Follow Links Vs. No Follow Links: Should You Care?

Those new to SEO might be wondering what all the hullabaloo is about follow links vs. no follow links. Confused? Not to worry, we’re going to clear it all up.What is a Follow Link?To really understand what is going on with follow vs. no follow links, we need to provide a bit of background about how links work in the realm of SEO.

When a site page gets an inbound link, which is a hyperlink pointing to that page, the page gets a small SEO boost. Think of a link as a point, and the more links you have, the more points. More Points = Winning, like Charlie Sheen.Google takes note of these points, watching how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. Google figures, hey, if a lot of people are linking to a certain page, it must be a really good page! Let’s give preference in our se... > Read more

July 25, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 182

Register for My Upcoming Webinars with Moz and PPC Hero!

Hey Internet marketing maniacs, I’ve got a couple of new webinars coming up in the next week and would love for you to join us!Are You Spending Your PPC Budget Wisely?“Are You Spending Your PPC Budget Wisely?” will be a joint webinar, presented by Hanapin Marketing’s Carrie Albright and me. We’ll be sharing best practices and creative tips for PPC budget management, including:Reconciling  PPC budget with your overall marketing costsAdjusting your strategy for large or small accountsChoosing the right metrics to help define your spendIncorporating expenses like agency or staff overheadThis webinar will serve as a great refresher for spend planning, overall budgeting, and cost measurement, whether you’re planning your initial PPC budget or re-evaluating c... > Read more

July 24, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Review Extensions: Add Positive Reviews & Testimonials to Your AdWords Ads

If you’ve had an eye on the AdWords Blog lately, you may have noticed that Google is on a roll when it comes to new features, particularly in the form of ad extensions—for example, see the new image extensions and enhanced, extra-large Google sitelinks.In the past, these “bells and whistles” were often utilized by only the savviest PPC experts.

Nowadays, ad extensions are a fundamental aspect of paid search accounts. If you’re not using them, hop on the bandwagon before you’re left in its dust. Not only do ad extensions require minimal setup time, they are also displayed at no additional cost—a win-win for most advertisers.Google’s latest brainchild is Review Extensions. As you can see in the example below, these extensions give you the opportunity to share positive reviews... > Read more

July 24, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

RIP Syncapse: Syncapse Announces Huge Layoffs

It was just about a year ago that we reported Clickable Inc. was acquired by Syncapse. It was a bit of a surprise at the time, since Clickable used to be primarily a provider of SEM software for SMBs (and therefore a direct competitor of WordStream), while Syncapse is a social media management tool company.

I was even more surprised this morning to read the news that Syncapse is restructuring and laying off most of their employees.According to CBC News:In the past five years, the company had been expanding aggressively, employing 110 people at offices in Toronto, New York, London and Gurgaon, India.On Monday, the majority of staff at the company were told they were being laid off."Despite our best efforts, the organization lacks the resources to move forward successfully and as such must en... > Read more

July 23, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Confessions of a Reformed Black Hat PPC Marketer: My CPC Arbitrage Story

The author's views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of WordStream.I was a typical silicon valley engineer, doing the boring old routine.Wake up after pressing snooze 7 times, fight traffic on 101, sit in a really BORING meeting with a technically inept manager who thinks the programming language Java is a caffeinated product, pretend to "work" (note: surfing on eBay is not a waste of time, but a valuable contribution to eBay's crowdsourced website quality assurance), go to lunch and bitch/complain/moan about our crappy jobs, then take an hour long nap in the conference room underneath the table so no one would see me.

When 3 PM rolled around, I would actually work for about an hour right before my manager showed up to ask how I'm doing, then punch out to my boring suburban... > Read more

July 23, 2013     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 18

The Complete Guide to Yelp Reviews: Power to the People!

Yelp has become the most popular Internet rating and review site since its initial inception in 2004. Yelp founders saw that word-of-mouth was a powerful purveyor of new customers, but with the classic local community structure breaking apart in an online era, how could individuals know which businesses to trust? Yelp was the answer – an online review site in which customers shared their experiences, helping others make informed decisions about restaurants, auto-repair shops, and more.

Many review sites have come and gone, but Yelp has continued to be the most trusted source for local business reviews and ratings. Why? Yelp noticed that other review sites are far too cluttered with spam and ads, so they’ve kept theirs to a minimum. Yelp also focuses on long-form reviews rather than... > Read more

July 22, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 28

News Flash: Google AdWords CPC Down by 6% Year-Over-Year in Q2 2013 - Here's Why!

There’s been a ton of grumbling and conspiracy theories in the search engine marketing community about how new enhanced campaigns - the biggest and most disruptive upgrade to the AdWords advertising platform in the last 10 years - are just a ploy to raise CPCs. Various vendors including Adobe, Kenshoo, Covario and others have recently released studies claiming that CPCs are already rising by 6% this quarter.

