Win of the Week: Focus on What Searchers Really Want

Imagine for a moment that you are a business owner who is hiring a new secretary. You want to make sure you've got a good secretary before you hire him (or her).What kind of information would you like to know? Which ad would get your attention and earn your click? Make your decision, then scroll down to discover the answer.

 PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 In this case, ad number two is the winner. It was written by "jeffbaum71," and it increased CTR by 162%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 2.62 clicks.I find this week's contest interesting because it highlights a key principle of good ad writing. Here are a few reasons why the new ad won...1. The title of the winning ad is more descriptive. A "Secretary Skills Test" is much more precise and descriptive than a ... > Read more

October 05, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 2

Search Marketing & Technology News Roundup, Oct. 4, 2011

Google Testing New Circular-Style AdsGoogle is testing new ad units called “Circulars” in hopes of mimicking the full-page inserts found in Sunday newspapers. These new ads will reportedly act as custom landing pages with attractive ad copy and large pictures. The circulars will appear when users click on search or display ads.

Google is introducing these new ads in response to retailers’ desire to drive online visitors into physical stores.The new ad format is scheduled to be unveiled later this week.Napster Acquired By RhapsodyRhapsody will soon be acquiring the once infamous online music subscription service Napster.Napster experienced tremendous popularity during its bad-boy days of P2P music sharing. Although Napster has never regained its former glory since shutting down after ... > Read more

October 04, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

The Problem with the Google AdWords Impression Share Report

As is the case with many AdWords features, Google’s impression share report is a powerful, useful, but incomplete and potentially misleading tool for AdWords advertisers. There are two major issues with taking impression share reports at face value:You don’t always want all the impressionsA small percentage of a large campaign can be much more impactful than a large percentage of a small campaignIn any PPC campaign there is a concept of diminishing returns – just because you can get x conversions at y price per conversion doesn’t mean that if you get 2x the conversions your cost per conversion will hold – in fact in a vast majority of cases it won’t.

For this reason there are many instances where even if your campaign is profitable and you’re only capturing 40% of the possibl... > Read more

October 04, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

Google Analytics Premium, Real-Time Google Analytics, & What it All Means for You

As is the case with pretty much anything Google does or pays attention to, if you’re a search marketer or someone for whom search traffic (paid or natural) is an important part of how you market your business, it’s helpful to pay attention to the things Google does, and to think about why they’re likely to do those things.

In the past week Google has made two big announcements surrounding their analytics offering:They unveiled Google Analytics Premium, an enterprise analytics package.They announced real-time Google Analytics, which allows you to see how people are interacting with your site in real time rather than waiting hours for the data to refresh.When looked at in a vacuum, these seem like pretty standard iterations for the folks at Google. When you layer on some context, though... > Read more

October 03, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

Best of the Month: WordStream's September Highlights

 As you read this, I’m probably on my way to the DC area, leaving the virtually perfect Denver weather for the East Coast blahs. Ah well, maybe I'll spy some foliage. (I still think it's weird that New Englanders call it "leaf peeping!" It makes it sound so dirty.)Before you get your weekend started, check out the top 10 most popular blog posts we published this month.

Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics: 17 Experts on the Top 3 Must-Check PPC Metrics – This group interview is packed with awesome insights into what metrics actually matter when it comes to analyzing PPC results – and which ones are pretty much worthless. Even if you don’t want to read the whole thing, be sure to skip to the bottom and see the three most popular answers.3 Ways to Scale Linkbuilding with Google Docs –... > Read more

September 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

5 Great Marketing Case Studies from Around the Web

One of my favorite types of blog post is the marketing case study – a personalized story of success or failure (or otherwise interesting or unexpected results). As blog posts go, it’s not as easy to churn out as a “top 5” post (ahem), but you can learn so much more from them. It’s often easier to take something actionable away from specific examples and real stories than vague abstractions, so a well-written case study is a great way to get attention and links.

As an added benefit, a case study is always unique, whereas standard tip posts are often just reproducing information you can find elsewhere on the web.If you haven’t considered writing this type of content before, I encourage you to give it a shot! Think about a specific strategy you implemented recently that reall... > Read more

September 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 2

New! An Expert's Guide to Controlling PPC Costs with Negative Keywords

Last week, 17 PPC experts (and a few more who chimed in via the comments) told us the metrics they pay the most attention to when analyzing their campaign performance in AdWords. The #1 most common answer was click-through rate (CTR). Cost per conversion was another big one.There are many ways to improve your click-through rates, including refining your keyword research and writing more compelling ads.

