Elisa Gabbert's blog
Another week, another Friday, and Google is doing what Google does best – giving the search marketing community something to whine about. Google has taken the "new" keyword tool out of beta and retired the previous versions, the new tool now being the only tool there is. Google claims the new version offers more flexible search options and easier keyword refinement; in addition, users can now view statistics for mobile search.
If search volumes look different to you, that's because the old tool shows stats for search partners, and the new tool only shows stats for searches conducted on Google.com. However, a lot of advertisers had been ignoring the existence of the new tool, preferring to stick with the old UI. Robbed of that option, many aren't too happy about it. Patrick... > Read more
The following questions were asked during last week's "Five Myths About Quality Score" webinar. You can read the answers to more Quality Score FAQs here. Q: Does landing page load time effect Quality Score? A: Yes, the load time of your landing pages and site in general is a factor in your AdWords Quality Score, albeit not the most important factor.
Google takes load times into account because they have a significant effect on user experience. To reduce your load times, try optimizing your images and CSS and doing away with unnecessary animation, such as moving ads. Q: You said that CPC bid does not affect Quality Score. But a higher ad may have a higher CTR, so does it indirectly affect QS? A: Google normalizes your click-through rate based on your ad position. Your expected CTR is higher... > Read more
AOL (or is it Aol now?) is back on the map lately. A couple of people I know recently started working for them in some capacity, so I figured they were making a hiring push in preparation for a comeback. That comeback plan must involve acquisitions, because this week brought news of AOL's purchasing TechCrunch.
Yes, the ultimate symbol of all that is dated and lame about the Internet has purchased the tech blog that everyone loves to hate for its sketchy ethics and what Michael Gray calls "page view journalism." This, supposedly, will further AOL's strategy of becoming "the global leader in sourcing, creating, producing and delivering high-quality, trusted, original content to consumers." Hey, you gotta have goals. This was actually just one of several acquisitions anno... > Read more
Yesterday, one of our resident AdWords experts, Andy Stefano, led a webinar called "Five Myths About Quality Score." He received the following question from one of the attendees. Below you'll find Andy's answer. Is it possible that some businesses inherently get a low keyword Quality Score because they are in low-volume industries? For example, we are in the horse topical treatment industry – that will never get as much interest as, say, the golf or football industry.
– Jane Here's Andy's response: Hi Jane, This is a really interesting question. I think “low-volume” won’t be a determining factor, but “low-interest” might be. Let me explain. I started tackling your question by looking at the data I had access to. I had a sample... > Read more
We are getting heavy into fall here, folks. OK not really. The high yesterday was 80. But if you're like me, September just feels different, whatever the temperature. It's the start of a new "semester." After 25 years of nonstop schooling, I've been in the plain-old workforce for almost six years, but I'm still trying to break the habit of buying academic planners.
(Same goes for the annual ritual of "back to school" shopping.) In the spirit of back-to-school, why not throw on a scarf and blazer (turn up the AC is necessary) and catch up on our most popular posts this month? Link Building Magic: How to Turn Citations into Links: Did you all want to be magicians as kids or what? Ken shares one of our favorite secret link-building tricks. How to Find People on Twitter: N... > Read more
There are a few key basics that every PPC text ad needs in order to rank well and generate clicks: A compelling headline Relevant keywords A relevant display URL A call to action This post focuses on the last requirement. The call to action, or CTA, is the language that tells the searcher what to do – in other words, giving them a reason to click.
(Aside from increasing your traffic, a higher click-through rate will also improve your Quality Score, which in turn will lower your costs.) The default call to action is something like "Buy now!" This may be better than no CTA at all, but it's not very good. It's too familiar, too general and too pushy. So what's a better call to action? It's good to remember that your CTA doesn't have to be a direct sales push – there are many other soft ... > Read more
It's Friday, and it's been an unusually long week (something about the tilt of the Earth, no doubt), so let's keep this roundup fun, shall we?What did you do while Facebook was down?Wednesday, due to a vaguely defined third-party networking issue, Facebook was down for a number of users across the country, and the site has continued to experience uptime issues.
This happened at roughly the same time that our own site experienced some downtime due to a Nettica problem (Nettica is our DNS provider), so I imagine this was the root cause of Facebook's downtime as well.Since you Facebook users all seem like a bunch of slavering addicts to me, I wondered what you did to bide the downtime. You turned to Twitter, of course!(Or other social networks, as the case may be.)Mostly, you spent the time r... > Read more
It's Brand Week at WordStream! OK, so I just made that up. We haven't been calling it Brand Week, but I just christened it—branded it, if you will—myself. We've been making some improvements to our office space, including the fancy new sign and display in our lobby, as you can see in the video below, with the intention of strengthening our branding for visitors to the office (board members, job candidates, consultants, paparazzi, and so on) as well as our office culture.
