Elisa Gabbert's blog
Two weeks ago, I blogged about Google’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% – Google claimed this wouldn’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 “myopic” for overreacting to the news.)However, in just two weeks’ time, the situation has gotten worse, just as many of us feared. Rachael Gerson at SEER Interactive has “proof that Google’s secure search now affects more users”:Comparing yesterday (10/31) to the previous Monday, 27 of the sites had over 100% increase in ”(not provided)” 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 – 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, we’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 week’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? What’s not to love?)And check out our top 10 greatest hits of the month – they’re SCARY AWESOME!Facebook Wall of Shame: Facebook's Failures, Criticisms and Missteps – There’s no doubt that Facebook, by and large, is a massive success story – but this infographic detailing the company’s various flubs and snafus was nevertheless our most popular post of the month by far.
When Should You Pause Google AdWords Keywords? – Learn two reasons why you might want to pause a keyword in AdWords to halt any damage it’s doing to your account.SSL Encrypted Search: Google Deals Low Blow to SEOs – 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 – specifically Google Reader – is a huge part of daily life. I have two tabs permanently open on Chrome: Gmail and Google Reader.
According to my “Trends” 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 they’ve been updated. I can also organize my subscriptions into categories, so if I ... > Read more
Lately we’ve been getting the occasional spam comment (according to my spam comment taxonomy, they’re mostly of the “full-on-ass-kissing” variety) that looks like a typical spam comment in almost every way:It expresses some irrelevant but positive sentiment like “Thanks, this post was really helpful to me, keep it up”It’s attributed to a normal-sounding name like “Carrie” or “Dave” (much more effective than something like “Cheap Canadian SEO” which will always get you flagged)The name links back to the spammer’s siteThe difference is, instead of linking to a deep page on some spammy domain I’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/. (There’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 week’s interview is with David Semprun.
David is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Priority Pass, the world’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 – 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 user’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.“For sites which have been added and verified in Webmaster Tools,” 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 “memo” to his coworkers – right on up to Larry and Sergey – through Google+, and made the post 100% public by mistake. Whoops! At least when you accidentally “reply all,” 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 “family intervention,” is intended as a wake-up call for the powers that be at Google, alerting them that they’re missing something big: namely, they don’t get platforms:That one l... > Read more
The official Google blog published a post earlier this week with the title “Ads Are Just Answers” – and I couldn’t help mentally inserting the addendum, “…that make us billions, suckers!” Let’s not forget that Google makes upwards of 97% of its revenue from advertising – that’s over $32 billion in advertising revenues annually.
Sponsored placement in the search results may be a billion-dollar idea, but it wasn’t actually Google’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, I’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 – This group interview is packed with awesome insights into what metrics actually matter when it comes to analyzing PPC results – and which ones are pretty much worthless. Even if you don’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 –... > Read more
One of my favorite types of blog post is the marketing case study – a personalized story of success or failure (or otherwise interesting or unexpected results). As blog posts go, it’s not as easy to churn out as a “top 5” post (ahem), but you can learn so much more from them. It’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 haven’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 there’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 “Netflix” name, while the old-school DVD business will be branded as “Qwikster.”This news came straight from the horse’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?It’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 “2” link at the bottom of a web page with my cursor – if there’s a “View all” link in the vicinity, I almost always click that instead.
Apparently, I’m not the only one – 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, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog featured a post proclaiming that “User 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 2Today’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?I’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 “Deceptive Marketing: A Necessary Evil for Search Marketers?” From the title, I expected this to be about truth in advertising – 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 1Today’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
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: August is the Sunday of summer. Although it’s technically still summer until September 22, the end of August pretty much feels like the end of it all – time to trade in late-afternoon cocktails in the sun for hours of homework. (Sorry, the Sunday blues make me forget how old I am.
) Before we all officially go back to school, let’s take a second look (or a first, if you missed them the first time around) at our blog’s top 10 most popular posts of the month: Announcing the AdWords Performance Grader: Find Out How You’re Doing on AdWords and How to Improve for Free – This post introduces our newest free tool. Have you tried it out yet? How does your AdWords performance measure up? Google AdWords E... > Read more
This is the first 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.Our first respondent is Marko Kvesic from Zagreb, Croatia.
Follow Marko on Twitter.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'm the Online Marketing Manager at GoTraffic Online Marketing Agency. I have a master's degree in traffic science and I'm a Google AdWords Qualified Individual. I've been using AdWords for more than eight months. Since I work at an agency and I'm managing my clients' accounts, my primary goal is to ... > Read more
So, I just moved into a new apartment in Denver. This weekend my other half and I went to the new IKEA out here and bought a bunch of bookshelves. He started building them on Monday and by Tuesday we were erecting them and loading them up with books. I noticed some extra parts he hadn’t used, and he said they were brackets to attach the shelves to the wall at the top.
“I don’t think we need to do that,” he said. “The shelves aren’t going to topple over.” “Yeah,” I conceded, “they’re probably for people who live in earthquake zones.” I.e., not us. About ten minutes later I saw this tweet in my stream from Trada's Elaine Ellis: Yikes! Apparently on Monday night a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit about nine miles from Trinid... > Read more
The next Mass Innovation Nights event is coming up on September 14, 2011. We'd be thrilled if you showed your support for WordStream by voting for us to present at the event! Mass Innovation Nights features innovative new products from companies in the Boston area. Here's more information about the event via MIN: We've got a great evening planned for our 30th event! MIN30, September 14, 6-8:30 pm, is going to be part of FutureM, a week of events in the Boston area, celebrating the future of marketing.
Our line-up looks terrific, with a great group of products somehow related to marketing. Join us! Remember, we’re here to help launch new local products, so here’s what you need to do: Check out the cool new products. Visit their websites for more info. Pick your favo... > Read more
Are you still not doing PPC?! Silly business owners! There are many reasons to explore paid search marketing as a lead generation channel. Here are just three good reasons to get you started.1. PPC Ads Won't Poach Your Organic TrafficAdWords recently released the results of a study designed to answer a question that many advertisers ask: Will running pay-per-click ads cannibalize my organic search traffic? To address this concern, statisticians at Google built a statistical model to make predictions about click volume based on ad spend.
According to Google:This model generates estimates for the incremental clicks attributable to search ads or, in other words, the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.Google found that 89% of traffic... > Read more
Well, folks, today is my last day in the Boston office, though not my last day at WordStream – tomorrow I'm moving to Denver, CO, but if all goes well, I'll be back up and running in my home office on Monday, Aug. 22. Since things tend to get a little crazy in the last few days before you pack up everything you own and drive 2000 miles across the country, I thought I'd do something a little different here today and list some of the things I'm going to miss about working and living here in Boston (and some things I won't miss, natch).
I'll miss: Seeing my coworkers every day! Not to be sappy, but there really is a benefit to "face time." I'm going to get a little lonely out there, so please pay attention to me on Twitter. I won't miss: Having to get dressed in the morning. D... > Read more
Did you hear about the big study on browser use and IQ? As reported by CNN, BBC News, the Telegraph, Forbes and other major news outlets, a Canadian web consulting firm named Aptiquant released the results of a survey of 100,000 internet users, revealing that, perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser had lower IQs than users of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and other browser alternatives.
The real surprise was just how unintelligent IE users are. The Guardian reported that “The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties.” Whereas a score between 90 and 110 represents “normal or average intelligence,” a score of 80-90 signifies “dullness,” and 70-80 “borderline deficiency.” Ouch.Checking to see ... > Read more