There are a few key basics that every PPC text ad needs in order to rank well and generate clicks: A compelling headline Relevant keywords A relevant display URL A call to action This post focuses on the last requirement. The call to action, or CTA, is the language that tells the searcher what to do – in other words, giving them a reason to click.
(Aside from increasing your traffic, a higher click-through rate will also improve your Quality Score, which in turn will lower your costs.) The default call to action is something like "Buy now!" This may be better than no CTA at all, but it's not very good. It's too familiar, too general and too pushy. So what's a better call to action? It's good to remember that your CTA doesn't have to be a direct sales push – there ar... > Read more
Just a quick notice that our friends at Ontolo have a new version of their link building software coming out - we've reviewed the Ontolo link building software before, and we're excited to get our hands on the latest version. Garrett and Ben from Ontolo are only accepting 250 beta users so that they can integrate feedback and work closely with users to get the software right before releasing it to the world.
You can sign up to be notified of beta availability here, and if you do be sure to stop back and let us know what you think! ... > Read more
This is a guest post by Ofer Tirosh and M.E. Simpson, the founder and content manager, respectively, of professional translation services company Tomedes.com. A question for you online marketers and content managers out there: If you made a small change to a client's website (or your own), such as a content revision of those basic web pages linked to at the bottom of the homepage (FAQs, Help, Contact Us, etc.
) – how would you expect it to affect your sales? Most of you would probably say, Dude, ask a real marketing question. Typically, these teeny tiny links at the bottom of the homepage do not operate as individual tools for acquiring more or longer traffic visits, or increased conversion rates – not the way landing pages or SEO content does. Recently, our online ... > Read more
After meeting with gShift Labs CTO Chris Adams at an SES conference, we realized there was a great partnership fit, and today we're announcing that gShift Labs has integrated the WordStream Keyword Tool API into their Web Presence Optimizer. The team at gShift has built out an entire page dedicated to detailing how the WordStream Keyword Tool API is leveraged within the gShift product.
Here's a screenshot of the implementation: We're really excited about the implementation because it's extremely validating for the WordStream API to have companies like gShift programming against and leveraging our data and our algorithms within their software. We've been able to get a closer look at the gShift software and have gotten to know their team, and they're a very smart bunch solving some interest... > Read more
It's Friday, and it's been an unusually long week (something about the tilt of the Earth, no doubt), so let's keep this roundup fun, shall we? What did you do while Facebook was down? Wednesday, due to a vaguely defined third-party networking issue, Facebook was down for a number of users across the country, and the site has continued to experience uptime issues.
This happened at roughly the same time that our own site experienced some downtime due to a Nettica problem (Nettica is our DNS provider), so I imagine this was the root cause of Facebook's downtime as well. Since you Facebook users all seem like a bunch of slavering addicts to me, I wondered what you did to bide the downtime. You turned to Twitter, of course! (Or other social networks, as the case may be.) Mostly, you spent the... > Read more
I wanted to share an experience I've been going through after one of my sites was infected with malware. I've been involved in search marketing for the past six years and have been lucky enough to have never had a site hacked. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. About two weeks ago, one of my sites was the target of malevolent hackers.
I became aware of the security breach when I visited the SERPs and saw that Google was displaying the toxic "This site may harm your computer" warning, which looks like this (NOTE: this is NOT my website listing...it's just an example): When users click on "This site may harm your computer" link, it leads them to a Google support page. If you miss the warning and click on the actual site listing, you're redirected to an inte... > Read more
We've reviewed PPC Blog here before but since that post they've added a members-only training and community portion of their site that I've had a chance to spend some time with, so we thought it was worth reviewing the training and community aspects of the site. Why Bother with a Training/Community Site? One of the common objections you'll hear to paying for content (whether it's a how-to eBook or the Wall Street Journal) is that you can get seemingly similar content for free.
I touched on this in my review of SEO Book's training and community site, but I think that as content and data become more and more omnipresent and commoditized, a lot of the opportunity to create great products that make people better at what they do lies in how you slice, dice, and represent portions of that c... > Read more
This is a guest post by Eric Almquist, Affiliate Program Manager at InfoPay Affiliate Network, an information-centric affiliate network and merchant processing environment. Twitter is everywhere, and that means your marketing efforts can be everywhere as well. We all follow our favorite celebrities, friends, and coworkers.
