Elisa Gabbert's blog
My childhood memories of the days after Christmas are bleak and dark: the incredible letdown of all that anticipation, the pressure to actually use the new toys and wear the new clothes as opposed to simply gazing upon them in a shining pile of potentiality. The day after Christmas was no less depressing this year; I spent most of it at the airport in El Paso, waiting in an unmoving line to rebook my flight which was delayed by 8+ hours.
(Note to self: Never, ever book a connecting flight through O'Hare in December. Note to United: Damn you, United!) But late December does bring some good things—like a little light through the windows when I wake up in the morning (though, as my boyfriend is fond of reminding/tormenting me, "As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to stre... > Read more
Yesterday I talked about using the Free Keyword Grouper to plot out a structure for a new website. Today I'd like to show you how to use our other new tool, the Free Keyword Niche Finder, to quickly set up a PPC campaign. We believe that a high Quality Score is the key to an effective, cost-efficient pay-per-click campaign, and that a well-organized campaign structure is the key to securing high Quality Scores.
Here's how the new tool can help you get there. First, just enter a keyword. The Free Keyword Niche Finder is a keyword suggestion tool and keyword grouping tool in one. Just enter a keyword, and you'll get back extensive, relevant suggestions, but instead of a scattered list, the results are organized into related groupings. Let's use the perfume store example again: Similar to th... > Read more
When you're launching a new website (or doing a site redesign) it's vital to take SEO into account. From square one, you should do everything you can to make sure that the people interested in what you offer will be able to find you. And most people will be looking via search engines. There's an endless list of things you can do to optimize a website for search engines, but at a basic level, SEO-friendly site design is user-friendly site design.
It's important to create a site that: Is logically structured Incorporates keyword research to ensure relevance to your audience Is easily navigable from both the home page and deep pages You can actually use our new Free Keyword Grouper to start planning out the structure—or information architecture—of your new website. Here's how: S... > Read more
Well well well, if it isn't Friday once again. Since next Friday is Christmas, and the following is New Year's Day, this is my last Friday roundup of the year (and decade!). And I'd like to use it to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us spread the word about our new free tools, the Keyword Niche Finder and the Free Keyword Grouper.
Here's a roundup of all the coverage around the Web: On Search Engine People, Terry Van Horne talks about getting back to the "roots of SEO" with keyword research, calling the Keyword Niche Finder "simply one of the best tools I've seen for quite some time." On PPC-Advice, Garry Przyklenk did a great write-up of these new "smart" tools: "The long tail is highly difficult to optimize, especially in SEO because, as the name suggests, the long tail is extremel... > Read more
It was another big week at the Googleplex. (This opener is starting to feel like the Friday roundup equivalent of "Once upon a time.") The "search giant" made about a jillion announcements—I think Google has decided to mimic Bing's ever-changing homepage image by adding a new feature every day. (Ooh, fade-in buttons! But why!) Some of these announcements had real implications for search marketers—particularly integration of real-time search and the launch of "universal personalized search," which means, in effect, there's no "real" ranking, no official SERP; like Google's homepage of late, it's always different.
(Of course, one could argue that with geo and time data incorporated it was always different anyway …) The search community is divided on the significance of personalized sea... > Read more
Ari Ozick, a friend of WordStream and a great contributor to the SEO Book forums, is launching a new SEO guide soon: The Contrarian Guide to E-Commerce SEO. We got a sneak peak at the guide and it's got a ton of advanced information for "e-commerce site owners and marketing managers who want the nitty gritty on SEO, and have the resources to drive their SEO efforts.
" You can sign up now on Ari's site to get on the waiting list for the guide. We'll do a more in-depth review when it becomes publicly available. ... > Read more
Nominations are up for Invesp's top 100 online marketers of the year, and Larry Kim is among the nominees! Larry is WordStream's founder and VP of product development; he's a believer in the power of search as a marketing tool and has always played a big role in our Web marketing efforts. He's in the company of many great marketers and friends of WordStream, including Aaron Wall, David Szetela, Debra Mastaler, Eric Enge, Manoj Jasra, and Michael Gray.
