Elisa Gabbert's blog
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 sem... > 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... > 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 ... > 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
I heard about Problogger’s 7 link challenge via Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media. This challenge—to link to seven past blog posts that fit into seven categories—doesn’t set off my fear of heights or eating bugs, so I thought we should take a stab at it. As Lisa points out, this challenge can benefit “old and new readers” of our blog, by highlighting some of best posts from the archives that you may have missed.
Without further ado, here are the seven (give or take) links: Your first post: The first post on the WordStream blog, not counting the welcome announcement, was Larry’s “How to Achieve the Best Results for PPC & SEO,” a list of 10 best practices that formed the cornerstones (can you have 10 cornerstones?) of our product ... > Read more
By now every web marketer knows that each page of a website should target a well-chosen and researched keyword phrase (whether or not they follow through on this strategy!). But many people skip the keyword research step entirely when it comes to blogging. It's a wasted opportunity, because keyword-optimized blog posts can help you both now and later: Blog posts allow you to target hot, trending topics that wouldn't be worth devoting permanent site content to.
You can capture search traffic while that keyword phrase is popular, and let the post get buried in your blog archives once the trend is over. Blog posts, especially how-to articles, make great evergreen content that not only ranks quickly but can continue to rank well and pull in traffic for months and years to come. Here are just... > Read more
The worlds of Internet marketing and romance don't usually have much overlap, but two articles on 21st century dating caught my eye this week—I guess love is in the air (the stifling, sticky summer air).First up, via Mashable: An enterprising young romantic named Brian has decided to crowdsource his love life.
Having recently gotten out of an LTR (long-term relationship) and moved to singles-crazy New York, he plans to go on 30 dates in 30 days, taking advice via Twitter and Facebook on how he should proceed all the while. On the "Dating Brian" site, you can fill out a form if you want to date Brian yourself or "play matchmaker" and set him up with someone you know.Will this work? Well, first of all, it's as much a marketing scheme as it is a genuine attempt to find love—Brian is ... > Read more
Aaaand we're back! After Monday's holiday, we had an enforced second day off when our whole office building lost power for most of the workday on Wednesday. So it's been a little hard to get back up to speed. While scanning Twitter in bed that day (the bedroom being the only room in our apartment with AC), I saw a link to a post called "Are Facebook and Twitter bad for your information diet?" You may have noticed that Facebook and Twitter (especially their failings) are kind of my beat around here, so of course this caught my eye.
Clay Johnson, who runs a blog called InfoVegan about "information obesity, information diets, and civic accountability," wrote the post in response to a video of Eli Pariser's talk at Personal Democracy Forum in June: Pariser's talk addres... > Read more
It's officially summer now, and I'm guessing a lot of you are either on vacation on planning to go on vacation very soon (in which case, you're probably not reading this; why am I even talking to you?). I'm hitting the road (or sky, as it were) myself tomorrow for a long weekend outside Asheville, NC.
I've never been to Asheville—they have fireworks there, right? Happy Independence Day to our American readers! (And happy regular Wednesday to everyone else.) If you are working this week, why not check out our top 10 most popular blog posts from June? Lessons from a Search Startup: Our Journey Through Two Rounds of VC Funding: CEO Rob Adler made a rare appearance on the blog to share valuable insights about the process of securing venture capital funding in the search marketing space... > Read more
Constant connectivity and pervasive social media often feel like a massive distraction, vacuuming brain power and attention away from more tedious but necessary work and killing productivity. Easy access to Google, especially via mobile devices, can make us reluctant to think or flip through our own memory files, favoring the fast, easy answer.
Low barriers to publishing content online mean we're frequently writing dumbass things we'll live to regret. Has the always-on Internet made us collectively stupider? (Thanks a pantload, Al Gore.) A number of "pundits" and "luminaries"—I'm reluctant to use those terms without irony—think just the opposite, that the Internet is making us smarter! (Thanks, Al Gore!) Echoing some of the ideas in Steven Johnson's 2005 bes... > Read more
Yesterday Larry announced the release of our new Free Negative Keyword Tool and talked a little about the importance of using negative keywords if you want to maximize your PPC budget. Today, I'd like to walk you through the functionality of the tool in a little more detail. As Larry mentioned, negative keyword discovery is critical for keeping PPC costs under control.
