When Google announced a couple of weeks ago that Google+ authorship markup would be disappearing from the SERPs, Larry and Rand Fishkin were on the same page – both suspected that the reason for the reversal was a loss of clicks on ads.As Larry put it, “Clicks on the search results page are basically a zero sum game.
If there's an increase in CTR for one part of the SERP, some other part is losing that click. There must be a decrease in CTR elsewhere. And that includes the ads.”Do I think this theory is plausible? Sure, for two reasons:You’d expect that Google would test the feature before they told SEO’s to start using it. So it’s suspicious that we are now being told that the author photos have no positive effect.Images have been shown to increase CTR on the paid side (i... > Read more
The chances are pretty good that, even though you may not have realized it, you’ve seen several examples of native advertising. These days, native advertising is everywhere – and it’s getting harder and harder to spot.There’s something not quite right about this cheeseburger…In today’s post, we’re going to look at what native advertising is, why it can be so controversial, and several native advertising examples that are really impressive – as well as a few that are downright terrible.
What is Native Advertising?Simply put, native advertising is paid content. Articles, infographics, videos, you name it – if a content producer can make it, corporations can buy it and publishing platforms can promote it.Now, you might be thinking, “How does a native advertisement differ fr... > Read more
One of the biggest obstacles I face with clients is taking control of a messy and hard to manage account. Often times AdWords accounts change hands over time, have an “old school” strategy for setup, or just have too many cooks in the kitchen for a lack of better terminology. This often leads to an account with more campaigns, ad groups, and keywords than you know what to do with.
I speak with many clients who feel like they are drowning in their accounts and don’t even know where to begin. Upon analyzing these accounts, I often have the same sentiments; it can feel impossible to know what the best first step is because there are so many things that can and need to be fixed.The obvious question is then, “Do we try to fix what currently exists or would it be better to start over?” ... > Read more
Googler John Mueller shocked the SEO industry last week with his announcement that Google is removing authorship photos and circle counts from the SERPs.The big question is: WHY? Why would Google kill a feature they had said would instill user trust in quality search results and help valuable content stand out?Why did they want us all to implement it in the first place?Was anything we were told about Google+ authorship markup and profile images in search true to begin with?It didn't take Moz's Rand Fishkin long to tweet his thoughts on the motivation behind the change:And even more pointedly:Since Google+ authorship and the rich snippets with photos in search results were implemented, we've seen eye tracking studies point to additional attention for the enhanced results.
We've seen researc... > Read more
A lot of our most popular posts in June had to do with changes in AdWords – new features, new policies, new dashboards, new data. As always, we did the hard work and analysis for you, so instead of trying to parse the AdWords-ese, get the key takeaways from us right here.We also shared a bunch of great tips for creating marketing that resonates and makes your audience do the happy dance.
If you missed our “Happy Juice” webinar, be sure to check out #6 below!Has Google Gone Too Far? Parental Status Demographic Added to AdWords – We noticed a new demographic feature in AdWords – you can now target users based on their parental status.4 Things You Need to Know About Google's New AdWords Policies – The AdWords Policy Center has been revamped. Here’s the TL;DR for advertisers.No S... > Read more
You may have heard the big news that WordStream has added call tracking software to its arsenal of PPC tools. This means you can now track the campaigns, keywords, match types, ads, and landing pages that drive inbound calls to your business. Not only that, each call gets recorded, so you can refer back to it for marketing and training purposes.
It’s a pretty freaking sweet feature, and, if you use it, it may change your business.Let’s assume you already know it’s freaking sweet, you know that inbound calls are worth 5 to 10 times the value of form fill leads, and you’ve got call tracking set up. Now what?Now you start tracking performance so you know what’s working and what’s not. You already know the traditional AdWords metrics, including which campaigns, keywords, ads, and la... > Read more
High commercial intent keywords are like invitations from prospective customers. They beg you to tempt them with your wares. They tell you, loud and clear, that they have money in their hands (or burning holes in their pockets), and they want what you’re selling right now.The intent of the keyword should affect how you target it.
For example, if someone is clearly in the “early research” phase of shopping, the keywords they use will have less intent – maybe something like “do I need a lawyer?” You can target that keyword with a content piece like a checklist. Content marketing is all about getting in front of the customer early and making a good impression. Maybe later on, he’ll come back when he needs you.However, if someone definitely does need a lawyer, they might use a hi... > Read more
Google this week has published a new white paper on Quality Score and finally updated their 5-year-old video on how Quality Score works. I asked them “why now” and they said that it’s just time to redo the old stuff, but part of me thinks that they’re trying to quell a Quality Score rebellion that myself and others (including Frederick Vallaeys, etc.
