September 2010 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog

Do Low-Volume Keywords Always Have Low Quality Scores?

Yesterday, one of our resident AdWords experts, Andy Stefano, led a webinar called "Five Myths About Quality Score." He received the following question from one of the attendees. Below you'll find Andy's answer. Is it possible that some businesses inherently get a low keyword Quality Score because they are in low-volume industries? For example, we are in the horse topical treatment industry – that will never get as much interest as, say, the golf or football industry.

– Jane Here's Andy's response:  Hi Jane,  This is a really interesting question. I think “low-volume” won’t be a determining factor, but “low-interest” might be. Let me explain. I started tackling your question by looking at the data I had access to. I had a sample... > Read more

September 30, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Best of the Month: WordStream's September Highlights

We are getting heavy into fall here, folks. OK not really. The high yesterday was 80. But if you're like me, September just feels different, whatever the temperature. It's the start of a new "semester." After 25 years of nonstop schooling, I've been in the plain-old workforce for almost six years, but I'm still trying to break the habit of buying academic planners.

(Same goes for the annual ritual of "back to school" shopping.) In the spirit of back-to-school, why not throw on a scarf and blazer (turn up the AC is necessary) and catch up on our most popular posts this month? Link Building Magic: How to Turn Citations into Links: Did you all want to be magicians as kids or what? Ken shares one of our favorite secret link-building tricks. How to Find People on Twitter: N... > Read more

September 30, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Seven Unusual, Eye-Catching Calls to Action

There are a few key basics that every PPC text ad needs in order to rank well and generate clicks: A compelling headline Relevant keywords A relevant display URL A call to action This post focuses on the last requirement. The call to action, or CTA, is the language that tells the searcher what to do – in other words, giving them a reason to click.

(Aside from increasing your traffic, a higher click-through rate will also improve your Quality Score, which in turn will lower your costs.) The default call to action is something like "Buy now!" This may be better than no CTA at all, but it's not very good. It's too familiar, too general and too pushy. So what's a better call to action? It's good to remember that your CTA doesn't have to be a direct sales push – there ar... > Read more

September 29, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 8

Ontolo Link Building Tools v2 Beta: Sign Ups Limited!

Just a quick notice that our friends at Ontolo have a new version of their link building software coming out - we've reviewed the Ontolo link building software before, and we're excited to get our hands on the latest version. Garrett and Ben from Ontolo are only accepting 250 beta users so that they can integrate feedback and work closely with users to get the software right before releasing it to the world.

You can sign up to be notified of beta availability here, and if you do be sure to stop back and let us know what you think! ... > Read more

September 28, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 0

SEOvenger Hunt - SEO Scavenger Hunt from Our Friends at Link Assistant

Our friends over at Link Assistant put together a fun contest: it's an SEO Scavenger hunt. We contributed a bunch of WordStream for SEO subscriptions, and our pals at the SEO Dojo, SEM Rush, and of course Link Assistant chipped in with tons of great stuff as well. Also, today's clue is hidden on our blog! The prizes total almost 8k in great software! Go check out the contest today! ... > Read more

September 28, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Case Study: How a Change to the 'About Us' Page Raised Conversion Rates by 13%

This is a guest post by Ofer Tirosh and M.E. Simpson, the founder and content manager, respectively, of professional translation services company Tomedes.com. A question for you online marketers and content managers out there: If you made a small change to a client's website (or your own), such as a content revision of those basic web pages linked to at the bottom of the homepage (FAQs, Help, Contact Us, etc.

) – how would you expect it to affect your sales? Most of you would probably say, Dude, ask a real marketing question. Typically, these teeny tiny links at the bottom of the homepage do not operate as individual tools for acquiring more or longer traffic visits, or increased conversion rates – not the way landing pages or SEO content does.   Recently, our online ... > Read more

September 28, 2010     |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 1

gShift Labs Integrates the WordStream Keyword Tool API

After meeting with gShift Labs CTO Chris Adams at an SES conference, we realized there was a great partnership fit, and today we're announcing that gShift Labs has integrated the WordStream Keyword Tool API into their Web Presence Optimizer. The team at gShift has built out an entire page dedicated to detailing how the WordStream Keyword Tool API is leveraged within the gShift product.

Here's a screenshot of the implementation: We're really excited about the implementation because it's extremely validating for the WordStream API to have companies like gShift programming against and leveraging our data and our algorithms within their software. We've been able to get a closer look at the gShift software and have gotten to know their team, and they're a very smart bunch solving some interest... > Read more

September 27, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Fun Friday: Schmidt on Colbert; #WhenFacebookWasDown

It's Friday, and it's been an unusually long week (something about the tilt of the Earth, no doubt), so let's keep this roundup fun, shall we? What did you do while Facebook was down? Wednesday, due to a vaguely defined third-party networking issue, Facebook was down for a number of users across the country, and the site has continued to experience uptime issues.

