Elisa Gabbert's blog
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
Our most popular post in July was no big surprise – in fact, Larry's analysis of our latest infographic (Where's Google Making Its Money?), in which we delved into our keyword data to find the top 20 keyword categories in AdWords with the highest volume and costs per click, was not only our top post for the month, it's our most popular post of the year so far.
We're glad you all found this data as fascinating as we did!Here are the rest of the posts that grabbed your eyeballs this month (we hope they didn't cause any bruising):What to Do When Your AdWords CPCs Are Too High – Tom outlines five ways to lower your AdWords cost per click and get your campaigns back to profitability.The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook – Our infographic caus... > Read more
Are your PPC campaigns delivering the results you want? Are you struggling with any of the below problems?:Click volume too lowCost per click too highCost per conversion too highLow Quality ScoresLow click-through ratesLow ROIIf you said yes, it might be time to reorganize your AdWords account.The below roadmap will guide you through the process of revamping a campaign to improve performance and lower costs.
Click the image to enlarge the roadmap. You'll find links to helpful resources at each road sign, so if you need more help in a given area of PPC, click on the green sign for more tips and information.If you're looking to get a free assessment of your AdWords account, try our AdWords Performance Grader. It grades your AdWords accounts on key criteria, showing you where and how to make ... > Read more
Is it finally time to talk about something other than Google+? Yes, I think so, and this week we’re getting back to basics with an old-fashioned throwdown between two factions of web geek: search engine optimizers and developers.The battle began when Outspoken Media published a guest post by Andrew Norcross titled “News Flash to SEOs: Your Developer Hates You.
” And Norcross isn’t mincing words:While it’s no secret that many people have a general disdain for SEO’s in general, the guy (or gal) writing the code for that new niche website you’re getting ready to launch probably hates your guts. OK, maybe hate is a bit strong. But they almost all think you’re probably a fraud and cringe when they receive any form of communication from you.Norcross thinks a lot of the problem is ... > Read more
Richard Kraneis, a longtime WordStream reader, recently left a comment on our blog questioning whether a certain post would "drive qualified traffic to our website." This brings up an interesting question: Why blog? What are the goals of blogging?Of course the answer is different depending on whether you're talking about a personal blog or a corporate blog, but this is a business blog, and we wouldn't devote resources to blogging if it didn't make good business sense.
Here are three reasons that might motivate you to write a blog post for a corporate blog. In my opinion, every blog post doesn't need to fulfill all three purposes, though it's great if they do. The important thing is that every post fulfills at least one of these purposes, and that you don't focus only on one of the thr... > Read more
Google+, Google’s latest answer to the Facebook question, launched last week, and the fact that people are still talking about it could be a good sign for the search giant/social giant wannabe. Could it be that Google+ isn’t destined for the Google graveyard?On the Plus Side, It’s Better Than BuzzDanny Sullivan took a look at Google+ one week after launch and finds that users are gaining followers and traffic.
He points out that it took 17 months for Search Engine Land to get almost 1,000 followers on Google Buzz. In the same time period, its Facebook fans increased by nearly 16 times as much, and Twitter followers increased by about 35,000. And in just one week, Search Engine Land has 1,000 followers on Google+, indicating that it’s a lot more successful than Buzz right out of the... > Read more
Do Better Keyword Research Some keywords drive tons of volume, and are therefore highly competitive and costly to bid on. Other keywords are practically free, but are searched on so infrequently, they won’t deliver a significant number of leads. As a search marketer, your goal is to find the sweet spot in your keyword universe – terms that are specific and targeted to your business, and common enough to drive a healthy traffic volume without being so common that you can’t afford to rank on them.
So if high ROI is what you’re after, you’ll need to diversify your keyword sources and aggregate a large number of keywords, then test, test, test to find your own keyword sweet spot – the terms that give you high click-through and conversion rates for relatively... > Read more
There were a couple of interesting posts in ye olde blogosphere this week about click-through rate (CTR) – specifically, organic CTR from the Google SERP. We all know CTR is an important metric to track in PPC, since it’s a huge component in your Quality Score and therefore affects your ad rankings and costs per click.
