June 2010 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
Foursquare, launched in 2009, is a hot mobile social media platform self-described as a “friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.” So far Foursquare has been very successful with Individual users Media outlets, such as The New York Times and The History Channel B2C companies, like Starbucks and McDonald’s But B2B companies have yet to embrace Foursquare.
Many see it as having limited utility and aren’t quite sure how to leverage it, so they don’t see it as a viable business application. So are there ways B2B companies can use Foursquare to reach new customers or promote their brand? Let’s get creative and look at some of the ways B2B companies can follow the lead of other Foursquare adopters to ... > Read more
It's officially summer now, and I'm guessing a lot of you are either on vacation on planning to go on vacation very soon (in which case, you're probably not reading this; why am I even talking to you?). I'm hitting the road (or sky, as it were) myself tomorrow for a long weekend outside Asheville, NC.
I've never been to Asheville—they have fireworks there, right? Happy Independence Day to our American readers! (And happy regular Wednesday to everyone else.) If you are working this week, why not check out our top 10 most popular blog posts from June? Lessons from a Search Startup: Our Journey Through Two Rounds of VC Funding: CEO Rob Adler made a rare appearance on the blog to share valuable insights about the process of securing venture capital funding in the search marketing space... > Read more
This is a guest post by Terry Van Horne. Terry is the founder of SeoPros and a 15-year veteran of Web development, currently working out of his consulting and development firm International Website Builders. Terry's interests are primarily the socialization of search and analysis of social Web traffic and applications like Twitter.
Today I'm going to show you how to go about "future proofing" your SEO. Some call this "algo chasing," but the only similarity to algorithm chasing is that in future proofing, we learn something new or see a change in the results, review the cause and adjust the SEO strategy to position the site to move up in the flux that results. We never look for exploits! IMO, we should be looking for what we need to change and how to work within what we ... > Read more
Our recommended resource this week is BlueGlass LA 2010, an online marketing conference taking place next month in Los Angeles. This conference will bring together more than 20 online marketing experts, including Clix Marketing CEO David Szetela, MySpace Senior Marketing Manager Tony Adam, and Director of Technical Marketing for Yahoo! Media Laura Lippay.
The event will take place on Monday, July 19, and Tuesday, July 20, at the Marina del Rey Marriott Hotel. Here are some reasons you might want to consider signing up: There will be 10 panel discussions about a variety of topics. Subjects include “How to not FAIL at getting search traffic,” “When to raise money and when to bootstrap,” and “Links matter: How to measure and attain them.&rdq... > Read more
Constant connectivity and pervasive social media often feel like a massive distraction, vacuuming brain power and attention away from more tedious but necessary work and killing productivity. Easy access to Google, especially via mobile devices, can make us reluctant to think or flip through our own memory files, favoring the fast, easy answer.
Low barriers to publishing content online mean we're frequently writing dumbass things we'll live to regret. Has the always-on Internet made us collectively stupider? (Thanks a pantload, Al Gore.) A number of "pundits" and "luminaries"—I'm reluctant to use those terms without irony—think just the opposite, that the Internet is making us smarter! (Thanks, Al Gore!) Echoing some of the ideas in Steven Johnson's 2005 bes... > Read more
I was struck last week by several headlines about the continuing growth of online advertising, but none more than this one: “Online Poised to Supplant Newspapers As World’s No. 2 Ad Medium.” Of course, anyone alive and paying attention this last decade shouldn’t be that surprised by the headline.
Unless they're surprised that newspapers are still #2 – they seem so yesterday. But as I considered that the online world is now 15 years old, and that search, the largest and most significant growth driver of online ad spend, is now 10 years old, it did push me to think about what this news might signify about the online advertising industry’s evolution. You see, new media platforms (like online advertising, or television before it) behave a lot like other new platforms or technologi... > Read more
This is a guest post by Jenny Anderson, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. She works with a variety of clients and writes for Hanapin’s blogs, PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Over at SEO Boy, I recently wrote a post on how a promotional calendar can help boost SEO efforts. The main point was that if you set up a promotional calendar and pair it with site changes and new content based on the promotions, you’ll have a plan in place for adding relevant and useful information to your site.
