Whenever you are looking to improve or gain mastery in a particular area, it is always smart to carefully examine the practices of those who are already doing a top-notch job. You can learn so much just by picking the brains of existing experts – our ongoing Ask The PPC Experts interview series continues to be popular.
Social media networks like Pinterest are no exception – looking at how others successfully use social media in a creative way will help you spark your own masterful ideas.Today we are looking at six unique Pinterest accounts and assessing what these Pinterest users are doing that sets them apart from the pack. Learn from them, and you’ll probably witness improvement. With better referral rates than Google+ LinkedIn, and YouTube combined, Pinterest is a social med... > Read more
My personal blog gets a lot of traffic through Google Image Search. In fact, two of my top 10 organic keyword referrers are “jeff bridges” and “young jeff bridges,” thanks to a post in which I ask the age-old question, who’s the ultimate in “cocky-hot,” a young Jeff Bridges or James Spader circa Pretty in Pink? (Scientists have not yet reached consensus on this issue.
)Well, traffic is traffic, right? Meh – maybe for a blog that has no real business goals. But let’s pretend for a second that I am running a business and have goals to reach. As such, there are a few problems with this traffic:It’s irrelevant – People who search Google Images for pictures of Jeff Bridges don’t really care what I have to say, about Jeff Bridges or otherwise probably – they just want to... > Read more
Half of agencies reported improved ROI from PPC in 2012.>>Tweet This!<< That increased ROI led to more PPC spending. More than three-quarters (77%) of agencies reported an increase in investment in Google advertising in 2012.>>Tweet This!<< 32% of PPC agencies report that their clients primarily use PPC to sell products or services directly.
35% use it to generate leads.>>Tweet This!<< PPC agencies report that the three most important metrics for gauging success of paid search marketing are return on investment (ROI), number of sales or leads, and cost per conversion. (This differs from the top 3 metrics as reported by companies: return on investment (ROI), conversion rate, and number of sales or leads.)>>Tweet This!<<&n... > Read more
Join us for our next free webinar: The Top 10 Ways to Outsmart Your Competition in 2013. This webinar will take place next Wednesday, January 23 at 1 pm EST.I'll be presenting along with Amanda West-Bookwalter, Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing and writer for PPC Hero, to show you the top 10 tips, tools, and tricks to help you gain and maintain PPC success throughout the year, and stay ahead of your competition!You’ll learn how to:Improve your Quality ScoresGet through to potential customers at the end of the funnelSpend less per lead, and more!After registering you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions to join the webinar.
Even if you can't make the live webinar at this time, sign up anyway. We'll send you the slides and recording of the webinar after the... > Read more
There’s been a lot of talk around here (and everywhere) lately about over-optimization. There’s a feeling in the air that a lot of SEO tactics that worked in the past are becoming less effective, if not grounds for a straight-up penalty. Some ranking signals are falling out of favor and others are coming into the fore.
Earlier this week, in a post about viral content marketing techniques that can help any kind of content, I posted this jokey meme with a recent quote from Larry:A couple of people took issue with this remark in the comments; Chris Mayhew said “I wouldn't say that SEO's time has come and gone.” Neither would I! “Unoptimized is the new optimized” is an exaggeration (Overstatement! Used for effect! Yay, rhetoric!). We’re not actually going to de-optimize our whole ... > Read more
Herpes Simplex is a beautiful thingIt’s flu season, folks! Viral activity is high. And even if you got your flu shot and have Tamiflu stockpiled in your hall closet, I wouldn’t be surprised if you or someone on your marketing team is secretly dreaming of the infographic or Gangnam Style parody vid that’s going to take off faster than H1N1.
Seriously though. I’d like to think that the obsession with viral marketing campaigns is going the way of small pox. It’s not a practical goal for most marketers, and if it happens once, you can go crazy trying to make it happen again.I may not be an advocate of viral content marketing, but I am an advocate of content marketing, the good old-fashioned non-viral kind. And I recently saw a great slide deck from Upworthy about how they ... > Read more
Tonight (January 11, 2013) at midnight is the deadline for early registration of Hanapin Marketing’s Hero Conference, a 3-day, all-PPC conference in Austin, TX, April 8-10.Three great reasons to sign up for Hero Conf todayI’ll be speaking! And I’d love to meet you. Check out the full list of speakers to see all the PPC heroes you’ll be able to learn from – including my friends and colleagues: Bryan Eisenberg, Chad Summerhill, George Michie, Elizabeth Marsten, Jeff Allen, Joe Kerschbaum, Shawn Livengood, Noran El-Shinnawy, Matt Van Wagner, and many more.
And me! :)Bang for the buck. Hero Conf has a low speaker to attendee ratio for more one-on-one time, and is less expensive than similar industry conferences. (And you get the best price if you sign up today.)Total PPC focus. A lot... > Read more
Any questions?If you’ve been considering taking the plunge into PPC marketing, and you have some basic – very basic – questions before getting started, look no further. Here you’ll find answers to 10 frequently asked questions from PPC beginners and hopefuls – that is, people who have heard of pay-per-click marketing and Google AdWords, but don’t know much else.
Naturally, if you have a beginner question that isn’t answered here, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you.Table of ContentsWhat is PPC marketing?Nobody clicks on ads, so why have them?Why do people click on AdWords ads?Why use pay-per-click marketing?What type of businesses should be using internet advertising and why?How does Google AdWords work?Why is Facebook’s click-through rate l... > Read more
Whoa there buddyThe changing SEO landscape was one of the most pervasive and controversial topics in Internet marketing last year. While some high-profile marketers maintained that good, legitimate, white-hat SEO has always been clear-cut, and claims to the contrary are just snake oil peddling, we believe that SEO is full of gray zones and judgment calls.
Although we’re primarily a PPC company, we’ve always believed in the power of SEO as a marketing channel, and in fact our business is highly dependent on organic search traffic, so we take this stuff seriously. Due to Google’s evolving algorithm and continuing battle against search spam, we’ve reconsidered some of the tactics that have seemingly worked for us in the past, for two reasons:Recent evidence suggests these tactics... > Read more
The gym is always extra-crowded this time of year, full of people redoubling their fitness efforts and trying to stick to their weight loss resolutions. The good news is, you can apply the same enthusiasm to your AdWords account without having to park at a crowded gym and fight for a spot on a bench or in your favorite class!Are you ready to kick some AdWords ass in 2013? Try out these 25 tips from our Customer Success team to save time and money and get better results.
Enable SitelinksSitelinks! They are quick and easy to implement (through WordStream software or AdWords), cost no additional money and can have an enormous impact on CTR’s.Erin Sagin, Customer Success SpecialistLog Your PerformanceI track my results daily. First thing I do every morning is log yesterday’s account le... > Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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