We're also big advocates of using negative keywords to improve CTR by reducing impressions and clicks from search queries that are irrelevant to your products or just unlikely to convert. By eliminating those non-converting clicks, advertisers can save an enormous amount of wasted budget (often up to 30%!). So using negative keywords effectively doesn't just raise CTR, it lowers costs and im... > Read more

September 28, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Win of the Week: 156% Increase in CTR from Following the Rules

Which of the two ads below do you think got a higher click-through rate (CTR)? Make your decision, then scroll down to discover the answer. PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 To help make your decision, suppose for a moment that you are a business owner who wants to promote your business at a major convention.

And suppose you're looking for a place to print up some promotional banners for your booth. Which ad would earn your click -- and potentially your business?In this case, ad number two is the winner. It was written by "SuperchargeYourAds," and it increased CTR by 156%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 2.56 clicks.I find this week's contest interesting because it validates many ad writing principles I've covered in my Win of the Week column. Here are a few rea... > Read more

September 28, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 2

What You're Doing Wrong with Your Content Marketing: 5 Common Mistakes

Content marketing, along with social media and SEO, is an incredibly important component of any inbound marketing campaign – efforts designed to bring your target audience to you, instead of you trying to force your brand on them.You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king” before, and that’s because it’s true! The search engines read your webpage content to determine if it matches a search query, your target audience reads content you produce (blogs, articles, whitepapers, etc.

) to learn more about your given industry, and producing great content is what earns your company a reputation as a valuable and trusted source of information. In short, a great content marketing campaign can accomplish a lot!But running a great content marketing campaign is more complicated than c... > Read more

September 27, 2011     |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 1

5 Best Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for SEO

Out of the box, LinkedIn is a pretty fantastic tool for anyone looking to promote their business or especially for anyone looking for a new job in these turbulent economic times. To really get the most from LinkedIn, you need to attract search engine traffic, and there are some minor tweaks you can make to your profile that will make all the difference in the level of search engine success you enjoy.

Here are my top 5 LinkedIn SEO tips:1. Vanity URLSWhen you first create your LinkedIn profile, you get a numeric profile name, which is fine for LinkedIn itself in terms of keeping track of you. For real human visitors and search engine spiders, this means absolutely nothing, and from a human point of view, a string of numbers can be very difficult to remember. You have the option of creating w... > Read more

September 27, 2011     |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 18

Google AdWords Sitelinks: How to Use AdWords Ad Sitelinks Extensions

In the first two installments of our series on AdWords ad extensions we covered AdWords location extensions and Google’s product extensions. Today we’ll walk through AdWords sitelinks, namely:What are AdWords sitelinks and why are they important?How do I use AdWords ad sitelinks in my account?When should I use sitelinks in my AdWords account?We’ll also provide information on why sitelinks may not be showing in your account and how best to leverage sitelinks in your campaigns.

What Are AdWords Sitelinks and Why Are They Important?Ad sitelinks are a feature in AdWords that offers you additional links to pages beyond the destination landing page in your ad. In the above image, “Free Shipping,” “Free Personal Engraving,” “3G or Wi-Fi models,” and “10-hour battery” are all ... > Read more

September 26, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 10

Netflix Spins Off Qwikster, Flips Off Customers

There are two kinds of news: the kind of news that everyone gets excited about and the kind of news that everyone complains about. (Well, I guess there’s a third kind, the kind that nobody care about, but leaving that aside...) The webby world got some news of the former type this week, and that was the news that Netflix is splitting into two separate brands: one for the snail-mail DVD rentals that put the company on the map, and one for streaming services, the direction that movie rentals are going in.

The streaming-only service will continue to operate under the “Netflix” name, while the old-school DVD business will be branded as “Qwikster.”This news came straight from the horse’s mouth (that horse being Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO), framed as an apology for not... > Read more

September 23, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

A Common Sense Approach to PPC

To become a rocket scientist you have to spend approximately half of your life going to school and earning PhD’s so that maybe, possibly, you could do what you really wanted to do as a boy. If you’re not scientifically inclined, but artistically inclined, things don’t get any easier. To be recognized as a master painter you have to put in a lot of work.

You might have to draw the scene ten times, but slightly different each time to get the right effect. You may have to cut off an ear, or maybe even die to be recognized for what you do well! Yeah, it’s a lot of effort, and that shouldn’t be surprising.The reason I bring this up is because lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about search engine marketing and pay-per-click marketing along with many, many theories about ho... > Read more

September 22, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Google AdWords Product Extensions Guide: A Product Extension Tutorial

This is the second installment in our multi-part series on Google AdWords Ad Extensions. Last time we covered Google AdWords location extensions, and today’s focus will be on product extensions.Product extensions is a feature that allows you to link your Google Merchant account with your AdWords account to have enhanced listings for your products shown in search results on Google properties:In this post we’ll walk through why product extensions are important, how you can use them in your account, and when to use the extensions as well as how best to apply them.