Search engines will love the fresh content and your customers will love the sales and promos. The same concept can be applied to PPC management with just a couple of twists. Let’s say we’re managing pay-per-click ads for a resort. Below, I outline how the three main compon... > Read more
Just wanted to drop a quick update from our pals over at Link Assistant, who have just announced that their awesome SEO PowerSuite is now available in French. Details about the new French version can be found on the Link Assistant blog: SEO PowerSuite is Now Multilingual The SEO PowerSuite French website can be found here: http://www.
seopowersuite.fr/ According to Ian Artimovich from Link Assistant, "the main point is that the software and the SEO reports it generates have been fully translated into French. So now French speaking webmasters and SEOs can optimize their sites with our software and SEO companies get a great opportunity to reach out to the French speaking markets. SEO PowerSuite is now available in four languages: English, German, Russian and Dutch." I'm a big fan of the tools... > Read more
Yesterday Larry announced the release of our new Free Negative Keyword Tool and talked a little about the importance of using negative keywords if you want to maximize your PPC budget. Today, I'd like to walk you through the functionality of the tool in a little more detail. As Larry mentioned, negative keyword discovery is critical for keeping PPC costs under control.
Because they ensure that your ad doesn't match against irrelevant queries, they reduce wasteful ad spend, increase click-through rates, and improve Quality Score—all of which contribute to lower costs for PPC and better returns. The great thing about our new negative keyword tool is that it's a proactive way to indentify negative keyword candidates, so you can preemptively curtail worthless ad clicks, instead of findin... > Read more
Announcing the World’s First Free Negative Keyword Tool - Find PPC Negative Keyword Lists for AdWords, Yahoo, MSN
Today at WordStream, we’ve released the world’s first Free Negative Keyword Tool for improving your click-through rates (CTR) and Quality Score, which in turn can significantly improve your return on investment across your entire PPC account. For a quick take on the new tool, you can: Read the official press release Watch a 2-minute video demo Read the FAQ Or simply try it out yourself! In this post, I’d like to talk a little about how this new tool was designed and why I feel it's a valuable resource for anyone doing PPC marketing.
Why You Should Care about Negative Keyword Research If you only had time for one keyword optimization task for an existing PPC account, I would suggest finding negative keywords – whenever I look at a client’s sea... > Read more
There have been some interesting theories and observations about the Google’s recent Mayday update and how Google has "…increased the emphasis on quality and is giving smaller sites a chance." The official word out of Google is that they’ve made an algorithmic shift to "looking for higher quality sites…for long tail queries.
" Since the Mayday Update was implemented, all Hell has broken loose across the Web, with many sites reporting a sudden loss in long tail traffic. But for every site that lost SERP share, another site was there to scoop it up. Lucky for us, WordStream was one of the sites to benefit from the update. Immediately following the Mayday rollout, our organic traffic spiked 50%. So, as you can imagine, we were thrilled to hea... > Read more
There was an interesting post on Kenny Hyder's blog this week about the difference between descriptive and prescriptive marketing. He's borrowing a concept from grammar and linguistics, topics close to my heart! Descriptive grammar aims to describe the way people use language without making a judgment on what's right or wrong.
For example, it might describe in what contexts and in what regions the construction "noun + be + -ing verb" (as in "You be trippin'") is used. Prescriptive grammar, on the other hand, aims to systematize language use with rules; a prescriptive grammarian would categorize the above usage as incorrect English, the correct version being "You are tripping" (or, in some interpretations, "You tend to trip," "You are freque... > Read more
This is a guest post by Christopher Angus, an SEO expert who runs a bespoke digital marketing agency/SEO company in the Cotswolds, United Kingdom. In addition to his extensive SEO knowledge, Christopher specializes in social media marketing, viral marketing, pay-per-click management and website design.
