If you were going to write a PPC ad promoting the opportunity to run your own graphic design contest, how would you write your ad? That was the question facing the BoostCTR writer who wrote the winning ad in the contest below. Take a look at both ads and see if you can pick the winner: PPC Ad #1 PPC Ad #2 In case you're unfamiliar with 99designs.
com, they provide graphic design services through contests. You pay a fee to host the contest. Graphic designers submit their designs. They are competing against each other to win the contest and collect the award fee. Businesses who host the contests can then pick their favorite design from all those that have been submitted. With that as background, make your decision and keep reading for ... > Read more
R.I.P. Reputation Management – New Huge Google Sitelinks Kills Online Reputation Management Industry?
Quick! Google the name of your company. See anything you don't like? A Reputation Management service firm can make it disappear or so that was their sales pitch, that is, until now.Yesterday we reported on Google’s roll-out of new, huge site-links that appear on branded searches, which pretty much crowds out the entire browser screen contents.
Organic search listings not affiliated with the company (such as any damaging reviews) are pushed “below the fold” or to page 2 and beyond, where fewer and fewer eyeballs venture out to.And of course, buying a paid advertisement on AdWords for your company’s name can now even further push stuff below the fold since ads are now also huge.The Reputation Management industry has sprouted up in recent years to defend clients against potentially da... > Read more
Google this week has been serving up huge sitelinks for branded searches. Take for example, this organic search for "WordStream" and look at the huge sitelinks (highlighted in yellow):I've seen searches with as few as 2 huge organic sitelinks, and listings with many as 12 huge organic sitelinks. The new super-sized mega sitelinks take up the entire page! (Learn More: WordStream's AdWords Sitelinks Guide)SEO Impact of Huge Sitelinks in Google Search ResultsAll other organic search listings are now pushed down significantly "below the fold".
It's going to be very tough for an SEO to generate any traffic on branded keyword searchs. The new mega sitelink pushes the number 2 organic search result below the fold! And it's even worse when there are a few sponsored links above the organic sea... > Read more
Are you still not doing PPC?! Silly business owners! There are many reasons to explore paid search marketing as a lead generation channel. Here are just three good reasons to get you started.1. PPC Ads Won't Poach Your Organic TrafficAdWords recently released the results of a study designed to answer a question that many advertisers ask: Will running pay-per-click ads cannibalize my organic search traffic? To address this concern, statisticians at Google built a statistical model to make predictions about click volume based on ad spend.
According to Google:This model generates estimates for the incremental clicks attributable to search ads or, in other words, the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.Google found that 89% of traffic... > Read more
I'm often spammed by bots and people asking for links but I thought this was pretty amusing so i wanted to share (I've just obfuscated the domain name). The part that really cracks me up is the the part in bold, below (lol). This has got to be the worst link exchange request ever.-----Original Message-----From: Bojan [mailto:info@xx-xxxxx.
xxx]Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:16 PMTo: Larry KimSubject: Link Exchange RequestDear owner of http://www.wordstream.com,I'm the webmaster of http:// www. xx-xxxxx.xxx.We came across your site http://www.wordstream.com on the Internet and feel that it would fit perfectly into our collection of quality links at http:// www. xx-xxxxx.xxx.The Google PR of this site is currently 5.We'd appreciate it if you place a link back to our site using the followi... > Read more
We’d like to invite you all to our next free webinar:What: Cutting Costs With Negative KeywordsWhen: Wednesday, August 17, 11 a.m. EDTWhere: The comfort of your desk!Why: Did you know adding negative keywords can save you at least 10-30% on your AdWords spend? Negative keywords are like the chatting block lists of the keyword world – except instead of obnoxious friends or stalker-ish obsessors, you can block out keywords that are depleting your budget without driving any conversions.
Because they prevent wasteful spending on low-value clicks, negative keywords are essential to running a streamlined, cost-effective PPC campaign. Unfortunately, the technique is underused – finding relevant keywords to add to your campaigns is hard enough, but negative keyword discovery is even mor... > Read more
When I outlined four definitive sources for learning about Quality Score recently on the blog I made the point that:When talking to people who are new to SEO and PPC, one thing I often caution them about is not to get bogged down by information overload. There is a remarkable amount of content to consume pertaining to search marketing, but much of it is:Good but redundantUnique but not really applicable for many peopleHigh-quality, but too advanced for beginnersMisinformationAs a result I really like to introduce people to a very short list of two to four authoritative resources on a subject so that they can get a few different perspectives and a complete picture on the topic, avoid information overload, and ensure that they’re reading quality information.
