Elisa Gabbert's blog
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 addresses the fact that more and ... > 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 bestseller Everything Bad Is Go... > 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 frequently tripping," etc.). Linguists, as opposed ... > 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 maintain his honor the challenged bro must drop to one knee and chug it on the spot... > 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 yank. What's good about a link - i... > 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
Friends, I wasn’t planning to write about Facebook again this week, I swear. But every other post in my feed reader, every other link I saw on Twitter was about Facebook. Clearly, the world wants to talk about Facebook. You want it, you got it: I bring you the epic Facebook link roundup. The first Facebook story I read this week was a Wired piece called “Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative,” Ryan Singel argues that the company is “drunk on founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams of world domination.
” He lodges a series of complaints about Facebook’s steady decrease in privacy: Facebook thinks that your notions of privacy — meaning your ability to control information about yourself — are just plain old-fashioned … In Facebook’s view, everyt... > Read more
Our recommended resource this week is the adorable Virginia Nussey. Virginia, self-professed Rock Band fan and tortoise owner, is currently a media writer at Bruce Clay Inc., one of the world’s leading search marketing companies. Here are some of the many ways that Virginia gives back to the community: She’s a fellow Friday recapper! I always learn something from Virginia’s Friday recaps—and not just the same tired search marketing news either.
Last week she pointed me to the fascinating results of a color survey on XKCD, not to mention the ten tricky secrets of effective liars. Applicable in any industry! (If there was any doubt, she also covers relevant industry topics in her recaps, such as the recent Facebook exodus and site content development.) Fridays aside, Virginia blogs ... > Read more
Confirming rumors, Google this week rolled out a fresh new design. As of late in the day Wednesday, I’m seeing The New Google in my searches across all browsers. Let’s see what people think of it, shall we? Many observers find the new design strikingly similar to the Bing search interface. According to USA Today, the makeover “signals the start of what promises to be a period of intensified competition with rival Microsoft Bing”: Google touched up its logo, adopted a new color scheme and has begun to insert images more liberally amid search results.
The biggest change: a Bing-like navigable column appears down the left side of search results pages. It is designed to help readers fine tune their searches. They aren’t the only ones who noticed. In a post titled... > Read more
Copywriting is one of the neglected aspects of SEO, rarely mentioned and rarely considered. As an SEO copywriter myself, I should know! I guess writing just isn't as sexy as ... um, building links? (SEOs and their weird fetishes.) So this week our recommended resource is someone who really knows her writing stuff, from web copy to white papers to newsletters and anything else wordy on the web: Angie Haggstrom, also known as Angie Nikoleychuk, of Angie's Copywriting.
Angie is a professional copywriter and online writing coach offering content consulting services. Here are some of the ways you can follow and learn from Angie: Angie is on Twitter (@angscopywriting), sharing links and chatting every day (and she always seems to be in a good mood. Note to self: Complain less). She's on over 18... > Read more
Apple and Facebook have lately been taking actions that really separate the fanboys from the haters.Earlier this week, police seized Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home computers and servers as part of an investigation into their recent reporting on a new iPhone 4G prototype, which someone "found" in a bar and then sold to Gizmodo.
It now appears that the phone was actually stolen.It is unclear what role precisely Apple plays in this criminal investigation. But according to Yahoo News:The raid that San Mateo area cops conducted last week on the house of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen came at the behest of a special multi-agency task force that was commissioned to work with the computer industry to tackle high-tech crimes. And Apple Inc. sits on the task force's steering committee … Which r... > Read more
April was a pretty big month for WordStream. (Hm, why do I feel like I've said that before?) We updated and relaunched our SEO Keyword Management product, released some totally new products (two APIs and a content creation plug-in), and lest we forget, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with the company.