Because they ensure that your ad doesn't match against irrelevant queries, they reduce wasteful ad spend, increase click-through rates, and improve Quality Score—all of which contribute to lower costs for PPC and better returns. The great thing about our new negative keyword tool is that it's a proactive way to indentify negative keyword candidates, so you can preemptively curtail worthless ad clicks, instead of findin... > Read more
There was an interesting post on Kenny Hyder's blog this week about the difference between descriptive and prescriptive marketing. He's borrowing a concept from grammar and linguistics, topics close to my heart! Descriptive grammar aims to describe the way people use language without making a judgment on what's right or wrong.
For example, it might describe in what contexts and in what regions the construction "noun + be + -ing verb" (as in "You be trippin'") is used. Prescriptive grammar, on the other hand, aims to systematize language use with rules; a prescriptive grammarian would categorize the above usage as incorrect English, the correct version being "You are tripping" (or, in some interpretations, "You tend to trip," "You are freque... > Read more
Below you'll find answers to some common and not-so-common questions about Quality Score, courtesy of our in-house PPC experts. Have a question that's not answered here? Leave it in the comments and we'll respond! Is there a way to check our AdWords Quality Score? Where do I find my Quality Score? Yes, you can view your Quality Score in AdWords right now.
This recent post explains how to find your Quality Score in both Google and Yahoo. Is Quality Score specific to campaign or ad group? According to Google, neither. You have Quality Scores at the account, keyword, and ad level, but not for campaigns or ad groups. How fast can we improve Quality Score? Unfortunately Quality Score isn’t something that you can necessarily right overnight if you’ve had poor account performance for a signif... > Read more
Thank god somebody is talking about "icing" from a marketing perspective, because I really wanted to write about this and just wasn't sure how. And by "this," I mean the bizarre game/meme known as icing, as documented by the site Bros Icing Bros. And by "somebody," I mean the New York Times.
Earlier this week the NYT's J. David Goodman asked, in the form of an embarrassingly lame headline, "Popular New Drinking Game Raises Question, Who’s ‘Icing’ Whom?" (At least they didn't misuse the phrase "begs the question.") If you're not a frat boy and you've somehow missed this cultural phenomenon, it consists of one "bro" presenting another "bro" with a Smirnoff Ice, frequently lukewarm, as a kind of dare. To m... > Read more
Quality Score affects virtually all the important metrics of a PPC campaign, including: Impressions Ad position Cost-per-click (CPC) Here’s how: How Quality Score Affects Impressions Each time a user conducts a search, Google AdWords conducts an internal ad auction to determine which advertisers have ads it deems eligible (relevant enough) to appear alongside the user’s search results.
Google has publicly stated on numerous occasions their underlying belief that it’s better to display no ads at all than to display irrelevant ads (and in doing so, potentially lose an opportunity for incremental revenue). Quality Score partly determines if a keyword is relevant enough, and hence eligible to enter an ad auction. The more times an advertiser’s ads are deem... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below. Google determines Quality Score slightly differently for each of the different advertising networks that it runs.
Here we’ll learn how Quality Score is calculated for Google Search, which is the largest source of traffic for most advertisers. According to Google: Quality Score is calculated in real-time, every time your keyword matches a search query—that is, every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. Quality Score is used in several different ways, including influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-click... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below. In a nutshell, Quality Score is a Google-devised system that measures advertising quality (or relevancy), which in turn helps determine if your ad is eligible to be displayed in the search results for a given query.
Beyond that, if your ad is deemed relevant, the position of your ad and the cost you pay each time it’s clicked are also partially determined by your Quality Score. The factors that determine Quality Score, as outlined by Google, include: The historical click-through rate (CTR) of your account and your specific keyword... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below.Why Should You Care About Quality Score?Should you be concerned about Quality Score? You probably should, but let’s find out for sure.
