What do you guys have planned for April Fool’s Day? I have always hated April 1st – as a kid I dreaded going to school that day and walked around braced for stupid pranks. Wait a second, I’m really setting myself up to get punked here, aren’t I? I’m just going to assume that most of you don’t know where I live.
This April 1, don’t be made a fool of! Take this opportunity to study up on our top 10 most popular, happening blog posts from the past month:PPC Bid Management Guide: The Best Bidding Tips from 18 PPC Experts – I crowdsourced this guide, which is chock-full of awesome bid management tips, from some of the best (and nicest!) PPC practitioners I know. It’s can’t-miss.5 Lessons from A/B Tests: Improving AdWords CTR with Smarter Copy – In this post I looked at some... > Read more
CAPTCHAs are a necessary evil in a modern world. CAPTCHAs, also known as those-annoying-boxes-with-the-weird-words, are used to prevent evil robot spam attacks.Well the other days I came across a new, never-before-seen (at least by me) CAPTCHA that could have some pretty huge advertising implications.
Introducing, the CAPTCH-AD!CAPTCH-AD: The CAPTCHA AdvertisementWhat’s crazy about the CAPTCH-AD is that you are required to watch (and pay attentionto) the advertisement in order to fulfill the CAPTCHA box. There’s no getting around it – you will read that ad. It’s like when you see advertisements plastered over your tray table on budget airlines; you roll your eyes, groan, cover it with a book or a laptop, but there’s just no avoiding it and the ad demands acknowledgement.It s... > Read more
Chances are you’ve seen this new addition to Google’s black bar and wondered, what is this new Google Play?Ready, Set, Google Plays BallIn a nutshell, Google Play is the rebranded Android Market.Those who have Androids will see Google Play replacing the old market icon. Google Play is the one-stop-shop to buy apps, ebooks, movies, and music.
Sound a bit like iTunes? Yup, that’s the idea. Google Play even introduces itself in an Apple-style manner, with big, crisp images and minimal text. iTunes does a great job of being the central location for iPhone users to purchase anything and everything for their mobile devices, so naturally Google is picking up the hint and following in due fashion. Purchases can be made on the Google Play site online, or through the Google Play mobile ap... > Read more
This is the first post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab. Today we’ll talk about the change history tool, what it’s for and how you can leverage it within your own AdWords account.What Is the Change History Tool and Why Is It Useful?The change history tool, as the name suggests, shows you all the changes that have been made within your AdWords account.
As you can see from the screenshot above, there are a lot of different data points related to your account that you can learn about from within the change history report. These include:The types of changes that have been made – you can filter by:AllBudgetCPCKeywordStatus (active, paused, deleted)DistributionTargetingAdThe date and time of the changeThe area of t... > Read more
Search suggestions: They’re sort of like that annoying friend who’s always trying to guess what you’re going to say before you’re done saying it. I often think, “Nope, Google, that’s not where I was going with that, not at all, at all,” but like many an annoying friend, I’d miss the search suggestions if they went away.
Google’s Autocomplete feature provides search suggestions as you type to save you time when you’re typing a common query. For example, start typing “Fa…” and Google guesses that you’re probably looking for Facebook. Sometimes the search suggestions are so ridiculous that it seems like they must have been handpicked by some Google employee with a bizarre sense of humor, but according to Google, the suggestions are determined algorithmically:A... > Read more
Over the last few months we’ve created a series of in-depth guides designed to help AdWords advertisers better understand a lot of the different features and functionality available to them within Google AdWords. Thus far we’ve covered:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsThe Google AdWords Audience TabGoogle AdWords Auto TargetsGoogle AdWords’ Left NavigationOver the course of the next several posts on the blog we’ll be walking through the various tools available within the “Tools and Analysis” tab.
What’s in the Tools and Analysis Tab?Within the tools and analysis tab along the top navigation of AdWords, you’ll find a number of valuable AdWords tools:Change History – This is home to a li... > Read more
Is your SEO over the top, Vegas-style?At South By Southwest (SXSW) last week, Matt Cutts was quoted as saying that Google is rolling out a new algorithm change that will penalize sites for “over-optimization.” Here’s the transcript of his statement, via Barry Schwartz:What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO.
We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who a... > Read more
Recently we’ve published a series of posts designed to help you save time and money on Google AdWords management, including:Google AdWords Quick WinsGoogle AdWords Quick Wins Volume 2The Overworked Advertiser’s Guide to Bid ManagementBid Management for the Overworked Advertiser Part 2: CPA Bidding with Conversion OptimizerIn today’s post we’re focusing specifically on tactics and adjustments that can help small to midsized AdWords advertisers get more done in less time within their Google AdWords accounts.
