Larry Kim's blog
Tonight (January 11, 2013) at midnight is the deadline for early registration of Hanapin Marketing’s Hero Conference, a 3-day, all-PPC conference in Austin, TX, April 8-10.Three great reasons to sign up for Hero Conf todayI’ll be speaking! And I’d love to meet you. Check out the full list of speakers to see all the PPC heroes you’ll be able to learn from – including my friends and colleagues: Bryan Eisenberg, Chad Summerhill, George Michie, Elizabeth Marsten, Jeff Allen, Joe Kerschbaum, Shawn Livengood, Noran El-Shinnawy, Matt Van Wagner, and many more.
And me! :)Bang for the buck. Hero Conf has a low speaker to attendee ratio for more one-on-one time, and is less expensive than similar industry conferences. (And you get the best price if you sign up today.)Total PPC focus. A lot... > Read more
As the founder of a search marketing startup, I’ve had the opportunity to interview, hire and work with some of the most amazing SEOs on the planet. I am so proud to have worked with people like Tom Demers and Ken Lyons, who not only helped me turn wordstream.com into a website that holds its own against domains like google.
com for SERP rankings, they went on to found a successful internet marketing consultancy of their own!Because WordStream’s business is in the internet marketing industry, the competition for SEO keywords in this vertical is incredibly fierce. We’re always competing against other search agencies, or search marketing product companies who obviously know a thing or two about SEO. If you think your insurance or travel industry has fierce competition, try competi... > Read more
Struggling with PPC advertising? Do you want to take your AdWords account performance to the next level? I can help!I’ll do a complete PPC audit of your AdWords paid search account – for free. Seriously!Next week – on Wednesday, December 12 at 1:00PM EST, I’ll be doing a live webinar with my colleague, Sean Quadlin from Hanapin Marketing (the folks who run the PPC Hero blog!).
Click here to register for the Webinar.During the presentation, I’ll be holding a live PPC optimization clinic – Sean and I will review 2 AdWords accounts and point out areas of strengths, and uncover opportunities to improve your PPC account performance.A few years ago, I used to charge over $1000 for doing a custom PPC audit like this! But we’ll do it live, in-person and at no cost to you (excep... > Read more
Hello! I'll be speaking on a panel on “Search in the Social Era” at Search Insider Summit 2012. I'll be partnering with other search industry experts to give a presentation on “Driving Social Further down the Conversion Funnel” at the Search Insider Summit on Saturday December 15, 2012, at 10:15 am.
The presentation is one of several that will be hosted during the four-day Search Industry Summit conference hosted at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, UT. For my “Driving Social Further Down the Conversion Funnel” talk, I will be joined by panelists including Chris Baggott, Chariman at Compendium; Dhiren D’Souza, President and Co-Founder of SearchForce; and Chris Zaharias, Chief Revenue Officer at Triggit. Together we'll examine wh... > Read more
YouTube’s growing prominence in popular culture has shown that it can serve as much more than just a way to share adorable kitten videos – it has become a highly effective venue for accessing massive audiences through online advertising.YouTube has become the venue by which budding musicians and performers get their first big break.
Justin Bieber first got discovered on YouTube, and more recently YouTube has made Psy’s hit “Gangnam Style” the most viral video of all time. And that’s not just an empty title – “Gangnam Style” has reached nearly 1 billion views, and those views can be equated to serious YouTube advertising revenue.(Source: WordStream, Inc. provider of PPC and AdWords tools.)To put things in perspective: YouTube gets over 1 billion views per day, which means ... > Read more
Congratulations to Psy and his legendary k-pop sensation, “Gangnam Style,” which as of today, November 24, 2012, is the most viewed video of all time on YouTube, beating out the former reigning champ, Justin Bieber’s “Baby.”“Gangnam Style” has become the most viral YouTube video of all time, obtaining unprecedented worldwide attention and breaking social and viral records left and right.