) may have inadvertently started – the wording of some points in the new materials seem to directly reflect points that I’ve articulated in articles I’ve published in the last year.Image via Kirk Williams - @ppckirkAs usual, Google trotted out the same old “happy users,” “happy advertisers” and “happy Google” platitudes. It’s mostly a rehash of the same old Google fairy dust about Quality Score, but there are a ... > Read more
Word of mouth marketing (lovingly nicknamed WOMM) can make or break your biz. It can build you up and tear you down faster than an OC socialite. Do word of mouth marketing right and you’ll have (almost) no need of an ad budget; customers will share stories of your sublime service at dinner parties across the country, and that’s better than any billboard.
The popularity of sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, and even Health Grades for the medical industry, show how important the old Word o’ Mouth is. While anonymous online word of mouth is plentiful, savvy users are aware of how reviews can be manipulated and faked, which is why person to person WOM is still the most powerful form.The WOMM wombat shares it’s opinions with friendsWord of mouth marketing is, at its heart, using happy ... > Read more
Get this: since last year, mobile paid search advertising has increased by 55%. Even crazier: Mobile PPC now accounts for one-fifth of total advertising spend.We keep hearing that advertisers aren't seeing great ROI from their mobile ad campaigns, though. Even if you’re making the investment, you don't feel like you’re getting your money's worth.
As mobile PPC continues to increase in value and surpasses desktop PPC…how can you tap into the massive opportunity of connecting with highly motivated, on-the-go consumers?Don't keep plugging away, following the old best practices – we've discovered that the conventional wisdom for desktop PPC is dead wrong when it comes to mobile. If you're doing what you've always done, you're sabotaging your own mobile campaigns.That sucks, right?S... > Read more
As summer begins, the market is flooded with hordes of recent college graduates eager to join the workforce. Searching for a new job in an increasingly competitive market can be a daunting task, especially for those with limited work experience. I remember back when I was first applying to jobs, this felt like an infuriating Catch 22—how was I supposed to gain experience if no one would give me an opportunity?Welp, the good news for aspiring PPC marketers is, you don’t necessarily need to have a lengthy CV to make an impression on hiring managers.
If you play your cards right, you can get your foot through the door with little to no professional experience.If you’re looking to get your first big break in the PPC industry, here are a few tips:Apply for the right position.Be realistic ... > Read more
WordStream exists for one reason: to help small businesses squeeze as much value out of their paid search campaigns as humanly possible. But so often when we talk about value to our customers, we have conversations about clicks or impressions, when our customers really only care about the end result – leads.
That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the release of WordStream’s new call tracking software offering. With this new tool inside WordStream’s PPC Advisor platform, we’re enabling customers to better track and measure the value of the phone calls they receive from paid search. Further, they will be able to tie those calls back to the campaign, ad group, match type, and keyword, so they know what’s driving call traffic and what isn’t. Clients can even listen to a recording o... > Read more
In September of last year, when Google Hummingbird was officially announced, Matt Cutts said that it would affect 90% of all searches, albeit in a subtle way. Considering that Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches every day, this means Google Hummingbird affects more than 3.15 billion of them.
Not exactly an inconsequential update.This image has nothing to do with Google Hummingbird. Still, hummingbirds are pretty cool.The Hummingbird update was the most ambitious adjustment of Google’s search algorithm since 2001. In today’s post, we’re going to look at what Google Hummingbird is, what it means for SEO, and what the future of Google’s quest to become the “Star Trek” computer could hold.What is Google Hummingbird?Although it’s technically accurate to call Google Hummin... > Read more
If you’ve ever read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, you probably didn’t notice a chapter about Google tracking your parental status in AdWords. Well, this is exactly what Google is doing, as Parental Status is now a demographic subset that advertisers can explicitly target.This feature went live within the past 12 hours or so, and Google has yet to make an official announcement.
However, we’ve already seen it in action, as you can see in the following figure:Our resident data scientist Mark Irvine was the first of us at WordStream to notice the new feature. At this point, parental status targeting hasn’t been rolled out across all advertiser accounts – in fact, even some of our largest Managed Services accounts don’t have access to this functionality yet, suggesti... > Read more
Social media sharing is a big aim for many businesses looking to build their brand, extend their reach, and generally make the most of their online marketing efforts. So how do you rack in the likes, tweets, pins, and +1s? Here are 15 super social sharing secrets to keep you basking in the lime light of adoring online fans.
