Top 3 Business Blog Mistakes & How to Fix Them

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

June 09, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 7

Case Study: Does Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Really Work?

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

June 06, 2014     |   Written by: Luke MacLean   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

No SEO, No Paid Search – So What the Heck IS eBay’s Search Strategy?

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

June 05, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

Bing Ads Copies Google, Kills Mobile Device Targeting

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

June 05, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 1

7 Marketing Clichés that Make You Sound Like a Hack

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

June 04, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 10

Think You Can Throw Up Any Old Thank You Page? Think Again.

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

June 03, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 6

The Happy Juice Principle: How to Create Marketing That Captures & Converts

How well do you know your audience? If your messaging just isn't connecting, resonating or converting to its full potential, you haven't yet tapped into that elusive marketing sweet spot. Marketers strive to provide the best possible experience to their audience, but reaching that pinnacle of customer connectedness doesn't happen by accident.

Small business guru and Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall joined us recently for a fun and information-packed webinar on what he calls “the Happy Juice Principle.” We often look to Perry for inspiration and copy strategy and were struck by his unique approach to content creation, lead capture and conversion. It all started with our team reading this post on Perry's blog – at first, we laughed (happy juice?!), but the underlying principle quick... > Read more

June 02, 2014     |   Written by: Amber Stevens   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

Best of the Month: WordStream’s Top 10 for May

One word dominated search marketing in May – “panda.” Obviously we’re not talking about the adorable, endangered animal, but rather the fourth update to the Google algorithm that laid waste to crappy sites across the web and struck terror into the hearts of webmasters the world over.These pandas want to rock ‘n roll all night AND party every day.

Of course, the Panda 4 update wasn’t the only thing people were talking about this month. Let’s see what else was going on and take a look at this month’s top posts.1. Panda 4.0: Why EBay Just Lost 80% Of Its Organic Rankings – Even if you’re not familiar with the term “schadenfreude,” eBay’s recent misfortune at the hands of Google is a perfect example. Check out this post to see why Google slapped eBay so hard, courtesy ... > Read more

May 30, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

New Webinar: Test Your Way to More Leads from PPC

If you’ve been attending WordStream’s recent webinars (or reading the blog), you already know some of the secrets to hacking AdWords – like how Quality Score is really calculated, and the secrets behind “unicorn” ads with super-high click-through rates.Now it’s time to learn our best A/B testing hacks – the changes, big and small, that can help you drive way more leads (not just clicks) though PPC, without giving Google more of your sweet, sweet cash.

In our next webinar, “7 Powerful A/B Tests That Drive More Leads from Paid Search,” WordStream will team up with Optimizely to reveal the secrets of A/B testing that will help you drive more leads from paid search.Join WordStream and Optimizely on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 1 p.m. EST (5 p.m. UTC) – register now!WordStream... > Read more

May 29, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 1

21 Expert Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAs

Ask Me Anythings, or AMAs, have long been a popular conversation format on Reddit. More recently, they've really taken off on Inbound.org, giving marketers of all stripes the opportunity to pick the brains of industry influencers and thought leaders.Annie Cushing, Brian Clark, Avinash Kaushik and other thought leaders in our industry have participated in AMAs on Inbound over the last 18 months.

Typically, it's announced a few days ahead of time and participants come back over several days to answer questions from the community. The content tends to be laser-focused and super-high-quality – they don't go as off-track as you might see on Reddit, probably due in large part to the fact it's a niche site and the audience tend to be well-versed in the basics.Not a lot of questions like “Woul... > Read more

May 28, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 6

Why You NEED Social Media Landing Pages (Not Just a Homepage!)

With so much traffic being driven these days via social media, it’s important to implement designated social media landing pages as part of your marketing strategy. Remember, folks who click your ads and links from social media sites are valuable visitors – they’ve actively engaged with your brand on a social network.

In fact, J. Crew found that:“customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer”Twice as much is a pretty big deal! So roll out the red carpet, and don’t you dare just send your social fans to the homepage.Many of the same rules that are used with PPC landing pages apply to social media landing pages as well, the core essentials being:Landing ... > Read more

May 27, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 6

The Attention Economy: Why Some of Your Content Will Always Fail

“The attention auction” is a phrase that has stuck in my head since I first read it earlier this year, on AJ Kohn’s blog Blind Five-Year-Old. The idea is that we’re all competing for a finite amount of attention, and it’s a zero-sum game. If people are paying attention to your competitor, they can’t pay attention to you at the same time.

