Google Products Graveyard: Mourning Google Reader and Other Discontinued Google Products and Services

Google Reader is going away on July 1, leaving its small but loyal fan based scrambling to find a replacement RSS reader. (This longtime Google Reader user has been very happy since switching to Feedly.)With Google Reader on its death bed, and iGoogle approaching the end as well, we thought it was high time we revisited some of the many other Google products that we’ve said goodbye to over the years.

Many of these products were great ideas that just never caught on with a larger audience; some had overlapping functionality with other products, forcing Google to focus development efforts on one over the other. I still mourn the old, social version of Google Reader. Which Google product still haunts you from beyond the grave?Our Google Graveyard infographic reviews some of the many great i... > Read more

June 27, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 25

Google Celebrates Historic DOMA Decision with Rainbow Search Box

It's been a busy few days in the news and many of us have been glued to our "sets" (i.e. Twitter) following the filibuster in the Texas senate and, this morning, the Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down DOMA (the defense of marriage act), the 1996 law which denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

In a cute act of apparent support for gay rights, Google has implemented a rainbow search box for searches related to gay marriage, such as "gay" and "lesbian":What do you think of Google's show of support? Should the search giant stay out of politics?You can read about the significance of the rainbow flag to the gay rights movement here.UPDATE: Though we only noticed this today, Danny Sullivan points out that the rainbow search box was already in place for Gay Pri... > Read more

June 26, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6

8 Simple Things You Might Be Overlooking In Your AdWords Account [New Guide]

Our latest white paper is now available for download. Below is an excerpt from the guide. Click here to download the full text of this new, free guide (PDF).8 Simple Things You Might Be Overlooking In Your AdWords AccountAdWords makes it incredibly easy to set up and run a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, but some advertisers assume that after they've written an ad, typed in some keywords, set the budget, and switched on the campaign, there's nothing more to do except sit back and watch the clicks and conversions roll in.

In reality, any account – large or small – can benefit from a few quick, simple tweaks designed to optimize the advertiser's reach, click-through rate, and return on investment (ROI). These updates don't cost anything extra, and they're simple enough that even someone ... > Read more

June 25, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Performance Grader Now Even More Secure & Easier to Use with OAuth2

We’ve teamed up with Google to make our award-winning AdWords Performance Grader even easier to use and the login process more secure than ever.The new authentication process, based on OAuth2, enables you to run the free AdWords Performance Grader by signing in with your Google profile – just be sure you use the profile associated with an active Google AdWords account.

(The process is similar to using your Facebook account to comment on a blog.) WordStream will then do a one-time read of the data in your AdWords account, while Google controls a secure interaction. The new process is fast, easy and helps ensure the highest level of privacy and security.Watch this video to see how it works!To try out the new Grader for yourself, go to www.wordstream.com/google-adwords and follow these st... > Read more

June 24, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Predictive Search: Is This the Future or the End of Search?

Ever since Google introduced auto-complete in 2004, predictive search has become a welcome part of our internet interactions, helping us search faster, find results quicker, and discover answers to questions we didn’t even know we had.As predictive search becomes more powerful, tools like Google Now have become capable of delivering relevant, personalized information to users, all but eliminating the need for search as we know it.

Will Google’s continued efforts in predictive search destroy search engines as we know them today? Is Google Now the beginning of a self-destructive path for the king of search?In this post we’re looking at all aspects of predictive search – how Google uses it in search engines, the role it plays on mobile devices and in new features like Google Now, and w... > Read more

June 24, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

How to Find, Follow and Connect with Social Media Influencers

With the introduction of Google+ authorship, it’s quickly becoming important in the world of SEO and social media to demonstrate who you know. Not only do users want to see that you are connected with industry leaders, but Google wants to see this as well. The more advanced blogs where your content appears and the more advanced people that share your content, the better chance your content has to succeed.

In short, you want to be able to connect with influencers—people in your industry who are well respected, widely published, speak at important conventions, have a success story, etc.— so that you can someday become an influencer yourself. It won’t happen overnight, but there are ways to slowly break into the world of the experts.How to Track Influencers with Google+ RipplesOne of t... > Read more

June 21, 2013     |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 5

Larry Kim Named Most Influential PPC Expert for 2013!

