If you work in the search marketing industry, you may have found yourself having a conversation somewhat like this one (the same conversation I have every time I tell a "regular person" what I do):Regular Person: So, what do you do?Me: I work as a writer for a software startup.Regular Person: What kind of software?Me: Um, search marketing software?Regular Person: So .
.. like Google?Me: Well, yeah, sort of. We make software that helps people advertise on Google.If this regular person is curious enough to know more (rare), I usually find it helpful to explain that Google advertising functions similarly to an auction. In the off chance that they tell me advertising on Google does not work, I tell them that our whole company exists because it does work.How Does Google AdWords Work?Since there ... > Read more
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from looking at our analytics over the years since we launched this blog, it’s that People. Love. Link building. Articles about link building consistently drive the most traffic over time. Why? It’s not the only thing that matters for SEO – you also need great title tags, strong information architecture, etc.
, etc. Those posts do pretty well too, but there’s not as much to say about them.My theory is that link building is more like a game, and I bet a lot of SEOs grew up as gamers. SEO link building isn’t just a matter of learning a few basic best practices and applying them. There will always be new ways to score links, and getting a great link is a triumph for an SEO. It’s like a new top score on Donkey Kong.Are you the King of Kong?Since... > Read more
This weird owl turned up when I searched Flickr for "Friday." Let's just go with it.Google and Other Forms of Corporate EvilEric Schmidt Is Right: Google’s Glory Days Are Numbered – At TechCrunch, Dan Kaplan quotes from Eric Schmidt’s letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights (“History shows that popular technology is often supplanted by entirely new models”) and explains why Google is headed for a downfall.
Google Freshness Update: The Real Winners & Losers – Google recently announced a new update that delivers “fresher” results for about 35% of queries. Patrick Altolft thinks will be bad for brands, whose own properties will get pushed below random news and reviews.Google May Penalize Your Site for Having Too Man... > Read more
If you are managing PPC campaigns in both Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter, then allow me to be the bearer of some good news. The good folks over at Microsoft are finally making changes to the adCenter platform to make it more familiar to AdWords users.In fact, as this Media Post article describes, Microsoft has conceded that because Google owns the majority of the market share it has become the unofficial industry standard.
While this may be a tough pill for Microsoft to swallow, it’s good news for advertisers who are constantly struggling to save time while optimizing campaigns on both networks.Let’s take a look at some of the things that are changing in adCenter – changes that will make it easier to navigate for people who are currently advertising on Google AdWords:Easier ac... > Read more
Monday, Google+ finally opened its doors to businesses with Google+ Pages.That’s right, businesses now have the option of creating a brand page on Google+. You aren’t limited to one page either—if you have several popular products, you might want to consider making different pages for your business, products, and even events.
Google+ also lets you choose from a few different types of pages that break down into many sub-categories. For example, putting yourself in the “local business” category gives you the option of listing an address and phone number. What You Can Do With Your Google+ PageThere’s a lot you can do on your Google+ page. There’s the obvious, such as uploading and sharing photos, videos, links, and viewing all your +1s. But there’s plenty more you ca... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. Imagine you are a business owner who is looking for signs that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You know you've got to buy ADA signs to comply with the law. You're not deciding whether or not to get these signs – only who to buy them from.
With that in mind, which ad would you click on? Which one would be more likely to earn your business? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 This is not an easy contest to call. The ad that lost was the control ad for months. It beat quite a few challenger ads. Even though it lost badly in this contest, it's a REALLY good ad.Surprisingly, there is no difference in the title or URL. The only differences are in the body copy of the ad. It's unusual to see such a large difference in CTR between ads that h... > Read more
Now that Halloween is past us, it’s time to look forward to the holidays. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and retailers know that there’s more to this holiday than turkeys, football, and disagreeable in-laws.Black Friday and Cyber Monday are holy days for major businesses and online retailers, but small businesses often get left in the dust.
Well, small businesses, don’t despair—you have a day of your very own! Smack between Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Small Business Saturday on November 26.This week is starting to get crowded.Small Business Saturday began in 2010, and despite being a holiday created and promoted by American Express, there is some real social media momentum with this, and you’ll be smart to grab on to some of the trajectory.Why Supporting Lo... > Read more
This is the sixth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 4AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 5This week’s interview is with Jason White.
