Larry Kim's blog
This evening I was doing some SEO research, digging through some web server log files and came across a bunch of weird HTTP referrer fields like this one:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CF4QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wordstream.com%2Fblog%2Fws%2F2011%2F07%2F18%2Fmost-expensive-google-adwords-keywords&ei=WjhFT_yFGqW0iQKJ_u3aDg&usg=AFQjCNH6jAtufiEV9QQ4URJCPcqKj60iuA&sig2=R881GkyXe-xIhCnCm6pxaQI couldn't figure out what the q=&esrc=s string was because:The q= parameter was emptyI had never seen this esrc=s parameter.
There were literally thousands of HTTP referrer strings from Google containing the string: q=&esrc=s parameter set.I did some digging and figured out that "esrc=s" has to do with the Keyword "... > Read more
In the latest move to make SEO harder and increase Google revenues, Google yesterday introduced a new ad format called Enhanced Ad Sitelinks. This new ad format has some similarities to the existing site links ad format, but instead shows related ads in your AdWords account rather than your site links.
Here's what the new super-sized adwords sitelink looks like now:In testing, Google said that "ads with enhanced sitelinks were more useful and relevant" and "clickthrough rates were significantly higher than the same ad with traditional 2- and 3-line sitelinks." Obviously (duh), this has something to do with the fact that the new ads can occupy up to 3 times as much real estate on a Google SERP. It looks like a highly effective way to dominate above-the-fold search results, and further push o... > Read more
Thanks to everyone who helped us get the news out about our infographic: What Industries Contribute to Google's Revenues. A special thank you to John Abell at Wired, Jennifer Booton at Fox Business, and John Letzing at the Wall Street Journal, Noam Cohen at the New York Times, Eric Mack at CNET, Jeff Haden at Inc, as well as the guys at Black Hat PPC! In this post, I’d like to address a few of the questions that came up in the comment sections of our blog and other sites that covered the news.
Here it is again (click to enlarge), in case you missed it!And now for some Q&A’s about our Google Advertiser Infographic:Where Is the Legal Industry? (i.e., Where Are My “Mesothelioma” Keywords?)Here are the top 20 industries that spent the most on Google advertising last year.Finance &a... > Read more
The Industries that Spent the Most on AdWords and What It Tells Us About the State of the US EconomyOn the heels of Google’s “disappointing” earnings announcement last Thursday – they generated a whopping $37.9 billion in revenues in 2011 – we conducted our own analysis to determine the top 10 industries that spent the most money on Google advertising last year.
The results are summarized in our Google revenues infographic, also shown below (click the image to enlarge).Google AdWords Revenue:Top 10 SpendersRevenue DataRevenue SourcesGrow Your Business With PPCWe think that the results of our analysis reveal some surprising insights into the current state of the US economy – read on for more commentary.The Top 10 Industries that Spent Big on Google AdWords in 2011Finance & I... > Read more
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New to Google AdWords? Check out Our Most Popular AdWords Articles! To maximize the value of your free google adwords voucher, read some of our most popular Pay Per Click Marketing tutorials: PPC Budgeting B... > Read more
In today's print issue of USA Today, Byron Acohido reports on the trend of big search engine platforms (Google AdWords, Microsoft AdCenter, etc.), whose bottom lines depend on selling ads linked to search results — they are pouring millions of dollars into initiatives to help small and medium-sized advertisers (SMBs) make the leap to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
In the article, I argue that it's all too common for small advertisers to waste money on poorly executed campaigns.Typically, they don't re-evaluate and optimize their campaigns, and therefore miss out on the opportunity to leverage a powerful marketing channel to grow their business.Read the full article, "Big search companies woo small businesses," in USA Today! ... > Read more
Meet the Web Metrics Guru in person!Our friend Marshall Sponder of WebMetricsGuru.com (a contributor to the WordStream blog) has written a new book called Social Media Analytics, Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting and Using Metrics.To mark the occasion, Marshall will be at a book-signing event at Aspire Restaurant in Providence, RI this Thursday, September 15, 2011.
Registration is limited but you can RSVP for free here!... > Read more
Looking for a good copywriter? We’ve got that guy, Ryan Healy, right here.Ryan Healy has helped countless businesses execute professional direct-response sales letters, emails, PPC ad text and other copy that really works to bring in new customers and bigger profits. If you don’t believe us, check out the extensive testimonial section on his site, Business Growth Strategies.