But we hope you'll vote for Larry! Voting is open until midnight on December 13. ... > Read more
It's something you hear over and over again from SEOs: Anchor text matters. Chris Brogan relayed this familiar advice this week in a post on decisions we make as bloggers: By the way, HOW you link to something matters. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it Chris’s blog, then you’re telling Google that people searching for “Chris’s blog” might want chrisbrogan.
com. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it social media resources or social media strategy or whatever (frankly, I’ve never known what to bother ranking for in search results), then you are telling Google that people searching for social media whatever might want to find my blog. So in choosing the words for the link text, you’re also making decisions. Aside: It took me FOREVER to find where I'd read this a... > Read more
Julie Joyce is the cofounder and director of operations at the link development firm Link Fish Media, Inc. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Link Fish Media specializes in building links for the most competitive industries. On the Link Fish site, you talk about the importance of "managing your links." What does link management entail? Oh dear, you looked at that site? Ha! We've ignored it, we're trying to agree on how to redo it, and generally I just can't bear to look at it.
OK, so link management ... Link management is taking an active interest in your links, basically. It's understanding your link profile with the recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach will work about as well as it would with actual human beings being managed. There will be great links that send tons of qualified ... > Read more
Anticipating tomorrow's onslaught of fowl and starch, most of you are probably in a preemptive food coma. Instead of trying to "digest" something new from the blogosphere (or get any actual work done), why not revisit our top content from the past month? November was link building month at WordStream, and every Monday we posted a new interview with a link building expert (there's one more to come on Monday the 30th!), gathering insight on when it's OK to buy a link (and how to get away with it), how to handle link requests, strategies for creating linkbait and viral content, the best link building tools and more.
These interviews were very popular and we expect they'll continue to serve as a resource for link building newbies and aspiring experts alike. Debra Mastaler: "All ... > Read more
Wiep Knol is a link marketer from the Netherlands. He learned about online marketing during his study in 2004, and was hooked instantly. Two years later, he was hired to set up a link marketing service at Tribal Internet Marketing. Now, Wiep works as a partner for LinkBuilding.nl, and he runs a few other online projects as well.
Want to read more? Check out Wiep's link building blog, or follow him on Twitter. You recently started your own consultancy. What was the impetus for the switch, and what are your plans for the future? Do you want to create your own agency, or remain independent indefinitely? The main reason for me to start on my own was freedom. Being able to make decisions you want, taking on clients you 100% want to take on, and focusing on the stuff you really love to do.... > Read more
It's finally Friday, folks, and this week's roundup is all about IMAGE SWIRL! Just kidding. Who cares about Image Swirl? This week's roundup is all about the retweet. Twitter has completed the rollout of its new formalized retweet feature. I want to say that I haven't seen so many people tweeting about the same thing since Michael Jackson died, but the trending topics indicate otherwise.
I guess it's just my dweeby search marketing list. As Ruud Hein pointed out, it's kind of funny to watch the search results for "retweet." (As long as we're complaining about Twitter, can I just add that this is irritating: because the link in Ruud's tweet was broken in TweetDeck, I arrived at the search page for people instead, then had to navigate back to my home page, where it took me upwards of five s... > Read more
Dixon Jones is the managing director of the respected UK Internet marketing consultancy Receptional, which heads up the marketing of MajesticSEO, the world's largest open anchor text link map of the web. He has spoken at Internet marketing conferences including Pubcon, SMX, SES and International Search Summit.
To learn more about Dixon Jones, check out his website or follow him on Twitter: @Receptional. Tell us a little bit about your roles, both at Receptional and at Majestic SEO. I publicly took over the marketing role at director level at Majestic SEO in the summer, after a long discussion with Alex, who is a brilliant programmer and who – I believe – has built something absolutely world-class. I’m not used to working for someone else, as also I founded Receptional, an Intern... > Read more
This week, another chapter in the slow-motion car crash that is the decline of the news industry (excuse me while I mix my metaphors; I’m working on reduced brain cells today): Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp. will consider moving its websites to a paid subscription model and voluntarily delisting them from Google—equating search engine listings to plagiarism.
In an interview with Sky News (video clip below), he also claimed that “fair use is illegal,” a move Cory Doctorow called the “loonie cherry atop a banana split with extra crazy sauce.” Murdoch claims that “search people” (anyone who finds a story on one of the News Corp. sites via search) aren’t a worthwhile audience. They click on an item in the Google results, take ... > Read more
1. SEO copywriting sounds forced and mechanical. This myth is almost true: Bad SEO copywriting sounds forced and mechanical. You can spot it from a mile away: The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar? The benefits of apple cider vinegar are many! The benefits of apple cider vinegar include improved health and boosted immunity.