Our friends at PPC Hero put together an infographic of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2013, based on votes from readers, social influence and other influence factors (speaking engagements, books published, channels reached, etc.). We were very excited to see our own Larry Kim in the very top spot! Check out the full graphic below to see all the top experts.

Huge thanks to our buddies at Hanapin for putting this together, and congrats to all the other experts. We're honored to be in your company!You can read more about the survey's methodology here.... > Read more

June 20, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

AdWords Campaigns Limited by Budget? Find Out What It Means & What to Do

Budgeting seems to be the topic on everyone’s minds lately and I can’t help but think that this is due to Google’s subtle, or not so subtle, ways of telling you when you need to raise your bids and budgets. Google now has the ability to show you trends with your keywords, where you “should” be at for positioning and Max CPC’s, and other various tools that are likely to raise your budgets.

I don’t think Google is wrong in what they say but I definitely think they have a sneaky way of not really explaining the why to customers.Way back in 2009, Google introduced their way of showing you when you need to adjust your budget to better fit their needs … I mean your needs and help you get more impressions and clicks. They call this tactic “your campaign is ‘limited by budget.... > Read more

June 19, 2013     |   Written by: Lisa Wilkinson   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 12

How To Get Even More Google Sitelinks!

Google has today made it easier than ever to get new bigger and better Google Sitelinks for your ads, which help people find information deeper in your site so they can get to where they want to go faster.  Previously it was already possible to specify clickable anchor text for all of your Google Sitelinks.

And with today's update, AdWords is going even further by enabling you to designate specific text for your Google Sitelink descriptions from within your AdWords account. This will enable more granular control over the descriptions that display when your Google sitelink is shown to searchers.What Do Google Sitelink Ads Look Like?We're glad you asked. Here’s what the new super-sized Google Sitelinks ad look like:These huge new sitelinks are like the AdWords equivalent of the T-Rex ... > Read more

June 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

Short-Form Social Video Posting: Vine Vs. Tout

[Editor's note: Today we have a video post, in the spirit of Whiteboard Friday. Check out the short video or, if you prefer, read the transcript below.] Video Transcript:How long should your video be? People all over the internet have been asking this for ages! For a long time, the idea was that shorter was better, but recent evidence suggests that long-form videos are now proving more popular, and even YouTube and Vimeo are prioritizing this video content in their search rankings.

However, Tout and Vine are looking to move the trend back to short video. And when I say short, I mean short. Tout offers 15-second video posts, while Vine (from Twitter) offers 6 seconds. The concept of the platforms is to allow only “clips” or video snapshots, rather than long-winded or over-produced c... > Read more

June 18, 2013     |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 3

Top 4 Google AdWords Features I'll Be Exploring This Summer

Last month, our team had the opportunity to visit Google’s NYC office for the Google Engage Catalyst conference.The event was directed toward agencies and, to be perfectly honest, I expected to get an earful of Google’s typical agenda pushing. Pleasantly to my surprise, Google delivered on their promise to show us “what’s new and exciting in online marketing.

”Here are the top four Google and AdWords features I’ll have my eye on this summer:Similar AudiencesCheck out this new twist on Remarketing, one of the most popular Display Network strategies. Similar Audiences allows you to display your ads to users whose browsing behaviors are similar to those of people on your current remarketing lists. I think this is a genius idea, considering that it will give you exposure to a new, q... > Read more

June 17, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

AdWords Becomes More Insightful with Auction Insights

A brilliant new feature has been added to the AdWords roster. Auction Insights now lets you see data across keywords and even up to the campaign level. Auction insights can be found in the Details tab under Campaigns, as shown below. You can get data for all or selected campaigns, ad groups or even keywords.

Now you can see metrics such as impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate and top of page rate.Auction Insights ExplainedAuction insights gives you 5 great metrics to work with:Average position – This gives you an average ranking over your selected time period along with the associated domain. (See also: The Relationship of Click-Through Rate & Ad Position.)Impression share – Represents the amount of times you have appeared in search results when you... > Read more

June 14, 2013     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

The Top 10 Best AdWords Features You're Not Using

The AdWords universe is forever expanding. Sure, some things get changed, demoted or taken away (like Pluto losing its planet status). But new PPC features are always being created, the latest being image extensions for search ads.It’s therefore imperative for PPC professionals to stay on beat with the latest and greatest as their competitors will surely be the ones to try out anything new.

