Tom Demers's blog

The New Google UI: What this Means for "Search Wars V2"

Elisa had a great write up on the new Google design, and I was able to contribute some thoughts in a piece that ran in USA Today, but I had some additional thoughts on the new design, Bing's design, and what it all means for search marketers that I thought I'd share here. The Bing/Yahoo Merger I mention in the piece that "the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts" when Bing and Yahoo finally consumate their search merger.

What I mean by this is that advertisers will be more likely to move to the single platform with better reach (BingHoo), and that Bing's access to their once-competitor’s technology will (eventually) make their algorithm better. Beyond that, the increased market share will be self-reinforcing; it’ll allow Microsoft to invest more resources ... > Read more

May 11, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

WordStream Wins Always On On Demand 100 Award

Every year Always On puts together a list that "recognizes companies with game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. " This year they've included WordStream on the list. As a young company, being included on these sorts of lists is validating for a number of reasons, but most notably we're impressed by: The Company We Keep - There are some very, very smart companies on this list solving some incredibly challenging problems.

Included in the list is a series of fellow Sigma Partners backed companies like Nasuni, oDesk, Responsys, and Zetta. The Process - Always On has a very discerning process for the selection of this list, which always makes inclusion more gratifying. Consistent Validation - Winning multiple awar... > Read more

April 07, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Announcing WordStream's Affiliate Program: PPC and SEO Affiliate Program Launches

Today we're announcing that we're launching a brand new affiliate program that will allow other Web publishers to promote our products - and get paid for it! This is a first-run, "beta" version of our affiliate program so we're welcoming feedback. In attempting to make the program a success for affiliates, their audiences, and of course for WordStream, we've created two types of pay outs for affiliates: Pay-Per Lead for PPC - We have a keyword management solution for pay-per click advertising on search engine platforms such as Google AdWords.

This product has it's own pricing and we offer a free trial and frequently have potential customers request a live demonstration of the product. As such, we've decided to pay for leads people drive to this product. Pay-Per Sale for SEO - W... > Read more

February 16, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Affiliate Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Recommended Reading: PPC Blog, from the Folks Who Brought You SEO Book

My favorite way to find quality blogs (and books and movies, for that matter) is via recommendation. Towards that end, I thought I'd share a PPC Blog you might not be reading (every so often we share a list of our favorite search and online marketing blogs). Aaron and Giovanna Wall of SEO Book fame have started collaborating on a sister site that focuses on PPC.

The content is really strong, offering a very similar level of high quality how-to and industry trend material. They recently launched a very clever AdWords tax calculator that can help give you an indication of how much you might be wasting on paid search. If you haven't already it's definitely worth checking out and subscribing. ... > Read more

February 01, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Thanks for the SEMMY!

I was lucky enough to win a SEMMY for best 2010 PPC article. Many thanks to Matt McGee and David Mihm for taking the time to highlight various contributions within the search space, and thanks also to the PPC Hero blog for letting me put the post up there. I wanted to highlight some of the other winners: The link building category was stacked with three strong articles.

Our friend Garrett French churns out a ton of great stuff with staggering consistency, and anyone with any serious level of familiarity with the industry is familiar with Weip, who's similarly impressive in terms of consistently high-quality content creation. The blogs and blogging category is another deep one, with the Guide to Guest Blogging being a really great overview on how to effectively execute on external po... > Read more

February 01, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

Looking for a Job? Five Tips and a Few Open Positions

It's been a really exciting first year for WordStream, and the WordStream team is growing (so much so that we had to move to swanky new digs to accomodate all the new hires), and we're looking to add a few more. Since most of our blog's audience is in the sales and marketing space, I thought we'd throw the job here to see if anyone's interested in applying.