And the same is true of le... > Read more
Well, folks, today is my last day in the Boston office, though not my last day at WordStream – tomorrow I'm moving to Denver, CO, but if all goes well, I'll be back up and running in my home office on Monday, Aug. 22. Since things tend to get a little crazy in the last few days before you pack up everything you own and drive 2000 miles across the country, I thought I'd do something a little different here today and list some of the things I'm going to miss about working and living here in Boston (and some things I won't miss, natch).
I'll miss: Seeing my coworkers every day! Not to be sappy, but there really is a benefit to "face time." I'm going to get a little lonely out there, so please pay attention to me on Twitter. I won't miss: Having to get dressed in the morning. D... > Read more
Twitter started as just a little bird with a big idea. Since its arrival, the social networking site has become a venue for everything from (overly) personal status updates, the world’s latest news, to virtual celebrity stalking.Some might dramatically claim that Twitter has ruined humanity forever, or at least as altered our brains.
Maybe Twitter does share blame for messing with our gray matter. But people really love that feathery blue fellow, and as Twitter continues to grow and transform, so does the manner in which we advertise, learn, and communicate.Twitter Releases Photo Sharing to All UsersIn an ever-growing quest to encourage our insatiable need for instant gratification, Twitter released the photo sharing feature to all Twitter users yesterday. Up till now, this feature has b... > Read more
Table of Contents:ProsConsSmall Business ReviewI’ve been somewhat wary of new AdWords features in the past here on the blog, and have warned that sometimes what Google labels as a panacea answer to a longstanding pain point is either more of an opportunity for Google than for you or not as complete of an answer as it seems at first blush.
It probably shouldn’t be any surprise that – like most people who make their living optimizing paid search accounts, among other things – I have a healthy amount of skepticism when Google offers to just make everything super easy! So we thought we’d do a deep dive into the product formerly known as Boost: Google AdWords Express.What is Google AdWords Express?Google Express is the next step in a natural progression by Google to try to simplify Ad... > Read more
How would you like to see a sequence of ads instead of just one winner and one loser? This will give you better insight into the reasons why one ad wins ... and other ads lose. With that in mind, I'm showing you four ads instead of two. These ads paint a more accurate picture of the BoostCTR contest process.
It is not uncommon for the first two or three submissions to lose to the control ad. After repeated attempts to "dethrone" the control ad, a new winner is discovered. Such is the case below. The first two ads that were submitted by our writers did NOT win. These two ads lost to the control ad by 22% and 26% respectively. Take a look... Losing Challenger #1 Losing Challenger #2 Since I bought a pair of Vibram Fivef... > Read more
Reaching the much coveted Number 1 spot of English searches is a mission sometimes beyond the reach of even the most experienced SEO. With billions of English pages vying for consumer attention and more and more businesses jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon, the competition for presence on the English web feels like an uphill struggle.
Naturally, English has been the lingua franca of the web ever since the onset of the dot-com boom, so it’s no surprise that it’s now reached the point of saturation. But there’s a vast – and largely untapped – area where there’s less competition for keywords and content overall, and that is the foreign language internet. Emerging markets, unscathed by the recession holding Europe and North America in its grip, present ... > Read more
Announcing the AdWords Performance Grader: Find Out How You’re Doing on AdWords and How to Improve for Free
Today we're announcing the release of our new AdWords Performance Grader, a free tool that grades your AdWords account performance by analyzing several key performance indicators (including Quality Score, Account Activity, Click-Through Rate, and Impression Share) and comparing your results against those of other AdWords advertisers with similar monthly budgets.
It's like a free, instant PPC audit.The AdWords Performance Grader:Shows you how well your campaigns are really doingGives you a sense of how you fit into the competitive landscapeProvides tips for improving your score and your resultsThe best way to learn about the AdWords Performance Grader is to grade your AdWords account for free, but if you don't have an AdWords account, take a look at the sample AdWords report below (click on... > Read more
Magento eCommerce Software is one of the most popular business e-commerce tools. Like any other web platform, Magento can and should be managed to obtain SEO (search engine optimization). This article will provide users of Magento e-commerce sites with five steps to optimize their websites for SEO.The following five tips will ensure that your e-commerce site is better optimized for search engines.
