Elisa Gabbert's blog
A couple of days ago our fearless head of marketing, Laura, noticed an odd result in the Google SERPs â€“ the sponsored results for the query â€śadwords servicesâ€ť were pretty run of the mill, but the first organic result was a bit shocking:I tried the same search on my own machine and got the same result.
What the hell?At first when you see â€śAdult sexual servicesâ€ť you think someone has successfully spammed the results with white text on a white background or some such old-school black-hattery. But this result is from the official AdWords domain! The page is from the Legal section of the AdWords Policy Center (â€śRequirements for advertising with Google AdWordsâ€ť). â€śAdult sexual servicesâ€ť is from a list of â€śRestricted Products and Servicesâ€ť that also includes abortion, endang... > Read more
If you work in the search marketing industry, you may have found yourself having a conversation somewhat like this one (the same conversation I have every time I tell a "regular person" what I do):Regular Person: So, what do you do?Me: I work as a writer for a software startup.Regular Person: What kind of software?Me: Um, search marketing software?Regular Person: So .
.. like Google?Me: Well, yeah, sort of. We make software that helps people advertise on Google.If this regular person is curious enough to know more (rare), I usually find it helpful to explain that Google advertising functions similarly to an auction. In the off chance that they tell me advertising on Google does not work, I tell them that our whole company exists because it does work.How Does Google AdWords Work?Since there ... > Read more
If thereâ€™s one thing Iâ€™ve learned from looking at our analytics over the years since we launched this blog, itâ€™s that People. Love. Link building. Articles about link building consistently drive the most traffic over time. Why? Itâ€™s not the only thing that matters for SEO â€“ you also need great title tags, strong information architecture, etc.
, etc. Those posts do pretty well too, but thereâ€™s not as much to say about them.My theory is that link building is more like a game, and I bet a lot of SEOs grew up as gamers. SEO link building isnâ€™t just a matter of learning a few basic best practices and applying them. There will always be new ways to score links, and getting a great link is a triumph for an SEO. Itâ€™s like a new top score on Donkey Kong.Are you the King of Kong?Since... > Read more
This weird owl turned up when I searched Flickr for "Friday." Let's just go with it.Google and Other Forms of Corporate EvilEric Schmidt Is Right: Googleâ€™s Glory Days Are Numbered â€“ At TechCrunch, Dan Kaplan quotes from Eric Schmidtâ€™s letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights (â€śHistory shows that popular technology is often supplanted by entirely new modelsâ€ť) and explains why Google is headed for a downfall.
Google Freshness Update: The Real Winners & Losers â€“ Google recently announced a new update that delivers â€śfresherâ€ť results for about 35% of queries. Patrick Altolft thinks will be bad for brands, whose own properties will get pushed below random news and reviews.Google May Penalize Your Site for Having Too Man... > Read more
This is the sixth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 4AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 5This weekâ€™s interview is with Jason White.
Jason is the Marketing Director for Stadri Emblems, a company that designs and produces custom embroidered patches. Like other millennial marketers, he... > Read more
Two weeks ago, I blogged about Googleâ€™s announcement that it would stop providing keyword referral information for a portion of organic searches. At the time, people were kicking around numbers between 1 and 7% â€“ Google claimed this wouldnâ€™t have a big effect on marketers, and some people thought it was no big deal.
(For example, both Frank Reed and Alan Bleiweiss called SEOs â€śmyopicâ€ť for overreacting to the news.)However, in just two weeksâ€™ time, the situation has gotten worse, just as many of us feared. Rachael Gerson at SEER Interactive has â€śproof that Googleâ€™s secure search now affects more usersâ€ť:Comparing yesterday (10/31) to the previous Monday, 27 of the sites had over 100% increase in â€ť(not provided)â€ť traffic. We looked at the data in a second way, ... > Read more
We're doing a joint webinar tomorrow with Search Marketing Now. Here are the details:WHAT: Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Paid SearchWHEN: Thursday, November 3, 2011 â€“ 1 PM EDT (10 AM PDT)WHO: Alex Cohen, Director of Marketing, H. Bloom, and Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, WordStreamWHY: Every PPC campaign needs a regular checkup.