This happened at roughly the same time that our own site experienced some downtime due to a Nettica problem (Nettica is our DNS provider), so I imagine this was the root cause of Facebook's downtime as well. Since you Facebook users all seem like a bunch of slavering addicts to me, I wondered what you did to bide the downtime. You turned to Twitter, of course! (Or other social networks, as the case may be.) Mostly, you spent the... > Read more

September 24, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Malware Hack Attack: When Bad Things Happen to Good Sites

I wanted to share an experience I've been going through after one of my sites was infected with malware. I've been involved in search marketing for the past six years and have been lucky enough to have never had a site hacked. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. About two weeks ago, one of my sites was the target of malevolent hackers.

I became aware of the security breach when I visited the SERPs and saw that Google was displaying the toxic "This site may harm your computer" warning, which looks like this (NOTE: this is NOT my website listing...it's just an example): When users click on "This site may harm your computer" link, it leads them to a Google support page. If you miss the warning and click on the actual site listing, you're redirected to an inte... > Read more

September 23, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 10

PPC Blog PPC Training & Community Review

We've reviewed PPC Blog here before but since that post they've added a members-only training and community portion of their site that I've had a chance to spend some time with, so we thought it was worth reviewing the training and community aspects of the site. Why Bother with a Training/Community Site? One of the common objections you'll hear to paying for content (whether it's a how-to eBook or the Wall Street Journal) is that you can get seemingly similar content for free.

I touched on this in my review of SEO Book's training and community site, but I think that as content and data become more and more omnipresent and commoditized, a lot of the opportunity to create great products that make people better at what they do lies in how you slice, dice, and represent portions of that c... > Read more

September 22, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

How to Find People on Twitter

This is a guest post by Eric Almquist, Affiliate Program Manager at InfoPay Affiliate Network, an information-centric affiliate network and merchant processing environment.   Twitter is everywhere, and that means your marketing efforts can be everywhere as well. We all follow our favorite celebrities, friends, and coworkers.

But what do you do when you don't know how to get relevant followers for marketing purposes? There are many different ways you can get this information. Now there are Twitter lists, directories, recommendation engines, search engines, and local searches. Any one of these can help you find potential customers for your affiliate marketing offers. In early 2009, Twitter started a list of “suggested users,” which was similar to recommended reads in a bookstore. N... > Read more

September 21, 2010     |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 0

The Sky is Falling: A New To-Do List in the Wake of Google Instant

This is a guest post by Caleb Levell, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. His interests include search and social marketing, online collaboration, and social media for business and non-profit organizations. He blogs at PPC Hero and SEO Boy. When I was in college (not so long ago), I had quite the morning routine.

Most important to the routine, I never scheduled a class before 11:15 AM. Of course, this gave me time to sleep in, eat breakfast, and do any last-minute studying. Yes, my schedule was set and my daily to-dos were outlined. Eventually though, it all has to come crashing down. Real life came faster than expected and I had a job. Quick lesson for any of our college readers: Most jobs start at 8 or 9 AM. Thus, my morning routine was ruined. Worst of all, no more break... > Read more

September 20, 2010     |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

Get Out Your Firebrands & Pour Yourself a Brandy: It's Brand Week!

It's Brand Week at WordStream! OK, so I just made that up. We haven't been calling it Brand Week, but I just christened it—branded it, if you will—myself. We've been making some improvements to our office space, including the fancy new sign and display in our lobby, as you can see in the video below, with the intention of strengthening our branding for visitors to the office (board members, job candidates, consultants, paparazzi, and so on) as well as our office culture.

(By the way, if you're curious about the display in the video, it's the work of LocaModa, a location-based social media company.) Coincidentally, I've been seeing a lot of talk about branding this week. Could it be that fall is coming, and everyone wants to turn over a new leaf? (These puns don't even make ... > Read more

September 17, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 6

SEO Specialists: Can You Help Us Test Our SEO Product?

Wordstream is looking to speak with search marketing practitioners to gather input on how we can evolve our SEO product to better meet customer needs. We’re conducting a series of 50-minute research sessions via phone on Tuesday, Sept 21, and Wednesday, Sept 22nd. These interviews can be scheduled at your convenience, and to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a $75 American Express gift card.

