Susannah Richardson's blog

Search Marketing and the Recession

The recession forced all businesses to reconsider each and every dollar spent, and search marketing was no exception. We saw our own PPC software client, 1-800-Mattress, side-step the recession after implementing a well-organized pay-per-click campaign. However, Ken's salary survey suggested the recession lowered online marketers' income; his data showed that the average salary was down from industry surveys of the previous year.

In April of 2008, Joshua Stylman predicted that of all branches of marketing, paid search would take the smallest hit. I think he was absolutely right, and I think the trend of search dominating marketing dollars will continue. Here are five reasons why I think search marketing is just about as recession-proof as they come. 1) Paid Search Was Built with ROI in Mi... > Read more

January 21, 2010     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 1

The Nonprofit's Guide to Link Building

We've been following Penn State Professor Jim Jansen and his PPC Advertising course for a while now, eagerly awaiting the outcome of his class's competition for the best performing nonprofit PPC campaign. Which got me thinking--those involved in nonprofits understand the difficulty of initiating a PPC campaign for their cause, and as much as I'd like to preach about the ease and importance of PPC for all businesses, nonprofits included, we'll save that until after Jim's results are in (mostly so we can read about the lessons his class learned and then pass them off as our own).

In the meantime, we'll focus instead on link building. In my experience, mentioning "link building" among nonprofit professionals mostly results in blank stares and disinterested looks, so we'll start slow. For a mo... > Read more

November 24, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 3

WordStream's Top 5 Whiteboard Fridays From SEOmoz

A lot of good things happen on Fridays: payday, a more casual office environment, the start of the weekend, and of course, a helpful lesson from Rand Fishkin and the crew at SEOmoz. For over two years now, SEOmoz has posted quick tutorial videos every Friday, also known as Whiteboard Friday.Below are five of our favorites--cue the techno music!PPC Basics: 10 Minute Rundown of PPC Strategies Everyone Should KnowAn oldie but goodie, this video staring Tom Critchlow breaks down the most important aspects of search engine marketing and PPC.

The Future of SEO: Rand's Take on Where Search is GoingHow important will content be going forward? How will Twitter affect SEO tactics? Find out what Rand thinks is coming next for search engine optimization.Domain Trust and Authority: Google's Algorithm Ch... > Read more

September 03, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday: Honesty, Transparency and Lessons From Direct Mail

The Week in Search The importance of honesty and what we can learn from traditional marketing. Agency Transparency and Tech Crunch Says Oops (Again...) A big topic this week has been regarding transparency and openness. Here at WordStream, the marketing team got together to discuss our own policy for disclosure, specifically for blog posts.

If we find something that works in search marketing, should we share it with our audience as a helpful find and newsworthy topic or are we giving away a trade secret? When weighing reward (interesting topics generate more blog visitors and WordStream coverage) against risk (consider what happens if the strategy gets adopted by the masses and suddenly it's no longer such a great tip), how much transparency is too much? Dave Fleet wrote a great post yest... > Read more

July 30, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Interview With The Experts: Amanda Watlington

This Interview With the Experts series highlights Amanda Watlington, an incredible resource with over 10 years of web marketing experience. Amanda runs her own consulting business, Searching for Profit. We'd like to sincerely thank Amanda for her time and support throughout WordStream's brief history.

You’ve been involved in web marketing for 10 years now.  What would you say is the biggest change the industry has seen over the last decade? The biggest change has been its growth from after thought to mainstream within marketing. Web marketing has always seemed to me an artificial construct at least as it was construed in the early days.Some of the other big changes have really been related to the growth. Search has grown into a huge marketing force and who knew that we would be tal... > Read more

July 27, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday: Campaign Relevance, Amazon and Zappos

The Week in Search Search campaign relevance and a billion dollars Four Steps Towards Optimizing Your Campaign for Relevance and Results I recently discovered Alan Mitchell's search marketing technique blog (aah, the power of Sphinn and Twitter...) and after Saturday's post entitled "Relevancy: The Holy Grail of PPC," I think I'm hooked.

I've been involved in search engine marketing for less than a year, which means that a big frustration of mine is when a SEM strategy is presented as over-simplified and easy. But we all know that search marketing isn't easy--if it was, anyone could do it and most of us would be out of a job. Then again, it's hardly enjoyable to read about this difficulty and complication without any light at the end of the tunnel. Campaign relevance is one of the most int... > Read more

July 23, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

It's Friday: Questions You Shouldn't be Asking and This Week's Name Calling

The Week in Search Silly search marketing questions and more stupidity. Things a Search Marketer Should Never Say The Search Agents' Ted Ives reminds me a lot of Brian Carter: his posts are a perfect combination of humor and education, and this week was no exception. Top 10 Coconut Headphones Moments in SEM reminds us that search engine marketing should be based on proper analytics and real data.