Rated the 26th Most Influential Marketer in the World in 2009, Christopher’s portfolio includes a range of high-profile companies within the travel, finance and gaming industries. Linking is the holy grail of getting better visibility on Google. It’s no secret that getting great quality links from trusted sites is the key to success in terms of organic results and therefore free traffic. Previous SEO techniques used to mainly involve buying links, as many as you could afford... > Read more
In an effort to make everyone's life less "complicated" (and to help us hit 6K fans on Facebook...), we've created "the easiest contest on the planet." You don't have to invent anything, solve any riddles or dress up like a goofy robot to win a cool prize in our contest. All we'd like you to do is "like" WordStream on Facebook and "like" Search Engine Journal on Facebook (yes, we really neeeed to be "liked") and you're automatically entered to win.
See...told you it was easy. So come on...our goal is 6,000 Facebook fans. Help us reach it! So It's Like This: We Hit 6K Fans, SEJ Gets More Fans, You Can Win Cool Prizes...Everybody Wins!!! Like I said, to be eligible to win some kick ass prizes, all we'd like you to do is "like" Wor... > Read more
Since launching WordStream in late 2008, the most common question we get asked from clients is "how do I improve my Quality Score?" This really doesn't come as a surprise given that maintaining a healthy AdWords Quality Score is critical to driving down click spend and driving up ROI. To help PPC marketers better navigate the murky waters of Quality Score, we've put together The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score.
The guide features in-depth, comprehensive insights into the nuts and bolts of Google AdWords Quality Score from some of the top minds in pay-per-click advertising, including Brad Geddes, Andrew Goodman, George Michie, Dave Davis, Marty Weintraub, Larry Kim and many, many more. So for anyone who's ever wondered what you can do to improve your Quality Score in Google AdWords... ... > Read more
Below you'll find answers to some common and not-so-common questions about Quality Score, courtesy of our in-house PPC experts. Have a question that's not answered here? Leave it in the comments and we'll respond! Is there a way to check our AdWords Quality Score? Where do I find my Quality Score? Yes, you can view your Quality Score in AdWords right now.
This recent post explains how to find your Quality Score in both Google and Yahoo. Is Quality Score specific to campaign or ad group? According to Google, neither. You have Quality Scores at the account, keyword, and ad level, but not for campaigns or ad groups. How fast can we improve Quality Score? Unfortunately Quality Score isn’t something that you can necessarily right overnight if you’ve had poor account performance for a signif... > Read more
Thank god somebody is talking about "icing" from a marketing perspective, because I really wanted to write about this and just wasn't sure how. And by "this," I mean the bizarre game/meme known as icing, as documented by the site Bros Icing Bros. And by "somebody," I mean the New York Times.
Earlier this week the NYT's J. David Goodman asked, in the form of an embarrassingly lame headline, "Popular New Drinking Game Raises Question, Who’s ‘Icing’ Whom?" (At least they didn't misuse the phrase "begs the question.") If you're not a frat boy and you've somehow missed this cultural phenomenon, it consists of one "bro" presenting another "bro" with a Smirnoff Ice, frequently lukewarm, as a kind of dare. To m... > Read more
Quality Score affects virtually all the important metrics of a PPC campaign, including: Impressions Ad position Cost-per-click (CPC) Here’s how: How Quality Score Affects Impressions Each time a user conducts a search, Google AdWords conducts an internal ad auction to determine which advertisers have ads it deems eligible (relevant enough) to appear alongside the user’s search results.
Google has publicly stated on numerous occasions their underlying belief that it’s better to display no ads at all than to display irrelevant ads (and in doing so, potentially lose an opportunity for incremental revenue). Quality Score partly determines if a keyword is relevant enough, and hence eligible to enter an ad auction. The more times an advertiser’s ads are deem... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below. Google determines Quality Score slightly differently for each of the different advertising networks that it runs.