But what do you do when you don't know how to get relevant followers for marketing purposes? There are many different ways you can get this information. Now there are Twitter lists, directories, recommendation engines, search engines, and local searches. Any one of these can help you find potential customers for your affiliate marketing offers. In early 2009, Twitter started a list of “suggested users,” which was similar to recommended reads in a bookstore. N... > Read more
This is a guest post by Caleb Levell, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. His interests include search and social marketing, online collaboration, and social media for business and non-profit organizations. He blogs at PPC Hero and SEO Boy. When I was in college (not so long ago), I had quite the morning routine.
Most important to the routine, I never scheduled a class before 11:15 AM. Of course, this gave me time to sleep in, eat breakfast, and do any last-minute studying. Yes, my schedule was set and my daily to-dos were outlined. Eventually though, it all has to come crashing down. Real life came faster than expected and I had a job. Quick lesson for any of our college readers: Most jobs start at 8 or 9 AM. Thus, my morning routine was ruined. Worst of all, no more break... > Read more
It's Brand Week at WordStream! OK, so I just made that up. We haven't been calling it Brand Week, but I just christened it—branded it, if you will—myself. We've been making some improvements to our office space, including the fancy new sign and display in our lobby, as you can see in the video below, with the intention of strengthening our branding for visitors to the office (board members, job candidates, consultants, paparazzi, and so on) as well as our office culture.
(By the way, if you're curious about the display in the video, it's the work of LocaModa, a location-based social media company.) Coincidentally, I've been seeing a lot of talk about branding this week. Could it be that fall is coming, and everyone wants to turn over a new leaf? (These puns don't even make ... > Read more
Wordstream is looking to speak with search marketing practitioners to gather input on how we can evolve our SEO product to better meet customer needs. We’re conducting a series of 50-minute research sessions via phone on Tuesday, Sept 21, and Wednesday, Sept 22nd. These interviews can be scheduled at your convenience, and to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a $75 American Express gift card.
If you meet the following criteria and are interested, please drop a comment or send us an email: Search marketing specialist or practitioner who has responsibility for SEO for their organization Available to participate in a 50-minute session sometime between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm Eastern time, on 9/21 or 9/22 Have Internet access using a broadband, DSL, or T1 connection (no dial-up)... > Read more
Influence Finder is one of the latest link profiling tools to hit the market. I would classify the Influence Finder software as a "link target tool," giving users the ability to "spy on" the backlink profile of a competitor or multiple competitors to discover link opportunities. Influence Finder also lets you evaluate your own site's link profile as well, to perform some self-assessment and find out who's linking to you and what's driving your site's SERP performance.
Where Does Influence Finder Get Its Link Data? Influence Finder grabs all of its link data from the massive Majestic SEO API, so you know it's robust and accurate. But Influence Finder takes Majestic's link data a step further by re-crawling the Majestic link data and filtering out any dead links, so the d... > Read more
This is a guest post by Chad Summerhill, author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of PPC AdWords advice , and in-house PPC specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc. (UPack.com and MoveBuilder.com). The goal of PPC ad testing is to increase your click-through rate (CTR) and/or your conversion rate (CVR).
Focusing on CTR should result in more traffic to your site, but it could be at the expense of your CVR. On the other hand, focusing on conversion rate should improve the quality of your traffic, but could hurt your CTR and reduce the number of potential customers visiting your site. As advertisers we are asked to maximize both CTR and CVR, which often requires totally different approaches. If you want to maximize the total number of conversions on your site, you will need to look a... > Read more
Wanted to let everyone know that Mark Thompson over at StayonSearch has created an exclusive10-Week Internet Marketing Course that you can get for FREE! According to Mark, the 10-Week Internet Marketing Course is "designed to teach you all the basics of Internet Marketing. It covers a wide variety of topics to help drive traffic, build your brand and increase leads/sales.
Every week you will be e-mailed a new module of this 10 week course that will teach you the fundamentals of Internet Marketing." What's in the Free Course? Here's what's included in the free course: Week 1 - Strategy: Understanding Your Goals and Setting Expectations Week 2 - Market Research & Analysis: Know Your Target Market Before Spending Marketing Dollars Week 3 - Paid Search: Using Pay-Per-Click Strategies to D... > Read more
One way to get links pointing back to your website is by link begging—basically, asking someone to link to your site from theirs. People beg for links by sending an email, making a phone call, or messaging someone over a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook. Recently, I wrote in a blog post about link building myths that I believe link begging is a waste of time—it's just not scalable.