And, to try to make the post a little more interesting for any of you who aren't looking to move right now (and because I'm poring over resumes and it's fresh in my head) I thought I'd put out a few tips that will help get you hired the next time you go to look for work (or at least would if you were applying for a job with the WordStream marketing team). How to Get a Job in Search Marketing (and Other Industries/Disciplines) We'll sta... > Read more

January 06, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

Google Real Time Search - How Google is Determining Where to Show Real Time Search

A lot of people have been writing interesting stuff and trying to get a feel for what's going on with Google's new real time search feature. It seems that Google is using two key factors in determing what does (and doesn't) get a real-time SERP box: Query Type - This is standard operating procedure for blended search.

Google looks at query type in determining when and how aggresively to integrate things like news, video, etc. Twitter Activity - This is the interesting piece, for me: it looks like Google is monitoring (via API or possibly by crawling) the activity of certain terms across Twitter, and integrating twitter results based on the amount of activity they see on Twitter. My methods for arriving at this conclusion are far from scientific, but it makes sense and I'll explain why I t... > Read more

December 11, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Analyzing Bounce Rate Using Compete Destination Analytics

Bounce rate has become a hot topic in the search community. It's a bit of a buzz word, and if you're doing any sort of SEO or even PPC consulting you'll likely have clients concerned about theirs. In analyzing a site's bounce rate, I like to look at three main factors: Bounce Rate Factor #1: Traffic Source Often times the place traffic comes from (search, direct, referral) can have a major impact on bounce rate and can be an indication of irrelevant traffic (some perhaps that you may be paying for).

There are a variety of ways you can quickly diagnose problems using analytics packages. Bounce Rate Factor #2: Page Content/Structure Obviously the way you’re structuring the page or the content therein may cause people to bounce quickly. By carefully syncing your pages' headlines with the ... > Read more

October 27, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 1

Google "Triple SERP Listings" or Double Indented SERP Results on Google.com

Not sure if this is getting rolled out everywhere but Larry spotted this last night and we're seeing it in a lot of SERPs: Pretty interesting. Really I think it's just more emphasis on domain authority. Not unlike site links and the search within search bar, a triple listing allows Google to crowd the SERPs with the single destination they've deemed sufficiently authoritative.

The criteria for attaining a double listing had been that you would need to push both pages into the cluster of ten a searcher was viewing. I haven't done a lot of testing but I find it hard to believe this is still the case, given the frequency with which I'm seeing the triple listing. What do you think? Is this an extension of the Brand/Vince update? Just a test? How aggresively are you seeing it in your SERP... > Read more

October 27, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 4

SEO Dojo Launches Private SEO Community & Forum

Our friend David Harry recently launched a new SEO community called the SEO Dojo. I've been a member through the community's "beta" period, and it is packed with a ton of great information and there are numerous "hardcore" SEOs offering up their expertise to answer questions and help drive discussions.

Some highlights: Ask the Experts & Dojo Chat - I haven't had a chance to be as active in the chat as I'd like but from browsing transcripts its obvious that there is a lot of activity and that there will be numerous SEOs eager to interact, answer questions and offer feedback. Knowledge Exchange - The forum area allows you to have your site reviewed, offer or shop for services, and more. Study Hall - This area is home to a lot of great SEO guides authored by David and the Dojo members. ... > Read more

October 19, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 0

20 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Resources - Learn how to Convert More of Your Traffic

Not unlike a lot of marketers who enter the discipline through the SEO door, my initial fascination with search marketing was the idea that you could promote and optimize a piece of content and generate large volumes of really specific search traffic. And, also not unlike a lot of marketers, I quickly realized that traffic is only a directionally significant metric: people visiting your site is financially meaningless if you can’t turn their visit into a business-driving activity once they get there (even if you're monetizing based on CPM, you still want visitors to go deeper into your site, create a relationship and return, etc.

). The following is a collection of resources surrounding website conversion rate optimization. There’s a lot of great content out there on the subject, but t... > Read more

October 08, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 8

Identifying the Right Niche Keywords - Huomah (SEO Dojo) Guest Post

David Harry was nice enough to put up a guest post I wrote today: How to Identify the Best Keywords for Your Niche. In it I talk about: Finding Keywords Refining Your Keyword List Evaluating the Difficulty of Ranking Making Your Keyword Research Efforts an Iterative Process Please check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! Incidentally if you haven't checked them out, David's blog is excellent, his SEO newsletter is great, and he maintains an active community of very smart SEO/SEM folks.