Here are some of the ways you can learn better copywriting skills from Ryan Healy:Ryan’s website features 10 free “explosive business growth” articles full of ideas and techniques for growing your business, including strategies for curing cash flow problems, improving conversions and outsourcing to experts.He offers a 39-point copywriting checklist to subscribers of his email list.Ryan blogs regularly. C... > Read more
R.I.P. Reputation Management – New Huge Google Sitelinks Kills Online Reputation Management Industry?
Quick! Google the name of your company. See anything you don't like? A Reputation Management service firm can make it disappear or so that was their sales pitch, that is, until now.Yesterday we reported on Google’s roll-out of new, huge site-links that appear on branded searches, which pretty much crowds out the entire browser screen contents.
Organic search listings not affiliated with the company (such as any damaging reviews) are pushed “below the fold” or to page 2 and beyond, where fewer and fewer eyeballs venture out to.And of course, buying a paid advertisement on AdWords for your company’s name can now even further push stuff below the fold since ads are now also huge.The Reputation Management industry has sprouted up in recent years to defend clients against potentially da... > Read more
Google this week has been serving up huge sitelinks for branded searches. Take for example, this organic search for "WordStream" and look at the huge sitelinks (highlighted in yellow):I've seen searches with as few as 2 huge sitelinks, and listings with many as 12 huge sitelinks. The new super-sized mega sitelinks take up the entire page! SEO Impact of Huge Sitelinks in Google Search ResultsAll other organic search listings are now pushed down significantly "below the fold".
It's going to be very tough for an SEO to generate any traffic on branded keyword searchs. The new mega sitelink pushes the number 2 organic search result below the fold! And it's even worse when there are a few sponsored links above the organic search results. Take a look at this SERP:Notice how the big AdWords a... > Read more
I'm often spammed by bots and people asking for links but I thought this was pretty amusing so i wanted to share (I've just obfuscated the domain name). The part that really cracks me up is the the part in bold, below (lol). This has got to be the worst link exchange request ever.-----Original Message-----From: Bojan [mailto:info@xx-xxxxx.
xxx]Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:16 PMTo: Larry KimSubject: Link Exchange RequestDear owner of http://www.wordstream.com,I'm the webmaster of http:// www. xx-xxxxx.xxx.We came across your site http://www.wordstream.com on the Internet and feel that it would fit perfectly into our collection of quality links at http:// www. xx-xxxxx.xxx.The Google PR of this site is currently 5.We'd appreciate it if you place a link back to our site using the followi... > Read more
Announcing the AdWords Performance Grader: Find Out How You’re Doing on AdWords and How to Improve for Free
Today we're announcing the release of our new AdWords Performance Grader, a free tool that grades your AdWords account performance by analyzing several key performance indicators (including Quality Score, Account Activity, Click-Through Rate, and Impression Share) and comparing your results against those of other AdWords advertisers with similar monthly budgets.
It's like a free, instant PPC audit.The AdWords Performance Grader:Shows you how well your campaigns are really doingGives you a sense of how you fit into the competitive landscapeProvides tips for improving your score and your resultsThe best way to learn about the AdWords Performance Grader is to grade your AdWords account for free, but if you don't have an AdWords account, take a look at the sample AdWords report below (click on... > Read more
In light of recent reports of Google+ gaining significant traction, I wanted to find out: Is Google+ worth the effort from a marketer's perspective? The short answer: Yes! From our perspective, Google+ is already beating LinkedIn in terms of how much traffic they're driving, and it's quickly closing in on Twitter and Facebook!For this case study, I compiled Web analytics data for the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog for the week of July 18-July 24, 2011 (an unusually high traffic week for us), to see which social media network drove the most traffic – the results are illustrated below: The Social Media Showdown: Google+ vs.
Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn (click to enlarge).The results of the Social Media Showdown are as follows:1st Place: Facebook with 47.26% of visitors2nd Place: T... > Read more
Earlier this week we released a study that revealed the 20 most expensive, high-search-volume keyword categories to provide some insight into where Google makes all its billions in ad revenues, as well as tips on how to target super-competitive keyword verticals. The response was overwhelming! I’d like to especially thank Ryan Singel at Wired Magazine, Laurie Sullivan at Media Post, and Karen E.
Klein from Financially inKleined who helped us get the story out early on, as well as the thousands of folks who blogged and tweeted about the story this week. (And of course thanks to my colleague, the brilliant Ms. Elisa Gabbert, for having come up with the idea in the first place!) In this post I would like to briefly talk about the most common questions that came up about the study i... > Read more
On the heels of Google's blow-out Q2 2011 earnings announcement last week, we wanted to find out the most expensive keywords - what keywords demand the highest costs per click and are most competitive in terms of high search volume. Since the vast majority of Google's profits come from AdWords advertising, these high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google's profits.
