Here are three service professionals putting out awesome blogs and other content to inspire you.Brand New: Addictive Concept, Spot-... > Read more
While compiling the “Best of September” post this month, I happened across this, on Tumblr:Seasonal Babysitters Club covers are the best way to celebrate any holiday or change of season. Print this out on a sweatshirt and wear it while sipping your pumpkin-flavored whatever.Wow, I wish I had known about this before! Please tell me I’m not the only person in the search marketing industry who read every Babysitters Club book.
(Then sold the whole collection at a garage sale for less than $20, sob.)Now for some reading to enjoy as you sip that pumpkin latte. Here are our 10 most popular blog posts from past 30 days. Read ‘em, know ‘em, love ‘em.The Best Keyword Research Tools (For Experienced Fishermen & Fisherwomen Only) - The AdWords Keyword Tool's reign has come to an ... > Read more
As a content marketer here at WordStream, I see great examples of content marketing almost every week – but most of them are coming from lead gen and B2B companies. It makes sense – if you offer a service or some kind of software that helps people do something, content marketing helps you position yourself in the customer’s eyes as an expert in that area.
When people step up and show interest in your educational content, they’re letting you know that they might need other stuff you offer.But what about e-commerce marketing?The same principle works for e-commerce companies, but the tactics need to be a little different. I think attention is even scarcer in the B2C e-commerce space, so content marketing in those verticals needs to be truly awesome – beautiful, exceptional, and all ... > Read more
Following a night of fitful sleep, I got some happy news in my inbox this morning – we’ve been shortlisted in three categories for the 2013 US Search Awards! According to the email we received, “The number and standard of entries has been extremely high, so well done on making the shortlist, which is an amazing achievement in itself.
” Go WordStream!We were shortlisted in three categories:Best PPC Management Software – PPC Advisor, our PPC management platform, was one of five platforms shortlisted in the Best PPC Management Software category. Fellow finalists in this category including Acquisio, IgnitionOne, Kenshoo Search and Marin Software. We think this is impressive company – we’re pretty excited to be shortlisted with these older, more established platforms.Innovation –... > Read more
September is just around the corner! It’s back to school time once again. We’re about to enter into that period when it’s still technically summer but everyone starts calling it fall anyway. It’s not even really a season – it’s an interim period.In the spirit of Back to School, why not catch up on all the great reading material you might have missed this month, while on vacation or what have you? Here are the top 10 most popular posts from the WordStream blog this month:What is Mobile Marketing and Why Does it Matter? (So So Much!) – Meg explains why you need a mobile strategy, STAT, and the different types of mobile marketing available.
Quality Score Hacks: 3 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Quality Score – These are the three easiest ways to improve your Quality Scores that we... > Read more
The following is an excerpt from a new white paper co-created with Hanapin Marketing. Download the complete white paper here.In pay-per-click marketing, as with so many things in life, you have to spend money to make money. But how do you figure out what you should spend?Your monthly and annual budget is a huge part of your PPC strategy, so whether you’re new to PPC or have been doing it for years, it’s worth taking a step back to figure out if you’re making the most of your spend.
The most important consideration for budget planning is your lead needs. You’ll need to sit down and figure out some characteristics of your leads, such as:Lead qualityTarget cost per lead (CPL)Buying cycleVisitor frequencyGeographic locationIf you’re not sure what your target lead looks like, start by ... > Read more
Don’t you just love how we can call almost anything a “hack” these days?Most of the “hacks” I see on the Internet are just tips, but calling them hacks makes it feel like you’re getting away with something. And whatever makes work more fun, I’m all for it.So let’s talk Quality Score. We’ve harped on and on about the importance of Quality Score.
It can save you up to 50% on cost per click (CPC), and those savings at the level of the click translate into savings of up to 80% on CPA, or cost per conversion. In other words, optimizing for Quality Score is basically a way to optimize for costs.So how do you actually increase your Quality Scores? Google’s exact formula for calculating Quality Score is famously mysterious, like the recipe for Coke. But we do know that click-th... > Read more
Our #1 post of the month (see below) included a tip about adding a progress bar to long forms on your landing page, so visitors can see how much they’ve completed, similar to what you sometimes see while taking a survey:I visualize this same kind of “progress bar” in my mind as the year goes by – and as of late July, we’re just about 60% done with 2013.
It’s more than half over! But is that a good thing or a bad thing? (I’m glad I don’t see a progress bar for my whole life – I don’t want to know.)In the words of the great Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias: “Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marching across your face.” Before we lose any more of the year to that great black hole of the past, let’s take a moment to revisit our greatest hits fro... > Read more
I know y’all are sick of hearing that “content is king.”“Content is king” is one of the major web marketing clichés of our time, right up there with “SEO is dead.”Following close behind, I think, is the recommendation to “create great content.” Want tons of Google traffic, hot leads, record sales? Don’t worry about SEO, conversion rate optimization, any of that, just create great content!But what does that really mean? What makes content great, and what exactly is “content” anyway?Here’s my definition: “Content” is really just information – really, simple as that! When you create content, you’re putting information on your site.