In this webcast, weâ€™ll take a look at things you can do to evaluate, fine-tune and improve your paid search.Alex Cohen will cover things you can do immediately to audit your account to find hidden waste and to improve your ROI. Larry Kim from WordStream will discuss steps you can take to create and maintain a healthy PPC program while investing just 20 minutes per week.Attend this webcast and learn:How to find and eliminate wasted spendHow to identify and ... > Read more
This is the fifth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 4This weekâ€™s AdWords expert interview is with Glendon Llewellyn Lloyd, the e-commerce director at Tszuji, an online home storage store specializing in shoe storage and clothes storage solutions for the home.
Glendon manages Tszuji's SEO and SEM, ensuring th... > Read more
Happy Halloween to all the lovable weirdos and kids-at-heart out there who still celebrate this silly holiday. (Stupid hats? Buckets of candy? Whatâ€™s not to love?)And check out our top 10 greatest hits of the month â€“ theyâ€™re SCARY AWESOME!Facebook Wall of Shame: Facebook's Failures, Criticisms and Missteps â€“ Thereâ€™s no doubt that Facebook, by and large, is a massive success story â€“ but this infographic detailing the companyâ€™s various flubs and snafus was nevertheless our most popular post of the month by far.
When Should You Pause Google AdWords Keywords? â€“ Learn two reasons why you might want to pause a keyword in AdWords to halt any damage itâ€™s doing to your account.SSL Encrypted Search: Google Deals Low Blow to SEOs â€“ Last week Google restricted access to organi... > Read more
It saddens me greatly to write this post. To most people in the world, RSS may be either dead or nonexistent. But for me, and for many people I know (some only virtually), RSS â€“ specifically Google Reader â€“ is a huge part of daily life. I have two tabs permanently open on Chrome: Gmail and Google Reader.
According to my â€śTrendsâ€ť tab:From your 420 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 4,022 items, clicked 231 items, starred 1 items, shared 54 items, and emailed 2 items.Since December 6, 2007 you have read a total of 227,485 items.I love RSS because it allows me to keep up with hundreds of blogs without having to visit them individually to see if theyâ€™ve been updated. I can also organize my subscriptions into categories, so if I ... > Read more
Lately weâ€™ve been getting the occasional spam comment (according to my spam comment taxonomy, theyâ€™re mostly of the â€śfull-on-ass-kissingâ€ť variety) that looks like a typical spam comment in almost every way:It expresses some irrelevant but positive sentiment like â€śThanks, this post was really helpful to me, keep it upâ€ťItâ€™s attributed to a normal-sounding name like â€śCarrieâ€ť or â€śDaveâ€ť (much more effective than something like â€śCheap Canadian SEOâ€ť which will always get you flagged)The name links back to the spammerâ€™s siteThe difference is, instead of linking to a deep page on some spammy domain Iâ€™ve never heard of (you know, something like memphis-internet-marketing.
biz/link-building-services), they link to the Bing homepage. Yes, http://www.bing.com/. (Thereâ€™s y... > Read more
This is the fourth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3This weekâ€™s interview is with David Semprun.
David is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Priority Pass, the worldâ€™s largest airport VIP lounge access program. Follow him on Twitter at @semprund or visit his website, davidsemprun.com.Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agen... > Read more
Google made a pretty big announcement this week that is pissing a lot of people off â€“ a lot of SEOs, that is. Namely, Google announced it will no longer reveal organic keyword referrals (search queries) for searches conducted while users are logged in. According to the Google Webmaster Blog:What is the impact of this change for webmasters? Today, a web site accessed through organic search results on http://www.
google.com (non-SSL) can see both that the user came from google.com and their search query. (Technically speaking, the userâ€™s browser passes this information via the HTTP referrer field.) However, for organic search results on SSL search, a web site will only know that the user came from google.com.â€śFor sites which have been added and verified in Webmaster Tools,â€ť the post s... > Read more
A while back, we released The Google Graveyard, an infographic detailing Google's various flops and failures in the product department, including Google Wave and Google X.Now, following up on the release of Facebook's iPad app last week (which most people have been less than impressed with), we've created a new infographic walking through some of Facebook's criticisms, missteps and failures since its inception in 2004.
