This Sunday is Earth Day 2012, when us earthlings devote the entire day to planting trees and recycling plastic water bottles in retribution for the havoc we’ve been inflicting on the planet for centuries.(Almost) everyone knows how pollution has affected the Earth and the disastrous consequences of relying too heavily on fossil fuels rather than migrating to renewable, alternative energy sources (I’m looking at you big oil).
You probably already know that it’s important to buy local rather than encourage supermarkets to ship exotic out-of-season fruits across the country in refrigerated units, resulting in huge carbon emissions. Maybe you even ride your bike across town to get to work, recycle every slice of unwanted paper, unplug all electrical units at night, and scoff at factory f... > Read more
This is the fifth post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab. Previous posts have focused on:The change history toolThe AdWords conversion tabGoogle Analytics Reporting within the AdWords InterfaceGoogle Website OptimizerIn this post we’ll walk through how to get the most out of the Google Keyword Tool within your AdWords campaigns.
What Is the Google Keyword Tool?Google’s keyword tool is designed to give advertisers information about which keywords they can add to their campaigns. The Google Keyword Tool has some important advantages and disadvantages to understand before acting on the data.ProsIt Leverages Google’s Own Data – One of the big advantages to using Google’s keyword tool is you have access to Googl... > Read more
AdWords has announced changes to how the Exact Match and Phrase Match keyword match type options works. Previously, a keyword set to exact match in your AdWords account would only trigger ads for user search queries that exactly matched the keyword you specified (hence the name: exact match), and similarly, a phrase matched keyword would be triggered by search queries containing the phrase that you specified.
Soon, Google will be changing the definition of these keyword match types to behave more like Modified Broad Match. It will serve up ads for a far more diverse set of search queries, including:keyword misspellingssingular/plural formsstemmings (word endings such as "ing", "ed", etc.)accentsabbreviationsAs is always the case, Google claims that the motivation for the change is user bene... > Read more
This is the fourth post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab. Previous posts have focused on:The Google AdWords change history toolThe AdWords conversion tabGoogle Analytics Reporting within the AdWords InterfaceAnd in this post we’ll be walking through how to leverage Google Website Optimizer within your AdWords account.
How You Can Use Website Optimizer within Your AdWords AccountWebsite Optimizer allows you to set up split tests and multivariate tests to measure the impact of different landing page designs within your AdWords campaigns. Implementing Website Optimizer requires adding some code to the pages you’re including in your test.The first (and most important) step in making use of the tool is, of cours... > Read more
We're often on about the importance of AB testing multiple versions of your ads as a means of seeing what messaging really works with your audience and thereby maximizing your clicks and conversions. It's one thing to acknowledge the importance of testing, but it's another to implement that strategy if you're not sure what to test.
The folks at AdChop have put together an infographic with a bunch of ideas for things to test in your ads, including text ads and image ads (these principles also apply to landing pages, your home page and anywhere else you're looking to drive conversions and engagement). Check it out!AdChop – More Profitable Ad Campaigns... > Read more
Last week, waaay at the bottom of my post on the ethics of search, I included a couple of links to articles about Instagram culture. The photo-sharing app had just been made available on Android OS, which had a lot of Android users cheering and a lot of iPhone users jeering (as in, “Hey, WTF? Our exclusive little club just got a lot less exclusive…”)That was pretty minor news compared to what happened to Instagram this week, though – it was purchased by Facebook for a whopping, unbelievable $1 Billion!Instagram, both the company and the app, are very simple – beautifully simple, I’m sure some would say.
They have a handful of employees and the app “does one thing well” – take a photo with your phone, add some fun filters to make it look cute and retro (like a Polaroid, sa... > Read more
Hello World! On Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 11AM EST, I will be presenting an AdWords Webinar on “How to Make an Impact on AdWords in 20 Minutes a Week”The focus of this free AdWords webinar will be the 20-Minute PPC Work Week, a powerful, inpactful PPC workflow that helps PPC marketers make the maximum impact on their AdWords accounts in as little time as possible.
In my AdWords Webinar, I will cover the following topics:Seven guidelines for achieving success in Google AdWords.How to use the 20-Minute PPC Work Week to make a positive impact on AdWords results in less than half an hour per week.Advice on the most common AdWords problems that I see every day in PPC accounts and how to avoid making those costly mistakes.After attending my AdWords webinar, advertisers will understand how ... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking to buy a mini HDMI cable, which ad do you think you'd click on? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 These ads are nearly identical, which makes it a bit harder to spot the winner. But in this case, the small details make a big difference.Made your decision?The winning ad is ad number one.
