February 2012 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
Happy Leap Day, earthlings! Does anyone else find this day kind of creepy? I’m actually getting on a plane to Chicago later, and I’m a little worried that maybe we’ll fly into a wormhole and I’ll end up on the other side of a black hole. I don’t know, my physics is a little fuzzy. I just know Leap Years are weird.
(And did you know there are leap seconds too? The next one is coming in June 2012. Watch out! No pun intended.)Since the universe has given us a whole extra day this year, why not use it to catch up on your reading, hm? Here are our greatest can’t-miss hits from the past month:5 Blog Redesign Mistakes That Kill SEO – This guest post from our friends at Boxcar Marketing reveals some common gotchas that can make a site redesign more painful that it needs t... > Read more
At WordStream, I take great pride in belonging to a team that strives to develop innovative new solutions for search engine marketing. Innovation and growth is helped immensely by having people with deep experience around - and so today, I'm honored to announce that we've added some very strategic talent to our WordStream advisory board.
The new team members include folks with tremendous leadership experience in the B2B marketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industries, including industry giants: Constant Contact, LogMeIn, and VistaPrint and will help WordStream grow our success. Please welcome to the WordStream team:Carol Meyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Rapid7 - Meyers, the former CMO at LogMeIn and Unica, recently joined Rapid7 as CMO, leading the marketing team to drive Rapid7 into ... > Read more
Recently we’ve been sharing several specific tips designed to help novice to intermediate AdWords advertisers with more on their plate than just managing pay-per-click campaigns to get greater efficiencies out of PPC marketing. We published a two-part series on some simple reports that can unearth thousands of dollars in PPC savings:AdWords Quick Wins: Two Reports that Could Save You ThousandsAdWords Quick Wins Volume 2: More Reports that Could Save You ThousandsWe also shared a basic methodology for managing bids for advertisers with minimal time and resources.
In this post we’ll walk through an alternative to that approach for the same overworked AdWords advertisers: CPA bidding in AdWords.What Is CPA Bidding and Who Should Use It?CPA bidding, or cost-per-action/acquisition bidding, ... > Read more
This evening I was doing some SEO research, digging through some web server log files and came across a bunch of weird HTTP referrer fields like this one:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CF4QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wordstream.com%2Fblog%2Fws%2F2011%2F07%2F18%2Fmost-expensive-google-adwords-keywords&ei=WjhFT_yFGqW0iQKJ_u3aDg&usg=AFQjCNH6jAtufiEV9QQ4URJCPcqKj60iuA&sig2=R881GkyXe-xIhCnCm6pxaQI couldn't figure out what the q=&esrc=s string was because:The q= parameter was emptyI had never seen this esrc=s parameter.
There were literally thousands of HTTP referrer strings from Google containing the string: q=&esrc=s parameter set.I did some digging and figured out that "esrc=s" has to do with the Keyword "... > Read more
Sorry for the terrible awesome pun, but I’ve just been reading this Quora thread, “Death by Puns,” and it almost killed me.Anywayz, I saw two great posts this week on link building, and I know how much you guys love link building, so let’s take a look at some of these great tips.At Search Engine Journal, Sujan Patel writes about 13 unconventional link-building strategies, including:Set up a guest speaking gig: Patel writes, “suppose you reserved a room at your local university and offered to give a free presentation on a topic in your niche.
Assuming you advertised your speaking gig correctly, you could see a surge of backlinks from local news sources or other local publications covering your event (not to mention the participants who share word about your presentation on various... > Read more
In recent weeks we’ve been working through a series of posts on various components of the AdWords interface that are designed to help advertisers better understand all of the different options and features available to them within Google AdWords. To date we’ve covered:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsThe Google AdWords Audience TabGoogle AdWords Auto TargetsIn the next series of posts, we’ll focus on a somewhat overlooked component of the AdWords interface: the items contained in the AdWords left navigation within the campaign tab.
