5 Super-Basic Writing Tips to Help You Be a Better Web Copywriter

Writing! Anyone can do it (and I encourage you to) but not everyone is good at it (sorry).This is not one of those article that explains the difference between its and it’s or tells you why you’re using “literally” wrong. (Details, details.)Instead, I’m going to share five super-basic tips that will make all your writing better, including any writing you do for the web (AKA SEO content).

These tips will help you hone your writing structure and your writing style, leading to better organized, more readable writing, which will ultimately get more reads, shares and likes.1. Start with an outline.Not this kind of outline!It doesn’t matter how experienced you are. Whether you’re writing your first college essay or your 367th blog post (which I am, and that’s just for the WordStr... > Read more

January 02, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 12

WordStream's Year in Review: Our Best Posts of 2012

Well guys, we did it! WE BEAT THE MAYANS! We got through December and the world didn’t end. Or, if it did, one can hardly tell the difference. I hope you didn’t sell all your possessions or anything rash like that. Awkward!I’m all about looking forward – 2013 Ho! – but before we rush off into next year, let’s take a quick look back at what happened in 2012, the year that was almost the end.

Our top 10 most popular blog posts this year were:What Industries Contributed to Google's $37.9 Billion in 2011 Revenues? – For our first infographic of the year, we found the top 10 industries that lay out the most cash on AdWords advertising and delved in to figure out what it said about the state of economy in 2011 going into 2012.The War on 'Free' Clicks: Think Nobody Clicks on Google A... > Read more

December 26, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 4

Matching the Google Algorithm to Your Traffic Loss

When website traffic drops, and it’s clear that you were not the cause of it, it’s time to point your finger at Google, rant, and maybe even cut down that 6000 word rant into an informative 3700 word blog post. This SEO is spending Christmas Eve with Google so hopefully you won’t have to.This is the type of early Christmas card you would not want from Google.

 “It’s probably that darn Google Panda,”“I feel like it’s Penguin and negative SEO!”or “It might be those directory submissions/paid links that so-and-so did in the past”Before you go on a zealous “Google is evil” blame rampage, I understand that there’s a ton of ways to blame Google (or someone else) without proof. However, empty accusations will not get you your traffic back. Attributing traffic loss ... > Read more

December 24, 2012     |   Written by: Victor Pan   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 22

Google Remarketing Cheatsheet: 12 Steps to Set Up a Remarketing List (+ Free Download)

We created a Google remarketing cheatsheet as a take-home for a recent webinar. It’s a handy reference for anyone who is interested in setting up a remarketing campaign in AdWords. Below is the 12-step process to setting up a new remarketing list, and you can click here to download the cheatsheet as a PDF.

Thanks to our SEM Manager Rich Griffin for creating this resource!Define your remarketing strategy.Will you target all visitors to your site?Are you only interested in targeting visitors to a specific page?Create the remarketing code.AdWords > Shared Library > Audiences > + New Audience > Remarketing ListFill in all of the required parameters including membership duration, list name, and a brief description of the tag. Then click “save.”Navigate to the new remarketing c... > Read more

December 19, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 31

The SEO Interview: Questions to Prepare for Before Your SEO Job Interview

 As the founder of a search marketing startup, I’ve had the opportunity to interview, hire and work with some of the most amazing SEOs on the planet. I am so proud to have worked with people like Tom Demers and Ken Lyons, who not only helped me turn wordstream.com into a website that holds its own against domains like google.

com for SERP rankings, they went on to found a successful internet marketing consultancy of their own!Because WordStream’s business is in the internet marketing industry, the competition for SEO keywords in this vertical is incredibly fierce. We’re always competing against other search agencies, or search marketing product companies who obviously know a thing or two about SEO. If you think your insurance or travel industry has fierce competition, try competi... > Read more

December 17, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 42

The Problem with Marketing Best Practices

Best practices are best practices for a reason – right?You’ve probably heard people say the same thing about stereotypes. There may be a grain of truth behind some stereotypes, but mostly they’re just an excuse for lazy thinking.Marketing best practices – supposedly tried and true guidelines – are the same way.