This page is all about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I guess if this page starts ranking for "the benefits of apple cider vinegar" I'll have to eat my words, huh? But seriously folks: SEO copywriting doesn't have to, and shouldn't, be robotic. Keyword research is a supplement to good writing, not a replacement for it. The only reason that keyword-targeted copy would end up sounding as ridiculous as the above paragraph i... > Read more
Ben Wills and Garrett French are the cofounders of Ontolo, a link building agency. Check out their link building blog or follow them on Twitter: @benwills and @GarrettFrench. (Note: Also check out Ari Ozick's SEO Contrarian blog for a similar series of interviews with link building gurus Tuesdays of this month.
) What factors go into a "quality" link? Garrett: Backlink profile of prospective linker -- which sites link to the page and the site as a whole An engaged, relevant audience Distribution and reach of target site -- are they social media participants? Do they have an email newsletter? How far will your link there take you? Ben: Relevance and value Keywords used on page, etc. Quantity and quality of backlinks Relevance of entire site Relevance of entire site's backlinks Whi... > Read more
I'm sort of surprised that I've never linked to Chris Brogan's blog in a Friday roundup before, since I'm a regular reader. Maybe because his posts tend to be short, to the point and difficult to disagree with, and finding something to disagree with is one of my top ways of brainstorming new blog posts.
It's also one of Chris Brogan's! His "How to Think of Blog Posts" post features the good-old-fashioned rant at #8 (see roundups of Fridays past in which I disagree with Seth Godin, David Powazek and Robert Scoble). I guess I'm feeling agreeable this week because I have no beef with Chris's post; I simply want to add a few more ideas to the list: 1. Expand on a tweet: The next time you start to respond to something or someone on Twitter, hold that thought and see if you can't expand beyond 1... > Read more
We're offering a new free white paper for download: 4 Steps to Better Keyword Grouping. This is a focused, tactical white paper offering clear and actionable advice to help you achieve more effective and profitable keyword segmentation for search marketing. If your keyword grouping strategy could use some polishing—or you're not even sure where to start—this white paper is a must-read.
Here's an excerpt from the new paper: If you only have time for one change to improve the overall performance and value of both your pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization efforts, turn your attention to keyword grouping. Far from a single, isolated process, keyword grouping represents a paradigm shift for search marketing. Better keyword grouping and organization can transfo... > Read more
This is a guest post is by Bob Stanley, WordStream’s Senior Client Services Representative. Bob has extensive experience in paid search, which he now leverages to help our clients solve difficult problems surrounding pay-per click marketing with the WordStream software. One of my roles as a client services rep for WordStream is to help clients use our software to successfully manage their paid search accounts.
I’m finding more and more with our clients that the long tail is getting extremely competitive. I personally blame advanced broad matching options, dynamic keyword insertion (DKI), and just the industry becoming more sophisticated. We all know the advantages of getting more specific with grouping and creating better conversion paths – however, it’s not always so cut and... > Read more
All this month we'll be interviewing link building experts on the WordStream blog. First up is Debra Mastaler. ( Does great content market itself? Yes and no. This really depends on the reputation of the person/company producing the content. Those with a good rep can publish and have content pushed forward, even if it's not so great.
Strong reputations carry tremendous power. Those without a reputation will need to work at pushing content and building their power base. Do you believe in linkbait? If so, what are some strategies for creating it? Interesting question, I've never been asked if I "believe" in something link-related before. Let's see ... I use it, I think it's effective and I think it adds diversity to your content mix which is important when trying to tap into new traff... > Read more
I hope you're not feeling antisocial out there, because today's roundup is all about social search. There were several big announcements this week in the world of social and real-time search. Microsoft and Google both announced agreements with Twitter. Bing's Twitter search is live, but it doesn't seem to work all that well – when I searched for my username, instead of getting a string of my tweets and @replies, I got this: Um, OK, but why? Why doesn't it just search for my username and return all the results? I can see why the "top links shared in tweets about" thing would be interesting/useful, but why is that the default search behavior? What if that's not what you're looking for? For its part, Google soft-launched social search in labs.
Danny Sullivan goes into some de... > Read more
October is winding to a close, and if history has taught us anything, November comes next. And with it, a candy hangover, my birthday, and pervasive Xmas music, in roughly that order—none of which I'm particularly looking forward to. So let's take this opportunity to look back—at our most popular blog posts from the past month, that is: Advanced Link Building: Clone Your Most Successful Link Profiles – Resident link building expert Ken Lyons explains how to analyze your link profiles step by step and then replicate your best link prospects.