But on the SEO side of the equation, how important is CTR? Is it a ranking factor? And, similarly, can you extrapolate CTR and traffic predictions from Google rankings? What's the relationship between these two tricky metrics?CTR and Organic RankingsDavid Harry tackles some of these questions in a post on Search News Central called “Are Click-Through Rates a Viable Ranking Factor?” I have always wondered if they might be – as Dave notes, “it just seems logic... > Read more
Finding the right agency to manage your PPC marketing campaigns is quite similar to making an internal hire – in addition to evaluating the agency's background and reputation, you'll want to ask a series of questions to help you better understand what they're about. For most businesses, the PPC agency with the right fit will need to meet your expectations in three areas:Depth of Expertise — Because of the complexity associated with PPC, you want to find a pay per click agency with depth of focus in the paid search space that can put adequate time and attention into the PPC area of your marketing efforts.
The agency should have at least one dedicated PPC manager who focuses solely on paid search. They need to be able to keep up with trends and accouncements in this rapidly changing spac... > Read more
At WordStream, we're a fan of guest posting as a way of building links and relationships. But sometimes you put in the effort to write a post and the blog editor rejects it, or never gets back to you at all. That adds up to disappointment and a big waste of your time.If you're about to embark on a guest posting strategy, here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind.
These tips will increase your chances of getting your guest post approved and published, links intact.DO read a few posts from the blog before you send something. You run the best chance of having your post published if it resembles what they typically run. Things to pay particular attention to include word count, reading level (beginner vs. advanced), and voice (serious, kooky, snarky, etc.). If the blog publishes guest postin... > Read more
For a limited time, we are offering a 15% discount on any subscription to our Keyword Research Suite. You'll save $50 when you purchase a standard subscription to the Keyword Research Suite by June 18 with code JUNE15. That's less than $1 a day for unlimited access to WordStream's full suite of best-in-class keyword tools, including: The Keyword Suggestion Tool: Leverage our huge database to find large numbers of keywords fast The Keyword Niche Finder: Find profitable new niches and clusters of related keywords to target The Keyword Grouper: Quickly turn a disorganized list into a manageable, actionable structure The Keyword Research Suite gives you access to way more keywords than free tools like Google's AdWords Keyword Tool.
For example, if you search on the term "ba... > Read more
On TechCrunch, Rocky Agrawal has been writing a series of posts about Groupon – which as you surely know recently filed for a $750 million IPO. But Agrawal is not writing about Groupon’s rapid ascent to success, but rather its, in his mind, inevitable downfall. In fact many in the tech industry believe that the company’s growth and business model are completely unsustainable.
In his latest post, “Why Groupon Is Poised for Collapse,” Agrawal argues that Groupon is “the equivalent of a loan sharking business”: Businesses are being sold incredibly expensive advertising campaigns that are disguised as “no risk” ways to acquire new customers. In reality, there’s a lot of risk. With a newspaper ad, the maximum you can lose is the amount... > Read more
For years the New Yorker has been running a caption contest on its back page, where readers submit captions to go with a punchline-less cartoon. Winners receive a signed print of the final cartoon. It’s a brilliant, sticky content gimmick, especially for a print magazine – it’s interactive and addictive and keeps people coming back for more.
(How many people subscribe to the magazine but only read the cartoons?) In May, the magazine put out a call for a universal caption that could fit any New Yorker cartoon, and this week they rounded up some of their favorite submissions. You may remember that last year, Charles Lavoie proposed “Christ, what an asshole” as the universal caption for all New Yorker cartoons, and frankly, most of the new submissions don’t... > Read more
“Conversions” can mean many things for a business, but the most important conversions are sales. Your marketing and sales teams can learn a lot by doing some dedicated reporting around closed deals. It’s great to know what activities are attracting interest (traffic, leads), but even more compelling and valuable to know what activities result in new customers in the books.