If you aren't familiar with coconut headphones, they were created by Pacific Islanders trying to mimic the actions of the U.S. military when Americans received equipment and supplies. The natives thought the rituals would bring goods from the gods (think The Gods Must be Crazy)--they created their own headphones to flag down nonexistent planes. Sure, it's easy to judge these cultures for thei... > Read more

July 16, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

WordStream Founder Interviewed on Online Marketing With RSS Ray

RSS Ray hosts a weekly radio program to discuss all things online marketing, including search engine strategies, analytics and social media. Last week, WordStream's own Larry Kim had the pleasure of being interviewed on Ray's program. We'd like to sincerely thank the entire team for this opportunity and invite you to listen to the program here:In the interview, Larry answers the following questions:What areas of web marketing does keywords impact…it’s more than just natural organic search, right?Now when a business is in the process of deciding the search terms around which they optimize their marketing, what are the most common factors they should consider?What ways can a company use to discover search terms and which approach is best?Does the discovery process for search terms ever e... > Read more

July 14, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

It's Friday: Have We Forgotten The Basics of Search and The Genius of Monty Python

The Week in SearchPolitics, Keywords and Monty PythonAre We Missing the Point of Search Marketing?Often as a way to decide what to write about in each week's Follow Friday, I visit Sphinn.com to see what articles are getting people's attention. Even under the category of SEM, you'll see a multitude of topics ranging from brand awareness to conversion attribution to bid management.

Andy Atkins Kruger had a great guest post on Search Coyboys this week entitled "It's the Keywords, Stupid" where he finally asks the question: Shouldn't we just focus on keywords?As in politics, where candidates are tempted to talk about exciting topics like war or scandal, the discussion of keywords has lost its sex appeal and thus keywords have lost much of the attention. He writes, " we know keywords are impor... > Read more

July 09, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Interview With The Experts: Eric Lander

If you've had any interaction with Eric Lander, you probably know a few things: He lives outside Boston, he's established way more companies than most people under 30 (or 60, for that matter), he's incredibly kind (don't let him tell you otherwise), and he really knows search and social marketing. We decided to take advantage of the last part by asking him to kick off our Search Marketing Interview Series.

WordStream extends a very sincere thank you to Eric for sharing his insight and expertise with us.  What’s your biggest frustration with search marketing? Lack of clarity and cohesion with third party tools. The information you can retrieve through third party services never match up with one another. With keyword research, you're bound to get high degrees of variance from one so... > Read more

June 26, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 5

It's Friday: Writing for Web Conversions and The Final Verdict on Twitter Hash Tags

The Week in Search Text ads, landing pages, hash tags and Beanie Babies. Going Beyond Keywords: Text Ads and Landing Pages Search marketing consists of many factors that can usually be generalized into three categories: keywords, ads and landing pages. Kate Morris (@katemorris) had a great post this week on Search Cowboys about optimizing your ads.

 She starts by quoting David Ogily who said, "on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Sure, Ogily's advertising reign predated search marketing, but the principle still remains: if you have a good headline, you'll probably see good results. Check out the discussions and Kate's responses in the comm... > Read more

June 24, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday: The Future of Keywords and Marketing

The Week in Search This week, we ask how marketers should optimize tweets and if Google is the latest unhealthy addiction. Is Twitter Search the Future of Keywords? It wasn't long ago that many search marketers were questioning if Twitter search would overtake Google as the Internet's preferred search engine.

With the introduction of Microsoft's Bing, Twitter search recently got a bit lost in the shuffle. However, the debate is far from over and some great conversations about this topic continued this week. Check out Michael Boland's May article from Search Engine Watch in which he states, "If there is one thing that points to Twitter's staying power, it's that Google is showing signs that it feels legitimately threatened." He's probably right that the answer to true search ecstasy lies so... > Read more

June 18, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

It's Friday! Small Businesses in Search, The Future of Online Advertising & Google Goes to Court

It's Friday: The Week in Search Big stories this week included the fate of small business owners and the future of online advertising. And of course, are you eligible for any of Google's $20 million payout? Most Small Business Owners Try Then Quit Paid Search A study conducted by Borell Associates found that 90% of small business owners quit their paid search campaign within 6 months citing poor performance and not enough ROI.

According to the study, 50% of small business owners will end their campaign after only 3 months, with the following 40% following suit up to three months later. This odd part about this is that CNN Money just posted an article about the importance of small businesses to advertise on Google. Fred Vallaeys, Google's AdWords evangelist says, "[small businesses] bu... > Read more

June 10, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Bing, Social Media and Democracy

  Friday: The Week in Search Microsoft releases its new search engine and Chinese residents may have to say goodbye to Twitter.  Microsoft Receives Compliments and Criticisms for Bing I'll admit it, I'm skeptical about Bing's future, but Microsoft's new search service has been receiving a lot of buzz since its release.