However, some search marketers swear by link begging. Is it a workable strategy, or a bad idea? To help you make an educated decision about whether to engage in link begging, let's consider the practice's pros and cons. Here are some of the pros of link begging: Link begging can, in fact, get you links. Link begging is a way of alerting people to your content. Especially ... > Read more
Heather Lloyd-Martin is a 20-year marketing veteran, a recognized author and considered the pioneer of SEO copywriting. For over 12 years, Heather’s firm, SuccessWorks, has been training corporate in-house SEO copywriters and creating revenue-driving Web site content campaigns. Heather serves on the board of American Writers and Artists, Inc.
, is an advisory board member of SEMpdx and serves on the PubCon conference advisory board. In 2010, SuccessWorks launched the SEO Copywriting Certification training, the only certification program for in-house and freelance SEO copywriters. Can you tell us a little bit about SuccessWorks and how you got into the SEO copywriting business? Sure! I started my SEO copywriting career B.G. (before Google) around 1998. Prior to that, I had worke... > Read more
This weekend at home, I was surprised to find Google was giving me way more than ten results per page—more like twenty, though I confess I didn't bother to count. (It seems Google no longer does the counting for you.) I quickly sent an email to Tom and Ken about it, but it appeared it was "just me," or rather an experiment that was only affecting some users (as reported by Andy Beard and Barry Schwartz).
I was still thinking about this experiment on Wednesday, contemplating a post called "No More 'Ten Blue Links'" when Google unveiled a much bigger change—big enough to warrant a live press conference, big enough to get everyone on Twitter talking, and not just the "tweeple" in my web marketing column. This big change is Google Instant. It sounds a ... > Read more
As any link wonk will tell you, link building is hard work. So for efficiency's sake, I’m a big fan of harvesting the low hanging fruit in link building. Why kill yourself trying to acquire links from super domains, like CNN.com or The New York Times, when you can grab some quick wins just by tending your own garden?One of the ways I snag some easy link wins is by turning citations into links.
Of all the daily link building tactics I engage in, this is probably one of the best ROI producers. You see, at WordStream, we get cited dozens of times each day across the Web. Most of these mentions (I'd say about 70%) contain links back to our site. But roughly 30% are linkless. And therein lies the opportunity to build a link.Now when it comes to local SEO, I know that citations are like links.... > Read more
Google Analytics (GA) is undoubtedly the most popular web analytics tool on the planet. If you're a search marketer, blogger or online business owner, you likely use Google Analytics on a daily basis to do some basic traffic and performance analysis. But like many, you're probably not harnessing the full power of Google Analytics.
So to help you get even more out of GA, we reached out to 17 Google Analytics experts to create The Power User's Guide to Google Analytics Hacks, Tips and Tricks. The guide features a variety of advanced user features from our all star lineup of Google Analytics Hacks Panelists, including Aaron Wall, Vanessa Fox, Joost de Valk, David Harry, Will Critchlow, Ann Smarty, Brian Clifton, Justin Cutroni, Bryan Eisenberg, Bas van den Beld and many more analytics exper... > Read more
If you’re a serious company you should care about how you appear to potential customers or employees on the Internet. People are always online nowadays, looking up information about a company before they do business or apply for a job. If someone searches for your company in Google, Bing, or another search engine, it’s important that the first page of search results contains positive information about your company.
Here are a few reasons why you should control the first SERP: If someone finds a negative review about your product or service, they’re less likely to purchase it (or anything at all from your company). If someone sees people complaining about working for your company, they might not apply for a job there. If someone finds negative articles about yo... > Read more
On Wednesday, the moderators of Sphinn announced that the site would lose its main social feature—voting—and move to a pure editorial format, with the editors hand-selecting the best of submitted stories to promote to the front page. If you haven't already heard about this, you either: Took a few days off Haven't been on Twitter lately Don't work in Internet marketing Have real job responsibilities and/or "a life" Just kidding about that last one.