Here are 10 metrics to track on closed deals, if you’re not already gathering intelligence on those all-important conversion. 1. Lead source – You likely have at least a handful of ways of getting leads into your sales funnel. Which lead channel results in the most actual sales? PPC? Organic search? Referred traffic? Conferences? Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)? Can you pour more... > Read more
With a ridiculous click-baiting title that made me laugh out loud ("Is Social Sexier Than Sex?"), Fast Company uses the auctioning of the domain Social.com as a jumping-off point for a really interesting question: Is the URL on its way out? Sex.com sold for $13 million in 2010. Now Social.com is up for sale and the bids open at $5 million, so it could easily surpass the cost of Sex, hence Fast Company's clever title.
Writer Kit Eaton, however, thinks hubbub over domains may soon be a thing of the past: A huge fuss erupted online last week because Google finally made good on its promise to adjust the Chrome browser so that the URL address bar could be removed. It's a style thing for now, freeing up more real-estate on the screen for the actual web content you're trying to access r... > Read more
We received the following questions during our recent webinar, "Improving Quality Score." For more help with understanding and improving AdWords Quality Score, check out these resources:Quality Score Toolkit (this free kit includes a Quality Score worksheet, cheat sheet, white paper, and video)Quality Score FAQImproving Quality Score (webinar recording)Ultimate Guide to Quality Score (15 experts on Quality Score)Do site links improve CTR and Quality Score? According to data from Bigmouth Media, "ads that run with Ad Sitelinks typically result in an average click through rate increase of 30%.
" RKG reported similar results: "To take seasonal shifts out of the picture, I looked at the brand performance since the links were launched, and compared this data to the same time period last year. We... > Read more
The weather in Boston this month was really starting to get to me; it felt like most of May was rainy and unseasonably cool. But I went out of town for the long weekend and came back to the first sweltering weather of the year. We didn't get back to our apartment till 1:30 a.m. on Sunday night, entirely exhausted, and we still installed our air conditioner right then because there was no way we were going to get to sleep in an 85-degree apartment.
So, yeah, it's still technically spring, but nonetheless, I say welcome to summer!! And now it's time to kick back with an iced coffee in the cool breeze of the AC and enjoy our top 10 posts from the month of May: Five Ways to Lower Your PPC Campaign's Cost Per Action: Tom did a series of great posts this month on five ways to meet key PPC ... > Read more
Brian Wallace is the founder of NowSourcing, a social media marketing firm based in Louisville, KY. NowSourcing offers infographics, WordPress consulting, online reputation management, SEO, PPC and other Internet marketing services. You can follow Brian on Twitter.Why do you think infographics have become so popular in the past couple of years from a marketing perspective? How do they differ from other forms of linkbait (aside from the obvious graphical element, of course)? Even though it seems that infographics are a fairly recent trend, they have been in the print world for some time.
I often think of USA Today – it ran a bunch of infographic equivalents for years before I ever saw anything like that on the web. Why they’ve become popular is for a few reasons:You’d be hard pressed ... > Read more
In casual conversation, the terms "keyword" and "search query" are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference. So what is the difference between a keyword and a search query? A keyword is sort of like the Platonic ideal of a search query – it's an abstraction that we extrapolate from multiple search queries.
A search query, the actual word or string of words that a search engine user types into the search box, is the real-world application of a keyword – it may be misspelled, out of order or have other words tacked on to it, or conversely it might be identical to the keyword. As search marketers, what we target are keywords. In SEO, we target these abstractions by optimizing on-page content (using the keywords in URLs, title tags, bo... > Read more
David Cancel is a serial entrepreneur with a twelve-year record of building businesses in online marketing technology, social media, and scaling large data systems. Prior to becoming the CEO of Performable, David was the co-founder and CTO of Lookery, and before that, he was a founder and CTO at Compete, which was acquired by WPP(LON:WPP).