Take a look at this list and see if any of the following apply to you:a) You’re Paying Too Much – You’re annoyed at rising pay-per-click (PPC) advertising costs (or you wouldn’t mind paying less per click).b) Your Competitors Seem to Be Beating You – You wish your sponsored ads would show up higher than those of your competitors, but without having topaymore.c)... > Read more
On her blog, The Link Spiel, the always smart and interesting Debra Mastaler asks, "Can You Handle On-Page Links?" The post is a response to Nicholas Carr's post "Experiments in Delinkification" on Rough Type, as well as a post by Marshall Kirkpatrick called "The Case Against Links" (also responding to Carr).
Carr writes that he is beginning to come around to his friend Steve Gillmor's way of thinking about hyperlinks—that is, that inline links are a needless distraction and should be done away with or moved to the end of an article. His reasoning goes: The link is, in a way, a technologically advanced form of a footnote. It's also, distraction-wise, a more violent form of a footnote. Where a footnote gives your brain a gentle nudge, the link gives it a ... > Read more
Last week I brought you the epic Facebook link roundup … this week, the epic Twitter roundup? Well, maybe not epic, exactly. But there’s definitely been some noise about Twitter, probably because people are sick to death of talking about Facebook. First, there’s @BPGlobalPR, which is basically the new @ShitMyDadSays.
If you somehow missed it (which seems impossible, if you’re on Twitter at all; there’s a 100% chance that someone you follow retweeted @BPGlobalPR this week), some folks set up this satirical account to highlight just how much “BP cares,” sending out a stream of tweets along the lines of: As you can imagine, this has caused quite a stir – but not at BP. According to AdAge: The use of the [logo] and of the @BPGlobalPR handle isn't something BP seems particularl... > Read more
I remember back in my school days it always seemed like Christmas would never come … then it did, and then it seemed like summer would never come. Now time pretty much flies by at warp speed all year. But, paradoxically, winter in Boston always seems interminable! So right now I'm simultaneously amazed that it's almost summer, and already too hot to sleep without the AC on, and pained that it took so long to get here, and dreading its inevitable end.
So it goes. I ate lunch from this exact viewpoint last Friday. Let's revisit some of our most popular posts of the month: R.I.P: Search Engine Optimization is Dead!: Ken pulled the old bait and switch with this one. This isn't yet another post about the death of SEO. Rather, Ken provides data showing just the opposite. Poll Re... > Read more
On Wednesday, Jill Whalen (@jillwhalen) shared a link to a "stupid" article in the New York Times by someone who "has no clue what SEO is." The NYT isn't the opposite of hard-hitting journalism with integrity (that's the Huffington Post) but it's often surprisingly crappy. So I was quick to click and see just how stupid the piece was.
The verdict? Fairly stupid. It's all about headline writing for SEO, but it's hard to tell if the author (David Carr) really doesn't understand SEO and keyword optimization or just thinks he's being funny. The headline on the article is "Taylor Momsen Did Not Write this Headline." Why this headline, on a piece that has nothing to do with Taylor Momsen? Here's why: Don’t know who Taylor Momsen is? Neither do I, beyond that she is the mean one on “Gossip G... > Read more
Anna Talerico is the executive vice president at ion, where she manages sales, marketing and client services. Can you tell us a little about your role at Ion Interactive? What's your conversion rate optimization (CRO) philosophy? As the executive vice president here at ion I manage the sales, marketing and client services teams.
It's a great place to be sitting because I can make sure these three teams are working very much in unison. I think that ultimately benefits our customers a great deal. My CRO philosophy is really simple: Test. Test continuously. Test to statistical significance. Learn what you can from the results, and then move onto the next test wave. Constantly be seeking improvement in both conversion rate and conversion quality (average order value, lead score, etc). Wh... > Read more