September 2009 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
Believe it or not, September is over. The aisles of your local CVS are probably already clogged with Halloween candy and plastic pumpkins, if not Xmas decorations. Damn you, time's winged chariot! Point being, it's time for a monthly roundup of highlights from the WordStream blog. In case you missed them the first time: Top SEO College Websites 2009 – In this popular post, Ken looked at several ranking factors to determine which university websites get A's for search engine optimization.
Perhaps not surprisingly, he found that colleges with an online learning presence often came out on top. Read the full post to see how your college measures up, and if it's not on the list, check out his two-part guide to SEO for colleges. 2009 Search Marketing and Social Media Salary Survey – ... > Read more
The following is a guest post by Marshall Sponder of WebMetricsGuru. I was thinking about several keyword tools out there offering basic analysis of what’s popular, including WordStream’s own free keyword tool, but none of them approaches WordStream's keyword management solution in its sophistication and prompting to help us make the right choices for our search marketing campaigns.
I don’t run any paid campaigns, so I don’t use WordStream in the same way many users do, nor is that the focus of this article (you can learn about using WordStream's solutions for PPC in this video). Sometimes, it’s not what a tool or platform does, but the way it does it – the interface that stimulates creativity and gets us to make associations we might not otherwise make. I could have pulled my ... > Read more
Once again, this SEO for College Websites post comes on the heels of my popular yet somewhat contentious post on top seo college websites. I'm writing a follow up to share advice to colleges that are struggling with search engine optimization (SEO). These SEO tips should give colleges some ideas on how best to optimize their websites to rank better in higher education search verticals and attract more students though search engine marketing.
In SEO for College Websites, Part One, I covered how to conduct effective keyword research and how to create killer degree page title tags for SEO. In this post, I'll discuss how to optimize your degree page content and how to acquire some quality inbound links. Step Three: Optimize Your On-Page Content When optimizing your content for search, there a... > Read more
We got an interesting email the other day from our friend Jim Jansen, assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State. If you haven't heard of Jim yet or aren't familiar with his research in search marketing and searcher behavior, read our recent interview with him here: Jim Jansen on Click Behavior and SERP integration.
Jim told me about a really cool project he and his students are doing in his PPC advertising course (BTW, how cool is a class on PPC advertising?). He and 55 of his technology and advertising students at Penn State are creating keyword advertising campaigns for eleven non-profit organizations. Apparently, the students will be implementing paid search campaigns for these eleven non-profits, as well as doing some SEO work and optimizing... > Read more
This was a big week in the blogo- and Twittersphere for poorly received product launches: Two new products from Google and Squidoo threaten to become reputation management nightmares, if they manage to catch on. Ironically, the products also threaten to (further) tarnish the reputations of their creators.
Brands in Public: A Big Misstep from Seth Godin? Seth Godin this week announced a new product/service from Squidoo called Brands in Public: If your brand has any traction at all, people are talking about you. Of course, they've always talked about you, but now they're doing it in writing, in video and in public. Today, Squidoo (a company I founded) is launching Brands in Public. It's a neat idea and I wanted to give you an overview and a first look. You can't control what people are sayin... > Read more
Despite billions of searches month in and month out (more than 9 billion in July alone), Google continues to report that nearly 20% of all search queries each month are unique—that is, they have never been searched on before. To help address this challenge, we launched a free keyword suggestion tool last week for specialists and agencies providing pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) services.
Initial market adoption and feedback have been overwhelming. In the first week we have provided more than 100 million keyword ideas to early adopters of the tool. The Free Keyword Tool’s database of over a trillion search queries, the tool’s ease and speed of use, and advanced features such as related keywords and filters have search experts favorably c... > Read more
Give me someone's name, and I'll find their personal email address. Sure, it may take some extensive digging and sleuthing, but I'll find you eventually. And I'm not paying to root you out or buying your private info from a lead gen company (though sometimes that would be easier). This is just good old fashioned, organic searching, scanning and scouring the Internet like a Web gumshoe.