If you meet the following criteria and are interested, please drop a comment or send us an email: Search marketing specialist or practitioner who has responsibility for SEO for their organization Available to participate in a 50-minute session sometime between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm Eastern time, on 9/21 or 9/22 Have Internet access using a broadband, DSL, or T1 connection (no dial-up)... > Read more

September 16, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Influence Finder Review

Influence Finder is one of the latest link profiling tools to hit the market. I would classify the Influence Finder software as a "link target tool," giving users the ability to "spy on" the backlink profile of a competitor or multiple competitors to discover link opportunities. Influence Finder also lets you evaluate your own site's link profile as well, to perform some self-assessment and find out who's linking to you and what's driving your site's SERP performance.

Where Does Influence Finder Get Its Link Data? Influence Finder grabs all of its link data from the massive Majestic SEO API, so you know it's robust and accurate. But Influence Finder takes Majestic's link data a step further by re-crawling the Majestic link data and filtering out any dead links, so the d... > Read more

September 16, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

PPC Ad Testing to Maximize Conversions

The goal of PPC ad testing is to increase your click-through rate (CTR) and/or your conversion rate (CVR). Focusing on CTR should result in more traffic to your site, but it could be at the expense of your CVR. On the other hand, focusing on conversion rate should improve the quality of your traffic, but could hurt your CTR and reduce the number of potential customers visiting your site.

As advertisers we are asked to maximize both CTR and CVR, which often requires totally different approaches. If you want to maximize the total number of conversions on your site, you will need to look at a different metric which considers both the CTR and the CVR. This metric is called Impression-to-Conversion or I2C (Conversions/Impressions). I recently created a free Excel download for determining statis... > Read more

September 15, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Announcing the FREE 10-Week Internet Marketing Course from StayonSearch

Wanted to let everyone know that Mark Thompson over at StayonSearch has created an exclusive10-Week Internet Marketing Course that you can get for FREE! This is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of web marketing! According to Mark, the 10-Week Internet Marketing Course is "designed to teach you all the basics of Internet Marketing.

It covers a wide variety of topics to help drive traffic, build your brand and increase leads/sales. Every week you will be e-mailed a new module of this 10 week course that will teach you the fundamentals of Internet Marketing." What's in the Free Course? Here's what's included in the free course: Week 1 - Strategy: Understanding Your Goals and Setting Expectations Week 2 - Market Research & Analysis: Know Your Target Market Before Spending Mar... > Read more

September 14, 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 Copywriting Interview: Heather Lloyd-Martin

Heather Lloyd-Martin is a 20-year marketing veteran, a recognized author and considered the pioneer of SEO copywriting. For over 12 years, Heather’s firm, SuccessWorks, has been training corporate in-house SEO copywriters and creating revenue-driving Web site content campaigns. Heather serves on the board of American Writers and Artists, Inc.

, is an advisory board member of SEMpdx and serves on the PubCon conference advisory board. In 2010, SuccessWorks launched the SEO Copywriting Certification training, the only certification program for in-house and freelance SEO copywriters.   Can you tell us a little bit about SuccessWorks and how you got into the SEO copywriting business? Sure! I started my SEO copywriting career B.G. (before Google) around 1998. Prior to that, I had worke... > Read more

September 13, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 4

How Google Instant Changes SEO, PPC, the Long Tail Plus Your Gas Mileage, Credit Score & Sex Appeal

This weekend at home, I was surprised to find Google was giving me way more than ten results per page—more like twenty, though I confess I didn't bother to count. (It seems Google no longer does the counting for you.) I quickly sent an email to Tom and Ken about it, but it appeared it was "just me," or rather an experiment that was only affecting some users (as reported by Andy Beard and Barry Schwartz).

I was still thinking about this experiment on Wednesday, contemplating a post called "No More 'Ten Blue Links'" when Google unveiled a much bigger change—big enough to warrant a live press conference, big enough to get everyone on Twitter talking, and not just the "tweeple" in my web marketing column. This big change is Google Instant. It sounds a ... > Read more

September 10, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 8

Link Building Magic: How to Turn Citations into Links

As any link wonk will tell you, link building is hard work. So for efficiency's sake, I’m a big fan of harvesting the low hanging fruit in link building. Why kill yourself trying to acquire links from super domains, like CNN.com or The New York Times, when you can grab some quick wins just by tending your own garden?One of the ways I snag some easy link wins is by turning citations into links.