What’s in the Left Nav within the Campaigns Tab?Within the left navigation in the campaigns tab you’ll find a series of interesting tools that allow you to report o... > Read more
You’re a marketer, you’ve been there – the end of the month approacheth and you haven’t met your lead goals. If you’ve got limited resources and it’s too late to embark on a brand-new initiative to generate leads, don’t give up – chances are you can squeeze a few more leads out of the content you’ve already created.
Here are three ways to generate leads by re-utilizing your existing marketing collateral.Send an Old Offer to a New ListLook back over your most successful lead-gen offers from the past couple of years, such as white papers, guides, or marketing kits. Hopefully, that content is evergreen or, if it’s out of date, can be updated pretty easily (certainly, bringing an older guide up-to-date is faster than starting from scratch to create a new one).Let’s say you... > Read more
If you read many PPC blogs, you know that there are a ton of interesting and clever tips and tricks that you can leverage to squeeze more efficiency out of your online marketing campaigns. The trouble is, if you’re running an AdWords account there's a fair chance that you’re:Running your own business as wellResponsible for several other components of your company’s marketingSpending real money on AdWords, but not enough to hire an agency or full-time employee to manage itThis forces you to rule out a lot of those tips and tricks, simply because they won’t have a big enough impact for the time they take to implement – naturally, you have to weigh any optimization efforts you might make against other areas of your business you could be improving.
While understanding that specific tw... > Read more
As someone who has recently been subjected to several “brainstorming” sessions (OK, I initiated at least one of them), my interest was piqued by a recent New Yorker article title-tagged “Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work.” Oh really!According to Jonah Lehrer, the whole brainstorming craze started in 1948, when Alex Osborn published a book called Your Creative Power.
“An amalgam of pop science and business anecdote," the book became a surprise best-seller. It was full of little tips and tricks to help people boost their creative output, and one of those tips was “How to Organize a Squad to Create Ideas”:When a group works together, he wrote, the members should engage in a “brainstorm,” which means “using the brain to storm a creative problem—and doing so in comm... > Read more
Recently we’ve created a series of guides on various parts of the AdWords interface designed to help advertisers better understand all of the features and functionality available to them within AdWords, including:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsAdWords Audiences & the Audience TabIn this post, we’ll focus on another area within the AdWords interface: the Auto Targets tab.
What Is the Google AdWords Auto Targets Tab?Many people new to AdWords wonder what this tab even is – in fact the tab is irrelevant for some AdWords advertisers. The auto targets tab is a component of Google’s product listing ads. If you sell e-commerce products, you likely (and should) have a Google Merchant account. (As ... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking for a hotel on the beach, which ad do you think you'd click on? Better yet, which ad do you think you'd act on?While many contests conducted on the BoostCTR platform are designed to improve CTR, some are set up to improve conversions. This contest used conversions as the metric, which is why I added that second question: Which ad would you act on? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2The titles are completely different.
This is because this particular advertiser did not permit BoostCTR writers to use DKI in their ads even if the original ad used it. This was an obvious disadvantage, but the writer worked around it.The body copy is also very different. With that in mind, which one do you think outperformed the other?Made your decision?The winning ad i... > Read more
We blog a lot about the ins and outs of Google AdWords here at WordStream, for the obvious reasons – PPC is our specialty (or “speciality,” as Engywook from The Neverending Story would say), and AdWords is still #1 when it comes to PPC.Let me get this out of the way, or Larry will razz me for days – our most popular AdWords post of all time is actually a list of AdWords promotional codes.
But those codes are all good and expired now, so let’s move on to the articles that are still well worth your while, shall we? :D Yes, let’s. Here are our top 10 most popular AdWords blog posts OF ALL TIME!The Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords – I used to always wonder what the most expensive PPC keywords were, and couldn’t find a satisfactory answer. So we decided to do the resear... > Read more
In the latest move to make SEO harder and increase Google revenues, Google yesterday introduced a new ad format called Enhanced Ad Sitelinks. This new ad format has some similarities to the existing site links ad format, but instead shows related ads in your AdWords account rather than your site links.