Another term for the same basic idea is “attention economics” – in an attention economy, attention is treated as a scarce commodity. We’ve got access to more information than ever before, but no more time or attention to give.The concept is pretty key for us content marketers. When you publish new content, you’re putting a bid into the attention auction. And not everybody can win.Here at WordStream, we put a lot of thought and planning... > Read more

May 23, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

5 Cognitive Biases & How to Overcome Them On Your Landing Pages

You already know that highly optimized landing pages are crucial to the success of any paid search campaign. However, even the best landing pages don’t have conversion rates of 100%. Why? Well, because people are unpredictable, and sometimes, consumer behavior defies all logic – frequently due to cognitive biases.

In today’s post, we’re going to examine what cognitive bias is, look at several examples of these behaviors in action, and outline how you can overcome (or at least account for) them with your landing pages.What is Cognitive Bias?Cognitive biases are ways of thinking about and perceiving the world that may not necessarily reflect reality. We may think we experience the world around us with perfect objectivity, but this is rarely (if ever) the case. Each and every one of us... > Read more

May 22, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 7

Panda 4.0: Why eBay Just Lost 80% of its Organic Rankings

Poor eBay – they're having a pretty bad day. Thanks to Google’s roll-out of Panda 4.0 and the Payday Loan 2.0 update, eBay is suffering a massive loss in organic traffic and rankings. Adding insult to injury, they had to ask all users to change their passwords after a database hack.Matt Cutts kicked off the SEO hysteria yesterday as he often does, with a tweet:First released in 2011, Panda is a component of the organic search ranking algorithm designed to weed out low-quality sites, or those with "thin content.

" In its initial release, Panda affected approximately 12% of all search queries – by March 2013, Google had refreshed Panda 25 times, making it a constant source of aggravation in SEO circles.This update is particularly worrisome for webmasters, given that Google had stopped a... > Read more

May 21, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 68

5 Creative Ways to Use Google Glass (and How to Win Your Own!)

Google Glass: What began as an experiment in the notoriously secretive Google X research and development lab soon became the future of wearable technology. Google recently opened up its Glass Explorer pilot program to the general public, meaning yes, anyone (with $1500 to spare) can buy one! But many people remain unaware of what Google Glass can really do.

First, for all you hardware nerds out there, let’s take a look at Glass’ “tech specs” (sorry, couldn’t resist):12GB of usable memory (16GB Flash total)802. 11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity5 megapixel camera720p video resolutionIn this post, we’re going to explore five creative ways you can use Google Glass – and tell you how you can win your very own Google Glass headset (for free!) in WordStream’s new Grade and Get... > Read more

May 21, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6

Search vs. Display: Which AdWords Network Should You Use?

Here at WordStream, our team of consultants analyzes thousands of PPC accounts. While our customers’ pain points tend to vary, many of their issues can be tracked back to one major misstep—their campaigns are set to run on both the Search and Display Networks simultaneously.99% of the time, this practice will wreak havoc on a PPC account.

The main problem is, these networks target users in two completely different scenarios. Not to mention, since metrics across each network are combined, it is challenging to assess how each is performing, and it eliminates the option to segment one’s budget by network.Quite frankly, applying the same strategy to both networks is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole…it just doesn’t work. If you have any campaigns opted into both network... > Read more

May 20, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Contrarian Content Marketing: How to Zig When Everyone Else Zags

Confession: I’m a content marketing manager who hates most content. It’s all so boring! It’s true in the consumer world – as Choire Sicha, co-founder of The Awl, just said in an interview for The Atlantic:I opened up my Digg reader the other day, because I was on blogging duty at work, and everything was so duplicative of each other.

I was like, yeah, okay, there’s that piece of news filtering through all these different websites, all the same things … no wonder I don’t go to them.And the same is true in the business-to-business world. Over 90% of B2B companies do content marketing – but 90% of that content marketing is redundant crap, e.g. “5 Ways to Do Blah Blah the Same Way as Everyone Else.” Publishing blog posts like this is basically cargo-cult marketing; it’s t... > Read more

May 19, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 13

Drink Your ‘Happy Juice’: Learn the Secrets of Persuasive Marketing with Perry Marshall

Prospective customers can be a fickle bunch. They rarely do what we want them to, they behave in all sorts of crazy, unexpected ways, and – worst of all – sometimes they don’t even listen to us.However, it’s not hard to see why consumers have become largely indifferent to most marketing techniques.