In an all-too-keen instance of corporate irony, a Google employee this week sent what was meant to be an internal â€śmemoâ€ť to his coworkers â€“ right on up to Larry and Sergey â€“ through Google+, and made the post 100% public by mistake. Whoops! At least when you accidentally â€śreply all,â€ť your message is confined to the people in the original email list, right?The engineer, Steve Yegge, has since deleted the post, but Danny Sullivan reproduces most if not all of the memo in a post on Search Engine Land.
(The whole thing is interesting and I encourage you to read it.) The message, framed as a â€śfamily intervention,â€ť is intended as a wake-up call for the powers that be at Google, alerting them that theyâ€™re missing something big: namely, they donâ€™t get platforms:That one l... > Read more
The official Google blog published a post earlier this week with the title â€śAds Are Just Answersâ€ť â€“ and I couldnâ€™t help mentally inserting the addendum, â€śâ€¦that make us billions, suckers!â€ť Letâ€™s not forget that Google makes upwards of 97% of its revenue from advertising â€“ thatâ€™s over $32 billion in advertising revenues annually.
Sponsored placement in the search results may be a billion-dollar idea, but it wasnâ€™t actually Googleâ€™s idea. The credit goes to Bill Gross of Idealab, who got the idea from the Yellow Pages. Supposedly, Google tried and failed to buy the idea, so they copied it, launching AdWords in 2000 (Gross took legal action).People turn to search engines because they want answers. And according to Google, AdWords ads are just another way for people to ge... > Read more
As you read this, Iâ€™m probably on my way to the DC area, leaving the virtually perfect Denver weather for the East Coast blahs. Ah well, maybe I'll spy some foliage. (I still think it's weird that New Englanders call it "leaf peeping!" It makes it sound so dirty.)Before you get your weekend started, check out the top 10 most popular blog posts we published this month.
Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics: 17 Experts on the Top 3 Must-Check PPC Metrics â€“ This group interview is packed with awesome insights into what metrics actually matter when it comes to analyzing PPC results â€“ and which ones are pretty much worthless. Even if you donâ€™t want to read the whole thing, be sure to skip to the bottom and see the three most popular answers.3 Ways to Scale Linkbuilding with Google Docs â€“... > Read more
One of my favorite types of blog post is the marketing case study â€“ a personalized story of success or failure (or otherwise interesting or unexpected results). As blog posts go, itâ€™s not as easy to churn out as a â€śtop 5â€ť post (ahem), but you can learn so much more from them. Itâ€™s often easier to take something actionable away from specific examples and real stories than vague abstractions, so a well-written case study is a great way to get attention and links.
As an added benefit, a case study is always unique, whereas standard tip posts are often just reproducing information you can find elsewhere on the web.If you havenâ€™t considered writing this type of content before, I encourage you to give it a shot! Think about a specific strategy you implemented recently that reall... > Read more
Last week, 17 PPC experts (and a few more who chimed in via the comments) told us the metrics they pay the most attention to when analyzing their campaign performance in AdWords. The #1 most common answer was click-through rate (CTR). Cost per conversion was another big one.There are many ways to improve your click-through rates, including refining your keyword research and writing more compelling ads.