Some of them are at least partly true; others are based on pure assumption or are so hypothetical as to be basically meaningless to your particular company.Take, for example, the “best practice” that content for the internet should be brief. Many people assume that web readers don’t want to deal with long-form content, so web writers should always favor brevity over depth.Recently, we’ve found the opposite to be true: Our longer blog posts tend to get better metric... > Read more

December 12, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 16

How Core Values Are Going to Triple Our Revenue in 2013

Today is an important day in WordStream’s evolution. We recently completed an exercise to define our core purpose and core values and we are ready to share them with our employees, customers, prospects and followers.We have been growing fast, with over 30 new hires in 2012 so far. As we grow, having a “playbook” of how we operate becomes more and more important.

These values are the essence of our company. These are not just words on paper, but something we will strive hard to live by, and we expect you to hold us accountable to them.WordStream’s Core Purpose:To bring the power of search marketing to businesses of all sizes.WordStream’s Core Values:The below graphic illustrates our core values. Click to enlarge.How Did We Create These Values?I’ve done this a few different times... > Read more

December 11, 2012     |   Written by: Ralph Folz   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 9

The 3 Types of Search Queries & How You Should Target Them

Search queries – the words and phrases that people type into a search box in order to pull up a list of results – come in different flavors. It is commonly accepted that there are three different types of search queries:Navigational search queriesInformational search queriesTransactional search queriesIn the search marketing world, we tend to talk more about keywords than search queries (news flash: they’re not quite the same thing).

But today we’re talking search queries. Let’s go into a little more detail on what these three types of search queries are and how you can target them with your site content.Navigational Search QueriesWhat Is a Navigational Search Query?A navigational query is a search query entered with the intent of finding a particular website or webpage. For exam... > Read more

December 10, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 20

I Will Audit Your PPC Account For Free!

 Struggling with PPC advertising? Do you want to take your AdWords account performance to the next level? I can help!I’ll do a complete PPC audit of your AdWords paid search account – for free. Seriously!Next week – on Wednesday, December 12 at 1:00PM EST, I’ll be doing a live webinar with my colleague, Sean Quadlin from Hanapin Marketing (the folks who run the PPC Hero blog!).

Click here to register for the Webinar.During the presentation, I’ll be holding a live PPC optimization clinic – Sean and I will review 2 AdWords accounts and point out areas of strengths, and uncover opportunities to improve your PPC account performance.A few years ago, I used to charge over $1000 for doing a custom PPC audit like this! But we’ll do it live, in-person and at no cost to you (excep... > Read more

December 06, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

30 Fast Facts About the Google Antitrust Case

 The Google Antitrust Case: Is Google violating antitrust laws by using its search dominance to favor its own products in search results over competitors? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to decide whether or not to sue Google for antitrust violations. A final decision about whether to pursue an antitrust case is expected before the end of the year.

In addition to the U.S. Government and European antitrust investigations, there are a number of private lawsuits by Google rivals that make claims of unfair competition or antitrust violations against Google.There is no argument that Google runs the world's most popular search engine, with 67% of the market. But has this market dominance been obtained through antitrust violations?The government’s escalating investigation into ... > Read more

December 06, 2012     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Win of the Week: Focus on Benefits Pays Off

Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking to buy an insulation blower, which ad do you think you'd click on?PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2These ads are completely different. Yet one of them performed far better than the other.But which one? And why?The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "deaders," and it increased CTR by 176%.

Where the original ad was producing 1 click, the new ad is producing 2.76 clicks.So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...The Original AdThe original ad starts okay. The title is clear. The first line repeats the title with the additional word "Blowing." So the first two lines say practically the same thing. This, in my opinion, is a waste of space.Line 2 is a bit strange. I think this is where the ad falls apart. It lists two model ... > Read more

December 05, 2012     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 4

Search Insider Summit: Driving Social Further down the Conversion Funnel

  Hello!  I'll be speaking on a panel on “Search in the Social Era” at Search Insider Summit 2012. I'll be partnering with other search industry experts to give a presentation on “Driving Social Further down the Conversion Funnel” at the Search Insider Summit on Saturday December 15, 2012, at 10:15 am.