It was written by BoostCTR writer "jblankley," and it increased CTR by 84%. Where the original ad was producing 1 click, the new ad is producing 1.84 clicks.So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...The Original AdThe original ad is already a strong ad. While they want to increase clicks on their ad, they also want only qualified visitors. This is why they've put "Buy" in the title copy and included the price in the ad.Claude Hopkins once observed that a... > Read more
Are your Google Alerts not working? Maybe you've set it up wrong. But before we walk you through how to correctly set up a Google Alert for yourself, let's revisit how does Google Alerts work.Google Alerts are a way to monitor the search results for a given query. In theory, setting up a Google Alert is a great time-saver, because you get an email from Google whenever your specified query shows up on the web.
These web alerts are useful for a number of reasons:Brand monitoring – Keep track of mentions of your brand and products.Reputation management – Respond in a timely fashion to negative mentions and reviews.Link building – Push social traffic to positive reviews of your brand, or ask webmasters to turn citations into links.Journalism/Blogging – Follow media coverage of a topic ... > Read more
In recent months we’ve put together a series of posts to help provide small to mid-sized AdWords advertisers with easy-to-implement, impactful tweaks they can make to their campaigns, even if they have limited experience managing accounts and limited time to make these updates. These include:Google AdWords Quick Wins Volume 1Google AdWords Quick Wins Volume 2The Overworked Advertiser’s Guide to AdWords Bid ManagementThe Overworked Advertiser’s Guide to Google AdWords Bid Management: Volume 2Google AdWords Basics: 5 Things to Get Right FirstIn this post we’ll offer seven quick, simple things to keep in mind in optimizing your accounts.
These are common mistakes that new and smaller AdWords advertisers frequently overlook that can help transform underperforming AdWords accounts.1. Ma... > Read more
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Google’s warnings that it is planning to issue an “over-optimization penalty,” AKA the OOPS penalty. Similar to the Panda update, an algorithm change intended to punish spammy sites with “thin content,” the so-called OOPS penalty is supposed to prevent sites that are over-optimized from ranking.
But where is the line between regular optimization and over-optimization? Nobody really knows. Google’s own answers have been vague at best – some of the techniques they’re now calling spammy, they advocated themselves in the past.Good Cop, Bad CopWhen Google seems to be criminalizing SEO, it’s not surprising that the search community has ethics on the brain. Last week, Joe Hall wrote a post that declared “SEO outing is immoral.” “SEO outin... > Read more
This is the third post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab. The first post focused on the Google AdWords change history tool, in the second post we walked through the AdWords conversion tab, and in this post we’ll be looking at Google Analytics reporting within the AdWords interface:Using Google Analytics Within the AdWords InterfaceWhile Google AdWords has some robust reporting features, you can gain some additional insights by leveraging Google Analytics reporting within the AdWords interface.
There are a few main areas where you can get access to information within the analytics that you can’t get within AdWords analytics alone. Before you start, make sure your AdWords is linked to Analytics.Engagemen... > Read more
Yesterday Google announced another big round of “search quality highlights,” i.e., changes to the algorithm that serves up your search results. These lists – which Google has been publishing on the Inside Search blog since December 2011, supposedly in an effort to “push the envelope when it comes to transparency” – have just gotten more unwieldy and impenetrable over the last several months.
The first list included 10 “algorithmic and visible feature changes.” Yesterday’s announcement listed 50 changes.That’s too many updates for this little soldier, and I tweeted so:Apparently I’m not the only one who finds these lists semi-unreadable:According to Google, “we make roughly 500 improvements in a given year,” and it would seem that almost all of them have a cutesy c... > Read more
Over a year ago now, both Google and Bing announced that they factor social signals from social media into their organic search algorithms. As the lines between social media and search engine optimization continue to thin, social media will gain importance for SEO. As Google described it, social media is about relationships and relationships prove relevance.
Relevance is at the core of organic search.It’s well known that Facebook has 845 million active users and 50% log in daily. These numbers are astounding! I guarantee you that your customers and prospects are included in those numbers. They are on Facebook and they’re likely trying to engage with your brand.If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your organization, you really ought to consider optimizing your content marketing s... > Read more
This is the second post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab. The first post focused on the Google AdWords change history tool, and in this post we’ll be walking through the AdWords conversion tab.What Can You Do in the AdWords Conversions Tab?Within the conversions tab you can perform a number of tasks:Google AdWords Reporting – This isn’t really the most robust place for conversion reporting, as you can get better information either in the main campaign tab or in the AdWords conversion report within the dimensions tab, but you can get a quick look at the number of multi-click conversions within AdWords from this view.
You can drill down to the Web page level as well to see which website conversions are rep... > Read more
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