We're also big advocates of using negative keywords to improve CTR by reducing impressions and clicks from search queries that are irrelevant to your products or just unlikely to convert. By eliminating those non-converting clicks, advertisers can save an enormous amount of wasted budget (often up to 30%!). So using negative keywords effectively doesn't just raise CTR, it lowers costs and im... > Read more
There are two kinds of news: the kind of news that everyone gets excited about and the kind of news that everyone complains about. (Well, I guess thereâ€™s a third kind, the kind that nobody care about, but leaving that aside...) The webby world got some news of the former type this week, and that was the news that Netflix is splitting into two separate brands: one for the snail-mail DVD rentals that put the company on the map, and one for streaming services, the direction that movie rentals are going in.
The streaming-only service will continue to operate under the â€śNetflixâ€ť name, while the old-school DVD business will be branded as â€śQwikster.â€ťThis news came straight from the horseâ€™s mouth (that horse being Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO), framed as an apology for not... > Read more
Paul May is the CEO and co-founder of BuzzStream, a provider of link building management software. Paul has spent most of the last fifteen years either starting or working on early-stage startups. BuzzStream also offers a variety of free link building tools for small businesses, SEOs and Internet marketers.
Follow and connect with Paul on Twitter: @PaulMay.BuzzStream is often thought of as a link building tool, but you actually have products for PR and social media as well. How much overlap are you finding between the three disciplines?Itâ€™s funny, because Rae Hoffman-Dolan wrote a post a few years ago where she talked about the skills to look for when hiring a link builder, and I remember thinking when I read it that she might as well have been writing a job spec... > Read more
Do you love the scroll wheel on your mouse and the down arrow key on your keyboard and like to exercise them as much as possible? I know I do! What I hate doing is finding the tiny arrow or â€ś2â€ť link at the bottom of a web page with my cursor â€“ if thereâ€™s a â€śView allâ€ť link in the vicinity, I almost always click that instead.
Apparently, Iâ€™m not the only one â€“ in response to user experience studies, Google is trying to get us all on the same page: Page 1, that is! Here are a couple of the ways this is playing out.Google Say, Pagination Bad!Yesterday, Googleâ€™s Webmaster Central Blog featured a post proclaiming that â€śUser testing has taught us that searchers much prefer the view-all, single-page version of content over a component page containing only a portion of the same i... > Read more
This is the third in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2Todayâ€™s interview is with Rick Archer.
Rick is the founder of Search Summit, an independent search consultancy based in Iowa. You can reach Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser?Iâ€™ve been using AdWords for about 10 years. I also work with adCenter, and I used to play with smaller ne... > Read more
A couple of posts that caught my eye this week focused on a sticky little problem at the heart of all marketing and advertising: honesty, or lack thereof. These posts raise the question, is it possible to market a product without crossing any ethical lines?Is It Ever OK to Lie? (Like, Say, for Mad Links?)Jill Whalen wrote a post this week called â€śDeceptive Marketing: A Necessary Evil for Search Marketers?â€ť From the title, I expected this to be about truth in advertising â€“ in other words, does marketing copy always stretch the truth? Instead, Jill was writing about link building and the little white lies we sometimes tell in order to score a link.
She tells a story about a link building technique she read about several years ago. The marketer, Melanie Nathan, recommended finding broken... > Read more
This is the second in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to get AdWords help and find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1Todayâ€™s interview is with Stefan van Vliet, co-owner of Dutch agency Compass Online Marketing.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser? What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?I have been working as an SEO consultant for a small Dutch web marketing agency for some years. Last February I launched a webstore, Feestkleding 365, selling fancy dress clo... > Read more
Gizmodo is largely a gadget blog. For the most part, they leave the gossip-based page-view baiting to sister site Gawker. However, this week, Gizmodo published a story that has nothing to do with gadgets and little if anything to do with technology, unless you consider online dating a cutting-edge technology.
The story, “My Brief OkCupid Affair With a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player,” has racked up hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands of comments – probably hundreds of links to boot. So: successful linkbait, or craphat journalism? You be the judge! Here’s the gist of the story, which seems to have been edited by the author since its original posting: Alyssa Bereznak claims to have created an OKCupid profile after coming home drunk one night (... > Read more