Here's what the new super-sized adwords sitelink looks like now:In testing, Google said that "ads with enhanced sitelinks were more useful and relevant" and "clickthrough rates were significantly higher than the same ad with traditional 2- and 3-line sitelinks." Obviously (duh), this has something to do with the fact that the new ads can occupy up to 3 times as much real estate on a Google SERP. It looks like a highly effective way to dominate above-the-fold search results, and further push o... > Read more
Online businesses know that user engagement is incredibly powerful. Better than chocolates or flowers, getting users to “like” your posts or engage you in conversation through Google+ is a dream come true! But often, it can be difficult to obtain that valuable user interaction.With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought today we could evaluate Boston Globe’s online Love Letters column, a small niche of a large news site that has managed to obtain some exceptional user engagement.
I heard about Love Letters through my mother, who habitually sends me her favorite posts. Although my mother works as a computer programmer, she is the farthest thing from a techie, virtually inept at anything outside of COBOL. A once-a-month Facebooker, she’ll often call me to ask how to “send a mess... > Read more
Last month we shared two simple reports that could save you thousands in wasted AdWords spend: search partner performance and device performance. These types of reports are great for small and medium-sized businesses because (once you know they exist) they only take a few minutes to pull, and they can give you quick insight into a dimension of your campaign you may be altogether neglecting.
Today we’ll walk through two more easy to pull reports that could uncover thousands in potential savings: the placement report and the audience report.Quick Win #1: The Google AdWords Placement ReportThe AdWords search query report is frequently talked about on PPC blogs like this one (we did a whole series on search query mining, for instance), but placement reports get less coverage, and subsequently... > Read more
WordStream’s founder and CTO, Larry Kim, isn’t just a PPC veteran and secret linkbuilding addict – he’s also a world traveler and accomplished amateur photographer. Last week he traveled to Africa with his frankly gorgeous wife (who is also a surgeon!) and took some drop-dead amazing photos of the local wildlife.
Naturally, I wanted to find a way to post some of his fantastic shots on the blog, so I took a page from PPC Memes’ book and did what I could to make them relevant to search marketing. (Also, I’m back in the Boston office this week, and the combination of after-work drinks and minor jetlag has made forming full sentences more difficult than usual.)So please enjoy (and share!) these search marketing memes – the captions are mine, but the photos are all Larry. &nbs... > Read more
This is the third and final post in a series on the Google AdWords Audience tab. In the first post in the series, we walked through what an AdWords audience really is and the types of audiences you can target and in the second post we focused on the reporting options available via the audience tab and what you can do with the data.
In this post we’ll focus on best practices for creating specific types of audiences within the AdWords interface for your Google AdWords display campaigns.What Audiences Can You Create?Before you can create strategic audiences you need to understand what characteristics can make up an AdWords audience. In creating the audiences that live within the audience tab, there are two core types of segments you can target:Specific Category InterestsThis is an option to ... > Read more
Yesterday I was walking through Boston when I came across quite an unusual scene – a huge golden heap of Butterfingers smack in the middle of Copley Square. What kind of sorcery is this? I thought as I stared in awe at the giant mound of crunchy candy. Several people stood around the pile, gingerly picking up a candy bar here and there.
But after about 30 seconds, kids swooped down in hordes, cramming piles of bars into their backpacks in sheer ecstasy. I snapped these photos to document the event:Upon closer examination, this was no glorious miracle, but actually a clever advertising ploy by Pawngo, an online pawnshop business and apparent Giants fan. Their candy bar jab gives new meaning to “bittersweet.” I wasn’t beyond cramming some into my pockets before leaving though.I... > Read more
These common pay-per-click (PPC) advertising mistakes are easily avoided, but nonetheless, we see them over. and over. and over. again. These mistakes hurt your click-through rate (CTR), Quality Score, and return on investment (ROI). Are you making these mistakes in your own PPC campaigns?Mistake #1: Not Monitoring Your Search Query ReportBroad match is the default keyword match type in AdWords, and it’s the default type for most PPC marketers, too.