Jason is the Marketing Director for Stadri Emblems, a company that designs and produces custom embroidered patches. Like other millennial marketers, he... > Read more
Two weeks ago, I blogged about Google’s announcement that it would stop providing keyword referral information for a portion of organic searches. At the time, people were kicking around numbers between 1 and 7% – Google claimed this wouldn’t have a big effect on marketers, and some people thought it was no big deal.
(For example, both Frank Reed and Alan Bleiweiss called SEOs “myopic” for overreacting to the news.)However, in just two weeks’ time, the situation has gotten worse, just as many of us feared. Rachael Gerson at SEER Interactive has “proof that Google’s secure search now affects more users”:Comparing yesterday (10/31) to the previous Monday, 27 of the sites had over 100% increase in ”(not provided)” traffic. We looked at the data in a second way, ... > Read more
Yesterday Google announced a new ad placement, with ads now being displayed at the bottom of SERPs. This additional ad spot comes along with a number of other updates Google has been making as it cleans up Gmail and Google Reader (with mixed feedback), adds Dynamic Search Ads, and starts hiding some organic search query data, to name a few changes.
Google is pushing the PPC big time. Google notes that in testing, this new bottom placement performed better with CTR than side ads. Google attributes this to the fact that users tend to scan a page from top to bottom, with the news ads fitting better into the user’s “flow.” You can compare the performance of ads in top positions vs. other positions with the “Top vs. Side” segment, which will be appropriately re-named “Top vs. Other... > Read more
This is the fourth installment in our guide to reporting via the Google AdWords dimensions tab. In the first three posts we covered:Google AdWords Dayparting – The AdWords Dimensions Time Tab ReportGoogle AdWords Conversion Reporting via the Dimensions TabGoogle AdWords Destination URL Report The focus of this post is AdWords demographic reporting functionality within the dimensions tab.
What Is AdWords Demographic Reporting?Demographic reporting in AdWords allows you to look at the demographics of the prospects you’re targeting on certain sites. One of the powerful things about Facebook advertising is that you’re able to build a demographic profile to target your ads to; AdWords offers similar insights into who your ads are being served to for certain sites that have this type o... > Read more
We're doing a joint webinar tomorrow with Search Marketing Now. Here are the details:WHAT: Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Paid SearchWHEN: Thursday, November 3, 2011 – 1 PM EDT (10 AM PDT)WHO: Alex Cohen, Director of Marketing, H. Bloom, and Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, WordStreamWHY: Every PPC campaign needs a regular checkup.
In this webcast, we’ll take a look at things you can do to evaluate, fine-tune and improve your paid search.Alex Cohen will cover things you can do immediately to audit your account to find hidden waste and to improve your ROI. Larry Kim from WordStream will discuss steps you can take to create and maintain a healthy PPC program while investing just 20 minutes per week.Attend this webcast and learn:How to find and eliminate wasted spendHow to identify and ... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking for CRM software ("CRM" stands for "Customer Relationship Management"), which ad would you click on? Which one jumps out to you? (If you've been following the Win of the Week column for very long, I'm willing to bet you can pick the winner.) PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 There is no difference in the URL.
The only differences are in the title and body copy of the ad. Made your decision?The winning ad is ad number one. It was written by BoostCTR writer "kbc5019," and it increased CTR by 89%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.89 clicks.Why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...1. The phrase "On-Demand" in the original ad seems unnecessary. The question I ask myself is this: Isn't all software available to... > Read more
This is the fifth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 4This week’s AdWords expert interview is with Glendon Llewellyn Lloyd, the e-commerce director at Tszuji, an online home storage store specializing in shoe storage and clothes storage solutions for the home.
Glendon manages Tszuji's SEO and SEM, ensuring th... > Read more
This is the third installment in our series on AdWords reporting via the dimensions tab. Previously we’ve covered the dimensions tab time report (aka AdWords dayparting) and AdWords conversion reporting via the dimensions tab. In today’s post, our focus will be on Destination URL report within the dimensions tab.