With the recent M.C. Hammer mash-up broadcast at the American Music Awards, the “Gangnam Style” craze is still going strong, but for how long?To commemorate this momentous day in internet pop-culture history, I'm releasing a new infographic, “Psy vs. Bieber: ‘Gangnam Style’ Takes Best in Show for Top YouTube Video of All Time”, which puts Psy’s “Gangnam Style” head-to-head a... > Read more
As a business owner or marketer, you need results FAST during the holidays. More than any other marketing channel, PPC is fast, scalable, and can get you the results you need!WHAT: 5 Ways to Leverage PPC this Holiday SeasonWHEN: Thursday, November 29 at 12:00 PM (Noon) EST (5:00 pm GMT/UTC)WHY: You'll leave this webinar with easy, actionable tips for reaching more potential customers through PPC.
You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions and get expert advice on creating AdWords campaigns for the holiday season. In this webinar, Dan Slagen, head of global marketing relations at HubSpot and I, will show you how to:Implement a successful PPC campaign in time for the holiday rushFind the right keywords to rank in paid searchUse PPC to complement your organ... > Read more
It’s almost here—the holiday shopping season that so many businesses rely on to profitably round out the year. And once again, there’s a movement afoot to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of the action. Nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday (SBS)—which this year falls on Saturday, November 24.
The U.S. Small Business Administration describes it as “a day to celebrate and support small business and all that they do for their communities.” It's particularly meaningful to me as I myself founded a start-up, and we work with so many small and medium sized businesses every day!Small Business Saturday may be less than one week away, but there’s still time to make sure your business is primed for what will hopefully be a bi... > Read more
The AdWords Performance Grader, Now with Industry Benchmark Data! Find Out How You Compare to Industry Peers
New Google SERP Changes Make Ads More Prominent than Ever, Cannibalize Organic Search for Informational Queries
Google has released a refresh of their Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), shifting the search toolbar from the left side to the top of the screen. The top navigation bar (including the new search toolbar) is also approximately 20 pixels less tall compared to the old top navigation bar, so adds appear higher up on the page.
According to Google: "With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph," the search engine said Tuesday in a blog post.The stated goal was to create a “simpler, cleaner design” which creates a “consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today."How the SERP Change Impacts Organic SearchThe N... > Read more
*If online engagement metrics are any indication!Election Day 2012 is tomorrow – will President Barack Obama get another four years? Or will Republican challenger Mitt Romney take the win?Political wonks may know that statistician Nate Silver has predicted a win for Obama based on election polls and public opinion polls.
I was curious if the Internet presence of the two respective candidates pointed to the same outcome. So I ran some quick numbers to look at Obama and Romney’s spending on paid search advertising (political campaign ads on Google search and the Google Display Network), their website traffic, and their social media presence (including Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers).Based on what I found, I predict that Obama will win by a landslide on Nov. 6, ... > Read more
This post originally aggregated data from thousands of real Google AdWords from multiple industries. Due to recent changes in Google’s API policy, the original content of this blog post has been removed. If you are looking for specific conversion rate industry benchmarks for your Google AdWords account, the data can be accessed in report format through an AdWords Performance Grader report.
For more details on why our original research was removed: Important Update on WordStream's Infographic Research and AdWords Performance Grader.All that's left now are the insights we discovered at a high level.Google AdWords Conversion RatesMany businesses often wonder how much mileage their industry competitors are getting with Google AdWords. This is a tough problem because the data isn't publicly av... > Read more
After months of denying/downplaying the impact of Negative SEO, Google today has launched a new and widely anticipated disavow links tool. The tool was announced by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam, at today’s keynote at the Pubcon conference, implicitly proving the existence of Negative SEO.
The new Google disavow links tool is live and can be used now.New Disavow Tool: What Does It All Mean?My take on the new disavow tool:Proves that Negative SEO is a Real Issue: Obviously (duh!). Otherwise why would Google roll out such a tool. Not all webmasters are sophisticated enough to use the disavow tool to disavow links. Unscrupulous SEOs could target unsuspecting, competing websites with devastating effect.Creates Moral Hazard: The disavow links tool is a get-out-of-jail-free card ... > Read more
New AdWords Policy Means Quality & Relevancy Matter Most. PPC audits recommended.Google has updated its AdWords policy to place an even stronger focus on the quality of paid search advertising. This policy goes into effect today. While Google’s Quality Score has always been an important metric for any PPC campaign, this time it appears that Google really means business: marketers that do not heed its new policy updates demanding relevance, clarity and accuracy risk receiving penalties.