Of all the daily link building tactics I engage in, this is probably one of the best ROI producers. You see, at WordStream, we get cited dozens of times each day across the Web. Most of these mentions (I'd say about 70%) contain links back to our site. But roughly 30% are linkless. And therein lies the opportunity to build a link.Now when it comes to local SEO, I know that citations are like links.... > Read more

September 09, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 12

Google Instant: Told Via Search Story

There is already lots and lots (that one's my personal favorite) and lots of great insight and analysis surrounding Google Instant, and we'll have some of our own here on the blog in the next couple days, but for now we just have a look at how an average (i.e. non-tech savvy, doesn't know who Eric, Larry, or Sergei are) searcher might hope to gain undestanding about Google Instant:    ... > Read more

September 08, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Announcing The Power User's Guide to Google Analytics Hacks, Tips and Tricks

Google Analytics (GA) is undoubtedly the most popular web analytics tool on the planet. If you're a search marketer, blogger or online business owner, you likely use Google Analytics on a daily basis to do some basic traffic and performance analysis. But like many, you're probably not harnessing the full power of Google Analytics.

So to help you get even more out of GA, we reached out to 17 Google Analytics experts to create The Power User's Guide to Google Analytics Hacks, Tips and Tricks. The guide features a variety of advanced user features from our all star lineup of Google Analytics Hacks Panelists, including Aaron Wall, Vanessa Fox, Joost de Valk, David Harry, Will Critchlow, Brian Clifton, Justin Cutroni, Bryan Eisenberg, Bas van den Beld and many more analytics experts. Hope ... > Read more

September 08, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 2

Why you should monitor the top search results for your brand keywords

If you’re a serious company you should care about how you appear to potential customers or employees on the Internet. People are always online nowadays, looking up information about a company before they do business or apply for a job. If someone searches for your company in Google, Bing, or another search engine, it’s important that the first page of search results contains positive information about your company.

  Here are a few reasons why you should control the first SERP: If someone finds a negative review about your product or service, they’re less likely to purchase it (or anything at all from your company). If someone sees people complaining about working for your company, they might not apply for a job there. If someone finds negative articles about yo... > Read more

September 07, 2010     |   Written by: Christine Laubenstein   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Sphinn Pulls Plug on Voting; The 'Community' Reacts

On Wednesday, the moderators of Sphinn announced that the site would lose its main social feature—voting—and move to a pure editorial format, with the editors hand-selecting the best of submitted stories to promote to the front page. If you haven't already heard about this, you either: Took a few days off Haven't been on Twitter lately Don't work in Internet marketing Have real job responsibilities and/or "a life" Just kidding about that last one.

Perhaps the death of Sphinn as we know it isn't quite as earth-shaking as Michael Jackson's passing, but it definitely caused a stir in the search marketing community. After the announcement was made on the Sphinn blog, Ruud Hein was one of the first to react. In a post called "Sphinn Is Dead: Long Live Anything Else,... > Read more

September 03, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

Negative Keyword Tips, Tricks & Best Practices

We recently ran a webinar on negative keywords, sharing tips, tricks and best practices for using negative keywords to identify and eliminate areas of wasted spend in AdWords pay-per-click campaigns. The webinar included: Tips for identifying wasted spend before it happens Methods for identifying underperforming queries that are costing you money in your AdWords campaign Step-by-step instructions for setting negative keywords within your AdWords campaign via the AdWords interface If you missed it, you can view a video of the webinar or the slides below.

And we hope to see you at the next webinar!   Negative Keywords: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices Need more help with negative keywords? Download our free white paper: Negative Keywords: How to Put an End to Wa... > Read more

September 02, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Mobile Marketing Basics for Affiliates: 4 Methods of Mobile Affiliate Marketing

It used to be that everything was done on the computer, but now, with the introduction of mobile technology such as PDA's and smartphones, the internet has shifted from your desk to the palm of your hand. With this shift come new strategies for online marketers, especially affiliates. This opens up a brand new set of mobile marketing strategies that havn't been around for long and don't have set rules.

Currently there are four main uses of mobile affiliate marketing: click-to-call, smartphone applications, mobile landing pages, and SMS campaigning. Click-to-call is one type of mobile marketing campaign chosen by affiliates. Also called pay-per-call, it allows the affiliate to focus on a set of phone numbers and send them their ads. It is very easy for the recipient to interact with this fo... > Read more

September 02, 2010     |   Posted In: Affiliate Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Using Enhanced CPC and Third-Party Bid Management

I was reading Google’s post about Enhanced CPC (they're offering a free webinar about the feature next week) when one sentence in particular struck me as very interesting: “Enhanced CPC is compatible with advanced campaign settings and third party bid management systems.” For a while now, I have been using a proprietary, in-house bid management system in conjunction with Google’s Conversion Optimizer to produce excellent results.

I can do this because my company has built our own web analytics data warehouse. Our solution is unique in that we have embraced Google Conversion Optimizer and modified our bid management system to change CPA bids at the ad-group level. This “best-of-both-worlds” bid management approach is available to anyone using third-party bid management software.... > Read more

September 01, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 5
 
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