Perhaps the death of Sphinn as we know it isn't quite as earth-shaking as Michael Jackson's passing, but it definitely caused a stir in the search marketing community. After the announcement was made on the Sphinn blog, Ruud Hein was one of the first to react. In a post called "Sphinn Is Dead: Long Live Anything Else,... > Read more
We recently ran a webinar on negative keywords, sharing tips, tricks and best practices for using negative keywords to identify and eliminate areas of wasted spend in AdWords pay-per-click campaigns. The webinar included: Tips for identifying wasted spend before it happens Methods for identifying underperforming queries that are costing you money in your AdWords campaign Step-by-step instructions for setting negative keywords within your AdWords campaign via the AdWords interface If you missed it, you can view a video of the webinar or the slides below.
And we hope to see you at the next webinar! Negative Keywords: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices Need more help with negative keywords? Download our free white paper: Negative Keywords: How to Put an End to Wa... > Read more
This is a guest post by Eric Almquist, Affiliate Program Manager at InfoPay Affiliate Network, an information-centric affiliate network and merchant processing environment. It used to be that everything was done on the computer, but now, with the introduction of mobile technology such as PDA's and smartphones, the internet has shifted from your desk to the palm of your hand.
With this shift come new strategies for online marketers, especially affiliates. This opens up a brand new area that hasn't been around for long and doesn't have set rules. Currently there are four main uses of mobile affiliate marketing: click-to-call, smartphone applications, mobile landing pages, and SMS campaigning. Click-to-call is one type of mobile marketing campaign chosen by affiliates. Also called pay... > Read more
This is a guest post by Chad Summerhill, author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of PPC AdWords advice, and in-house PPC specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc. (UPack.com and MoveBuilder.com). I was reading Google’s post about Enhanced CPC (they're offering a free webinar about the feature next week) when one sentence in particular struck me as very interesting: “Enhanced CPC is compatible with advanced campaign settings and third party bid management systems.
” For a while now, I have been using a proprietary, in-house bid management system in conjunction with Google’s Conversion Optimizer to produce excellent results. I can do this because my company has built our own web analytics data warehouse. Our solution is unique in that we have embraced Google Conversion Optim... > Read more
August was a very graphic month for WordStream. I’m not talking about anything R-rated (though our marketing meetings can get pretty violent)—I’m talking about infographics! Who doesn’t love infographics? Definitely not us. I mean, we definitely don’t not love them.
I mean, we love them. And you all love them too, judging from the page views. And you loved hearing about our infographic strategy almost as much as loved the infographics themselves. Here are the top 10 most popular posts from the WordStream blog in August: How We Got a Link from CNN and Drove Loads of Traffic with Infographics: This case study shows we used infographics to score a huge range of links and big traffic spikes in a short amount of time. Five Myths About Link Building: Larry de... > Read more
Do you need help writing copy that's optimized for search and conversions while still being readable? It's not easy to write at your best while keeping keywords and business goals in mind. If your SEO copywriting skills could use some brushing up, we recommend you check out a seminar being run by friend of WordStream Heather Lloyd-Martin, the CEO of SuccessWorks Inc.
, a pioneer in SEO copywriting services that has been providing training for over 12 years. This training seminar will equip you with skills including: Forming a keyword research strategy Using keyword research tools Finding topic ideas Writing powerful, clickable titles and meta descriptions The three spots you should always place your keyword phrase A step-by-step process for writing optimized content Heather stre... > Read more
Bloggers love a controversy, and that includes me. The big controversy this week was over a new "tax"—more accurately, a business license—being imposed on bloggers in Philadelphia. Last week, Philly's City Paper reported that owners of small, low-traffic blogs were receiving letters from the city "demanding" they pay $300 for a business privilege license.
This license applies to all businesses in the city, not just blogs, but only recently, it seems, has the city attempted to enforce it with blogs. There does seem to be an inherent difference between a blog and a brick-and-mortar business—the latter is probably benefiting from services that the city provides, but a blog run by someone who happens to live in Philadelphia wouldn't seem to. But the licen... > Read more
This is the final excerpt from our free white paper, Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper including the last three steps. You've done your research and organized your keywords. You have a system in place for ongoing keyword management and growth. This provides a strong foundation for your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
But until you have a good understanding of which keywords really work for your business, you can't learn from your campaigns and improve your results. The next step is to use keyword analytics to analyze your keywords and monitor results. Keyword analytics allow you to drill down to the level of the keyword group or the single keyword to see which terms drive the most traffic and conversions, as well as... > Read more