 The presentation is one of several that will be hosted during the four-day Search Industry Summit conference hosted at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, UT.  For my “Driving Social Further Down the Conversion Funnel” talk, I will be joined by panelists including Chris Baggott, Chariman at Compendium; Dhiren D’Souza, President and Co-Founder of SearchForce; and Chris Zaharias, Chief Revenue Officer at Triggit. Together we'll examine wh... > Read more

December 03, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Why Use AdWords? Here Are 10 Reasons

 The Effectiveness of Google Ads Being Called to Question“Why use AdWords” and "Does Google AdWords Work?" are pretty common keyword phrase searched on Google, which suggests that there are a lot of marketers and business owners out there who have heard about Google AdWords but aren’t sure if and how it can work for them.

We believe that AdWords – Google’s enormously successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system – can work for almost any type of business. Using AdWords (or any PPC platform) requires time and money, but thousands of businesses have found that it’s time and money well spent, because AdWords delivers measurable ROI. We’ve devoted countless pages to how you should use AdWords. In this post, we’ll answer the question of why you should use it.Before an... > Read more

December 03, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 23

WordStream's Best of the Month & the Way-Back Machine

 Happy Friday and End-of-November, folks! Putting this post together, I started to write about Christmas creep and ask if people are being bombarded with elves and ornaments yet, but then I had the eerie sensation that I had already written that – last year, when I wrapped up our best of November.

But I was wrong. I actually wrote about that two years ago. On November 30, 2010:Do you hear sleigh bells ring-a-ling, ding-ding-ding-a-ling too? Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means it's officially open season Christmas season in the eyes of the American advertising industry. Prepare yourself for the Xmas onslaught! (I once had "Here We Go A-Wassailing" stuck in my head for like three years. No joke.)Good to know I’m still original. So what was our #1 post of ... > Read more

November 30, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

A Beginner's Guide to Content Strategy for the Web: 10 Things You Need to Know

Content strategy is a relatively new niche discipline in the digital space. It shares common ground with user experience (UX), interface design, web development, SEO, content marketing, public relations and traditional “offline” marketing.This article highlights some of the leading concepts of web content strategy, how it fits in with its neighbouring disciplines, and shares some practical guidelines that anyone in the digital space – especially those new to content strategy – should consider before embarking on their own content strategy.

These findings were inspired by industry experts who presented at the Content Strategy Forum 2012 in Cape Town.Below are 10 things you need to know to meet a content strategy’s ultimate goal of (1) fulfilling users’ expectations and (2) meetin... > Read more

November 28, 2012     |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 14

YouTube Advertising: How to Advertise in YouTube Videos

YouTube’s growing prominence in popular culture has shown that it can serve as much more than just a way to share adorable kitten videos – it has become a highly effective venue for accessing massive audiences through online advertising.YouTube has become the venue by which budding musicians and performers get their first big break.

Justin Bieber first got discovered on YouTube, and more recently YouTube has made Psy’s hit “Gangnam Style” the most viral video of all time. And that’s not just an empty title – “Gangnam Style” has reached nearly 1 billion views, and those views can be equated to serious YouTube advertising revenue.(Source: WordStream, Inc. provider of PPC and AdWords tools.)To put things in perspective: YouTube gets over 1 billion views per day, which means ... > Read more

November 27, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

Psy Defeats Bieber: “Gangnam Style” Takes Best in Show for Most Viral Video of All Time!

Congratulations to Psy and his legendary k-pop sensation, “Gangnam Style,” which as of today, November 24, 2012, is the most viewed video of all time on YouTube, beating out the former reigning champ, Justin Bieber’s “Baby.”“Gangnam Style” has become the most viral YouTube video of all time, obtaining unprecedented worldwide attention and breaking social and viral records left and right.

With the recent M.C. Hammer mash-up broadcast at the American Music Awards, the “Gangnam Style” craze is still going strong, but for how long?To commemorate this momentous day in internet pop-culture history, I'm releasing a new infographic, “Psy vs. Bieber: ‘Gangnam Style’ Takes Best in Show for Top YouTube Video of All Time”, which puts Psy’s “Gangnam Style” head-to-head a... > Read more

November 23, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 8

WordStream & HubSpot Present 5 Ways to Leverage PPC this Holiday Season [Webinar]

 As a business owner or marketer, you need results FAST during the holidays. More than any other marketing channel, PPC is fast, scalable, and can get you the results you need!WHAT:  5 Ways to Leverage PPC this Holiday SeasonWHEN:  Thursday, November 29 at 12:00 PM (Noon) EST (5:00 pm GMT/UTC)WHY:  You'll leave this webinar with easy, actionable tips for reaching more potential customers through PPC.