So I was surprised to hear that the exact opposite happened in Thursday evening’s Google Earnings conference call. AdWords CPC was down. Here’s an excerpt from the call:Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased... > Read more

July 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 18

The PPC Guide for B2B Professionals

 Quick: What do ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic tie-rod cylinders, and third-party PPC software platforms have in common? Not much, really—but all three are examples of B2B (business-to-business) products that B2B companies can sell via PPC advertising.PPC is a system that offers B2B companies the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently.

Your target market is basically raising its hand and saying it’s interested in your product or service, and it does so by typing in search keywords on Google or Bing. The beauty of it is, they’re looking for you – instead of you standing around a trade-show booth for ten hours at a time asking people what their biggest business challenges are and hoping their needs match up with what you offer. That’s what makes PPC a form of inbou... > Read more

July 18, 2013     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 17

Enhanced Campaigns D-Day Is Less Than a Week Away – Are You Prepared?

Many advertisers we work with at WordStream have already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns. I’ve been bullish on the changes since they were announced in February – though Enhanced Campaigns do come with some loss of control, I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the costs for most advertisers. Namely, those benefits include:Easier management of mobile campaigns and better measurement of mobile ROIMore powerful bidding tools for local ads and display banner adsFewer campaigns to manage overall – a big timesaverIf you’ve been happily chugging along with your legacy campaigns, I’ve got bad news for you.

On July 22, this coming Monday, upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns will no longer be an option. Basically, in about five days it’s sink or swim. Any campaigns that you have not alread... > Read more

July 17, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

How to Reduce Your Cost Per Conversion by 16-80% (Sorry, Haters, Quality Score Still Matters)

Quality Score: Is it the be-all-end-all of AdWords metrics, or no big deal? You’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Proponents believe Quality Score is a good measure of the health of your account – high scores tend to correlate with lower costs and better results across the board.

Detractors will say QS is a distraction and all that really matters is your cost per conversion, because that’s how you determine your ROI.So who’s right? What should you focus on in your PPC reporting?What Is Quality Score?As a quick refresher, Quality Score is a metric Google uses to determine where advertisers rank on the SERP and how much they pay. Although AdWords functions as a kind of auction, if the system was purely determined by bids, spammy companies with lousy, irrelevant ads ... > Read more

July 16, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 24

The Small Business Strategy Guide to Google AdWords

Promoting products and services while trying to compete with mega-giants like Amazon and Walmart is often a daunting task for small business owners. The good news is that Google AdWords has created a way for advertisers to do just that. Bigger brands may have an advantage when it comes to PPC, but they don’t hold all the cards.

Even with a small budget, you can get impressions and clicks on Google with a smart account  structure and the right targeting options.Having consulted hundreds of small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners and marketing managers, my eyes have been opened to the struggles they face every day.The ProblemLet me take a second to set the stage. Anyone who tells you that AdWords is easy or that they can guarantee you numbers is lying to you. AdWords is complica... > Read more

July 15, 2013     |   Written by: Ben Cohen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 21

Further Adventures in Inbound Marketing: HubSpot PPC Hub & Upcoming Moz Webinar

Recently, we did our best to put the lie to the myth that PPC is outbound marketing. There’s a persistent idea that cost is the determining factor that separates inbound and outbound marketing. But we believe that all marketing has costs – since no channel is free, what matters is ROI. So inbound marketing isn't free marketing, but rather is defined by context and intention.

Like organic content marketing, PPC ads are driven by context and user intent – in other words, the ads are only triggered when they’re relevant to what people are already searching for. And with increasingly more effective and blinged out ad types, PPC is more and more likely to meet a searcher’s needs just as well, if not better, than an organic result. (We believe that for commercial searches, PPC is better... > Read more

July 12, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 1

12 Tests to Increase Your Landing Page Conversion Rate, Starting Today

Your bids are competitive, your ads are laser targeted, and you've tested and tweaked your landing page to get the highest possible conversion rate. Ever.You feel like Leonardo DiCaprio stand-spooning Kate Winslet on the Titanic, breathing in that fresh scent of saltwater greenbacks while your sales and leads keep pouring in.