(That may not seem like a big deal to you, but at a company this new, not too many people have been around more than a year!) May pole dance! But enough about me. Let's focus on WordStream – namely, our blog's greatest hits this month. These 10 posts were our most popular with readers, so please check them out if you missed them the first time! How to Create Amazing Backlinks: Our readers love how-to content, so it's not surprising that Ken's post on building "amazing" ... > Read more
Today marks my one-year anniversary at WordStream—happy anniversary to me! When I started, we were in a temporary space with stained carpets and terrifyingly temperamental elevators, and only about 12 full-time employees coming into the office every day. We've come a long way since then, and I'd like to think I've evolved a little too.
After all, at a startup, one year under your belt practically makes you an old veteran. Here are a few things I've learned in the past year about search marketing, business, and—that's right—myself. 1. Everyone at a Company Is Important Working at a very small company—perhaps especially a new company—really throws this fact into relief: Everyone matters, from the CEO down to a lowly copywriter like me. With less noise and... > Read more
We recently re-released our WordStream Keyword Management for SEO product with some new and updated features including the WordStream SEO for Firefox plugin, a content authoring tool. (On Tuesday Larry explained how the new features help marketers leverage the long tail for SEO.) So for the roundup this week I'd like to point to some of the blogs and sites that helped spread the word about WordStream for SEO – we extend a big THANK YOU to all of you! Ben Spark of Blogging Tips wrote that the new Firefox plugin is what "really makes this product unique": "I’m pretty sure that I am inherently a bit lazy and I like being able to do everything in one place so this Firefox plugin looks great to me.
I simply cannot be bothered to have multiple tabs open or additional software open to g... > Read more
I know this is an Internet marketing blog and I'm supposed to be talking about search industry news, but the biggest news this week in any industry, truly, was the launch of the new Double Down sandwich from KFC. It seemed to be all anyone was talking/blogging about. But I'm here to show you why there's nothing noteworthy about this news—it's just shameless, attention-grabbing linkbait.
If They Weren't Calling It a Sandwich, It Would Be No Big Deal First of all, as pointed out on the food blog Serious Eats, the Double Down is basically chicken cordon bleu. Chicken cordon bleu is breaded chicken stuffed with cheese and ham; the Double Down is fried (or "grilled") chicken stuffed with cheese and bacon. The main differences are the fact that the chicken doesn't completely envelop the "stuf... > Read more
We recently sent a survey about our product suite to a number of prospects in the search marketing industry. The (anonymous) results told us a lot about the profile of a typical search marketer, from job title to PPC spend to favorite tools to size of company. One of the questions was "What are the most annoying, time-consuming and/or challenging aspects of search marketing? (Select all that apply.
)" Here are the results: The winner? (Or loser, as the case may be?) Link building. More than a third of search marketers (37.5%) find link building to be a time-consuming, challenging and altogether aggravating chore. This jibes with advice from link building expert Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures, who told us that 60% to 70% of your SEO time should be spent on link building! From this virtual... > Read more
Seems like every time I write this post, the weather is atrocious. Well, today is no exception. But it's spring now. I refuse to focus on the terrible weather or post a picture of a cold wet dog. Let's focus on springtime folks! Asparagus! Crocus buds! Baby birds! Rainbows! Pinwheels! Etc! And now that you're happy, let's take a look at the WordStream blog's greatest hits of the month: Five Experts on SEO Link Building: We asked five link-building experts, including Debra Mastaler, Garrett French, and Wiep Knol, eight questions about scoring loads of quality links.
Top 12 Small Business Marketing Blogs: Our favorite blogs focused on helping small business owners market their offerings online. Best Practices for Building Scalable Information Architecture: Terry Van Hor... > Read more
Tim Ash is the CEO of SiteTuners.com, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, testing, and software tools to improve conversion. SiteTuners’ unique visual attention prediction tool can be used on a landing page screenshot or mock-up to quickly identify major conversion issues.
Tim has worked with many leading companies and is a highly regarded keynote speaker at Internet marketing conferences. He is a contributing columnist to several industry publications and is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization. Tim is the founder and chairperson of ConversionConference.com, the first conference focused on improving online conversions. Can you start by telling us a little about SiteTuners.com and your role there? SiteTuners is a firm that is focuse... > Read more