(By the way, if you're curious about the display in the video, it's the work of LocaModa, a location-based social media company.) Coincidentally, I've been seeing a lot of talk about branding this week. Could it be that fall is coming, and everyone wants to turn over a new leaf? (These puns don't even make ... > Read more
Wordstream is looking to speak with search marketing practitioners to gather input on how we can evolve our SEO product to better meet customer needs. We’re conducting a series of 50-minute research sessions via phone on Tuesday, Sept 21, and Wednesday, Sept 22nd. These interviews can be scheduled at your convenience, and to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a $75 American Express gift card.
If you meet the following criteria and are interested, please drop a comment or send us an email: Search marketing specialist or practitioner who has responsibility for SEO for their organization Available to participate in a 50-minute session sometime between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm Eastern time, on 9/21 or 9/22 Have Internet access using a broadband, DSL, or T1 connection (no dial-up)... > Read more
Heather Lloyd-Martin is a 20-year marketing veteran, a recognized author and considered the pioneer of SEO copywriting. For over 12 years, Heather’s firm, SuccessWorks, has been training corporate in-house SEO copywriters and creating revenue-driving Web site content campaigns. Heather serves on the board of American Writers and Artists, Inc.
, is an advisory board member of SEMpdx and serves on the PubCon conference advisory board. In 2010, SuccessWorks launched the SEO Copywriting Certification training, the only certification program for in-house and freelance SEO copywriters. Can you tell us a little bit about SuccessWorks and how you got into the SEO copywriting business? Sure! I started my SEO copywriting career B.G. (before Google) around 1998. Prior to that, I had worked as... > Read more
This weekend at home, I was surprised to find Google was giving me way more than ten results per page—more like twenty, though I confess I didn't bother to count. (It seems Google no longer does the counting for you.) I quickly sent an email to Tom and Ken about it, but it appeared it was "just me," or rather an experiment that was only affecting some users (as reported by Andy Beard and Barry Schwartz).
I was still thinking about this experiment on Wednesday, contemplating a post called "No More 'Ten Blue Links'" when Google unveiled a much bigger change—big enough to warrant a live press conference, big enough to get everyone on Twitter talking, and not just the "tweeple" in my web marketing column. This big change is Google Instant. It sounds a little like a joke—for a while now G... > Read more
On Wednesday, the moderators of Sphinn announced that the site would lose its main social feature—voting—and move to a pure editorial format, with the editors hand-selecting the best of submitted stories to promote to the front page. If you haven't already heard about this, you either: Took a few days off Haven't been on Twitter lately Don't work in Internet marketing Have real job responsibilities and/or "a life" Just kidding about that last one.
Perhaps the death of Sphinn as we know it isn't quite as earth-shaking as Michael Jackson's passing, but it definitely caused a stir in the search marketing community. After the announcement was made on the Sphinn blog, Ruud Hein was one of the first to react. In a post called "Sphinn Is Dead: Long Live Anything Else,... > Read more
We recently ran a webinar on negative keywords, sharing tips, tricks and best practices for using negative keywords to identify and eliminate areas of wasted spend in AdWords pay-per-click campaigns. The webinar included: Tips for identifying wasted spend before it happens Methods for identifying underperforming queries that are costing you money in your AdWords campaign Step-by-step instructions for setting negative keywords within your AdWords campaign via the AdWords interface If you missed it, you can view a video of the webinar or the slides below.
And we hope to see you at the next webinar! Negative Keywords: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices Need more help with negative keywords? Download our free white paper: Negative Keywords: How to Put an End to Wa... > Read more
August was a very graphic month for WordStream. I’m not talking about anything R-rated (though our marketing meetings can get pretty violent)—I’m talking about infographics! Who doesn’t love infographics? Definitely not us. I mean, we definitely don’t not love them.
I mean, we love them. And you all love them too, judging from the page views. And you loved hearing about our infographic strategy almost as much as loved the infographics themselves. Here are the top 10 most popular posts from the WordStream blog in August: How We Got a Link from CNN and Drove Loads of Traffic with Infographics: This case study shows we used infographics to score a huge range of links and big traffic spikes in a short amount of time. Five Myths About Link Building: Larry de... > Read more
Do you need help writing copy that's optimized for search and conversions while still being readable? It's not easy to write at your best while keeping keywords and business goals in mind. If your SEO copywriting skills could use some brushing up, we recommend you check out a seminar being run by friend of WordStream Heather Lloyd-Martin, the CEO of SuccessWorks Inc.