You're a marketing genius (and you've earned the right to call yourself that).But then you wake up. Realizing that your 1997 GeoCities hosted landing page hasn't seen an improvement since, well, 1997. And your potential profits are like a leaking ship. Slowly. Dripping. Away. While you’re staying profitable (for now), your competitors are figuring out ways to improve, enhance, and build trust and relationships with clients that could have been yours. All b... > Read more

July 11, 2013     |   Written by: Johnathan Dane   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 36

Enhanced Campaigns FAQ: Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions on Enhanced Campaigns

As the deadline to migrate to Enhanced Campaigns looms ahead (it's in 12 days!), advertisers are becoming increasingly anxious about how these new features will impact their paid search accounts. Here are the answers to some of my clients’ top five most frequently asked questions about Enhanced Campaigns:Q: How do I determine my bid modifier for mobile?A: If you’ve advertised on mobile devices in the past, take some time to segment your performance by device and assess your mobile success.

Consider how you are performing at your current CPCs and set your bid modifiers accordingly. If you are new to the mobile space, Google recommends using this formula to calculate an appropriate bid adjustment: 100% x ((value per mobile click/value per desktop click) – 1)). Regardless of which metho... > Read more

July 10, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Modern Marketing: Automation's Evolution Brings More Opportunities to the Table

No search marketing campaign can guarantee a 100% purchase rate. Simply put, many visitors just aren't ready to buy... yet. Marketing automation technology and best practices close that gap, turning every website visitor into a lead to be loved and nurtured. As marketing best practices have evolved over the years, so has modern marketing automation.

Today, consumers make decisions on their own terms and expect marketing messages to be relevant both to their interests and where they are in the buying process. Delivering the wrong message at the wrong time is both annoying and a waste of $$.The marketing climate has been moving in this direction for many years. From the dawn of radio and television, consumer choice has increased and marketers have been forced to continually refine their... > Read more

July 06, 2013     |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 3

Local Mobile Marketing Case Study: Colombo Hurd Slashes CPA with Mobile Marketing

Note: A version of this mobile marketing case study appears on the AdWords blog (PDF version).The rundown WordStream client Colombo Hurd upgraded its largest AdWords campaign to Enhanced Campaigns in April. Because mobile traffic has tended to be more valuable to the law firm, they decided to ramp up their local mobile marketing investment and increased mobile bids by +25%.

As of early May, Colombo Hurd had increased customer conversion rate on mobile ads by a factor of three and reduced the cost of a new customer acquisition by 149% with the new mobile marketing campaign.The Goals Increase conversionsGenerate phone calls to schedule in-person consultationsImprove sophistication of mobile-targeted advertisingThe Approach Upgraded largest campaign to EC and monitored resultsAdjusted CPC bid... > Read more

July 03, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

AdWords Account Audit Checklist

Here at WordStream, I am not only a Customer Success Specialist, but I am also a Premier Consultant. As a Premier Consultant I meet with clients every two to four weeks to discuss the state of their account and what they should be doing to improve it. On these calls we can really dig into what our advertisers need to be doing to improve their account, whether that’s setting up brand new remarketing campaigns, digging into how to improve quality score, or helping to analyze advanced metrics in Google Analytics.

Part of my usual process when I get a brand new Premier Consulting client is to first run through a checklist of items to determine what shape the account is in and what areas we can target to work on first together. I focus on the basic structural aspects in an account first, and t... > Read more

July 02, 2013     |   Written by: Phil Kowalski   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 13

Banner Ads Are Back from the Dead: How Google Has Given Banner Ads New Life

Banner ads are largely seen these days as fossils from the internet’s dinosaur period, back when blinking text was cool and Angelfire sites were all the rage.Such online billboard ads have long been considered deceased, dead, and buried, with few mourners grieving the demise of web banner ads. However, a new breed of banner ad has evolved and is on the rise thanks to Google, and they’re hungry for blood (or clicks.

Whichever is easier).Today we’re looking at the horrific past of banner ads, their new and improved counterpart, and how you can make banner ads work for you!Everyone’s (Least) Favorite Ad: Why Most Banner Ads Stink Just like the Iraq War, slavery, and parachute pants, banner ads are an ugly part of our history. They’ve generally been seen as a public nuisance and... > Read more

July 01, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 14

WordStream’s Best of the Month – Our Greatest Hits from June

Happy late solstice and early Independence Day, y’all! Clap your hands if summer is your favorite month.These early days of summer are my favorite, before it gets too stiflingly hot to sleep and before my feet get too irreparably disgusting from walking around in flip-flops. While we’re all still in a good mood (right?) let’s review our hottest blog posts from the month of June!The Top 10 Best AdWords Features You're Not Using – Our new contributor Johnathan Dane put together this list of the most awesome AdWords features that too few people are making use of.

Google AdWords Ad Extensions Cheat Sheet – Thanks to Erin Sagin for this quick cheat sheet that’ll help you figure out which ad extensions to use when.News Flash: PPC Is Inbound Marketing – This one was posted too late i... > Read more

June 28, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

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
 
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