You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions and get expert advice on creating AdWords campaigns for the holiday season. In this webinar, Dan Slagen, head of global marketing relations at HubSpot and I, will show you how to:Implement a successful PPC campaign in time for the holiday rushFind the right keywords to rank in paid searchUse PPC to complement your organ... > Read more

November 20, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

21 Ways to Get Ready for Small Business Saturday

 It’s almost here—the holiday shopping season that so many businesses rely on to profitably round out the year. And once again, there’s a movement afoot to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of the action. Nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday (SBS)—which this year falls on Saturday, November 24.

The U.S. Small Business Administration describes it as “a day to celebrate and support small business and all that they do for their communities.” It's particularly meaningful to me as I myself founded a start-up, and we work with so many small and medium sized businesses every day!Small Business Saturday may be less than one week away, but there’s still time to make sure your business is primed for what will hopefully be a bi... > Read more

November 20, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 3

Blog Management for Small Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

Thousands of small business marketing blogs are launched every day. Big companies, small companies, even kitchen table companies use business blogs to get in front of new prospects and hold fast to sales-ready leads and existing customers. A small business blog can cast a wide net around target audiences afloat in various stages of buying readiness by fueling their interests, piquing their curiosity, and empowering them to make smarter decisions.

People (business buyers are still people) revisit good blogs. They also add them to their reader or subscribe to the email version of the posts. Bad blogs…well, those often fall off our radar after they fail to satisfy an information need, bomb on the entertainment factor, or skimp on quality.What makes a good blog a good blog? How can your small... > Read more

November 19, 2012     |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 7

Important Update on WordStream's Infographic Research and AdWords Performance Grader

At WordStream, one of our core values is transparency, so we want to be clear with our readers and customers about some minor changes we are making to our site and our AdWords Performance Grader application. Due to recent changes in Google’s API policy, we have made adjustments to the AdWords Performance Grader application and removed our most recent infographic about Google AdWords.

Please read on for more details on the nature of these changes.What HappenedGoogle has made changes to their API terms and conditions. The previous version of the API terms and conditions read as follows:...AdWords API Clients may only use or transfer AdWords API Data as expressly allowed in Section III of this API Agreement and, except in the case of a disclosure of account information to that account owner... > Read more

November 16, 2012     |   Written by: Ralph Folz   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

How to Rank for a Keyword in 10 Steps

 The view from the top ain't badGot your sights on a keyword? Want to see your website on the elusive first page of Google for a given search term? Prepare yourself: Unless you’re Wikipedia or The New York Times, it won’t be easy. But it’s not impossible, either. Seriously – we do it all the time!Ranking for a keyword in organic search is a repeatable process.

You won’t get the results you want 100% of the time, especially if you’re a new website trying to rank for a popular keyword, but if you take content marketing and SEO seriously, you can start to make things happen. Things like rankings, and traffic, and sales, oh my!Here are the ten steps to rank for a keyword in Google.Step 1: Lay the GroundworkThis is really more of a pre-step than a first step. You’ll need to h... > Read more

November 14, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 127

The AdWords Performance Grader, Now with Industry Benchmark Data! Find Out How You Compare to Industry Peers

Due to recent changes in Google’s API policy, the content of this blog post has been removed. Please see the following blog post for details: Important Update on WordStream's Infographic Research and AdWords Performance Grader. Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

November 12, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

The Best Tweets of All Time: Our List of the Most Important, Record-Breaking Tweets Ever

The social media site Twitter, in only a few short years, has managed to forever change the way generations of people communicate. Whether sharing breaking news, announcing political victories, or mourning the deaths of our heroes, Twitter has become an integral part of the social landscape.We’ve made a list of the top tweets of all time – not just the most retweeted tweets (those titles are held almost exclusively by celebrities), but also the history-changing tweets, the momentous twitter events, and the minute messages that reflect just how much can be said in only 140 characters.