What Is the Destination URL Report?The destination URL report is pretty straightforward: it’s showing you a list of the various destination URLs (i.e., your actual landing pages where you’re sending traffic – not your display URLs) in your AdWords account. As with any report in the dimensions tab, you can customize the columns in this report to give you a variety of different data points:In the screenshot above we’re focusing our column selection on two key components o... > Read more
Happy Halloween to all the lovable weirdos and kids-at-heart out there who still celebrate this silly holiday. (Stupid hats? Buckets of candy? What’s not to love?)And check out our top 10 greatest hits of the month – they’re SCARY AWESOME!Facebook Wall of Shame: Facebook's Failures, Criticisms and Missteps – There’s no doubt that Facebook, by and large, is a massive success story – but this infographic detailing the company’s various flubs and snafus was nevertheless our most popular post of the month by far.
When Should You Pause Google AdWords Keywords? – Learn two reasons why you might want to pause a keyword in AdWords to halt any damage it’s doing to your account.SSL Encrypted Search: Google Deals Low Blow to SEOs – Last week Google restricted access to organi... > Read more
It saddens me greatly to write this post. To most people in the world, RSS may be either dead or nonexistent. But for me, and for many people I know (some only virtually), RSS – specifically Google Reader – is a huge part of daily life. I have two tabs permanently open on Chrome: Gmail and Google Reader.
According to my “Trends” tab:From your 420 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 4,022 items, clicked 231 items, starred 1 items, shared 54 items, and emailed 2 items.Since December 6, 2007 you have read a total of 227,485 items.I love RSS because it allows me to keep up with hundreds of blogs without having to visit them individually to see if they’ve been updated. I can also organize my subscriptions into categories, so if I ... > Read more
Google rolled out yet another new AdWords feature last week: dynamic search ads.The same day they announced the introduction of dynamic search ads, they also announced that AdWords Express was rolling out to the UK and Germany. Back in August I wrote about Google’s focus on display and talked about how:You can learn a lot about marketing from Google, and if you’re in search marketing paying close attention to what Google says and what types of things they place emphasis on are vital to your livelihood.
This is why Matt Cutts gets 350 comments on a post announcing a change in the algorithm that affects around 2% of queries, and it’s why search marketers have a much keener interest in Google Plus and its integration in SERPs, Webmaster Tools, et al than your average social ne... > Read more
With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to feature a Halloween contest for the Win of the Week.With that in mind, which ad would you click on if you were looking to get some Halloween cookies for a party ... or as a substitute for trick-or-treat candy? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 There is no difference in the title text or in the URL.
The only differences are in the body of the ad. Made your decision?The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by "wordisborn," and it increased CTR by 66%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.66 clicks.Why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...1. The original ad wastes space by using the word "Smiley." Indeed, the cookies do have a "smiley face," but that detail is somewhat irrelevant for a pers... > Read more
Lately we’ve been getting the occasional spam comment (according to my spam comment taxonomy, they’re mostly of the “full-on-ass-kissing” variety) that looks like a typical spam comment in almost every way:It expresses some irrelevant but positive sentiment like “Thanks, this post was really helpful to me, keep it up”It’s attributed to a normal-sounding name like “Carrie” or “Dave” (much more effective than something like “Cheap Canadian SEO” which will always get you flagged)The name links back to the spammer’s siteThe difference is, instead of linking to a deep page on some spammy domain I’ve never heard of (you know, something like memphis-internet-marketing.
biz/link-building-services), they link to the Bing homepage. Yes, http://www.bing.com/. (There’s y... > Read more
This is the fourth in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3This week’s interview is with David Semprun.
David is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Priority Pass, the world’s largest airport VIP lounge access program. Follow him on Twitter at @semprund or visit his website, davidsemprun.com.Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agen... > Read more
Recently we did a series of posts on AdWords Ad Extensions, complete with a quick follow-up on how Google decides to display ad extensions and a closer look at the following extensions:Google AdWords Location ExtensionsGoogle AdWords Product ExtensionsGoogle AdWords Sitelink ExtensionsGoogle AdWords Call ExtensionsBut after concluding the series we quickly realized that we left an ad extension off the list (the downside to pompously titling something “The Ultimate Guide to X” is that you can easily be guilted into pretty much never-ending updates, so be careful with your hyperbolic in-title-adjectives).