... > Read more

September 21, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Web Analytics World Guest Post - Diagnosing Problems (& Successes) In Analytics

I had a chance to write a guest post for Web Analytics World last week. In it I talked about quickly diagnosing quick jumps or dips in traffic or conversions, and oulined three steps for getting to the bottom of a shift in traffic: Consider the Source Analyze Your Overall Mix Identify Who or What is Sending You Traffic To learn more about each step and how you can accomplish the above in Google Analytics, check out the post.

... > Read more

September 09, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

How to Get Do Follow Links from Wikipedia Articles in Four Simple Steps

Apologies for the (slightly) misleading headline on dofollow links. You won’t find something like this within this article. What you will find is a means for accumulating passive, recurring, and authoritative links to content by leveraging the popularity and search prominence of Wikipedia (which I assume probably sounds pretty good, too).

Quality Link-building Strategy: Define a Query Set Find Heavily Trafficked Pages Create A Resource Insert Link Appropriately Wikipedia is Where Research is Being Done There are a number of bloggers, journalists, students, and others in control of Web content who rely on some combination of Google and Wikipedia to research a topic. This can be evidenced by a couple of handy graphs. Lots of people visit Wikipedia, Compete puts the estimate at somewhere ... > Read more

August 27, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 11

3 Steps to More Effective SEO & PPC Analytics

The following was previously a series of blog posts. We're repurposing the series in a single document here to make the piece easier to link at and reference; additionally our readership is much larger than it was when we first started the blog, and we thought the new readers might find the content valuable.

The original posts can be found here: The Power of Data Sharing - How Sharing SEO & PPC Information Can Improve Results How to Use PPC & SEO Keyword Data to Maximum Effect Anyone engaging in search marketing should be analyzing SEO and PPC concurrently. By creating a data-driven Web marketing environment in which you can share insights from multiple channels, you provide yourself with a marked advantage over companies and marketers who segment their information sets. This is ... > Read more

August 24, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 3

The Necessity of PPC, Insights for Search, and Other Odds and Ends

Elisa’s on vacation today, so you’re stuck with me, which means a much more disjointed Friday Roundup. I promise she'll be back next week. Since we’ve been pretty self-promotional here on the blog all week I won’t bore you with a lot of stuff about interviews Larry’s done, interviews I’ve done, posts Ken’s written that got a lot of attention, presentations from SES, etc.

(See what I did there?) Anyway… First off, Google Insights for Search pushed out an update. Insights is a really slick tool; if you’re looking to glean some insight into seasonality, or if you just want to decide which query space to target, you can get a really nice high-level look at the way certain searches are trending. Aaron Wall added this data to his tool, and David Harry has the scoop on the updat... > Read more

August 21, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

Sage Lewis Interview with Tom Demers of WordStream

Sage Lewis, a frequent blogger at Search Engine Watch and the president and founder of Sage Rock Web Marketing, was nice enough to sit down with me for a quick interview about WordStream at SES San Jose. Many thanks to Sage: (I get paid by the hand gesture, incidentally...)... > Read more

August 18, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

The Value of Keyword Expansion (And How to Do It Well)

The following was previously a series of blog posts. We're repurposing the series in a single document here to make the piece easier to link at and reference; additionally our readership is much larger than it was when we first started the blog, and we thought the new readers might find the content valuable.

The original posts can be found here: Why the Most Efficient Frontier May Be a New One Starting Another Graph: How to Expand Your Keyword Lists The Value of Keyword Expansion & Discovery Continual keyword discovery and keyword expansion in paid search marketing is immensely important. There are actually a number of instances where strategically expanding your keyword portfolio offers more ROI than bid manipulation. The concept of "diminishing returns" and modern portfolio theory ... > Read more

August 17, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 3

The Long Tail Keyword Optimization Guide - How to Profit from Long Tail Keywords

The following was previously a series of blog posts. We're repurposing the series in a single document here to make the piece easier to link at and reference; additionally our readership is much larger than it was when we first started the blog, and we thought the new readers might find the content valuable.