After all, the average American consumer spends 11 hours per day using or engaging with digital media and is exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of ads every single day. Is it any wonder why many consumers are hard to reach?Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. In our upcoming webinar, “The ‘Happy Juice’ Principle: Marketing that Captures and Converts,” WordStream and renowned marketing expert Perry Marshall will show you how to leverage the “happy juice” principl... > Read more

May 15, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 1

6 Google Analytics Tips for Business Insight Way Beyond Traffic

I recently learned six Google Analytics tips that literally changed the way I use the software. Until just last week, I only used Google Analytics casually. I’d log in, poke around a little bit, then leave with only a vague idea of what was going on with our traffic. In other words, I was barely scratching the surface of what was possible.

We recently did an all-day intensive Google Analytics training session, which showed me a ton of features that I wasn’t using and didn’t even know about.Before the training, I was pretty much just using Google Analytics to check daily and weekly blog traffic trends. However, the features I’m going to share with you allow me to see:Detailed visitor demographic data and how the behavior of certain types of users can be tracked against “typical” ... > Read more

May 15, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 12

Recognizing Success During Small Business Week 2014

What do WordStream, Google and the White House have in common? We’re all championing small businesses this week, as Small Business Week 2014 is in full swing!In partnership with the Small Business Administration, a series of events, workshops and Q&A sessions are taking place in cities across the country (and at tech companies such as Microsoft and Twitter) to provide proprietors of small businesses with the support, advice and resources they need to thrive.

Small Business StatisticsSmall businesses are a big deal. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up:99.7% of U.S. employer firms64% of net new private sector jobs49.2% of private sector employment46% of private sector output43% of high-tech employment98% of firms exporting goods overseas33% of the co... > Read more

May 14, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Google Study Reveals What Local Mobile Searchers Want to See in Your Ads

What are on-the-go consumers looking for when they're using mobile devices to perform searches with local intent? Four out of five local searchers want the ads they see to be customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings, for one.They're also looking for information they can act on immediately.

Fifty percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, according to new research by Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, commissioned by Google.Their study took place online in January 2014 and explored consumer behavior across nine different verticals including Auto, CPG, Retail and Finance. Each of the 4,500 study participants completed a vertical-specific online survey. In order to participate, they had to be at least 18 years of age, cond... > Read more

May 14, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Gender Bias in Online Marketing: Data Shows Women Are Undervalued by 21%

Does the internet marketing industry have a gender bias problem? It’s something that’s been talked about before, but too often, those discussions are based almost entirely on speculation, a general sense that women are getting the short end of the stick. And the problem with speculation is that it’s easy to dismiss.

Moz’s recent industry salary survey provided some interesting data; they found that women in online marketing are paid less than their male counterparts, even at the same levels of education and experience. This sparked some really great discussion, but again, some may assume men just get the better jobs because of greater ability, better performance, or more ambition. But is this really the case?I recently ran across some internal data that really surprised me. I believ... > Read more

May 13, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 34

Google Maps Favors Businesses That Get Clicked On More

When consumers are searching for local business information, it makes sense that so long as your business listing information is correct, your business will show on the map when the search includes your physical location and product/service … right?Not necessarily. Julie Bacchini from Neptune Moon shared an interesting blog post (aptly titled “This is Why People Hate Google”) last week that highlights factors outside of a company's physical address that may influence how and when your business listing will appear in local searches.

She started looking into the issue on behalf of a client who has had trouble getting their business listing to come up in local, relevant searches. In fact, according to Bacchini, the business appears on page two in Google's search results when people searc... > Read more

May 12, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 10

Guide to Getting Your Customer Churn Rate in the Zone

Whatever you call it – defection, attrition, turnover – customer churn is a painful reality that all businesses have to deal with. Even the largest and most successful companies suffer from customer churn, and understanding what causes formerly loyal customers to abandon ship is crucial to lasting, sustainable business growth.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at what customer churn is, what constitutes a “good” churn rate, and ways you can stop your customers turning their backs on you forever.Art installation by Tim EtchellsWhat is Customer Churn?Client churn is when existing customers stop doing business with you. This can mean different things depending on the nature of your business. Examples include:Cancelation of a subscriptionClosure of an accountNon-renewal of a cont... > Read more

May 12, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 4

New Enterprise Google AdWords Features Boost Efficiency & Scale for Big Spenders

A few weeks ago, Google announced major changes and updates to the AdWords platform, several of them designed to improve efficiency and scale for enterprise-class search marketers.Google wants to make life easier for companies with massive campaigns – for those who are spending hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars on AdWords.