We’ll walk through three general ways you can get some of your time back when managing your AdWords account:Give Google More ControlAutomate ProcessesBreak Out Your WalletWe’ll flesh each of these tactics out in the coming paragraphs.1. Give Google More Control of Your ... > Read more
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many seo keywords onto a page as physical possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching their text color to the background color, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.Naturally this led to a terrible user experience, because most people aren’t looking ... > Read more
We’ve been running guest posts by Ryan Healy, a copywriter for BoostCTR, for quite a while now. Each post focuses on a single A/B test and analyzes the strengths of the winning ad (that is, the ad with the higher click-through rate). There’s so much good ad writing insight in these posts, I thought it was time to dig back through them and pull out some takeaways.
Here are five ad writing lessons gleaned from Ryan’s A/B tests that you can use to improve your AdWords CTR and Quality Score.Lesson #1: Leave Out the LingoDon’t use insider jargon that your audience might not know or understand in the context of your ad. For example, look at the below ads: PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 The second version increased CTR by 70%. The first version uses some confusing terminology: “No XP reqd.... > Read more
This is the fourth and final post in a series on getting the most out of the Google AdWords left nav. The first post in this series focused on the Google AdWords shared library, the second post walked through the Google AdWords reports within the AdWords left navigation, the third post centered around how to make use of the Automated Rules section of the AdWords left nav, and this final post will be about custom alerts.
Google AdWords Custom Alert ManagementNot unlike the reporting and automated rules functionality within AdWords, the custom alert section within the left nav isn’t designed to create custom alerts, but rather to manage the custom alerts you have already set up.First off, to create new custom alerts you want to work within the Campaigns tab. Select “Create a cus... > Read more
For a while now, there’s been chatter about whether “inbound marketing” should replace the term “SEO.” The conversation came to a head this week (if heads are something that conversations can come to) when Rand Fishkin blogged about it at SEOmoz in “The Brand of SEO and the Trend of Inbound Marketing.
”Rand starts by noting the SEO industry’s bad reputation:Last night, a startup friend of mine was over, reviewing a slide deck I'm building for another round of fundraising pain, when he received a spam email trying to buy some links on his site."Ha. You SEO guys never quit do you?"Then today, in an interview with a candidate, I asked her about her background in SEO and she replied, "I told my husband about SEOmoz and he said 'SEO company? Watch out, those guys are spammy... > Read more
WordStream has had a big year, posting record-breaking results month over month. It's an exciting time, we're growing fast and we need to add some new manpower (and womanpower) to the team! We're looking to hire smart, dedicated individuals to fill a several open positions in our Boston office (we will be adding more than one team member for each role):Paid Search StrategistsWe are looking for dynamic and passionate individuals to drive the success of our clients through successful PPC campaigns and hyper-focus on communication.
Ideal candidates will have at least 2-3 years of experience managing the paid-search and other search marketing initiatives for companies with demonstrated success. You will become part of a kick-ass team of experts who truly love their job, the company and lead th... > Read more
PPC bid management is one of the more complicated areas of PPC marketing, so many advertisers choose to automate using either the automated bidding option in Google AdWords or a third-party bid management solution. Both approaches have their upsides and downsides – Google’s automated bidding feature is free, but requires you to give up complete control, and it’s less than transparent.
Third-party bid management software is generally more robust, but (obviously) it comes with a price tag, so it may not be feasible for smaller, budget-strapped advertisers.I was curious how most AdWords advertisers handle the PPC bid management process, so I asked 18 practicing PPC experts three questions:Do you use automated AdWords bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?If not, when do you raise an... > Read more
Today I’m thrilled to announce the availability of what I believe to be the world’s most powerful and easy-to-use bid management software.Keyword bid management isn’t a new issue for search marketers, but, sadly, most of the PPC bid management solutions available are still lacking. For example, you can choose from:Letting Google manage your bids for youTrying to manage keyword bids manually, by yourselfWriting your own bid management rules (either in AdWords or an expensive third-party PPC platform)The aforementioned options suffer from either a lack of transparency and loss of control, in the case of Google’s automated bidding, or are costly and complicated to implement.
In this post, I’d like to talk a little about the new bid management software now available in WordStream PPC ... > Read more
WordStream is partnering with renowned Google advertising expert and author of The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, Perry Marshall, to bring you a new webinar, Three Invisible Opportunities in Your Google AdWords Campaign!Join us Wednesday, March 14th at 3 p.m. EDT for a free online webinar event and learn:A simple, four-part formula for writing better AdWords ads.