1. Use Page Titles and Meta DescriptionsCreating properly optimized page titles and meta descriptions forms the basic first step for SEO. If you do not accurately name and identify your web pages, how can you expect a search engine to find you?Your Magento e-commerce website is full of content and usually contains various pages with categories and products. Therefore, ensure you correctly name you... > Read more
Did you hear about the big study on browser use and IQ? As reported by CNN, BBC News, the Telegraph, Forbes and other major news outlets, a Canadian web consulting firm named Aptiquant released the results of a survey of 100,000 internet users, revealing that, perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser had lower IQs than users of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and other browser alternatives.
The real surprise was just how unintelligent IE users are. The Guardian reported that “The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties.” Whereas a score between 90 and 110 represents “normal or average intelligence,” a score of 80-90 signifies “dullness,” and 70-80 “borderline deficiency.” Ouch.Checking to see ... > Read more
Last week the White House launched a new “Office Hours” Twitter program, in which U.S. citizens are invited to tweet their questions and concerns over the nation’s deficit reduction and debt ceiling negotiations. Using Twitter to encourage healthy dialogue between individuals and large corporate entities is nothing new, but establishing predetermined times for concentrated discussion is a trend still growing in the Twitterverse.
The White House office hours grew out of last month’s Twitter “townhall”; people were encouraged to #AskObama questions concerning the economy, healthcare, and the like. The president answered in true Twitter fashion, making him the first president to live-tweet to the nation. The Doctor Is In: The Marketing Advantages o... > Read more
Today, I'm featuring another contest from the ongoing optimization of the BoostCTR campaign running on AdWords. I'm doing this for two reasons: Reason #1. It's important that you know "we eat our own dog food." Which is to say, we follow the same ad optimization process that we recommend to our clients.
Reason #2. We have now completed a few BoostCTR contests. So I can show you how the ads have evolved over the last couple months. With that in mind, let's take a quick look-back at the very first contest we ran in this campaign... PPC Ad #1 PPC Ad #2 In this first contest, the long copy destroyed the short copy. Ad #2 was written by "chewiness," and it increased CTR by a stunning 326% -- more than triple the origina... > Read more
Our most popular post in July was no big surprise – in fact, Larry's analysis of our latest infographic (Where's Google Making Its Money?), in which we delved into our keyword data to find the top 20 keyword categories in AdWords with the highest volume and costs per click, was not only our top post for the month, it's our most popular post of the year so far.
We're glad you all found this data as fascinating as we did!Here are the rest of the posts that grabbed your eyeballs this month (we hope they didn't cause any bruising):What to Do When Your AdWords CPCs Are Too High – Tom outlines five ways to lower your AdWords cost per click and get your campaigns back to profitability.The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook – Our infographic caus... > Read more
When talking to people who are new to SEO and PPC, one thing I often caution them about is not to get bogged down by information overload. There is a remarkable amount of content to consume pertaining to search marketing, but much of it is:Good but redundantUnique but not really applicable for many peopleHigh-quality, but too advanced for beginnersMisinformationAs a result I really like to introduce people to a very short list of two to four authoritative resources on a subject so that they can get a few different perspectives and a complete picture on the topic, avoid information overload, and ensure that they’re reading quality information.
This week our friends at PPC Hero re-released their Ultimate Guide to Quality Score, which is an outstanding resource on the topic, so I thought it ... > Read more
The recent infographic from pay per click company WordStream depicting the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords got me thinking about the true ROI of SEM. If Google is making $50 per click, what kind of value is that keyword producing for your company? If your business goes after keywords outside of the top 20 most expensive, how does that impact your ROI? Big brands can afford to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a PPC campaign, not really worrying about the cost per click and how that impacts their bottom line, but what about the rest of us?One of the biggest advantages of running a PPC campaign is that it is relatively quick to launch and easy to test.
If the final cost per conversion is too high, than you simply drop that particular keyword and target a variation that i... > Read more
Are your PPC campaigns delivering the results you want? Are you struggling with any of the below problems?:Click volume too lowCost per click too highCost per conversion too highLow Quality ScoresLow click-through ratesLow ROIIf you said yes, it might be time to reorganize your AdWords account.The below roadmap will guide you through the process of revamping a campaign to improve performance and lower costs.