Here we’ll learn how Quality Score is calculated for Google Search, which is the largest source of traffic for most advertisers. According to Google: Quality Score is calculated in real-time, every time your keyword matches a search query—that is, every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. Quality Score is used in several different ways, including influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-click... > Read more
In the year plus we've been in the market, we've added a series of free utilities to WordStream.com, including: The Free Keyword Tool The Free Keyword Niche Finder The Free Keyword Grouper Several Free Search Engine Marketing White Papers Free Internet Marketing Articles The idea being that we're able to introduce prospective WordStream clients to our products and our philosophies and methodologies as a company.
Visitors to the WordStream site get something of value - a tool they can leverage to improve their search marketing results or content that offers actionable suggestions about how to get more out of search engine marketing - and in exchange we get permission to introduce them to solutions that we offer on a subscription basis. This is such a win-win for us, we thought other busi... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below. In a nutshell, Quality Score is a Google-devised system that measures advertising quality (or relevancy), which in turn helps determine if your ad is eligible to be displayed in the search results for a given query.
Beyond that, if your ad is deemed relevant, the position of your ad and the cost you pay each time it’s clicked are also partially determined by your Quality Score. The factors that determine Quality Score, as outlined by Google, include: The historical click-through rate (CTR) of your account and your specific keyword... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, "Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant." To download the full white paper (you'll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below.Why Should You Care About Quality Score?Should you be concerned about Quality Score? You probably should, but let’s find out for sure.
Take a look at this list and see if any of the following apply to you:a) You’re Paying Too Much – You’re annoyed at rising pay-per-click (PPC) advertising costs (or you wouldn’t mind paying less per click).b) Your Competitors Seem to Be Beating You – You wish your sponsored ads would show up higher than those of your competitors, but without having topaymore.c)... > Read more
On her blog, The Link Spiel, the always smart and interesting Debra Mastaler asks, "Can You Handle On-Page Links?" The post is a response to Nicholas Carr's post "Experiments in Delinkification" on Rough Type, as well as a post by Marshall Kirkpatrick called "The Case Against Links" (also responding to Carr).
Carr writes that he is beginning to come around to his friend Steve Gillmor's way of thinking about hyperlinks—that is, that inline links are a needless distraction and should be done away with or moved to the end of an article. His reasoning goes: The link is, in a way, a technologically advanced form of a footnote. It's also, distraction-wise, a more violent form of a footnote. Where a footnote gives your brain a gentle nudge, the link gives it a ... > Read more
Let me start off by coming clean and admitting that I’ve been dying to contribute to the WordStream blog since it debuted about a year ago. As CEO, I certainly could have posted any time I wanted (“it’s good to be the king”) … but I also have to admit to being intimidated due to the substantive nature of most of our posts and the corresponding readership.
So I couldn’t make just any post my first post—it had to be good. I figured the recent announcement of our successful capital raise provided as good an opportunity as any to make a meaningful contribution to the blog and our community of readers. Having raised more than $70 million for four start-up companies over the past 20 years, I have some clue as to what I'm talking about. (Not to mention I... > Read more
If you have a website, I'm sure you’ve put a lot of hard work and long hours into making it a valuable resource for your visitors. But if your links aren't working, it can derail all of your hard work. Broken links on your website can be harmful in two ways: They make for a bad user experience – When users click on links and reach dead-end 404 errors, they get frustrated and may never return.
They devalue your SEO efforts – Broken links restrict the flow of link equity throughout your site, which impacts rankings negatively. To avoid these potential pitfalls, you should periodically check for broken links on your entire website. If you’re wondering how to do this, you’re not alone. The good news is we’ve done this work before and we’ve documented everything in a step-by-ste... > Read more
The Quality Score of your pay-per-click ads is a key determinant in the amount you need to bid on keywords to secure a strong position in search engine results. The higher your Google Quality Score, the less you have to pay for your ad to appear in your desired position.For this reason, it's important to track your Quality Scores so you know how your ad campaigns are performing.
Low Quality Scores should prompt you to better organize your keywords, get rid of specific keywords, modify your ad text, or improve your landing pages (among other possible solutions). But first you need to find out what your Quality Scores are. Unfortunately, Bing doesn’t provide this information, but Google and Yahoo do. Here's how to find your Quality Score in Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing.&n... > Read more