But what about forgotten and hidden AdWords features that you’ve never thought of?Here’s an extensive look into the top 10 most underutilized AdWords features and how you can use them to your advantage.1. Above-The-Fold CPM Bidding on the Display NetworkMany studies have been produced regarding above- and below-the-fold ad placement, and it’s widely accepted that above-the-fold ad placement allow... > Read more

June 12, 2013     |   Written by: Johnathan Dane   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 19

Should I Delete My Low Quality Score Keywords?

When trying to improve Quality Score across the board, it would seem intuitive that eliminating keywords with low Quality Scores would be a step in the right direction. However, blindly deleting all low-quality keywords in your account is not always the best solution.  Think about improving Quality Score the way you would think about eliminating a pest infestation.

If you’ve ever had any problem with pest control, you know that killing off your unwelcome visitors is not enough. In order to implement an effective pest control program, you need to identify the variable sources of the problem and find ways to combat/change them. Why are the pests there in the first place? Is it climate-related? Is it material-related? Do they have a readily available food source? Is there a nest somewh... > Read more

June 11, 2013     |   Written by: Zina Kayyali   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

12 Alternatives to Buying Pinterest Followers: Put Away Your Wallet, We've Got a Better Way

Due to the popularity of last month’s post discussing the pros and cons of buying Twitter followers, we’re tackling another contender – Pinterest.Pinterest has become the internet’s photo-sharing darling since its explosion onto the social scene in 2011. Pinterest has become a haven for recipe swappers, DIY enthusiasts, designers, and more.

Some of the most popular Pinterest users get their content shared thousands of times a day, and a high number of followers serves as a green light for other users debating who to follow.A user’s number of Pinterest followers is another internet glamour metric, similar to Twitter followers. Just as with Twitter, having an army of inactive followers won’t do you much good, since on Pinterest the real value comes from repins, comments, and liki... > Read more

June 10, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 15

Image Extend Your Ads: Google Introduces New Image Extensions

Google has revealed a new venture into ad extensions. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you image extensions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then AdWords users have certainly got a lot more room to create compelling text ads now.In Google’s announcement post, they talk about how this extension will be great to show off things like car models, jeans and even different shades of eye shadow.

There is a lot more that we could use this extension for. Service-based companies will be able to highlight their work, and, as in the above example, hotels will be able to showcase their facilities. We may even see some companies using their logos – it would be very interesting to see the results of this in comparison to other methods of image ads.Obviously any company with a visual angle w... > Read more

June 06, 2013     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 12

How Product Listing Ads Are Stealing Your Conversions

If you’ve ever done a Google search, you know already that Google ads are occupying more and more space on the SERP. What you might not know is that the fancy Product Listing Ads you see are commercial intent-sucking monsters and are stealing all the conversions from both the organic and non-PLA search results.

Today, when someone searches for anything related to a product name, Google automatically populates most of the above-the-fold space on the SERP with PLAs and other blinged-out ads:When I search on “keurig coffee maker,” about 80% of the screen is devoted to sponsored results featuring keurig products– I have to scroll below the fold to see more than two organic listings. All the ads you can see here make use of extensions (such as offer extensions, location extensions, etc.)... > Read more

June 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 23

How Native Advertising is Kicking Serious Banner Ad Butt (And What You Can Do About It)

Do you remember the last television commercial you saw? How about the last radio ad you listened to?Okay, here’s one you’ll remember for sure: What company was behind the last banner ad you saw online?My guess is that you don’t remember any of those three types of advertising. But don’t feel bad about it.

You’re probably suffering from “Horse Blinder Syndrome.”It’s nothing serious, just a natural progression of how we humans have developed a tendency to ignore advertising. Especially online.Display ad click-through rates have plummeted over the years, and according to DoubleClick research and HubSpot, the average CTR is now at a miniscule 0.1%.So how do we brilliant marketers and creative advertisers improve? Well, there’s something called native advertising. And I’m 10... > Read more

June 04, 2013     |   Written by: Johnathan Dane   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

Google AdWords Ad Extensions Cheat Sheet

 If you’re looking to boost your paid search performance without working late in the office all summer or increasing your budget, try utilizing Ad Extensions. Not only do they require minimal set-up time, they are displayed at no additional cost.It can be tough to decide which extensions to focus on, so I’ve created a cheat sheet to help you decide which ones will work best for you:Sitelink ExtensionsWhat are they? As you can see above, Sitelink Extensions allow you to promote additional landing pages below your standard ad text.