They even have their own You Tube channel that's received almost 7,000 views to date. And as long as we're being honest, their commercials aren't so bad. Check it out:     Microsoft is presenting its new search service as a "decision engine." According to their press release, "Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience wi... > Read more

June 04, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Keyword Tools and Social Media Ownership

It's Friday: The Week in Search  This week, we're focused on the truth about keyword tools and the ongoing debate regarding social media ownership.  Keyword Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly We’ve talked a lot about keyword generators and free keyword tools, namely pointing out the disadvantages of basing your keyword selection on broad data that’s not specific to your website.

Combined with lack of negative keyword suggestions, inherited disorganization and stagnant data, what’s the point of using them? Others have started asking themselves that same question. Search Engine Roundtable is encouraging users to share their thoughts on the Google Tool specifically.  As of 9am on Friday morning, the results looked like this:  I'm not quite sure wh... > Read more

May 28, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Long Tail Debate and Employee Expertise

  Friday: The Week in Search   More debate regarding the Long Tail and WordStream employees share their expertise through various publications. The Long Tail of Search: Is it Dead? We Don't Think SO! At the beginning of May, experienced search engine marketer Andrew Goodman published a post entitled "PPC-Man Drowning.

.. Too... Many... Keywords." In it, he contends that the time to include long tail keywords in your SEM campaign as an effective keyword strategy has come and gone, and more than that, it's been gone for a long time. To back up this statement, he explains that in a single campaign of his, 104 out of 116 conversions came from the top 15 keyphrases, so cutting down his keyword list to include only the most popular keywords wouldn... > Read more

May 21, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Twitter and Google Dominate Again

It's Friday: The Week in Search  Google and Twitter were the big winners (or losers) of this week's search marketing news. Here are the highlights: Twitter Creates More Problems By Eliminating One It all started with a Tuesday blog post titled "Small Settings Update." The post casually mentioned that Twitter was eliminating the option to see replies from a friend sent to someone that you don't follow.

Though they claimed this change was based on "usage patterns and feedback," the outrage that ensued made that statement questionable. Before you knew it, tweets including "#fixreplies" were spreading like wildfire. My favorite post on this topic is by Tech Crunch's MG Siegler as he breaks down Twitter's disastrous 24 Hours. It starts off with the milli... > Read more

May 15, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Yahoo, Google and Twitter Search

Follow Friday: The Week in Search Here's what we read and enjoyed this week in the world of search marketing:  The Release of Twitter search In the interest of full disclosure, I was not one of the lucky ones that had "Twitter Search" associated with my twitter account during the beta phase.

 Imagine my delight when it popped up on my TweetDeck this week and I could finally experience what everyone had been talking about! The even better news is that the tweeps at Twitter are working hard to improve the feature. Check out this article to read more about the progressions that will include indexing the context of a link's landing pages and a reputation ranking system. Frank Reed addressed this release and his post includes pertinent information and useful observations... > Read more

May 07, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Has Google Gone Too Far?

Follow Friday: The Week in Search Some great changes and debates were had in search marketing this week. Here's what we're following: Is Google Just A Big Bully? If you're not actively reading blog posts from the gals at Outspoken Media, I strongly suggest adding them to your list. Their posts are knowledgeable, daring, and well-written.

I admit to have a friend crush on @lisabarone, but I especially loved her talk about the newly released Google Profiles. Under the arguable guise that Google is giving you control over your name, people are rushing to stake claim in something others have worked hard to already own. As Lisa says, "I either act like a good little girl [and make a profile] or I risk creating a reputation management issue for myself down the road. I’ve worked ... > Read more

May 01, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Quality Score, Risks and Bob Dylan

Follow Friday: The Week in Search As is always the case in search marketing, this week left no shortage of valuable content. Here's what we found most interesting.  PPC: Quality Score, Click Through Rate, and Behavior My colleagues sitting next to me can tell you that I'm a big fan of Brian Carter.

What can I say, I like his style. This week, he helps us demystify the issue of Quality Score by focusing on the relationship between click through rate and highly relevant keyword groups. Forget all the other factors that go into calculating Quality Score, he suggests, and focus instead on the one that matters most, CTR! Reduce the number of keywords in your keyword groups to improve relevance, and increased Quality Score and CTR will follow. Do you ... > Read more

April 24, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Lollipops, SEO & Twitter

Follow Friday: The Week in Search What happened, what's about to happen, and what you need to know about the world of search engine marketing. Before we get to it, we want to be clear that we did not create the idea of a Friday Roundup, but hey, imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Here are some Friday Roundups that we especially enjoy: The Team at PPC Hero Rebecca from SEOmoz Virginia Nussey Google's New Interface: Wondering what Google AdWords and lollipops have in common? Thanks to AdWords' new ability to track multiple conversions, Dan has named these hyper-responsive customers and keywords "lollipops" as they're deserving, sweet, and warrant special attention.

Search engine marketing and candy? Finally something I can relate to! I'm also a fan of Amber's post from PPC... > Read more

April 16, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0
 
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