The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords. (Click the image to enlarge the google adwords keywords infographic.)Table of Contents:Google CPCExpensive KeywordsBidding TipsBid InfoThe 20 most expensive keywords categories with the highest search volume (i.e. the most used keywords) and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:... > Read more
Just over two months ago Google announced their Google +1 Button, and yesterday they expanded on the offering by releasing the Google +1 Button for Websites. Having been signed up for the Google +1 service for a few weeks now, I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences using it so far. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found it to be that helpful.
Does Google +1 Even Work? For starters, my understanding was that Google was going to roll out Google +1 data in their paid and organic search results in order to help get "Recommendations when you want them," as advertised on the Google +1 product page. Take a look at this screenshot: But what I’m seeing is that: The +1 data doesn't get updated very often. 1,401 people have +1'd Facebook and it's been stuck at that number f... > Read more
Google Tests New SERP Format: Site Links to News Articles Replace Website Description in Branded News Searches
I saw this change in the Google SERP format today on a search for "CNN." Check out how Google has replaced the 2-line website description with up to three sitelinks with full-line descriptions corresponding to the headlines of trending news stories. Take a look here:See how you can click on "Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction" and it will link directly to the article.
It seems to be working this way on other major national media outlets, for example:USA TodayFox NewsWashington PostCBS NewsI guess on branded searches for media outlets, Google might be thinking something like...The anchor text on site links are too small for news articles (they're typically 1-3 words like "contact us" or whatever)The user probably doesn't care much for the website description (they obviously... > Read more
Today I’m thrilled to announce the general availability of what I believe to be the World’s most comprehensive and accurate suite of keyword research tools for SEO and PPC – the new Keyword Research Suite from WordStream! You can test drive the tools for free, or read on for more information.
In this post, I’d like to talk a little about what the Keyword Research Suite does, how it’s different, and why I think it’s a must-have for anyone who's serious about search marketing. What Is the Keyword Research Suite? For the past several months we've been gathering feedback from our regular free tool users and buckling down to develop what we think of as the ultimate keyword research suite. We wanted to build a tool that would offer… The Biggest Key... > Read more
Looking for your next career move? Interested in search marketing? Inbound marketing? Apply for a job at WordStream! We're on a mission to build the world's best PPC management and keyword research solutions to help companies with their online marketing efforts. We're currently hiring for positions in search marketing product management and software development.
How to Get a Job at WordStream (or anywhere, actually)Before diving into the job descriptions, thought it might be helpful to give my personal three best tips on how to get a job at WordStream, or anywhere else for that matter!Don't use find and replace in a generic cover letter – This is so obvious, I don't know why people do this. Instead, write a short note about what you thought about the position, what got you interested abou... > Read more
If you were ever wondering how Google Suggest is so good at predicting your desired search, Google today revealed (through a job posting) some rare insight into exactly what powers Google suggestions. If you search on Google today with Google Instant on, you'll see a little link on the bottom of the suggested searches that says "We're Hiring Autocompleters", as shown here: Clicking on the highlighted link will take you to the job description of a Google Autocompleter (click here for a screenshot).
And here are some of the job description highlights... Required Responsibilities of a Google Autocompleter Watch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google. Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition. Suggest spelling c... > Read more
In response to declining quality of organic (non-paid) Google search results, including a recently exposed link-farm-spam scheme by JC Penney, Google today released Google Personal Blocklist to help users keep SEO spam such as content link farms out of their search results. Chrome users can today download the Google Personal Blocklist extension that enables users to block specified domains from appearing in their search results, similar to how you can blacklist (or block) certain emails using a manual email spam filter.
Google will also track the domains that users flag "and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results," wrote Matt Cutts, principal engineer at Google and a prominent anti-spam spokesman for the company, in a blog post. What is Google ... > Read more
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article exposing the black hat SEO tactics of J.C. Penney, explaining how jcpenney.com was able to obtain #1 organic search rankings (unpaid or natural search listings) for virtually everything the retailer sold including searches for "bedding" or "dresses" or "Area Rugs," and enjoyed near-the-top first page rankings for searches like "skinny jeans," "home decor," "furniture," "comforter sets" etc.
The New York Times looked into JC Penney's link profile and uncovered a massive web of thousands of pages of blog spam and paid links linking to the J.C. Penney website, rich with relevant, descriptive anchor text designed to fool Google’s ranking algorithms. The New York Times... > Read more
Breaking News: Google has this week modified their ad headline format giving you yet another reason to care about Quality Score. The new ad headline may display twice as much information as before, combining both your headline and description line 1 fields, into one super-big headline (with its larger, bolder font) where it’s most likely to be noticed.