, a pioneer in SEO copywriting services that has been providing training for over 12 years. This training seminar will equip you with skills including: Forming a keyword research strategy Using keyword research tools Finding topic ideas Writing powerful, clickable titles and meta descriptions The three spots you should always place your keyword phrase A step-by-step process for writing optimized content Heather stre... > Read more
Bloggers love a controversy, and that includes me. The big controversy this week was over a new "tax"—more accurately, a business license—being imposed on bloggers in Philadelphia. Last week, Philly's City Paper reported that owners of small, low-traffic blogs were receiving letters from the city "demanding" they pay $300 for a business privilege license.
This license applies to all businesses in the city, not just blogs, but only recently, it seems, has the city attempted to enforce it with blogs. There does seem to be an inherent difference between a blog and a brick-and-mortar business—the latter is probably benefiting from services that the city provides, but a blog run by someone who happens to live in Philadelphia wouldn't seem to. But the license, city officials claim, applie... > Read more
This is the final excerpt from our free white paper, Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper including the last three steps. You've done your research and organized your keywords. You have a system in place for ongoing keyword management and growth. This provides a strong foundation for your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
But until you have a good understanding of which keywords really work for your business, you can't learn from your campaigns and improve your results. The next step is to use keyword analytics to analyze your keywords and monitor results. Keyword analytics allow you to drill down to the level of the keyword group or the single keyword to see which terms drive the most traffic and conversions, as well as... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. Starting with extensive keyword research allows you to evaluate a number of opportunities and determine which keywords truly have the potential to drive profits for your business.
However, evaluating and refining your keywords will be a lengthy and tedious process if you don't first impose a meaningful order on your keyword research. So the next step is to segment your keywords into small, tightly related groups. Grouping your keywords will change everything else you do in search for the better. Here are just a few of the benefits of better keyword grouping and organization: Higher Quality... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. As discussed in Step 1, it's important to start with a broad base of keywords when embarking on a search marketing campaign. But a large number of keywords can quickly become unmanageable.
However, you can do extensive keyword research without losing control of your campaigns. The key is to create a flexible, dynamic keyword structure that makes it easy to manage a large and growing list. This means transforming a keyword list into a keyword database. A keyword database has a number of advantages over a keyword list or spreadsheet: It's private and proprietary, unlike lists generated by third-party keyword tools, ... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. If you've got seven days, you've got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. Whether your focus is organic search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, also known as paid search marketing, these seven simple steps will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic keyword database that will drive traffic and revenue through search.
As soon as next week, your business will start to see: An increase in traffic More qualified leads Lower search marketing costs These are just a few of the benefits you'll experience with more effective keyword research, organization, and... > Read more
The Internet is obsessed with death. Number of Google results, in millions, for "is alive" and "is dead." The following is a partial list of entities that the Internet (as reported by Google) has declared dead in the past year: Love Microsoft Kin Google Wave "Authentic" The Avant-Garde Print The Book The Page Blogs Flash HP Slate Open Office Email The Phone Call Jazz Chivalry And the latest: the Web.
Yes, the Internet has declared the Web dead. Is that an oxymoron? No, not really—there's a subtle difference between the Internet and the Web, according to Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, in a Wired article published on Tuesday: Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Int... > Read more
Is Anyone Being Evil Here? Google-Verizon Compromise Proposal Draws Criticism from Net Neutrality Advocates
Last week, the New York Times and other media outlets reported that Google and Verizon were in talks to form a deal that would fly in the face of net neutrality, suggesting that Google planned to pay Verizon to speed up delivery of YouTube videos. Both companies denied the reports. On Monday, Google and Verizon held a press conference to discuss the actual content of their proposal.
As outlined on Google's Public Policy Blog, it has seven key elements: Openness of wireline broadband Internet should be enforceable by the FCC. Any discriminatory practices against lawful content, applications or services, as well as prioritization of traffic, should be enforceably prohibited. Broadband providers should be transparent. The FCC should address complaints on a case-by-case basis and impose pena... > Read more
Search Engine Watch today published a really interesting article called "How to Cut Through the Clutter in Branded Search," using WordStream's keyword tools as the first step in a brand query analysis. In this article, Web Liquid Group's Paul Burani (Web Liquid is a New York marketing agency that measures brand health in the digital space) helps a friend, a chief marketing officer, develop a methodology for obtaining "an objective view on [a] brand's overall performance in digital.