Top SEO Web Design Company Websites – Another installment in the Top SEO Websites Series, Ken looks at which web design firms are practicing what they should be preaching: SEO-friendly design. 20 Conversion Rate Optimization (CR... > Read more
Ruud Hein is a Dutch family man living in Canada. Newsweek-recommended web publisher and blogger in his own right, he works at the SEO company Search Engine People where he's an internal SEO consultant and blog editor. See also: @ruudhein. Can you describe a typical day in the life of Ruud Hein? 06:50 – Put on coffee, start TweetDeck so it populates, take shower; make breakfast for my youngest daughter and my wife.
07:45 – Open TweetDeck, scan TwitScoop column; check if the world has made it through another night. Decide on which topic I want to track today. Check Cre8asite Forums. Check if blog posts on SEP and SEO Scoop have gone out. 09:00 – One hour of Most Important Task work. 10:00 – Check email. Do short stuff right away. Archive. Put stuff in my Evernote GTD setup. Do Tim... > Read more
Wired this week published a fascinating profile piece on a company called Demand Media: "The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell." The company's approach to content generation almost sounds like science fiction or satire, but it's real, and it works. It's a purely algorithmic, data-driven method of prioritizing content designed to rank on the first page of the Google SERPs: basically keyword research in hyperdrive.
And like it or not, this may be where we're all headed. Keyword-research-driven content production is nothing new; we practice this ourselves (to an extent). Workflow is based on the keyword groups that are currently driving traffic and conversions. If tons of people are finding our site after searching on "keyword organization tools" an... > Read more
If you've been working in the search marketing industry for long, you know that every so often some scheming troll (or major news corporation) comes along and delivers a rant against SEO, usually including most if not all of the following sentiments: Search engine optimizers are snake oil salesmen (Would that those fighting the war on SEO were also familiar with the war against cliché) SEO is just common sense; it's obvious Most of what SEOs do is smoke and mirrors SEOs are scam artists Information on optimizing a site is freely available on the web, so why pay for it? This week, that troll was a Derek "Powa-jerk" Powezek (hat tip to Ken for the wrestling name), who I guess is a designer (his actual job titles include Creative Director and "Chief of Awesome").
... > Read more
Remember MTV's Pimp Your Ride? Well today I'm going to pimp your PPC ad. Roll in with your Chevy Cavalier and I'll send you home with a Cadillac. Of pay-per-click ads. OK, these advertisers didn't ask me to revamp their ads, but I'm doing it anyway (for free!) and I think we'll all learn some valuable PPC ad writing lessons in the process.
Lesson #1: You have limited space. Don't waste it. Below are the first-page sponsored links for a search on "web design firms." This ad is redundant. The URL tells us the name of your company, so use the headline to say something more—tell us a little about what you offer and what sets you apart. (And one or the other could include the keyword to increase relevancy.) Notice how the competing ads have included useful information about pri... > Read more
Disagreeing with Seth Godin is basically a cliché now, but I'm going to do it anyway—or quibble with him, at least. I like this chart on Seth's blog (who doesn't like charts?) that plots some broad cultural phenomena against two axes, the sophisticated/tacky axis and the techie/tech-phobic axis.
The challenge, he says, is in designing structures and transparency that will attract the good guys while burying or repelling those that seek the new technology (because they can't find anywhere else to go). In other words, you either need to move the top left to the top right (not easy, but possible*), or educate the bottom left of the grid in how to contribute to the culture (really difficult indeed). The best new media (like blogs and possibly twitter) open doors to people who didn... > Read more
This is Part 6 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. Part of the power of web marketing is the abundance of data it creates. Web analytics put you in the control room—with so much to measure and analyze, you can take control of optimizing your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
However, analytics are only valuable insofar as you put them to work. Unless you take action on that data, data is all it is. In order to actually benefit from analytic data—to see the right numbers go up (traffic, clicks, conversions) and the right numbers go down (bounce rate, cost per action)—you have to act on it. That's why, at WordStream, we believe that analytics should be actionable. Most analytics ... > Read more
Lisa Barone is a co-founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outpoken Media. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter. You're kind of famous on Twitter. When I first started working at WordStream, I signed up for Twitter and you were one of the first people I followed, because my coworker referred to you as her "girl crush.
" :) How long have you been on Twitter and what do you say to detractors and people who just "don't get it"? How can businesses use Twitter to their advantage? No one is famous on Twitter. Let’s just get that out of the way. :) As far as how long I’ve been a member, the experts say I joined Oct 18, 2007. That sounds about right. I do think Twitter is something you either “get” or you don’t. And if you don’t get it, it’s because you have forgotten how ... > Read more