This change in ad text headline format only affects high Quality Score ads that appear above the search results on Google. Additionally, it will only super-size your ad text if each line appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation. The headline and description line 1 will be separated by a hyphen. Now, some top placement ads will have even longer, more eye-catching headlines. Here's just one example of the lon... > Read more
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Build customer loyalty: Start new customers on AdWords with a risk-free trial. But First, Check out Our Most Popular AdWords Articles!If you're starting an adwords account, be sure to check out some of our top free PPC training articles to ensure your google adwords promos are put to good use:What is a good Click Through Rate (CTR) for PPC?Comparing Bing PPC vs. Google... > Read more
In a response to Google's recent sting operation on Bing, Yusuf Mehdi, senior VP for Microsoft's Online Services Division, accused Google of "feigned outrage" and wrote in a blog post that "Google's 'experiment' was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as 'click fraud.
'" Eh? What Click Fraud? Recently, Google tweaked its search engine to return illogical results for made-up search terms like "mbzrxpgjys" or "hiybbprqag". The team of 20 or so engineers then went home at night and manually searched on those made-up words and all clicked on the false results using Internet Explorer, with Suggested Sites and the Bing Toolbar enabled. The Bing toolbar collects and leverages anonymous click-stream data in their SERP ... > Read more
The newswires are today reporting that Google is accusing Bing of copying their results. In a ridiculously dorky plot, Google spent months developing a Bing sting operation. They created random words such as "mbzrxpgjys" or "hiybbprqag" that had no legitimate matches on Bing or Google searches.
Google then it created its own "honeypot page" (yes, they actually called it a honey pot page! lol) with Research in Motion at the top of the page. Within a couple of weeks Research in Motion began appearing at the top of Bing searches for mbzrxpgjys. The following screenshot illustrates the search results for mbzrxpgjys on Bing and Google: Stefan Weitz, director of the Bing search engine at Microsoft, admitted in an interview that the company studies how... > Read more
In any given month, AdWords experiments with numerous subtle variations of the Google search results page, testing everything from font sizes and colors to layouts and spacing, as well as dozens of other variables. Recently, they found that by standardizing the look of the URLs on the page, it had a slight improvement on ad click-through rates.
As a result, they're changing the appearance of the display URLs of all ads that appear on Google and search partner sites. This is a global launch that affects all Google domains. Following the change, the domain portion of the display URL will always be shown in lowercase letters. The following illustration shows an example of how the ads will be displayed post-change. This change affects the domain portion of the display URL, including any subdo... > Read more
In search engine marketing, as in so many areas of business, time really is money, and that means wasted time is wasted money. That's why it's so important to optimize your AdWords campaigns sooner rather than later, so you're not throwing away money on clicks that go nowhere. And going one better, if you can build a high-power PPC campaign starting on Day 1, you won't have to spend time fixing your mistakes.
We're committed to continuously evolving and improving our software, and we've devoted a lot of energy in the past few months to gathering feedback from clients and prospects, both on our software and their needs as busy search marketers. Today we're announcing a new release of WordStream for PPC that addresses many of the pain points we've heard from you. Along with some impressive n... > Read more
Out of work? Unhappy with your present gig? Interested in Internet Marketing? Why not start a career in online marketing? Consider applying for a Job at WordStream! We're on a mission to build the next generation of Internet Marketing Software solutions to simplify and improve customer success with PPC and SEO, and are currently hiring for the following search marketing jobs in sales, marketing and product development: We're hiring for the following positions and offer a competitive salary and benefits package: Director of Business Development: Become a significant revenue driver for WordStream by discovering new sales and partnership opportunties.
Director of Inside Sales: Have experience selling SaaS products and managing inside sales? Then come help us build and provide lead... > Read more
So the crew over at SEO Dojo are at it again and have created a sick, new iPhone app called SEO Dojo Radio.Here's the iPhone App Description:SEO and all forms of internet marketing are our topics. We discuss industry news, SEO techniques and interview the top names in the SEO Game!Here are a couple of screenshots of the SEO Dojo Radio App too:Now, I'm a huge fan of SEO Dojo Radio.
And how can you not be with kick ass guests such as Jill Whalen, Debra Mastaler, Garrett French and former WordStream Director of Marketing and Measured SEM consultant Tom Demers.So if you're a fan of SEO news and insights, you're definitely going to want to download the new SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App.You can download it here: SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App ... > Read more