" Paul writes: I told him that one way of answering the question would be to look at the trend in search query volume for the brand name -- if more people are querying keywords related to the brand name this month, compared to last month, that would be one way to answer the CMO's question. Thi... > Read more
Slate this week featured an interview with Google's research director, Peter Norvig, as part of its series The Wrong Stuff—interviews with people about "the role of error in their lives and their fields." This approach feels particularly apropos this week, since Google announced plans to stop development on Wave as a standalone product.
Kathryn Schulz's opening gambit: I'm interested in the way that attitudes about error vary across professional cultures—doctors typically think about error very differently than pilots and politicians and so forth—as well as across the cultures of different companies, even within the same field. How would you characterize the overall attitude toward error at Google? Norvig, we learn, along with the other executives and engineers at Google, embraces e... > Read more
The guys behing DuoBlogger, a blog created to share knowledge with webmasters and online advertisers (they did a great reveiw of WordStream recently!), are offering a new iPhone app that AdSense users should find interesting (and it's free!):DuoSense is an advanced AdSense application aimed to both track and analyze your AdSense income.
Core features include showing daily earnings, advanced plot-able statistics for earnings, PPC and CTR, plus a help center with AdSense coaching tutorials.Here's a quick video showing how it works:You can learn more about DuoSense on the DuoBlogger blog or at the iPhone app store.... > Read more
It's not often that I bookmark something just because it's awesome—most of my bookmarks here at the office are applications and login pages that I need for work. Dull, I know. But this week I found a resource that has nothing to do with work and that I know I'll want to return to again and again: a list of "The Best Magazine Articles Ever.
" It's a long list of articles that date back as far as the '40s, so naturally it's full of things I haven't read. But I was happy to see a few of my favorites on the list—like "Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars Over Usage" by David Foster Wallace, an article about the politics of dictionary-making. I read this in college and, as a budding linguist, just loved it to death—I still have that copy of Harper's filed away somewhere, almost ... > Read more
July is almost over, folks! What's that mean? It means that time marches on, we're not getting any younger, and so on (it may be time to buy a youth-activating serum and/or update that unrealistically hot photo on your online dating profile), but mostly it means it's time for WordStream's best of the month! You voted with your eyeballs, and these were the top 10 most popular posts on the blog in July.
Want More Link Juice? Here’s an Easy Way to Get It: This how-to from Ken explains how to drain link juice from your existing content with internal anchor links. The Evolution of Ranking Signals: Google Is Getting Past the Link: In this guest post, David Harry looks at other kinds of signals that Google may begin to value more than links. How Tumblr Opened My Eyes to the Social Web: Cur... > Read more
According to Matt Cutts, linkbait is anything "interesting enough to catch people's attention." Of course, the best linkbait doesn't just catch it but keep it. These five sites are worth re-visiting; here's why they work. 1. Lifehacker Consistently named to lists of the web's best, Lifehacker (part of the Gawker Media family) is a blog of "tips and downloads for getting things done.
" Why This Works: Far from a short-lived linkbait gimmick, this is a legitimately useful website full of life improvement tips (including time management, organization, and smart repurposing) geared toward the tech-geek type. Recent popular topics include "Turn an Older iPhone Into a Prepaid Voice and Data Unit," "Rename Files Fast with the Tab Key," and "IKEA Jerker Do-It-Yourself Treadmill Desk." Because cleve... > Read more
On-page SEO just isn't enough to secure great rankings. You also need incoming links, which signal to search engines that people value your content. You'll get the best results if these links are: From high-authority domains Relevant to your marketspace Deep, i.e., not just to your home page Optimized with targeted anchor text So how are you supposed to get these links? Write great content and hope for the best? Yes, to some extent, that's a strategy, but unless you're very patient, you'll probably want to be more proactive about getting good links.
One way to do this is by writing guest posts for prominent blogs in your space. The WordStream blog invites proposals for and submissions of guest posts that cover topics of interest to our audience (including SEO, PPC, keyword research ... > Read more
The most thought-provoking thing I read this week was Joe Hall's regular column on Marketing Pilgrim, Cup of Joe: "Sometimes You Should Be Yourself & Sometimes You Really Shouldn't!" Here, Joe questions the common wisdom that the key to succeeding in social media is "being yourself": We have all heard that the trick to social media is to be yourself.
In doing so we create authenticity and transparency that others can trust. But the question emerges, when does being yourself get in the way of building a strong personal brand? Joe recounts a kerfuffle that went down last week, mostly on Twitter, between Chris Pearson, who created the very popular Thesis WordPress theme (yes you can monetize WordPress blogs), and Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress—who contends that Thesis vio... > Read more