Some of it is intended to teach, some of it is intended to persuade, some of it is intended to entertain. And great content is i... > Read more
Recently, we did our best to put the lie to the myth that PPC is outbound marketing. There’s a persistent idea that cost is the determining factor that separates inbound and outbound marketing. But we believe that all marketing has costs – since no channel is free, what matters is ROI. So inbound marketing isn't free marketing, but rather is defined by context and intention.
Like organic content marketing, PPC ads are driven by context and user intent – in other words, the ads are only triggered when they’re relevant to what people are already searching for. And with increasingly more effective and blinged out ad types, PPC is more and more likely to meet a searcher’s needs just as well, if not better, than an organic result. (We believe that for commercial searches, PPC is better... > Read more
Note: A version of this mobile marketing case study appears on the AdWords blog (PDF version).The rundown WordStream client Colombo Hurd upgraded its largest AdWords campaign to Enhanced Campaigns in April. Because mobile traffic has tended to be more valuable to the law firm, they decided to ramp up their local mobile marketing investment and increased mobile bids by +25%.
As of early May, Colombo Hurd had increased customer conversion rate on mobile ads by a factor of three and reduced the cost of a new customer acquisition by 149% with the new mobile marketing campaign.The Goals Increase conversionsGenerate phone calls to schedule in-person consultationsImprove sophistication of mobile-targeted advertisingThe Approach Upgraded largest campaign to EC and monitored resultsAdjusted CPC bid... > Read more
Happy late solstice and early Independence Day, y’all! Clap your hands if summer is your favorite month.These early days of summer are my favorite, before it gets too stiflingly hot to sleep and before my feet get too irreparably disgusting from walking around in flip-flops. While we’re all still in a good mood (right?) let’s review our hottest blog posts from the month of June!The Top 10 Best AdWords Features You're Not Using – Our new contributor Johnathan Dane put together this list of the most awesome AdWords features that too few people are making use of.
Google AdWords Ad Extensions Cheat Sheet – Thanks to Erin Sagin for this quick cheat sheet that’ll help you figure out which ad extensions to use when.News Flash: PPC Is Inbound Marketing – This one was posted too late i... > Read more
Google Products Graveyard: Mourning Google Reader and Other Discontinued Google Products and Services
Google Reader is going away on July 1, leaving its small but loyal fan based scrambling to find a replacement RSS reader. (This longtime Google Reader user has been very happy since switching to Feedly.)With Google Reader on its death bed, and iGoogle approaching the end as well, we thought it was high time we revisited some of the many other Google products that we’ve said goodbye to over the years.
Many of these products were great ideas that just never caught on with a larger audience; some had overlapping functionality with other products, forcing Google to focus development efforts on one over the other. I still mourn the old, social version of Google Reader. Which Google product still haunts you from beyond the grave?Our Google Graveyard infographic reviews some of the many great i... > Read more
It's been a busy few days in the news and many of us have been glued to our "sets" (i.e. Twitter) following the filibuster in the Texas senate and, this morning, the Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down DOMA (the defense of marriage act), the 1996 law which denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
In a cute act of apparent support for gay rights, Google has implemented a rainbow search box for searches related to gay marriage, such as "gay" and "lesbian":What do you think of Google's show of support? Should the search giant stay out of politics?You can read about the significance of the rainbow flag to the gay rights movement here.UPDATE: Though we only noticed this today, Danny Sullivan points out that the rainbow search box was already in place for Gay Pri... > Read more
Our latest white paper is now available for download. Below is an excerpt from the guide. Click here to download the full text of this new, free guide (PDF).8 Simple Things You Might Be Overlooking In Your AdWords AccountAdWords makes it incredibly easy to set up and run a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, but some advertisers assume that after they've written an ad, typed in some keywords, set the budget, and switched on the campaign, there's nothing more to do except sit back and watch the clicks and conversions roll in.
In reality, any account – large or small – can benefit from a few quick, simple tweaks designed to optimize the advertiser's reach, click-through rate, and return on investment (ROI). These updates don't cost anything extra, and they're simple enough that even someone ... > Read more
We’ve teamed up with Google to make our award-winning AdWords Performance Grader even easier to use and the login process more secure than ever.The new authentication process, based on OAuth2, enables you to run the free AdWords Performance Grader by signing in with your Google profile – just be sure you use the profile associated with an active Google AdWords account.
(The process is similar to using your Facebook account to comment on a blog.) WordStream will then do a one-time read of the data in your AdWords account, while Google controls a secure interaction. The new process is fast, easy and helps ensure the highest level of privacy and security.Watch this video to see how it works!To try out the new Grader for yourself, go to www.wordstream.com/google-adwords and follow these st... > Read more
Our friends at PPC Hero put together an infographic of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2013, based on votes from readers, social influence and other influence factors (speaking engagements, books published, channels reached, etc.). We were very excited to see our own Larry Kim in the very top spot! Check out the full graphic below to see all the top experts.
Huge thanks to our buddies at Hanapin for putting this together, and congrats to all the other experts. We're honored to be in your company!You can read more about the survey's methodology here.... > Read more