Applying a few more lines to your ad gives you more real estate on the SERP, helping your ad to stand out against your competition. Sitelinks also give the searcher an opportunity to go to a more specific page on your site. For example, in the ad above, t... > Read more

June 03, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 33

MAY We Brag About Our Best Posts of the Month?

I realized long ago that journalism is 75% puns. I still remember the time in high school yearbook when my best friend Marisa was putting together a spread on international travel. She couldn’t think up a good caption to go under a photo of some student at the Eiffel Tower. I suggested “Get an eye-ful.

” SHE LOVED IT! And into the yearbook it went, preserved for posterity.Hence the unfortunate title of this post. I have to do these roundups once a month, guys, let me have my fun, OK?Now, on to our top 10 awesomest posts of the month, in order of awesomeness, as determined by YOU, our faithful readers!Review of Mention, a Great Alternative to Google Alerts for Brand Monitoring – Google Alerts used to be the gold standard for brand monitoring, but they’ve fallen off of late. I took ... > Read more

May 31, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

News Flash: PPC Is Inbound Marketing

What is Inbound Marketing? The Story of How PPC Became "In"The industry is all a-buzz today with Rand Fishkin’s announcement that SEOmoz is relaunching and rebranding as simply Moz. They are distancing themselves from their history as an SEO company and positioning themselves as a provider of more general marketing tools, with a focus on “inbound marketing,” the phrase that local Boston company HubSpot and others made (relatively) famous.

I couldn’t help but notice that Rand’s blog post explaining the change included a revision of a diagram he had previously used when discussing inbound marketing. Here’s the new diagram, which distinguishes between inbound marketing and “interruption marketing”:And here’s the old diagram, from Rand’s March 2011 blog post:Notice anything ... > Read more

May 29, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 42

Reporting Is the #2 Biggest Time Sink for PPC Managers – Is There a Better Way?

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been conducting an informal survey before all of my PPC webinars. I ask attendees to tell me how much time they spend doing PPC every week, as well as which task is the biggest time sink in PPC management. For the first question, answers vary from less than an hour up to 40 hours a week.

For the second, they’re a bit more consistent. I averaged the answers from the past several webinars and found that PPC managers find keyword research to be the single biggest time sink in PPC (wow, you guys really spend a lot of time on keyword research). This was followed closely by reporting and analysis:Why do advertisers spend so much time on PPC reporting? Because the available PPC reporting tools are often too complex. You go into AdWords or Analytics to chec... > Read more

May 29, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

WordStream Is a Finalist in the 2013 MITX Innovation Awards!

We’re very happy to announce that we made the short list of finalists in the 2013 MITX Innovation Awards! Last year, our AdWords Performance Grader won the award for the “Best Customer Engagement Driver” category. This year, the 20-Minute PPC Work Week is among the finalists for “Best B2B Innovation”:Otherwise known as “innovative online tools that make employees whistle while they work” (well, not literally).

In all reality, innovative technologies have made it easier for the business to do business, making our work lives easier and more effective and our customers happier. This category recognizes innovative B2B web, social and mobile technologies that are fundamentally improving how organizations get it done.”The 20-Minute PPC Work Week is workflow tool inside our WordSt... > Read more

May 28, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Social Media Management Tools: What’s the Right Tool for Your Business?

Why is Social Media Management Important?With so many different social media sites to post, share articles, and track engagement on, finding a reliable social media management tool to help streamline your social media tasks is pretty essential.Social media managing tools can help marketers save time, stay organized, and optimize their efficiency.

Today we’re looking at some of the top contenders for social media management systems. While some overlap, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This guide should help you determine which tool is the best fit for your business.Social Media Management Tool ReviewsThe pricing design of these social tools is fairly consistent – there’s usually a set of plans ranging from the cheapest and most basic, to the more expensive and advanced. C... > Read more

May 23, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 23

Why Tumblr Will Make Yahoo Billions: The Chronic Undervaluation of Display and Mobile

There’s been a lot of negative stuff in the press so far about how Yahoo is making a big blunder with its recent acquisition of Tumblr.In this article, I’ll explain why I think they’re all wrong.But first, let’s address the critics, who in general, seem to be focused on two main points:1. Yahoo Sucks at Integrating Companies (See Flickr)In 2005, photo sharing site Flickr was at the forefront of the social media revolution.