The original posts can be found here: The Long Tail SEO Keyword Guide Posts: Part One: Heads or Tails? - How to Profit From Long Tail Keywords that Don’t Exist Part Two: Informing the Tail - Mid-Level & Long Tail Information Architecture Part Three: Building Links & Creating Content for Mid-Tail & Longtail Phrases By strategically targeting keywords of varying keyword competition levels you will see more and better qualified streams of traffic. At a high level, sea... > Read more

August 03, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 3

Torn on Bing/Yahoo Deal

Search Engine Journal was nice enough to post my initial reaction to word of the Bing Yahoo! deal. Take a look and let me know your thoughts regarding the impact of the deal on PPC and SEO. ... > Read more

July 30, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Interview with Aaron Wall of SEO Book

I recently had a chance to interview SEO Book's Aaron Wall. Like many in the SEO space I bought Aaron's popular SEO book years back, and have learned a tremendous amount from his SEO blog.  SEO Book has transition to offering SEO Training rather than the old eBook model. The SEO Book training program grants users access to: A comprehensive set of training modules on Internet marketing An active community forum where Aaron and other seasoned online marketing pros answer questions, offer feedback, etc.

And a set of premium tools and coupons I wrote a review of the SEO Book SEO Training program a while back and would strongly recommend the program to anyone engaging in online marketing (I'm a happy customer myself). Aaron was gracious enough to answer the following questions about SEO... > Read more

July 13, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 8

Features, Not Just Benefits – Why Differentiation Requires More Than Vague Maxims

Every marketing 101 class worth its salt will have you walking out the door uttering two time-honored maxims where messaging and copy is concerned:   Benefits, Not Features. Unique Value Proposition. No one really wants to hear about what you do, they want to know what you’ll do for them, right? And you want to make sure that you’re showing unique value; that you offer something no one else does.

You want to provide differentiation. The problem here is that because of strict adherence in marketing copy and creative to the first maxim, just talking about benefits is no longer good enough to achieve the second. Every company I come in contact with is going to make me better, faster, cheaper, smarter. These are benefits aimed at the “what’s in it for me”. ... > Read more

July 08, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 2

Why these Four AdWords Success Stories are Really Just One

Google recently released a series of videos outlining AdWords customer success stories. The videos are instructive in as much as they outline some best practices, but I thought the most interesting thing about the collection is the fact that although they chopped them up into four videos, they are still intrinsically tied together.

Let's take a look:The Power of Keyword OrganizationA crucial but oft-overlooked component of AdWords success is effective keyword organization:We agree with this so passionately that we went and built a keyword research tool.Keyword Expansion Helps You Find More Traffic and ConversionsThis shouldn't be particularly shocking, but the capacity to discover more keywords leads to an ability to find more traffic, leads, and sales:We believe that continual keyword dis... > Read more

July 03, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

The PPC Agency Differentiation Checklist – The 5 Questions That Will Gain You Market Share

If you’re selling a product or service of any kind, differentiation should be top of mind. Search agencies are no different. Really this could apply to any online marketing agency or consultant, but for the sake of this post we’ll discuss why it's particularly pertinent to paid search: people are starting to spend more on search, there are reports that most of that increased spend is being pushed towards pay per click advertising, and many are frustrated with their results.

This means two things: Increased Opportunity for PPC Agencies – There’s more spend to manage; more and more quality companies who would make great clients will be turning to agencies to manage their paid search accounts. More Competition – With the influx of money to be managed, new firms, lone-wolf consultan... > Read more

July 01, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Is Paying Per Click an Addiction, or a Lifestyle Choice?