Unfortunately, many advertisers don’t realize just how “broad” broad match really is. Take these ads triggered by a search for “piano bench”:It looks like The Bench Factory and JCPenney are bidding on the keyword “bench” using broad match; Lighting Universe is probably bidding on “piano lamp.” In both cases, Google thinks th... > Read more
This is the second post in a series on the Google AdWords Audience tab. In the first post in the series, we walked through what an AdWords audience really is and the types of audiences you can target. In this post we’ll focus on the reporting options available via the audience tab and what you can do with the data.
Why Wouldn’t My AdWords Audience Reports Show?Before you can determine what to do with your audience reporting data, of course, you need to actually have the data. Many accounts will show something like this:If you haven’t already created and targeted a specific audience, you’ll be presented with the message above (“There are no targets in this campaign”). Similarly, if you’ve chosen the specific targeting method within campaign settings under network setting option... > Read more
On Tuesday, Miranda Miller of Search Engine Watch published a story called “Google, Bing & Yahoo in Partnership to Sell Top Organic Local Listings?” The article outlined a new service offered through Bruce Clay Inc. – a venerable search agency – in partnership with Universal Business Listings (UBL) called Local Paid Inclusion.
Local Paid Inclusion, according to its own website (which has since been taken down, but can still be viewed in archive form; you can also view screenshots at Search News Central), was billed as a way to get your website to the top of the local listings – for a fee (emphases mine):In January of 2012 we were approached to participate in a new and exciting program: Local Paid Inclusion (LPI). We’re offering it directly to local businesses, to chai... > Read more
This is the first post in a series on the Google AdWords audience tab. In this post, we’ll focus on the topic of how Google defines an “audience” as it pertains to AdWords display campaigns, and some of the strategic ways you can make use of audiences within your display campaigns.What Constitutes an AdWords Audience?An audience within AdWords is a means of segmenting or targeting your display campaigns.
With audiences you can do either of two options:Target all audiences and adjust bids for different audience typesTarget only specific audiences and exclude others (using audiences as a targeting mechanism in the same way you would placements, keywords, or other means of targeting specific visitors or searchers)What Types of Audience Can We Target?The actual “audiences” or segment... > Read more
Recently we’ve been running a series of in-depth guides to various parts of the AdWords interface. So far, we've covered:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsIn the coming days here on the blog we’ll be continuing with this series, focusing next on the Google AdWords Audience tab.
Display ads are now an over $5 billion dollar business for Google and growing rapidly, and understanding how to leverage tools like audiences within your AdWords display campaigns can be a powerful means of driving large amounts of targeted traffic. For that reason, we’ll walk through the audience tab and cover:What is an “AdWords audience”?How can you leverage the reporting data in the audience tab to help optimize your... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you lived in Baltimore and you wanted to start training in mixed martial arts (MMA), which ad do you think you'd click on? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 The titles are completely different. The body copy is mostly different (the phrase "Professional Facility" is the same in both of them).
And the URL is the same in both ads. Which one do you think outperformed the other?Made your decision?The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "wordisborn," and it increased CTR by 70%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.7 clicks, which is a significant improvement.So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...The Original AdThe original ad is fairly good. The title "Mixed Martial Arts" is straightforward and mi... > Read more
So how is 2012 treating everyone so far? Are you sticking to your resolutions? Or crying on the couch eating potato chips out of the jumbo-size bag with both hands?That’s what I thought. Sound like you could use a distraction. How about reading or re-reading our blog’s greatest hits from January?Here are the top 10 most popular posts from last month:What Industries Contributed to Google's $37.
9 Billion in 2011 Revenues? – In this post, Larry summarized the findings of our recent research into which industries spend the most on Google AdWords, and drew some interesting conclusions about what the data says about the state of our economy.SOPA and PIPA: Why They're Bad for Business – Meg breaks down the problems with SOPA and PIPA, proposed actions to put an end to piracy.AdWords Exper... > Read more