WordStream presents you the best tweets ever.The Best Tweets Ever:ObamaMarsPhoenixMount EverestOccupy WallStreetCrime FightingAnthony WeinergateBP Oil SpillKennethColeOld SpiceOprahCharlie SheenJustin Bieb... > Read more

November 08, 2012     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 4

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords: 9 Ways to Discover Long-Tail Terms

Let this long-tailed tit be your guide! (Via BinaryApe)We’ve been banging the drum about long-tail keywords for a long (ahem) time. Recently, I explained why it’s so hard to rank for competitive keyword phrases with a new website. The answer? Keep trying, and target more specific, less competitive long-tail keywords in the meantime.

We also talked about whether you should target head terms or long-tail keywords in my Content Marketing FAQ. The answer? BOTH! As you’re building out your site content, your keyword taxonomy should naturally include both broad and narrow terms.Hopefully by now, whatever the size, type, or age of your business, you understand that long-tail keywords should be a part of your SEO content strategy. The long-tail keywords you find could be used as the title an... > Read more

November 07, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 26

New Google SERP Changes Make Ads More Prominent than Ever, Cannibalize Organic Search for Informational Queries

Google has released a refresh of their Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), shifting the search toolbar from the left side to the top of the screen. The top navigation bar (including the new search toolbar) is also approximately 20 pixels less tall compared to the old top navigation bar, so adds appear higher up on the page.

According to Google: "With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph," the search engine said Tuesday in a blog post.The stated goal was to create a “simpler, cleaner design” which creates a “consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today."How the SERP Change Impacts Organic SearchThe N... > Read more

November 07, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 14

Who Will Win the Election Tomorrow? Obama by a Landslide*!

*If online engagement metrics are any indication!Election Day 2012 is tomorrow – will President Barack Obama get another four years? Or will Republican challenger Mitt Romney take the win?Political wonks may know that statistician Nate Silver has predicted a win for Obama based on election polls and public opinion polls.

I was curious if the Internet presence of the two respective candidates pointed to the same outcome. So I ran some quick numbers to look at Obama and Romney’s spending on paid search advertising (political campaign ads on Google search and the Google Display Network), their website traffic, and their social media presence (including Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers).Based on what I found, I predict that Obama will win by a landslide on Nov. 6, ... > Read more

November 05, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 17

How Many Ads Does Google Serve in a Day?

Due to recent changes in Google’s API policy, the content of this blog post has been removed. Please see the following blog post for details: Important Update on WordStream's Infographic Research and AdWords Performance Grader. Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

November 02, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

WordStream's Best of the Month: October's Top 10

Good morning, faithful readers! Did you celebrate Halloween? WordStream sure did! And I just know Larry was working on this costume for MONTHS:I’m just sorry I wasn’t there to see the dance!Before November gets underway in earnest, take a moment to catch up on our blog’s best posts from last month:The Changing Economics of Google AdWords – Our latest infographic breaks down just what goes on in the Google AdWords economy in a single day – including how many total impressions, clicks and conversions occur on Google Search and the Display Network in 24 hours.

The infographic also includes top-level metrics for the top 10 industries that spend the most on AdWords advertising.10 Reasons SEO Is Harder for Small Businesses – Some readers out there have gotten the idea that we don’t... > Read more

November 01, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 3

Happy Halloween! 10 Scary Stories from WordStream

 In honor of the spookiest holiday, I thought it would be fun to forget about marketing for a day and tell some scary stories instead. So I asked a bunch of WordStreamer’s:What’s the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to you at work?Their answers are below – don’t read them alone or in the dark! I also took a page from Google’s book and commissioned a special Halloween version of the WordStream logo from our extra-awesome UX designer, Tara DiMaggio (thanks, Tara!).

Larry Kim, Founder and CTOThe scariest thing that ever happened to me at work was getting a warning of unnatural links from Google.In SEO-terms, it’s the equivalent of a death sentence – Google usually de-lists your website within a few weeks of giving the notice.I felt so sick to my stomach. Couldn... > Read more

October 31, 2012     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 3
 
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