But, as some critics have pointed out, Yahoo’s reign has brought with it a complete lack of innovation, and as a result the company failed to do anything interesting with the huge audience Flickr had.All this is true – however, it happened under Yahoo’s previous management, before Marissa Mayer took over the helm. This is backwards-looking, not forwards-loo... > Read more

May 20, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

How Not to Market to Women: Fashion Isn't ALL Women Care About

Dear companies that market to women: Stop trying to sell me stuff that has nothing to do with fashion by fashion-washing your ads. I hate this marketing trend! Much in the way that toy companies think little girls will only be interested if it’s pink, brands that sell everything from house paint to yogurt have decided that the only way to market products to women is via association with makeup and clothes.

It’s sexist, it’s cynical, and it just doesn’t make sense.Here are a few of the more egregious examples of this marketing trend I’ve seen in the past year.The Fage Lipstick AdMmm, creamy luxury! What a great ad for lipstick!Wait, what? This is an ad for yogurt?We don’t even need to get into the irrationality of yogurt being marketed solely to women – my husband eats 10 time... > Read more

May 20, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 19

Buying Twitter Followers: The (Cheap) Price of Friendship

We all know social media is a hugely valuable element of online marketing when it comes to building a customer base, search engine rankings, and brand recognition. As a major player, Twitter is one of the most important and popular social media networks frequented by users around the globe.Obtaining a high number of followers is a landmark goal of many Twitter users.

Getting those followers isn’t always easy though, which leads some innocent businesses to wander down the shady path towards the ominous castle black-hat, wherein lies the dark tactic of buying Twitter followers.With a simple swipe of a credit card, you can obtain legions of your own mindless Twitter drones! To buy or not to buy? Let’s review the reasons for and against buying Twitter followers.In this post, we'll be looki... > Read more

May 16, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 61

Web Content Writers Wanted!

Whether or not it’s fair to classify WordStream as a startup, we certainly still think of ourselves that way. And one of the challenges of startup life is the rapid growth – meaning our needs often outpace our hiring.[More: 50 Things Every Content Marketer Should Know]Lately, that’s the case with content creation, so we’re looking for a few good freelance writers to help us out.

So if you love writing, Internet marketing, and extra money, we want to hear from you! Specifically, I’m looking for someone(s) who:Has hands-on experience with search marketing – WordStream is very meta in that we market about marketing, do SEO on pages about SEO, create PPC ads for our PPC software and so on. So if you’re going to write for us, you need to have experience with the world of search ma... > Read more

May 15, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 5

Should You Include the Same Keyword with All Match Types in AdWords?

There is an age-old argument about structuring your account based on the match type of the keywords in each ad group. Should you add all keywords on exact, phrase, and broad (and don’t forget modified broad)? What is the right way to do it? If there are so many ways to structure, how do you choose? These are all questions that, so far, I haven’t seen definitive answers to.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to structure an account – do this, don’t do that, add this, follow this best practice, etc. But who is right?Hard evidence seems to be lacking for one view or another, but is adding all these match types ever necessary? If you have a keyword on a broad match type, why do you need phrase and exact? Aren’t you already getting enough traffic? And this is where the problem l... > Read more

May 13, 2013     |   Written by: Lisa Wilkinson   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 25

Some Cautionary Notes on Upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns

Enhanced Campaigns Are Here! Wait … Am I Making More Money?When switching to Enhanced Campaigns – which will be required for all AdWords users within the next few months – I would advise all advertisers and managers to remember that any drastic changes that happen quickly and suddenly are most likely to go poorly.

While there is certainly cause for excitement surrounding the ability to control bids at a targeting level, I would implement any of these changes at a gradual pace as opposed to all at once. Every account is different, but don’t go nuts implementing a ton of geographic and device bidding all at once – you could quickly lose control of the account. Unless your account is totally upside down, I would try to roll out advanced bid changes throughout the summer at a slow pa... > Read more

May 09, 2013     |   Written by: Nick Weidman   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3
 
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