One ad extension we missed was Google AdWords communication extensions. This isn’t available for everyone, but it’s a very interesting extension that could have some serious implicat... > Read more
Google made a pretty big announcement this week that is pissing a lot of people off – a lot of SEOs, that is. Namely, Google announced it will no longer reveal organic keyword referrals (search queries) for searches conducted while users are logged in. According to the Google Webmaster Blog:What is the impact of this change for webmasters? Today, a web site accessed through organic search results on http://www.
google.com (non-SSL) can see both that the user came from google.com and their search query. (Technically speaking, the user’s browser passes this information via the HTTP referrer field.) However, for organic search results on SSL search, a web site will only know that the user came from google.com.“For sites which have been added and verified in Webmaster Tools,” the post s... > Read more
Curious about how social media can benefit your company? Maybe you’ve worked with SEO before, but are unsure how social media affects your ranking.You can learn a lot of valuable information with the Social SEO Guidebook. This guide created by Brick Marketing is a great tool for businesses looking to learn more about integrating social media and SEO.
What I liked about the Social SEO Guidebook:In the free downloadable guide, Nick Stamoulis explains that there’s much more to social media than fan pages and tweeting once a month. Good social media campaigns require long-term commitment. Although these campaigns require continuous attention, the payoff is big—social media is an incredibly valuable tool in brand building and connecting to potential customers in a unique and intimate way.T... > Read more
This is the second in a series of posts on the Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Reporting Options. In the first post in the series, we covered AdWords Dayparting with the Google AdWords Time Report, and in today’s post we’ll walk through the conversions reporting options in the dimensions tab. This report offers you a couple of different views of your conversion data that can be helpful in reporting.
What AdWords Reports Live Within the “Conversions” Report?As you can see the conversions report drop-down offers you two reports:Conversion Tracking Purpose – This is the purpose, or “category” of your conversion. AdWords offers you a few different options here:Purchase/SaleSignupLeadView of a Key PageOtherConversion Action Name – This is obviously what you’ve actually named your... > Read more
With the recent release of our brand new infographic documenting Facebook's failures, I thought I'd write about how you can make sure that you yourself don't have any Facebook face-plants. Here are 10 tips for creating awesome Facebook content that will keep visitors interested and engaged. Post Content that Interests Your Customers The key to developing a winning fan page that builds fans and pushes your business forward is to post content that genuinely interests your customers or clients.
Don't focus solely on you or your business. By providing valuable information to the reader you will build a stronger relationship with current and prospective customers.Red Bull knows that their energy drink customers are likely to be interested in extreme activities, so they post videos th... > Read more
This post is the first in our series on Google AdWords reporting via the AdWords dimension tab. Today we’ll cover the AdWords time report. This report is pretty flexible and allows you to slice date-based data in a variety of different ways, so understanding how it works can be valuable for anyone managing a pay-per-click campaign.
What AdWords Reports Live within the “Time” Drop-Down?There are seven reports you’ll find within the AdWords time drop-down. Obviously the labels themselves give you a pretty good idea of what unit of time each of these items is focused on, but we’ll walk through what you might use each of these reports for:Day of the Week – This is breaking down a period of time (e.g., the last six months) by day of the week. Your business might (or might not) perfor... > Read more
Internet video has begun to form a large part of the online marketing strategies of brands, businesses and bloggers worldwide. The potential for video content to go viral, its power to engage with universal audiences and its distribution simplicity has made it a necessity for any online marketing campaign.
So how do you know your video has actually become successful? How can you be sure using it as a marketing strategy is working for you? How can you track that it is achieving your marketing goals? The following article assesses how you can track your video marketing campaigns, and how you can do so for absolutely free.Why Should You Track Your Video Campaigns?Tracking the success of your video marketing campaigns not only helps to determine whether or not your video is achieving the goals ... > Read more