And not stopping until I ferret out that personal email.Methods:Google EmailsBusiness EmailsAdvanced Search OperatorsSocial MediaWhois LookupPeople SearchWhy is it important to obtain someone's personal email address?If you're sending out an important email that you really want to be taken seriously and improve your chances of getting an actual response, you need to go directly to the source. Sending an impo... > Read more
This is Part 4 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. One of the most powerful aspects of search as a marketing channel is the abundance of data you can measure and respond to. Web analytics applications provide a wealth of information about your website, your audience and how they interact.
Specific to search, they tell you exactly how people are finding your site: What key words and phrases are users typing into search boxes to discover what you offer? If you look at this data but don't respond to it, you're throwing away potential gains in traffic and revenue. Search marketing, if it's going to offer strong ROI over the long term, requires dedication and commitment. The SEO and PPC related tasks you n... > Read more
David Harry was nice enough to put up a guest post I wrote today: How to Identify the Best Keywords for Your Niche. In it I talk about: Finding Keywords Refining Your Keyword List Evaluating the Difficulty of Ranking Making Your Keyword Research Efforts an Iterative Process Please check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! Incidentally if you haven't checked them out, David's blog is excellent, his SEO newsletter is great, and he maintains an active community of very smart SEO/SEM folks.
... > Read more
OK, what happened this week on the World Wide Web? A couple of important things: Kanye West made a jackass of himself, and we launched a new free keyword tool! Larry blogged about the tool on Wednesday, covering why and how we developed it, what it offers that other tools don't, and why, as awesome as it is, you still need keyword management to really get somewhere in SEM.
You can read yet more about the tool in our Free Keyword Tool FAQ. Today I want to point to some of the other conversations going on around the newly launched tool, and thank everyone who took the time to mention us on blogs and on Twitter. First up, Aaron Wall over at SEOBook mentioned the keyword tool ("The coolest feature it offers is that it allows you to download thousands of keywords at once") and our keywor... > Read more
Today WordStream released what I and numerous other industry experts believe to be the most comprehensive and accurate keyword tool ever. The best part is that we're giving it away for free – no strings attached! WordStream's Free Keyword Tool is quite different from other keyword tools – we've partnered with ISPs, search engines and other data providers to aggregate and weight over one billion unique keywords, representing well over a trillion search queries, and hundreds of millions of related terms from diverse keyword sources.
This video shows how it works: And this Keyword Tool FAQ explains how we've made it more comprehensive, accurate and faster than other keyword tools out there. But you can see for yourself by trying it out now – type some test queries into t... > Read more
On the heels of my popular yet somewhat contentious post last week on the Top College Websites for SEO, I thought I'd do a follow up to give advice to those colleges that are struggling with search engine optimization (SEO). This Google SEO guide should give colleges some insight into how best to optimize their websites to rank well in higher education search verticals and attract more students though search engine marketing.
NOTE: This SEO for College Websites is the first in a two-part series. SEO University: Best practices for optimizing college degree pages Most college websites publish a bunch of content under a variety of topics: from administrative pages, to course catalogs, to campus news, to research lab micro sites, and so on. But the real bread and butter for universities are t... > Read more
Following in the footsteps of Ken's very popular post on title tag formulas, I've noticed that search marketing and social media marketing gurus (AKA bloggers) love to write linkbait in the form of "X Things You Can Learn About Y from Z." You can do it too—plug some numbers and concepts into the formula and the post practically writes itself! For best results, follow this handy guide:X should be an integer, preferably between 5 and 10.
Save lists longer than 10 items for your Facebook meme.Y should be a broad, Web 2.0-ish concept like "SEO," "PPC" or "social media." Don't veer too far off course from your job description; that's what Z is for.Z should be a pop culture reference, the geekier the better. Old standbys include Star Wars, The Matrix, The Princess Bride, Monty Python, Trekkies... > Read more
Search engine and social media marketing are industries that continue to grow even in the face of one of the worst economies since the Great Depression. Talented and skilled SEO, PPC, SEM and SMO professionals are still in hot demand, despite the grim economic backdrop. Recently, we conducted a survey of search engine marketers and social media marketers to get an idea of the current state of SEM and SMO.