A special technique for finding "holes in the sidewalk," your customers' biggest pain points.One of the greatest secrets of advertising masters, a blind spot for most advertisers that you can take advantage of!Join WordStream and Perry Marshall for this exclusive session on beating your competitors at the AdWords game. Space is limited so register now!About Perry MarshallPerry Marshall is the most-quoted authority and worl... > Read more
This is the third post in a series on getting the most out of the Google AdWords left nav. We’ve done several similar posts in recent months designed to help advertisers better understand all of the features and functionality available to them within the AdWords interface. The first post in this series focused on the Google AdWords shared library, the second post walked through the Google AdWords reports within the AdWords left navigation, and this post will center around how to make use of the Automated Rules section of the AdWords left nav.
Google AdWords Automated Rules ManagementSimilarly to the AdWords reporting suite within the left navigation, the primary function of the automated rules section of the left navigation isn’t creating rules. Creating a new rule is easiest ... > Read more
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Yay women! And before you get all uppity about why there isn’t an international men’s day, there is:That’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to focus on why yesterday’s Google Doodle was so, so terrible:Let’s just do a quick run-down:The capital G is the gender symbol for woman, AKA the Venus symbol.
Fair enough.The second “o” is a flower. That seems pretty weak. It’s not International Flower Day, and women aren’t really that into flowers.The next thing that pops out to me is the little “g.” It styled so it looks a little like a gender symbol. But what it primarily looks like is a bra. Maybe even a coconut bra. Really, Google? This is how you represent women across the world? Flowers and bras? (Andrew Hanelly suggeste... > Read more
Recently we’ve been running a number of posts focused on helping new and overworked advertisers get more out of Google AdWords, such as:The Overworked Advertiser’s Guide to Bid ManagementBid Management for the Overworked Advertiser, Part 2: CPA Bidding with Conversion OptimizerGoogle AdWords Quick Wins: Two Reports that Could Save You ThousandsAdWords Quick Wins, Volume 2: More Reports that Could Save You ThousandsAnd towards that end, we want to share some quick, simple answers to frequently asked questions from new advertisers.
These issues can burn your AdWords budget in various unintended ways if you’re not aware of the potential pitfalls.What is Adsenseformobileapps.com?Adsenseformobileapps.com is a domain owned by Google that redirects to a help page on Google.com entitled “S... > Read more
It’s baaaaaack! And by “it,” I don’t mean Poltergeist, I mean Pimp Your PPC Ad, a regular irregular feature in which I scan the SERPs for lousy text ads and give them the Pimp My Ride treatment. (For those of you who were born, I don’t know, last year, Pimp My Ride was an MTV show that ran between 2004 and 2007.
)For previous editions, see:Pimp Your PPC Ad: 5 Lessons from Lackluster Text AdsThe Return of Pimp Your PPC Ad: Lessons from Bad PPC AdsLet’s get starting, shall we?Lesson #1: Use Capital Letters (Properly)I’m pretty sure Google automatically applies initial caps (i.e., title case) to your headline, because I’ve never seen an ad that looked like this in Google (yes, these look just like Google ads, but I assure you, they’re from Bing):These ads were served in... > Read more
This is the second post in a series on getting the most out of the Google AdWords left nav. We’ve done several similar posts in recent months designed to help advertisers better understand all of the features and functionality available to them within the AdWords interface. The first post in this series focused on the Google AdWords shared library, and this post will walk through Google AdWords reports within the AdWords left navigation.
Pre-Set AdWords ReportsNot unlike the reporting capabilities you’d find in the AdWords dimensions tab, within the reporting section in the left navigation you’re offered a series of standard reports:Keyword reportCampaign reportGeographic reportDemographic reportThese are actually just links to reports that live in other areas, though – the geograph... > Read more
Pinterest continues to be the social media hot topic, astounding us with its colossal breakthrough in popularity. Now I’m a pretty big fan of Pinterest, but a recent NPR article discussing the ever-growing social bulletin board site got me thinking about the lack of “social” interaction within the social media sphere.
As NPR interviewer Teresa Tomassoni notes, “… online interaction with people you don't know is an emerging trend in social media.” While this is absolutely true, something about that statement seems counter-intuitive. Susan Etlinger, an Altimtere Group analyst, observes that while people look to connect with others who share a similar style or interest, "It doesn't mean that we're best friends or connected on Facebook, but it means these are people that I lear... > Read more
In recent weeks we’ve been creating a series of guides to various components of the Google AdWords interface to help advertisers understand all of the features and functionality available to them within AdWords. This is the first installment in our series on how to make the most of the Google AdWords left navigation, and we’ll be focusing on the AdWords Shared Library.
