Larry Kim's blog

WordStream Featured in USA Today: Search Engine Marketing for Small Business

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!  Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

December 06, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

Meet WebMetricsGuru Marshall Sponder on Thursday Sept 15, 2011 in Providence, RI

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! Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

September 13, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Recommended Resource: Ryan Healy

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

September 06, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Best Online Marketing Blogs   |   Comments: 0

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

August 17, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Google Serves Up Super-Sized Organic Sitelinks in Organic SERPS

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 organic sitelinks, and listings with many as 12 huge organic sitelinks. The new super-sized mega sitelinks take up the entire page! (Learn More: WordStream's AdWords Sitelinks Guide)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 sea... > Read more

August 16, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

Worst Link Exchange Request Ever

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

August 15, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 12

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

August 08, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook

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

July 26, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 4

Where's Mesothelioma, What Is Cord Blood & Other FAQs About Our Most Expensive Keywords Study

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 in the ... > Read more

July 22, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 8

The Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords

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

July 18, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 121

Google +1 Review: A Deeper Look at the Google +1 Button

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 for nearly a month now.&nb... > Read more

June 02, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 17

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

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Announcing the New Keyword Research Suite: More Keywords, Exclusive Data, Actionable Results

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 Keyword Research Database on the Planet ... > Read more

April 18, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 5

We're Hiring: Inbound Marketing Jobs, User Experience Jobs, Software QA Jobs

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

April 08, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Google Now Hiring Autocompleters for Google Suggest

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 AutocompleterWatch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google.Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition.Suggest spelling corrections when relevant.Keep ... > Read more

April 01, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Google Personal Blocklist Helps Users Defeat Spammy Link Farms

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 Personal B... > Read more

February 14, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) Busted by Google SEO Web Spam Cops for Black Hat SEO and Link Farms

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 presented their findings to Google. Googler Matt Cutts, head of SEO websp... > Read more

February 14, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6

AdWords Releases Super-Sized Ad Text Headlines

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

February 09, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Free AdWords Coupons - Google Adwords Promotional Codes

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

February 08, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 14

Microsoft Accuses Google of Feigned Outrage, Click Fraud, Copying Bing

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 ranking algorithms, and within a few wee... > Read more

February 03, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

mbzrxpgjys - Bing Copies Google - The Bing Sting - But Who Cares

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 certain users interact with Goog... > Read more

February 02, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 4

AdWords Changing Format of Display URL

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

January 19, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

A Better Campaign from Day 1: The Latest Evolution of WordStream

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

January 06, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 4

Internet Marketing Jobs - We're Hiring!

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

October 26, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Check Out the New SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App

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. Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

October 20, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 1

WordStream Readers: Get 15% Off BlueGlass FL!

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

October 14, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Announcing WordStream's New Quality Score Management Tools

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

October 12, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Announcing SocialTech 2010 (with $100 Discount for Our Readers)

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

October 05, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

The Pros and Cons of Link Begging

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 if you'r... > Read more

September 14, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

SEO vs. PPC: When to Use Which Search Marketing Method for Maximum Profit

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

August 19, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 31
 
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