More than 100 SEO, PPC and SMM professionals participated in our survey, giving us a window into their experience level, primary fields of expertise, and more to the point how much inbound marketing professionals are earning, given the global recession. The results of our survey may surprise you. 2009 Search Engine Marketers and Social Media Marketers Salary Survey Interpreting the S... > Read more
I had a chance to write a guest post for Web Analytics World last week. In it I talked about quickly diagnosing quick jumps or dips in traffic or conversions, and oulined three steps for getting to the bottom of a shift in traffic: Consider the Source Analyze Your Overall Mix Identify Who or What is Sending You Traffic To learn more about each step and how you can accomplish the above in Google Analytics, check out the post.
... > Read more
This is Part 3 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. Whether you're conducting keyword research primarily for search engine optimization (SEO) efforts or primarily for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, we believe that effective keyword grouping and organization techniques are crucial to long-term success.
Why is keyword grouping so important? Let's walk through the process. The point of doing keyword research is to inform your site's content creation as well as its information architecture (how content is topically organized), in addition to your campaign and ad group structure in Google AdWords (or other PPC marketing platform). Even small companies can amass thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions o... > Read more
This Week in Search: SEO Needs You to Need It I saw a lot of links and tweets this week pointing to Virginia Nussey's excellent post on the SEO hierarchy of needs, based on Maslow's hierarchy, a psychological theory that says physiological and safety needs have to come before stuff like love and belonging (I almost typed "blogging").
I've created a handy (and tall) illustration to show where the SEO hierarchy fits into Maslow's hierarchy. An SEO's basic needs for Diet Dr. Pepper and a paycheck must be met before he/she can move up the hierarchy. It goes without saying that for search marketers, link-building is more basic than "intimacy" or "sense of connection," and self-esteem and self-actualization are impossible without proper website optimization. Conveniently these latter two go... > Read more
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
This is Part 2 of a 10-part series on 10 things we believe about search marketing. These 10 beliefs form our product design philosophy. We firmly believe that the best source of keyword data is your own customers. Too often, search marketers over-rely on third-party keyword suggestion tools and neglect their own website data (server log files and keyword analytics), a completely private, self-renewing source of keyword data.
Keyword suggestion tools are fine as a jumping-off point for keyword research, but then you need to go beyond that. Build on public keyword data by refactoring insights from private data into your list for an extensive, expanding keyword research database. We believe your own website data has a number of advantages over typical keyword tools: Personalized keyword... > Read more
Hey, search engine and social media marketers. We're conducting a brief search marketing/social media salary survey of SEM and SMO industry professionals. If you're a search engine or social media marketer, we'd love it if you'd take a few moments to participate in our survey. This survey is designed for: Professionals who work in search engine marketing or social media marketing Once this survey is completed, we'll publish the results on our blog next week.
So take the survey now. It's a mere five questions and will take less than two minutes of your time. NOTE: Poll is closed. But you view the results here: Search Engine Marketers, Social Media Marketing Salary Survey 2009 Thanks for participating! ... > Read more
In honor of "Back to School," I thought it would be fun to do some SEO sleuthing and determine which colleges are doing the best job at optimizing their websites for organic search. Before joining WordStream, I worked in the web office for a major university, so I spent a lot of time checking out other college websites.
What I realized was the vast majority of college websites have not yet embraced (or even acknowledged) search marketing, be it paid or organic, as an effective marketing channel. So why are most colleges clueless about SEO? Well, there are a number of reasons: Brand recognition - Many universities rely on brand power to attract prospective students, and are plenty satisfied if their site shows up first for a branded query. They're not overtly concerned with keyword rankin... > Read more