Elisa Gabbert's blog
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&rd... > Read more
A couple of weeks ago Larry Kim gave a webinar on keyword research, revealing his three-step process for discovering keywords. You can watch a recording of the webinar, as well as view the slides, below. You'll learn:How to dominate a search category for your brandWhy keyword niches are more important than single keywordsHow to apply your keyword research in on-page SEOAnd don't forget to sign up for our next webinar, Improving Quality Scores, on Wednesday, May 18.
Webinar: Winning with Keyword ResearchTo try the keyword tools demonstrated in the presentation, take a test drive today! ... > Read more
Sometimes, the best thing I read over the week has nothing to do with Internet marketing. But I really want to share it with you, so by God, I make it have something to do with Internet marketing. This week, that thing was this list of the worst analogies written by high school students, originally published in the Washington Post.
The source above ("The Lost Eyeball") calls them the "worst/best" because many are actually quite brilliant – if I was a high school teacher and one my students wrote these gems, I’d give them a king-size gold star. To further qualify the list, the source says the paper “held a contest in which high school teachers sent in the ‘worst’ analogies they’d encountered in grading their students’ papers over... > Read more
April is over, you've paid your taxes, and now you're waiting for your tax return. Oh, the miserable wait: What to do in the meantime??? How about catching up on our best blog posts from the month? Is the Internet Bad for the Environment?: In honor of Earth Day we published this infographic detailing what kind of damage we're doing with our Internet addictions, as well as how the Internet is good for the planet.
Crayola Colored Bubbles: Reputation Management for a 1-Star Disaster: Worst product ever? Read some of the hilarious reviews for this mess of a product (literally) and learn what to do if this happens to your company. Understanding the Differences Between Google and Bing Match Types: This guest post by Bethany Bey from Hanapin Marketing explains the differences betwee... > Read more
When hiring for a tech startup, most companies focus, understandably, on technical talent: developers and engineers. Obviously, you need great engineers if you're going to build software, apps or a website of any kind. But don't underestimate the value that a great writer can bring to your organization.
A lot of startups make any writing tasks that come up the responsibility of whichever staff member is the most competent writer. When you're bootstrapping, multitasking is a necessity. But if you've got some funding, hiring an excellent writer can impact your business in a lot of positive ways. So whether you make a full-time hire or find a reliable contractor, it's worth the investment to seek out a writer who understands your business and industry and cares about the outcomes. Here are fi... > Read more
We recently put together a Keyword Research Kit that includes a lot of great resources for anyone doing keyword research and marketing for either SEO or PPC applications.The Keyword Research Kit is a completely free resource available to download. The kit includes:The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet – This PDF offers a bird's-eye view of what keyword research is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important.
This cheat sheet is helpful for quickly orienting those new to the concept of keyword research, from first-time hires to executives.Keyword Monitoring Worksheet – This tool allows you to plug in your keyword data every month and monitor trends in your rankings, traffic from SEO, and ultimately how your organic search engine marketing efforts are helping to drive your business.The Ultimat... > Read more
On Wednesday, Google rolled out a new Analytics upgrade. Here’s Mashable’s report on the upgrade: Google rolled out a new and improved version of Google Analytics to all current Analytics users on Wednesday. The upgraded product comes with a bevy of new features. In addition to faster performance and a streamlined UI, the new Analytics also packs quite a lot of improved and entirely new functionality.
Users can create multiple dashboards, up to 20 per user; and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets. Users can also set interaction goals (for example, you might use Google Analytics to track and optimize file downloads or video views), graph and compare certain metrics over time, and toggle between multiple profiles and sites while focusing on one report. Wiep Knol begs to d... > Read more