Mike Volpe, VP of marketing at Hubspot recently wrote a blog post in which he describes PPC as a “marketing addiction”. Incidentally if you haven't read the Hubspot blog you should check it out; they post a lot of interesting and informative stuff, and even craft some pretty good link-baits (as evidenced by the first sentence of this post).

In the post Mike makes the argument that SEO and social media are asset-based marketing channels that offer greater leverage than perpetually paying for clicks. I don't think this is a ridiculous point to make. SEO efforts often offer streams of “passive traffic income” and when done right SEO and social media activities provide compounding benefits. SEO and social media are excellent marketing mediums. We love them. We use them. We sell softwar... > Read more

June 18, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

How to Create PPC Landing Pages that Work for SEO

  The conventional thinking on pay-per click landing pages is that they should be “dedicated landing pages”, should be “de-indexed”, and that you need to create individual pages for PPC versus organic search. There are a number of very good resources on landing pages that will tell you this.

There’s validity here; it’s most likely the case that you’ll optimize conversions by creating a separate landing page for PPC traffic. However, this post will tell you why in some cases it can be a poor use of resources. We’ll talk about why this is, and about when it makes sense to allow SEO and PPC to share landing pages. The Roots of Conventional Landing Page Wisdom So how did conventional wisdom become so conventional? The argument for creating dedicated landing pages for paid ... > Read more

June 17, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Internal Link Building Kit

The MadeUpCompany Link Building Kit This is an “internal link building template.” One best practice for companies hoping to attain high search rankings is to get company employees to link to your site. This document attempts to give a brief run-down as to how to go about requesting that your employees link to you.

The main things to note here are that: It’s too long – This could be considerably shorter. One reason it’s too long is that, personally, I would rather have one link from someone who had been properly instructed than ten from people who have a vague idea of what they should be doing. The potential for seeing four pages and not reading a word is definitely there, though, so keep that in mind. It’s not terribly specific – You could tailor this more to your industry, ... > Read more

June 02, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 2

How to Outsource to Trusted Link Builders Who Won’t Cost You a Dime

Link building is often boring, time-consuming, and can be expensive. Not only that, but your website is usually ripe with low-hanging link fruit that you should be picking before you run around contacting every blogger who makes the mistake of offering up a bit of contact information. BUT that doesn’t mean you get out of it entirely.

Unfortunately, link building is one of these eat-your-veggies sort of search marketing activities: healthy but annoying. Luckily, there are ways of outsourcing your link building that don’t cost a dime. Outsourcing Link Building: Free of Charge There are a lot of great resources that will tell you how to build links, but we’ll focus on an easy one you may be overlooking: Let everyone else in the company do it for you! Getting Free Links The Easy Way So h... > Read more

June 01, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Accounts Being Limited By Budget?

I looked in my account this morning and noticed for the first time that Google is exposing something new in the new AdWords interface: This is interesting for a few reasons: It seems the impressions share report data (IS lost budget in your AdWords report) that many PPC marketing managers make use of in their daily work is now being exposed in the home dashboard.

It helps make Google money (notice there's not warning for budgets that are set too high...you're either eligble or you're missing out). It will lead to irrational bidding behaviour. The impact may be slight but advertisers will log into their AdWords accounts, see that their campaigns are "limited", and change the way they allocate money, upping their bids on AdWords keywords. It's important to point out that sometim... > Read more

May 26, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Screwy Sponsored Results for Google Search Options

I was playing with Google's new search options today, and I realized that search results for "related searches" was using some pretty goofy matching. Here's a normal SERP for the phrase "keyword tool" (click for full image):     So far so normal. Then we click over to search options: Note the inclusion of a strange ad amongst a lot of ads that make sense.

Now let's drill down to "related searches" for this query:   Google appears to use a different algorithm for search network partners, is that the case here? I've also seen the new search options be a bit buggy (in IE 8) so maybe this is a part of the perpetual beta phase that's being rolled out? I'm not sure how many people actually make use of search options (the text link seems to blend in), but it seems that... > Read more

May 19, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0
 
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