Prior to his seven years at Compete, he was the CTO of BuyerZone, which was acquired by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK). In the late 90s, David was part of the founding team of Bolt.com and part of Lycos. He sits on the advisory boards of Visible Measures, Sonian Networks, Yottaa and Shareaholic. David is originally from New York City and now lives in the Boston area with his wife and five-year-old daughter. He likes to grow vegetables, make pizza from scratch... > Read more
I read a great post this week on Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That!: “It’s not about the competition. It’s about not sucking.” Andy is talking about the perceived threat from competitors – especially new kinds of competitors that emerge as technology and culture changes – and how businesses kick and scream about the new competition rather than making changes to ensure they’ll survive.
Here’s a hefty excerpt: [M]ovie theaters are in a constant panic about competition from DVDs and on-demand options. Which is the wrong thing to be paying attention to. It’s not an either-or choice. If a home movie is pleasant, you’ll do that. If the theater experience is worth 10 bucks, you’ll do that too... > Read more
Back in December we launched an infographic centered around the Internet and the environment. It didn't do as well as our previous infographics, which didn't particularly surprise us – we weren't completely happy with how it came out, and we didn't put as much effort into promoting it. A couple of weeks ago, we relaunched the infographic (see below; click to enlarge), after giving it a complete overhaul, to coincide with Earth Day.
This time around, it got the traction we had hoped for, attracting over 150 new links, including several high-value links from new domains like the LA Times and the Atlantic, and giving us a big spike in referred traffic. So what did we do differently? Why did the infographic perform so much better the second time around? Here are three reasons why I thin... > Read more
You know I can’t resist commenting when the mainstream media talks about “S.E.O.” (as the New York Times would have it). This week, The Atlantic is throwing its hat in the ring with a piece called "'Google Doesn't Laugh': Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO," and subtitled “If online searches are literal, what happens to headlines that involve word play? Copy editors* fear they're going the way of the classified ad.
”Unsurprisingly – since this is a mainstream magazine we’re talking about – the topic is nothing new. Journalists have been wringing their hands over the supposed loss of the clever headline since SEO first started, well, making headlines (making waves? making hearts go pitty-pat?) five or six years ago.According to David Wheeler at the Atlantic, headline wr... > Read more
Got plans for Friday, May 13? Now you do! Join us for Digital Marketing World: Search Marketing, a FREE virtual conference presented by MarketingProfs. Three Info-Packed Sessions Today's Top 5 SEO Essentials Integrated Search and Social The Future of Search: Top Trends to Watch Check out the complete program and session times here.
More Good Stuff Register now and get access to: Live Q&A time with the speakers Search marketing resources Professional networking opportunities On-demand recordings (available for the next three months) You'll also have the opportunity to meet search marketing experts and participate in virtual roundtable discussions with your peers in the Digital Marketing World exhibit hall. As one of this month's sponsors, we'll be there ... > Read more
ImpressionsAn impression, in online advertising, is an appearance of an ad on a web page. In search engine marketing, an impression constitutes an appearance of a text ad on a search engine results page. Internet advertising costs are sometimes measured in cost per impression. An impression will tell you how many people have been exposed to your brand or product.
What impressions won’t tell you: If that exposure actually left “an impression.” Search behavior tends to be a fast and reactive experience. Often users only look at one or two results on a page. Even if your ad is at the top of the list, it may be missed.Click-Through Rate (CTR)Your PPC click-through rate is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) that actually go on to click the ad. You can view your cl... > Read more
I was doing a little research on copywriting blogs recently, and noticed that many of the renowned veteran copywriters who got their start in direct (i.e., offline) marketing would often make reference to “sales letters.” I wasn’t born in the ‘90s or anything (I know who Osama bin Laden is), but my response to this was, What the H is a sales letter?A sales letter, of course, is the “letter” you receive in direct marketing mailings, which begins “Dear ________” and informs you of all the reasons you should give the sender your money.
Believe it or not, young ones, direct marketing still exists – and even works. According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of B2B marketers, 79% of respondents found direct mailing “somewhat” or “very” effective.This is top of m... > Read more