Image courtesy of kanate of FreeDigitalPhotos.net1. Ask people to share your content. The first step is admitting you need help. It sounds like such an obvious no-brainer, but it really does make a difference. Make a point of asking for social shares, and you’ll be more likely to get them.For example, some sites use a pop-up that says "If you liked this post, share it on Facebook!" It's a gentle reminder to (social) share the love.2. Make great content people want... > Read more
What if search advertising were able to impact not just clicks and conversions, but top-of-mind brand awareness?This was the question Google set out to answer in a just-released study with Ipsos MediaCT. In it, they found that search ads have a positive impact on top-of-mind awareness, but also on unaided brand awareness – even when the searcher doesn't click the ad.
Search ads may be known as a direct response tool, but Google's research points to real value for branding, as well.The study, which consisted of 61 simulated search experiments involving 800 U.S. consumers, identified an 80% lift in top-of-mind brand awareness.In each of the studies, consumers were asked to perform searches for category-specific searches spanning 12 verticals. They then saw either a control page or a simula... > Read more
Google is launching a “new and improved” AdWords Policy Center aimed at making policies more user-friendly and accessible to advertisers, according to an announcement buried in their AdWords Policy Help resources.The current AdWords policies will remain in effect until “around September,” when the new center will launch.
So what's new? Google has released a preview of the new center alongside their announcement. Here's what you need to know about the changes.1. If you're in compliance now, you won't be a rule-breaker come September… well, most of you, anyway.In their announcement, Google noted, "Almost all advertisers who comply with our current policies will also comply with the new policies."Yes, there will be fundamental policy changes that will affect some advertisers more tha... > Read more
At the core of every online advertiser’s mission is delivering a perfectly tailored message to a prospect at the moment they are ready to take action. With in-market audiences, released in beta last November, Google claims it can get advertisers closer than ever to this goal.In-market audiences allow advertisers to set up their Display campaigns to reach people who are further down the funnel and ready to make a purchase.
How? By connecting ads to consumers who are actively researching or comparing products and services across the Google Display Network.In-market segments allow you to reach customers when they’re ready to buyHow In-Market Audiences WorkSo what distinguishes in-market audiences from other interest categories? Google says that they can distinguish interest from purchaser... > Read more
In this latest in our series of the best tips from the Inbound.org AMAs (Ask Me Anythings), we have a collection of awesome insights from top marketers in SEO.Annie Cushing, Ian Lurie, Rand Fishkin, Mike King and many others have participated in the popular Q&A-style threads on Inbound, where you're encouraged to ask them just about anything within their particular areas of expertise.
Here, you'll find the top SEO tips from Inbound’s AMAs, organized into business tips, tools and tactics, and industry buzz. Also check out:Best of the Reddit SEO AMAs 21 Expert Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAsThe Business of SEOOn where to invest $200 in SEO if it just fell out of the skyI probably wouldn't use it at all. For the first 5 years of SEOmoz's marketing efforts, I doubt I... > Read more
Google this week announced the launch of Google My Business, a new program aimed at getting more business owners under the Google umbrella with a one-stop shop for managing their business listings in search, using Google+ and more. Google My Business is an offering for businesses just getting started on the web, but will also become the default dashboard for current users of Places for Business and the Google+ social network.
In fact, as of today, if you navigate to Google Places for Business from the US or Canada, you'll be redirected to Google My Business:This is a little unusual, as Google tends to release new products in the United States first, rolling out changes over a period of weeks or months. The incorporation of Google+ and Places for Business into Google My Business happened as ... > Read more
We’ve all hit it – that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.If you’ve never seen Run Fatboy Run, it’s a great movie!All you need is a bit of help to kick your marketing strategy back on track. And guess what? We’re dishin’ out 64 creative marketing ideas and inspirational tips to help you bust through that brick wall.
Let’s get started with…Social Media Marketing IdeasUrban Marketing IdeasContest Marketing IdeasMarketing Ideas for Contest PromotionContent Marketing IdeasSocial Media Marketing IdeasPush your handles – If you’re really looking to bump up those Twitter followers, you can’t be afraid to be a bit shameless. Speaking at a conference? Put your Twitter handle on the sl... > Read more
Keyword research can be a tedious, thankless task – especially if you aren't using the results for maximum impact. Without keyword intelligence, though, you're flying blind. How can a marketer get the greatest ROI from their time spent toiling over keywords?More than keyword research tips, smart marketers need a comprehensive keyword strategy to guide successful SEO, PPC, and content marketing efforts.
We get it, you don't have time for the same old regurgitated "wisdom" you've been hearing and reading about for years.Together, Will Critchlow, co-founder/CMO of Distilled, and I have devised an all-inclusive, totally replicable keyword strategy for search engine success – one we'll share in an exclusive webinar next Tuesday, June 17.Not your average keyword tipsAttendees will review cas... > Read more
This post was co-written with Randi Lucius. Google Shopping Campaigns are a favorite of e-commerce advertisers—they give online retailers the opportunity to present a product image along with relevant purchasing information, like price, directly on the Google results pages. You all know the old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.