Click the image to enlarge the roadmap. You'll find links to helpful resources at each road sign, so if you need more help in a given area of PPC, click on the green sign for more tips and information.If you're looking to get a free assessment of your AdWords account, try our AdWords Performance Grader. It grades your AdWords accounts on key criteria, showing you where and how to make ... > Read more
In light of recent reports of Google+ gaining significant traction, I wanted to find out: Is Google+ worth the effort from a marketer's perspective? The short answer: Yes! From our perspective, Google+ is already beating LinkedIn in terms of how much traffic they're driving, and it's quickly closing in on Twitter and Facebook!For this case study, I compiled Web analytics data for the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog for the week of July 18-July 24, 2011 (an unusually high traffic week for us), to see which social media network drove the most traffic – the results are illustrated below: The Social Media Showdown: Google+ vs.
Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn (click to enlarge).The results of the Social Media Showdown are as follows:1st Place: Facebook with 47.26% of visitors2nd Place: T... > Read more
It’s true that infographics have become somewhat more difficult to attract attention with, but a clever concept and solid execution around promotion can still help generate a lot of authority and a high volume of quality links for a domain quickly. The question is always, “What sorts of things make good data visualizations?” In this post we’ll walk through three categories of infographic and offer a real-world example of each from the WordStream blog itself.
Evergreen Infographics Evergreen infographics are graphics that aren’t tied to a specific date and won’t get “stale” over time. A couple of examples of this type of graphic are: “History Of” graphics that detail the chronology of an event in the past or a specific topic ... > Read more
Earlier this week we released a study that revealed the 20 most expensive, high-search-volume keyword categories to provide some insight into where Google makes all its billions in ad revenues, as well as tips on how to target super-competitive keyword verticals. The response was overwhelming! I’d like to especially thank Ryan Singel at Wired Magazine, Laurie Sullivan at Media Post, and Karen E.
Klein from Financially inKleined who helped us get the story out early on, as well as the thousands of folks who blogged and tweeted about the story this week. (And of course thanks to my colleague, the brilliant Ms. Elisa Gabbert, for having come up with the idea in the first place!) In this post I would like to briefly talk about the most common questions that came up about the study i... > Read more
Google Analytics & AdWords Tracking Issues: Multiple AdWords Accounts for One Google Analytics Account
Google does a lot of things really well, and there is a ton of utility to be had in many of their free programs, but their account permissions and cross-product integration for things like Google AdWords, Webmaster Tools, and Google Analytics can be maddening sometimes.One common issue AdWords advertisers struggle with is linking multiple AdWords accounts to a single Google Analytics account.
In this post we’ll walk through some possible solutions here. (If you're looking to link an Adwords account to Google Analytics, we have that covered too.)Why Would I Want to Have Multiple AdWords Accounts and a Single Analytics Account?Before we address how to link multiple AdWords accounts to a single Google Analytics account, let’s walk through a few different reasons you might want to create s... > Read more
On the heels of Google's blow-out Q2 2011 earnings announcement last week, we wanted to find out the most expensive keywords - what keywords demand the highest costs per click and are most competitive in terms of high search volume. Since the vast majority of Google's profits come from AdWords advertising, these high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google's profits.
The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords. (Click the image to enlarge the google adwords keywords infographic.)Table of Contents:Google CPCExpensive KeywordsBidding TipsBid InfoThe 20 most expensive keywords categories with the highest search volume (i.e. the most used keywords) and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:... > Read more
An issue that is becoming more common as PPC gets increasingly competitive is escalating costs per click (CPCs) in niches that had previously been relatively uncompetitive. The problem here is that PPC campaigns that had once been profitable or that may have been viable become untenable for advertisers.
If a conversion becomes profitable for you at $75 and you’re paying $15 a click, it’s very difficult to run a profitable campaign.In this post, we’ll look at five things you can do to try to push down those AdWords costs per click.1. Focus on Improving Quality ScoresWe usually like to start here, as a focus on Quality Score affords you an opportunity to compete in the auctions you want to be in for a reduced rate without shifting your keyword or network targeting. Many times if you’... > Read more
Is it finally time to talk about something other than Google+? Yes, I think so, and this week we’re getting back to basics with an old-fashioned throwdown between two factions of web geek: search engine optimizers and developers.The battle began when Outspoken Media published a guest post by Andrew Norcross titled “News Flash to SEOs: Your Developer Hates You.
” And Norcross isn’t mincing words:While it’s no secret that many people have a general disdain for SEO’s in general, the guy (or gal) writing the code for that new niche website you’re getting ready to launch probably hates your guts. OK, maybe hate is a bit strong. But they almost all think you’re probably a fraud and cringe when they receive any form of communication from you.Norcross thinks a lot of the problem is ... > Read more