Enterprise-level PPC marketers face unique challenges, given the complexity and sheer size of their campaigns.These new features were designed to increase efficiency, help brands scale their campaigns and make insights more accessible and useful. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the new tools available to enterprise AdWords clients.Bulk Actions: Making AdWords Less "Complicated"In the new features announcement a few weeks back, VP of Products ... > Read more

May 08, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

The Mega Collection of SEO Expert Advice: Best of the Reddit SEO AMAs

If you're at all familiar with Reddit, you know about their AMA series, AKA, Ask Me Anything. Superstars from Obama to Rob Delaney have done AMA's, committing to answer questions from anyone and everyone who shows up to submit a question. And in recent months, a number of top SEO's have been doing Ask Me Anything sessions in the SEO subreddit (r/bigSEO).

Today, we’re bringing you the best of the best: hand-picked advice from the top SEO experts who took to Reddit to share their wisdom in the AMA series.Our panel of SEO experts answered myriad questions posted on Reddit, which we’ve sorted into the following categories for your convenience:Social SignalsLocal SEOLink BuildingContent MarketingGuest BloggingGeneral SEOLearning SEO AdviceSEO PredictionsSearch Spam & Black Hat SEOPageRan... > Read more

May 07, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 11

Google AdWords Scripts for My Client Center Out of Beta

AdWords scripts for My Client Center (MCC) are now out of beta. Google mentioned this during an AdWords API workshop I attended yesterday but only just made a formal announcement. This is big news for agencies, who have been asking for the ability to run scripts across an entire MCC for a while. Previously, you could only run scripts at the account level.

This is a powerful feature for automating account management.Introduced just a few months ago on March 11, AdWords scripts for MCC allows larger advertisers to manage changes to accounts at scale by hosting all scripts within the account and applying changes to up to 50 accounts simultaneously.Previously, you could set up a script to run on each account in the MCC. Now you can write one script that iterates over all of your clients. Wheth... > Read more

May 06, 2014     |   Written by: Adam Shain   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Yahoo Gemini: Complete Guide to Yahoo's Mobile & Native Advertising Offering

Yahoo's Gemini marketplace for mobile and native ads launched in February and is now the default audience option in the Yahoo self-serve advertising manager. But what is Gemini and how does it work?Yahoo Ad Manager launched in January as a simplified platform for advertisers to buy and manage native ad products like Stream Ads, Image Ads and sponsored Tumblr posts.

Gemini was added to leverage the power of mobile and native advertising together; their native ads are optimized for tablet and mobile devices.Yahoo Gemini powers native ads that put sponsored brand content in front of Yahoo's 400 million monthly users in contextually relevant ways.But First…Why Native Ads?If you're not yet familiar with the format, native advertising is the increasingly popular method of reaching audiences wi... > Read more

May 06, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Matt Cutts Says Yes, Links Will Inevitably Lose Value Over Time

In the latest Webmaster video, Matt Cutts answers a question that could have come from me (but actually came from someone named Leah in New York):Google changed the search engine market in the '90s by evaluating a website's backlinks instead of just the content ... Updates like Panda and Penguin show a shift in importance towards content.

Will backlinks lose their importance?There have been some arguments – notably from Russ Jones in the comments on this post (extrapolated on by Rand Fishkin in a recent Whiteboard Friday) – that links will actually increase in value over time.In the below video, Matt Cutts says the opposite is true. It’s not around the corner, but Google will eventually put less emphasis on links – not, however, purely because of link spam, but because links to a s... > Read more

May 05, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 7

What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work?

Ask two content marketers about long-form content and you’ll likely get two completely different responses. The first might say that long-form content is a gamble, given audiences’ supposedly miniscule attention spans. The other might say that producing longer articles is an excellent way to engage with readers and offer them genuine value and a rewarding experience.

Which of these content marketers is right? Yep, you guessed it – the long-form content evangelist. Why? Let’s find out.Table of contentsWhat is Long-Form Content?Why Does Long-Form Content Work?5 Long-Form Content ExamplesWhat Is Long-Form Content?It might seem obvious, but there are many different definitions of what long-form content truly is. Some people consider articles longer than 700 words to be long-form, wherea... > Read more

May 05, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 11
 
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