Your ads could be disapproved and in some cases your domain could even get suspended. Serious violations risk account suspension.New AdWords Policy on Relevance, Clarity, & AccuracyThe new AdWords policy focuses on enforcing standards of relevance, clarity and accuracy in text ads, ensuring that us... > Read more
How high should I set my initial AdWords budget?The answer is surprisingly complicated to come up with, and it's even more difficult to allocate.Why?A Challenge in Allocating AdWords BudgetsAdWords budgets are generally set per campaign, per day (i.e. you set a daily budget for each of your campaigns).
This usually gets complicated because most advertisers have multiple campaigns.If you're a reader of the WordStream blog or if you've used our AdWords Grader, you’ll know that we recommend that you break up every campaign theme into at least 3 different campaigns for targeting:Mobile searchDisplay network (or Remarketing)Google searchNow imagine having broken up every campaign into three campaigns along these lines, and you can start to see how it might be a challenge to allocate say, a $1... > Read more
In PPC marketing, as in all walks of life, your best intentions can sometimes get you into trouble. Even “best practices” often have unintended side effects!Last week I partnered with Sean Quadlin at Hanapin Marketing to host a webinar called “Good Intentions Gone Wrong: 7 Worst Practices in PPC.
” Here are three of those “good intentions” that can hurt your PPC account and cost you money and leads.Worst Practice #1: Keyword Expansion or Bust!Some marketers have an “expand or die” attitude in PPC. You want every impression possible, so you’re constantly browsing the opportunities tab and adding new keywords that your competitors are bidding on. Growth is a good thing, yes, but if you focus on expansion over organization, your ad groups are probably out of control.Ask yours... > Read more
You may have noticed recently that Google has been showing just 7 organic search listings on the first page for many searches, instead of the usual 10. Take for example, this search for "adwords," which shows just 7 organic search listings.Dr. Pete noticed that too, and yesterday he reported on the SEOmoz blog that Google had reduced the usual 10 search listings to just 7 on over 18% of Google searches! In my article today, I’ll just quickly summarize his rather incredible findings pertaining to the Incredible Shrinking Organic SERPs, and follow that with my own analysis and thoughts.
First, here’s a graph of the percentage of first page search results with fewer than 10 organic listings since April 4, 2012:In just two days, sometime around August 12-14, the number of first page search ... > Read more
Hey Guys,I've been reading trough the comments posted about my article yesterday. Many were angry and upset at me personally, and I feel pretty crummy about this. So, I'd like to apologize to everyone.While people were upset at many things, the two most common complaints were:Failure to more clearly differentiate between "SEO Spam" and "good SEO".
Failure to provide a more balanced view in presenting the arguments.The feedback is duly noted, and I've updated yesterday's article to try to present a more balanced view. You have my word that I will try my best to ensure that this won’t happen again!I sincerely apologize for this!Sincerely,Larry Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more
Note: This article, originally titled "Debunking the Myth of the Long-Term Value of SEO," has been edited from its original version. I've taken some of the arguments in the comments into consideration, and upon reflection a lot of my points were unclear or misleading, and I've adjusted my language accordingly.
Thanks to everyone for contributing to the debate. - LarryOne of the most common responses to my recent “War on Free Clicks” study and yesterday’s article, “Why SEO’s Suck at PPC,” was the notion that PPC stops the moment you stop spending, whereas SEO provides benefits forever.It reminds me of the “better to buy than rent a home” advice that was all the rage in the days leading up to the housing meltdown. Millions of homeowners got completely wiped out listenin... > Read more
When it comes to search marketing, SEO’s are from Mars and PPC’s are from Venus.Just over a week following the release of our War on Free Clicks infographic, dozens of whiny SEO’s have come out of the woodwork with ludicrous sob stories about how they purportedly tried and failed to get PPC to work for them and/or their client.
