July 2009 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
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
We're seeing a Google Toolbar PageRank update that happened about 20 minutes ago (July 29, 2009). Many of our top level pages have jumped in rank as a result of this latest update. Also, our take is Google has started to update Toolbar PR more and more frequently. By my count, this is the fourth update in 2009.
Note that in all of 2008, there were a total of five PR updates. So if this latest TBPR update is confirmed, Google is clearly updating more frequently and we should reach seven or eight updates by year's end. For reference, Google PageRank is a link analysis algorithm (named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google), which Google uses to assign a numerical weighting to measure the authority, value or importance of a webpage. Nobody outside of Google knows the actual PageRank of a doc... > Read more
Photo courtesy of House of Sims Article Submission Table of Contents: Best Practices Top Websites Managing Article Submissions Salvaging Article Links Article submission and syndicate services are an effective way to build anchor text links to your deeper pages. Building deep links can be one of the most difficult parts of SEO, especially for product pages.
The effectiveness of article submission for inbound link building and ranking is often debated in the SEO community, but I’ve seen plenty of instances of ranking changes that I can attribute directly to syndicated article submission links. But as with everything in SEO, it's best to test the theory yourself. One of the other benefits of article submission is the articles themselves can rank on the first page on Google, often for mi... > Read more
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, which you can read more about here. 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 marketi... > Read more
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 th... > Read more
One of the coolest things about starting a company is that from time to time, you get to show up in blogs, online radio shows or other articles as an "expert guest". Today, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Greg Meyers of the SEMGeek Blog. I'm listing out the questions that Greg asked me here, and you can read the full interview here.
What's the driving force behind the creation of WordStream? What makes WordStream more valuable than AdWords Editor? What are some of the key differences between Google AdWords Editor and WordStream? Can you give us some insights into the level of experience of WordStream's main target market? Is it targeted to seasoned professionals or novices wanting to start a new career in PPC? During this economic downtur... > Read more
A friend emailed me recently, writing to say he’d “hooked up” with an SEO agency that got him a first page listing on Google. My immediate reaction was he’d been scammed. I say this because the friend’s local business website is brand new: no links, no authority, no legitimate ranking signals and no chance of ranking organically for his target keywords.
With this in mind, I know there are really only two ways for my friend's site to appear on page one of Google: Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) Google Local Listing Now, there’s nothing wrong with paid search. It’s a legitimate marketing channel and delivers qualified traffic and leads when done right. And if the friend were running a pay-per-click campaign with a qualified pay-per-click agency, I’d wish him the best. But m... > Read more
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Gab Goldenberg of SEO ROI. Gab is a 22-year old SEO consultant and law student from Montreal, Canada, and is fast becoming a thought leader in search marketing. Read on for more about Gab. On your site, you write that Jim Boykin offered you a job in 2008.
Can you tell us what the job was and why you turned it down? Jim didn't have a specific position in mind, to my knowledge. He wrote me saying, "I'm a fan of your writings and I'd like to explore the possibility of having you join the We Build Pages team." Pretty sweet compliment to my ears, considering Jim's always been someone I looked up to in search marketing as a leader and generally savvy guy! Anyways, we couldn't work together because Jim needed me to relocate to upstate NY fo... > Read more
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
Anybody else notice this yet? Looks like Google has just added site links to trusted domain listings that fall further down in the SERPs. I discovered the algorithmic update this morning when looking at the WordTracker home page listing. Note that this WordTracker lisiting is #8 in the rankings, on page one for the query "keyword research tools.
" Now, we've been seeing site links for trusted domains that rank number one in the SERPs for some time now. But adding site links to listings that fall deeper down the page is clearly a new feature. I interpret this as another example of the big Google move to more brand promotion in the SERPs. By incorporating this new trust signal, Google is clearly placing much more emphasis on and rewarding trusted, authoritative brands, and attempt... > Read more
By Sam Hawes Despite some good press the general consensus seems to be that Bing is DOA, destined to the same also-ran fate as other doomed Microsoft projects like the Zune and the PocketPC. In an interview in the Times in May, Steve Ballmer, in his typical blustery style, compared the launch of Bing to the introduction of the landmark Windows versions, 3.
1 and Windows 95, the implication being that Bing, like the early incarnations of Windows, is just the first step towards Microsoft’s eventual dominance in the Search wars. In his blog, Henry Blodgett excoriated Ballmer for using this comparison. Blodgett points out that Microsoft had the advantage of being a monopoly in operating systems, so the millions of consumers who upgraded weren’t examining a field... > Read more
I recently had a chance to interview SEO Book's Aaron Wall. Like many in the SEO space I bought Aaron's popular SEO book years back, and have learned a tremendous amount from his SEO blog. SEO Book has transition to offering SEO Training rather than the old eBook model. The SEO Book training program grants users access to: A comprehensive set of training modules on Internet marketing An active community forum where Aaron and other seasoned online marketing pros answer questions, offer feedback, etc.
And a set of premium tools and coupons I wrote a review of the SEO Book SEO Training program a while back and would strongly recommend the program to anyone engaging in online marketing (I'm a happy customer myself). Aaron was gracious enough to answer the following questions about SEO... > Read more
The Week in Search Politics, Keywords and Monty Python Are 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... > Read more
Every marketing 101 class worth its salt will have you walking out the door uttering two time-honored maxims where messaging and copy is concerned: Benefits, Not Features. Unique Value Proposition. No one really wants to hear about what you do, they want to know what you’ll do for them, right? And you want to make sure that you’re showing unique value; that you offer something no one else does.
You want to provide differentiation. The problem here is that because of strict adherence in marketing copy and creative to the first maxim, just talking about benefits is no longer good enough to achieve the second. Every company I come in contact with is going to make me better, faster, cheaper, smarter. These are benefits aimed at the “what’s in it for me”. ... > Read more
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing search behavior expert Jim Jansen. Jansen is an assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State, and an expert on Web searching, sponsored search and personalization for information searching. He's authored more than 150 publications in the area of information technology and systems.
The interview with Jim Jansen covers topics like his recent research on click behavior, his ideas on how Google and other engines can improve user experience, as well as his current Twitter research. Read on for more. In your study on click behavior with integrated paid and organic search results, you cite “negative bias” and “distrust” as the reasons searchers click on sponsored ads (like Google sponsor... > Read more
Google recently released a series of videos outlining AdWords customer success stories. The videos are instructive in as much as they outline some best practices, but I thought the most interesting thing about the collection is the fact that although they chopped them up into four videos, they are still intrinsically tied together.
Let's take a look:The Power of Keyword OrganizationA crucial but oft-overlooked component of AdWords success is effective keyword organization:We agree with this so passionately that we went and built a keyword research tool.Keyword Expansion Helps You Find More Traffic and ConversionsThis shouldn't be particularly shocking, but the capacity to discover more keywords leads to an ability to find more traffic, leads, and sales:We believe that continual keyword dis... > Read more
If you’re selling a product or service of any kind, differentiation should be top of mind. Search agencies are no different. Really this could apply to any online marketing agency or consultant, but for the sake of this post we’ll discuss why it's particularly pertinent to paid search: people are starting to spend more on search, there are reports that most of that increased spend is being pushed towards pay per click advertising, and many are frustrated with their results.
This means two things: Increased Opportunity for PPC Agencies – There’s more spend to manage; more and more quality companies who would make great clients will be turning to agencies to manage their paid search accounts. More Competition – With the influx of money to be managed, new firms, lone-wolf consultan... > Read more