What Lives in the Shared Library, and What Purpose Does it Serve? Within the AdWords Shared Library are three core elements:Audiences – These are specific segmentations based on interest and the way people have interacted with your site (for more information on audiences check out our AdWords audience tab guide) that you can leverage within your display campaigns.Campaign Negative Keywords – These are negative ke... > Read more
Happy Leap Day, earthlings! Does anyone else find this day kind of creepy? I’m actually getting on a plane to Chicago later, and I’m a little worried that maybe we’ll fly into a wormhole and I’ll end up on the other side of a black hole. I don’t know, my physics is a little fuzzy. I just know Leap Years are weird.
(And did you know there are leap seconds too? The next one is coming in June 2012. Watch out! No pun intended.)Since the universe has given us a whole extra day this year, why not use it to catch up on your reading, hm? Here are our greatest can’t-miss hits from the past month:5 Blog Redesign Mistakes That Kill SEO – This guest post from our friends at Boxcar Marketing reveals some common gotchas that can make a site redesign more painful that it needs t... > Read more
At WordStream, I take great pride in belonging to a team that strives to develop innovative new solutions for search engine marketing. Innovation and growth is helped immensely by having people with deep experience around - and so today, I'm honored to announce that we've added some very strategic talent to our WordStream advisory board.
The new team members include folks with tremendous leadership experience in the B2B marketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industries, including industry giants: Constant Contact, LogMeIn, and VistaPrint and will help WordStream grow our success. Please welcome to the WordStream team:Carol Meyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Rapid7 - Meyers, the former CMO at LogMeIn and Unica, recently joined Rapid7 as CMO, leading the marketing team to drive Rapid7 into ... > Read more
Recently we’ve been sharing several specific tips designed to help novice to intermediate AdWords advertisers with more on their plate than just managing pay-per-click campaigns to get greater efficiencies out of PPC marketing. We published a two-part series on some simple reports that can unearth thousands of dollars in PPC savings:AdWords Quick Wins: Two Reports that Could Save You ThousandsAdWords Quick Wins Volume 2: More Reports that Could Save You ThousandsWe also shared a basic methodology for managing bids for advertisers with minimal time and resources.
In this post we’ll walk through an alternative to that approach for the same overworked AdWords advertisers: CPA bidding in AdWords.What Is CPA Bidding and Who Should Use It?CPA bidding, or cost-per-action/acquisition bidding, ... > Read more
This evening I was doing some SEO research, digging through some web server log files and came across a bunch of weird HTTP referrer fields like this one:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CF4QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wordstream.com%2Fblog%2Fws%2F2011%2F07%2F18%2Fmost-expensive-google-adwords-keywords&ei=WjhFT_yFGqW0iQKJ_u3aDg&usg=AFQjCNH6jAtufiEV9QQ4URJCPcqKj60iuA&sig2=R881GkyXe-xIhCnCm6pxaQI couldn't figure out what the q=&esrc=s string was because:The q= parameter was emptyI had never seen this esrc=s parameter.
There were literally thousands of HTTP referrer strings from Google containing the string: q=&esrc=s parameter set.I did some digging and figured out that "esrc=s" has to do with the Keyword "... > Read more
Sorry for the terrible awesome pun, but I’ve just been reading this Quora thread, “Death by Puns,” and it almost killed me.Anywayz, I saw two great posts this week on link building, and I know how much you guys love link building, so let’s take a look at some of these great tips.At Search Engine Journal, Sujan Patel writes about 13 unconventional link-building strategies, including:Set up a guest speaking gig: Patel writes, “suppose you reserved a room at your local university and offered to give a free presentation on a topic in your niche.
Assuming you advertised your speaking gig correctly, you could see a surge of backlinks from local news sources or other local publications covering your event (not to mention the participants who share word about your presentation on various... > Read more
In recent weeks we’ve been working through a series of posts on various components of the AdWords interface that are designed to help advertisers better understand all of the different options and features available to them within Google AdWords. To date we’ve covered:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsThe Google AdWords Audience TabGoogle AdWords Auto TargetsIn the next series of posts, we’ll focus on a somewhat overlooked component of the AdWords interface: the items contained in the AdWords left navigation within the campaign tab.
What’s in the Left Nav within the Campaigns Tab?Within the left navigation in the campaigns tab you’ll find a series of interesting tools that allow you to report o... > Read more
You’re a marketer, you’ve been there – the end of the month approacheth and you haven’t met your lead goals. If you’ve got limited resources and it’s too late to embark on a brand-new initiative to generate leads, don’t give up – chances are you can squeeze a few more leads out of the content you’ve already created.
Here are three ways to generate leads by re-utilizing your existing marketing collateral.Send an Old Offer to a New ListLook back over your most successful lead-gen offers from the past couple of years, such as white papers, guides, or marketing kits. Hopefully, that content is evergreen or, if it’s out of date, can be updated pretty easily (certainly, bringing an older guide up-to-date is faster than starting from scratch to create a new one).Let’s say you... > Read more