” So it’s no surprise that these ads are highly effective, often outperforming standard text ads and even organic results.At this point, many advertisers have been jaded by great performance in their shopping campaigns. Most saw huge spikes in sales upon implementing their feeds, but chances are, your results have flat-lined over time. If you’re frustrated with stagnant trends in your account, Google Merchant Promotions might be exactly what you... > Read more
Dwell time is one of the most important, yet frequently misunderstood, site metrics. Many marketers put too much faith in Time on Page when evaluating traffic, but this metric is unreliable and can be misleading.In today’s post, we’re going to look at what dwell time is, whether search engines use it as a ranking signal, and examine ways in which you can increase the average dwell time on your site.
What is Dwell Time?Three years ago, Duane Forrester at Bing wrote a blog post about how to build quality content. It was in this blog post that the concept of dwell time was first introduced.Simply put, dwell time is the actual length of time that a visitor spends on a page before returning to the SERPs. In theory, the longer the dwell time the better, as this indicates that the visitor has ... > Read more
Is your business blog tanking? Have you wasted hours upon hours creating what you thought was out-of-this world content while attempting to attract visitors and maybe even grab conversions via your business blog? Lift your somber spirit out of the rain because you have come to the right place! Blogging is not rocket-science, but many of you are missing small but crucial things that will drastically improve the readership of your business blog.
Image via Evil ErinBack in college my roommates and I attempted to throw a party one Friday night. The turnout was simply pathetic, which we blamed on the competing parties occurring in the same townhouse block as ours. A month later we were determined to prove our past party performance wrong. We spent time creating a compelling Facebook invitation f... > Read more
With all the recent advances in targeting offered in Google AdWords, I thought it made sense to take a deeper look at one of the AdWords features that has almost become old hat to PPC marketers at this point. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a tool that is often overlooked in the sea of new features and betas that Google continues to churn out, but this staple feature can make a drastic and immediate improvement to your paid search account performance.
Google defines Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) as “an advanced AdWords feature that dynamically updates your ad text to include one of your keywords that matches a customer's search terms.” PPC marketers know it as putting those funny little brackets and the word “KeyWord” into the ad copy so that the search term will show up within... > Read more
eBay along with researchers from the Universities of Berkeley and Chicago, have just released the final version of a study claiming that paid search ads have “no measurable benefit.” This is not really new news; we heard about the preliminary results last year, and pretty much everyone in search marketing had a good hearty laugh – because eBay has long been known for its embarrassingly crappy ad strategy.
The study is done now, and while it’s not completely terrible, it’s definitely misleading, as well as confusing in terms of what this says about eBay’s marketing strategy. In this post I’d like to go over a few points worth rebutting, especially when it comes to trying to apply these findings to the average Google advertiser out there.It’s Not the Channel, It’s How You Us... > Read more
Bing Ads plans to roll out two changes to its device targeting options: first, they will combine PCs and tablets into a single device, then eliminate mobile device targeting.The upcoming changes were driven by users basically telling Bing, "We want you to be more like AdWords," according to the blog post announcement.
While Bing Ads still offered the flexibility of device targeting, it made it difficult for some to manage cross-channel tools.Yes, this latest announcement is a far cry from Bing's April 2013 assurances, when they said Enhanced Campaigns are a bad idea. At the time, they assured advertisers then that they would not follow Google's lead by bundling desktop and tablet targeting. So much for that.However, their user feedback seems to indicate this change in direction is needed, ... > Read more
Do you know the etymology of the word “cliché”? It’s a printer’s term – back when printers had to physically arrange letters together to form words and paragraphs and pages, they would sometimes arrange common strings of letters or words together on a single plate to facilitate printing those sequences more efficiently.
This was also known as a “stereotype block.”You can see how both “cliché” and “stereotype” evolved into metaphors. In the same way that using clichés made things easier for printers, clichés make things easier for writers. Reaching for a common, familiar phrase is a shortcut to communicating something close to what you mean. It’s harder and it takes longer to express yourself in fresh language that is also clear.We’re all lazy and we’re all g... > Read more
Hurrah! A visitor has come to your site and completed a conversion – whether it be a white paper download, a webinar signup, or a purchase order, you should be feeling pretty good.Don’t pat yourself on the back yet though – you need a thank you page, and it can’t just be any hodgepodge mess that’s thrown up by the nearest website lackey.
In order to get the most out of your coveted converted user, you need a stellar thank you page.What is a "thank you page"? Your website's thank you page is where users are taken after completing a desired conversion. Often a website thank you page features – big surprise – a “thank you” message in response to a visitor’s order/download. A great thank you page has more than just that though…Yes, You Need a Thank You Page!Why do you nee... > Read more