Sure, PPC isn’t easy – I get that, and I’ve even written a few articles about how some small businesses are struggling with PPC.But, seriously – compared to SEO?!! PPC is a total cakewalk. Like rolling off a log. Easy as pie.SEO, on the other hand, has recently become a complete nightmare-circus – I’m talking about the keyword analytics “not provided” brouhaha, Panda, Penguin, unnatural links notifications, the increasingly ridiculous and ... > Read more
Last month, we reported that the click-through rates on Facebook Ads average a dismal 0.04%, which is approximately 10x less than the equivalent display ad on the Google Display Network.Today, e-commerce store builder Limited Run is claiming that 80% of the clicks paid for could not be verified! The company is so unhappy with the results on recent Facebook ad tests, they're deleting their Facebook page entirely.
Do People Click on Google Ads?If you use Google search (and who doesn’t), you may have noticed that sponsored results (Google pay-per-click, or PPC, ads) have been taking over more and more of the search engine results page.Here at WordStream, we’ve noticed that too! So we decided to do some research into what impact all of these new, bigger, more prominent and engaging ad formats are having on the average Google searcher.
The results are astonishing:Clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent in the US. In other words, 64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online!Click here to skip ahead:Organic Search ListingAlgorithm UpdatesSEO vs PPCAcknowledgementsSurvey MethodologyNow, to... > Read more
Hello World!Just a quick announcement that I'll be participating in the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) June meeting, this Thursday, June 21, 2012, at the Constant Contact offices in Waltham, at 6:15PM. It's not a free event, but anyway, here are all the details!Session TopicPanel Discussion on "Sophomoric Software: Going from Prototype to Production" hosted by the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA).
BPMA Session AbstractYou've received some seed funding and signed with a customer or two. Now you need to grow your base to bring in some real revenue and build a production-quality product. It's very exciting times but you may not realize that the light at the end of the tunnel may be the train. Attend this session to learn more from an experienced group of executives ho... > Read more
Breaking News!Adwords Releases New Live Chat Ad Extensions! Take a look at this incredible screenshot!What is the New AdWords Live Chat Ad ExtensionThis new Ad Extension appears to enable a live chat session by clicking on the "Live Chat" icon within the Google AdWords ad! The chat extension has not been announced by Google yet in any official capacity.
This exciting new ad extension builds on many other interesting ad extensions released by Google in the last year including:AdWords Communication/Email ExtensionsAdWords Social Ad ExtensionsAdWords Product Ad ExtensionsAdWords Call Ad ExtensionsAdWords Sitelink ExtensionsPersonally, I am very excited by Live Chat Ad Extensions in AdWords because it greatly reduces the the time it takes to speak to your leads, which should lead to higher conv... > Read more
In case you missed it, Syncapse yesterday announced that it had acquired Clickable, Inc.!! (Go to clickable.com for additional details!)Clickable had been at one point been a direct competitor of WordStream, but much less so in the last year because:Clickable changed their product direction away from PPC /AdWords/Search Engine Marketing and instead focused more on Social Media and Facebook Advertising.
Clickable changed their target market away from small and medium-sized businesses towards larger, up-market companies.I don't know much about the Clickable acquisition -- I'm just as surprised as everyone else! But here’s what I do know:We've seen a growing flow of customers who were ex-Clickable users in the last 6 months. SMBs need help with paid search / AdWords and we are laser-focused ... > Read more
5 years ago, I quit my day job and I started WordStream. The idea for my start-up was pretty simple: That paid search is potentially an incredibly effective way to grow your business, but unfortunately, you need to be a math wizard to make it actually work. Since most small businesses don’t have these kinds of skills (or the money to hire someone with those skills) our mission would be to develop software that would make it possible for millions of small businesses to be succesful.
In the last 5 years we’ve accomplished quite a lot! Today, we’re the industry leader in our market segment, we've developed innovative products and features like WordStream Advisor and the 20 Minute PPC Work Week, we have many customers, and we’re growing remarkably fast! But it wasn’t always like this ... > Read more