Larry Kim's blog
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
WordStream's Special Promotion:Learn AdWordsAdWords CouponsCoupon Use TermsFree AdWords Spend Promotion! (Expires 12/15/2013)Hello! We are offering 20 more AdWords coupons to help your business find additional customers. Please find below 20 adwords promotional coupons worth $100 each - a total of $2,000 in AdWords vouchers!These AdWords vouchers are completely free and you can use them to:Gain competitive advantage: Win new clients by offering $100 free AdWords credit.
Build customer loyalty: Start new customers on AdWords with a risk-free trial.Get some free advertising for your business. 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... > 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
The folks over at BlueGlass are hosting another stellar, star-studded must-attend event for "serious marketers," and they're offering an exclusive 15% discount to readers of this blog. BlueGlass FL 2010 is happening on November 2 and 3, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The conference will feature some of the top social media and search marketing industry experts, including Brian Clark from Copyblogger, Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia.com, Marty Weintraub of AimClear and Dennis Goedegebuure Director of SEO at eBay. Register for BlueGlass FL with the WordStream Discount Code! If you register with the exlusive discount code "ws15," you'll get 15% off. And there are no limitations on the number of sign-ups associated with this code so pass it along to your ... > Read more
Since WordStream launched, we’ve talked a lot about Quality Score and created a number of Quality Score resources: A Quality Score white paper A Quality Score toolkit including a handy Quality Score cheat-sheet, a webinar on the topic, and a meaty white paper. And an interview which we think serves as a pretty comprehensive guide to Quality Score (despite what some people may think about the veracity of some of the interview answers – hat tip to Aaron of SEO Book and PPC Blog PPC Training for the very insightful comments incidentally!) We believe campaign structure is a foundational element in building out profitable pay-per-click marketing campaigns, and we know that it’s a crucial component of Google’s ad auction.
And while many vendors focus on tool... > Read more
The folks over at MarketingProfs have put together a great social media B2B tech conference called SocialTech 2010. SocialTech 2010 brings together the visionaries and experts who are using the power of social media to transform the way that B2B technology companies market their products and services.
At SocialTech 2010, you will: Learn how to energize your company’s B2B marketing and sales via social media from experts. Connect with your technology marketing and sales peers to network and share social media marketing tips. See the latest innovations in social media tools and services. The event is happening in-person in San Jose, CA, as well as online from "wherever you work" on October 26, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (PT). Check out the SocialTech event website to get th... > Read more
Wanted to let everyone know that Mark Thompson over at StayonSearch has created an exclusive10-Week Internet Marketing Course that you can get for FREE! This is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of web marketing! According to Mark, the 10-Week Internet Marketing Course is "designed to teach you all the basics of Internet Marketing.
It covers a wide variety of topics to help drive traffic, build your brand and increase leads/sales. Every week you will be e-mailed a new module of this 10 week course that will teach you the fundamentals of Internet Marketing." What's in the Free Course? Here's what's included in the free course: Week 1 - Strategy: Understanding Your Goals and Setting Expectations Week 2 - Market Research & Analysis: Know Your Target Market Before Spending Mar... > Read more
One way to get links pointing back to your website is by link begging—basically, asking someone to link to your site from theirs. People beg for links by sending an email, making a phone call, or messaging someone over a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook. Recently, I wrote in a blog post about link building myths that I believe link begging is a waste of time—it's just not scalable.
However, some search marketers swear by link begging. Is it a workable strategy, or a bad idea? To help you make an educated decision about whether to engage in link begging, let's consider the practice's pros and cons. Here are some of the pros of link begging: Link begging can, in fact, get you links. Link begging is a way of alerting people to your content. Especially ... > Read more
It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Traffic is the lifeblood of any online undertaking. The success of an online business greatly depends on the amount of traffic it can generate for its pages. This is an indubitable fact.What is subject to a lot of debate, however, is the matter of SEO vs.
PPC, two of the most powerful traffic generating approaches. SEO stands for search engine optimization. PPC stands for pay per click. Though their end goal is the same, they are different concepts that require different techniques and methodologies.Both are effective methods of garnering visitors for a website, but one method can work very well for certain circumstances, while with the other, you may encounter difficulties generating traffic in the same situation.To succeed with either method... > Read more
There's a reason that link building is often touted as being one of the top strategies for gaining exposure online: it works. Unlike many other online marketing strategies, link building is a consistently reliable way to draw targeted traffic to a website. Like anything else, though, plenty of myths about link building are swirling around out there.
In order to make the most out of your Internet marketing experience, you should educate yourself about the most common link building myths. By doing so, you can use link building to enjoy a more fruitful online marketing experience. Dispelling the Top Five Link Building Myths The Internet is awash in conflicting information about link building. Below, we highlight five of the most pervasive link building strategy myths, then cut th... > Read more
This week's recommended resource is one of my favorite people in the Internet marketing sphere, Megan Leap. Megan is a fantastic marketer, blogger and world class sweetheart. When I first connected with Megan, she was working for Ion Interactive as the Online Marketing Manager and was a key contibutor to the Ion Interactive Blog, where she shared her insights on search, social media and conversion rate optimiztion tips and best practices.
Recently, she left Ion and is now managing the marketing activities over at MarketingProfs. She still blogs frequently and shares her deep knowledge of the online marketing space, so make sure you check out and bookmark her articles on the Marketing Professors Daily Fix Blog. Megan also has her own personal site, where she posts links to her guest articl... > Read more
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important part of building a web business. While advertising and social networking are important parts of growing your online presence, the majority of people still come across new websites by using search engines. Search engine traffic is also far more likely to be looking for something to buy than social traffic is.
But SEO has changed quite a bit over the years. In the past it was easier to try to outsmart the search engines by using questionable tactics that filled the web with sites that were little more than spam, packed with repetitive keywords and useless to the visitor. Unfortunately, some of these tactics are still taught by people claiming to have knowledge in the field of SEO. It is important to avoid these pitfalls that in the best cas... > Read more
Like most of the world, I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat since we launched our Facebook 6K Fans Sweepstakes (sorry, not allowed to use Facebook in the contest name...ya know, house rules and all...) because you've been dying to find out when we'd reach 1,000 "likes" on Facebook and who the first fan milestone winner will be.
Well, get ready to get excited, because the wait is over. Congratulations to Stacey Davis who wins a $100 Amazon.com gift card.To our other 999 fans who didn't win and think they've missed out on winning some cool prizes (for basically doing nothing, BTW, since this is THE easiest Facebook contest on the planet...yes, it's official, folks), turn that frown upside down because this sweepstakes ain't over yet, kids.That's right, there are still more pri... > Read more
Content Optimization Strategy: Revamp Your Content to Capitalize on Missed Long Tail Keyword Opportunities
When it comes to content optimization, I'm a big fan of revisiting and reworking my existing content to take advantage of any traffic opportunities I may be missing out on. Now even though I perform keyword research before writing any blog post or landing page, I often always overlook keyword opportunities (both long tail and any closely-related keyword variations around my core term).
And being a search marketer, one of my primary goals when writing is to rank. So I don't want to leave any keyword optimization opportunities on the table. That's why, after I've published content, I make it a point to go back and fine tune things, so I can extract every last ounce of SEO benefit.Now, the Web is saturated with articles on tools that aid you in conducting initial keyword research. But wh... > Read more