Elisa Gabbert's blog
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
Dan Olson is the CEO of DIYSEO, a provider of SEO software for small businesses. Dan leads the strategic direction and manages all day-to-day activities at DIYSEO. He is a former vice president at Performics, the largest search marketing company in the United States that was acquired by DoubleClick, Google and eventually Publicis Groupe.
How should small business owners think about and evaluate SEO?I think three things are important here:Approach it like marketing. SEO isn’t some tech-voodoo, it’s another way of getting customers to your site.Compare it to other things you do to market your business – sometimes that’s similar stuff like PPC, but it’s also print ads, billboards, etc.Focus on the actual return on investment.I think a lot of small businesses get overwhelmed by ... > Read more
Todd Wilkinson, CEO of WordWatch, began his online career in 1999 with WorldOnline/Tiscali, a pioneering European ISP. Todd later co-founded a digital agency in Amsterdam in 2002, called iizt (pronounce “east”), serving the advertising industry in the Benelux. In 2006, Todd co-founded and served as CEO to Respectance.
com, a social media play described by TechCrunch as the “MySpace for dead people.” Funded by two European VCs, Respectance was located in San Francisco, CA and Amsterdam, NL. Todd exited Respectance in 2010 and launched WordWatch in March 2011, based in Foster City, CA and Amsterdam, NL, with production and algorithm development in Krakow. You believe that bid management is the most time-intensive part of search engine marketing. Why is it so time-consuming and what... > Read more
One of my many brilliant Twitter followees pointed me this week to a hilarious page of Amazon reviews for a product called Crayola Colored Bubbles Wand Set. This piqued my interest because I remember reading an interview in The Believer a few years back with Tim Kehoe, a toy inventor who had been working for more than a decade to develop colored bubbles that wouldn't stain.
(You can read an excerpt from the interview online, but the full text is only available in print. FWIW, I seem to remember the whole issue being fantastic. I believe it also included interviews with Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances.)Kehoe's product was set to be called Zubbles and debut in 2008, but I never heard anything else about them, until now. At first I thought Ke... > Read more
Clearly, Google’s latest foray into social was the big search news of the week. But we’ve already covered what Google +1 is and how +1 will affect your campaigns. So rather than forcing yet more +1 down your throats, I’m wrapping our usual round-up of the month’s best blog posts in with my recommended reading for the week.
You voted with your clicks and eyeballs, and here they are, our top 10 slammingest posts from the month of March:Five Great "Hidden" Link Building Resources: Tom identified a handful of sources for reliably great information on link building, outside of the 100% link-building-focused blogs like Ontolo.PPC Ad Writing Tips from the Experts: An Interview with BoostCTR: I talked with BoostCTR’s Jeff Sexton and Ryan Healy about what goes into a kick-ass pay-per-click... > Read more
Do you know the difference between broad match and modified broad match? Are you confident in your ability to use negative keywords to save money without losing valuable traffic? To maximize the profitability of your pay-per-click campaigns, you need to know how and when to use each of the keyword match types offered by Google AdWords.
Our newest white paper, the Complete Guide to AdWords Matching Options, can help you navigate the options. After reading this white paper, you'll have a clear understanding of: The differences between the keyword match types offered in AdWords How, when and why to use each match type to get the best results Using the new modified broad match option for more refined targeting How negative keywords can save you money and raise CTR Best practice... > Read more
That's right folks, it's the auspicious return of Pimp Your PPC Ad, in which I scan the SERPs for sponsored ads that don't pass the sniff test, then tell you how to make them better (-smelling?). I always meant to make this a regular feature, but apparently I only did it once in 2009. Oops. So, maybe it's only a biannual feature.
Anyway, here we go with five more lessons from poorly executed pay-per-click ads. Lesson #1: Don't Put All Your Keyword Eggs in One Basket These are some of the ads I was served up for "army surplus gear": This last one suffers from a lack of targeting – these different keywords (ACU headgear, ACU jackets, etc.) should really all be in their own ad groups. In addition, the ad doesn't communication any value proposition and doesn't have a ca... > Read more
There was a really interesting article in Fast Company this week: “How Carrots Became the New Junk Food,” by Douglas McGray. (Hat tip to Mark Bittman – this is why it’s good to leave your filter bubble!) It tells the story of the rise of baby carrots in the hearts of America – not actual young carrots, but the little mechanically rounded, ready-to-eat nubbins of carrot you can buy in a bag in the produce section.
Real baby carrots look like the image to the right. "Baby carrots" are more like ponies – they don't grow up to be real horses. Baby carrots were conceived as a way to reduce costly food waste: Supermarkets expected carrots to be a particular size, shape, and color. Anything else had to be sold for juice or processing o... > Read more
If you’ve been following the WordStream blog for a while, you know we’re longtime fans of Aaron Wall at SEO Book. (You should have seen the glow around Tom Demers when Aaron agreed to do an interview with him.) In addition to being a great tactical resource on both SEO and PPC, Aaron is a must-follow blogger for his regular rants and essayistic analysis on the industry at large.
He has also taken a watchdogging stance toward Google, and his thoughts about the company’s direction are always enlightening, even if you’re inclined to give GOOG the benefit of the doubt. Twice this week Aaron reminded me of the power of a single image in a blog post – not a fancy infographic or even a beautiful photograph, just a basic screenshot – and how much an image can co... > Read more
Last night I performed a Google search on my home computer, using Firefox. I only got four results back on the first page, though there were over 55,000 results total (see below). I was not signed in but Instant was on. It looks like Google is testing this style of SERP when it thinks a handful of pages are clearly the most valuable, relevant results for the query.
Presumably, some users would prefer fewer choices as long as those choices clearly addressed the query. Didn't either Sergey or Larry once say that in a perfect world, Google would return only one result? This page did not address my needs as a searcher, because I was specifically trying to determine where my own blog ranks for this query -- i.e., whether I rank on the first page. If this experiment became the norm, "the f... > Read more
BoostCTR is is a network of advertisers and expert pay-per-click ad writers. I asked BoostCTR's Jeff Sexton and Ryan Healy to share some of their knowledge about what goes into a great pay-per-click ad. Jeff is in charge of Optimization Management for Boost’s writer network, and Ryan is a lead writer and blogger for Boost.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about BoostCTR? Jeff Sexton: BoostCTR helps businesses improve their pay-per-click advertising ( PPC) by boosting the click-through rate (CTR) of their ads. We take clients’ best performing PPC ads, re-write them, and then split-test the original ad against our new challenger ad. And we repeat that process until we beat the client’s old ad by at least 5%, or we give them their money back. 5% is the guarantee, but our average ... > Read more