Why Are AdWords Product Extensions Important?Product extensions are important for much the same reason the other ad extensions are important: they offer increased visibility in search results. This means more clicks – in many v... > Read more

September 22, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Win of the Week: To Be Unorthodox or Conformist, That Is the Question

Today, I'm featuring what may be the biggest win in BoostCTR's brief history. It's certainly the biggest win that's been featured in a Win of the Week column.Since the difference between the two ads is so big, it should be easy to pick the winner, right? Well, maybe. Looks -- and gut-level responses -- can often be deceiving.

Nevertheless, take a look at the two google ppc ads below and see if you can pick the winner. PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 To help make your decision, suppose for a moment that you were a college student looking to rent some college textbooks. Which ad would you be more likely to click on? Which one reaches into the mind of the college student and gets her to click?In this case, ad number one is the winner. It was written by "ctrmaven," and it increased CTR by an asto... > Read more

September 21, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Link Building Experts Interview Series: A Q&A with BuzzStream CEO Paul May

Paul May is the CEO and co-founder of BuzzStream, a provider of link building management software. Paul has spent most of the last fifteen years either starting or working on early-stage startups. BuzzStream also offers a variety of free link building tools for small businesses, SEOs and Internet marketers.

Follow and connect with Paul on Twitter: @PaulMay.BuzzStream is often thought of as a link building tool, but you actually have products for PR and social media as well. How much overlap are you finding between the three disciplines?It’s funny, because Rae Hoffman-Dolan wrote a post a few years ago where she talked about the skills to look for when hiring a link builder, and I remember thinking when I read it that she might as well have been writing a job spec... > Read more

September 21, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics: 17 Experts on the Top 3 Must-Check PPC Metrics

Overwhelmed by all the PPC metrics available in your AdWords account? Information is good, but information overload is paralyzing, so it’s crucial to strip away the excess and overkill – and focus on the AdWords metrics that really provide valuable insight into your PPC performance. So what are they? Which PPC metrics work the hardest and speak the loudest?We asked seventeen paid search marketing experts two questions:#1: If you could only check three Pay Per Click metrics in your PPC account, which three PPC metrics would you choose? In other words, which three PPC metrics do you think provide the most complete picture of your performance?#2 (Bonus Question): What PPC metric do you think is bogus/overrated/a waste of time?Read on to find out what three PPC metrics these AdWords e... > Read more

September 20, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 18

Google AdWords Location Extensions Guide: Location Extension Targeting Best Practices

The first post in our series on Google AdWords Ad Extensions will focus on AdWords location extensions. Location extensions are a feature within Google AdWords that allows you to add location data about your business to your ad:In this post we’ll walk through why these extensions are important, how you can use them in your account, and when to use the extensions as well as how best to apply them.

Why Are Google AdWords Location Extensions Important?Location extensions allow you to get more real estate on the SERP and provide more information to local searchers, including a clickable phone number on mobile devices. Given that AdWords location targeting is probably more aggressive than you think, this is a pretty powerful option. Marissa Mayer noted recently that roughly 20 percent of the s... > Read more

September 19, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

One Step Closer to Infinite Scroll: Google Keeps Us All on Page 1

Do you love the scroll wheel on your mouse and the down arrow key on your keyboard and like to exercise them as much as possible? I know I do! What I hate doing is finding the tiny arrow or “2” link at the bottom of a web page with my cursor – if there’s a “View all” link in the vicinity, I almost always click that instead.

Apparently, I’m not the only one – in response to user experience studies, Google is trying to get us all on the same page: Page 1, that is! Here are a couple of the ways this is playing out.Google Say, Pagination Bad!Yesterday, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog featured a post proclaiming that “User testing has taught us that searchers much prefer the view-all, single-page version of content over a component page containing only a portion of the same i... > Read more

September 16, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 7

The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Ad Extensions

One of the most underutilized weapons in a number of AdWords accounts is ad extensions. Ad extensions allow you to take up more real estate on the SERP, providing additional links to your site, product images and other information that can draw people in and increase your click-through rates. In this guide, we’ll be walking through each of the AdWords ad extensions in detail, showing you how they work, when they work, and why you’d want to leverage them.

In this post I will provide a brief overview of each. Click the headings on each section for an in-depth look at each of the AdWords ad extensions. (You might want to go ahead and bookmark this guide now...)Google AdWords Location ExtensionsAdWords location extensions show in response to certain local queries, and the data shown to sear... > Read more

September 15, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

How to Use Keyword Research for New Product Development

What do customers want? Or, more importantly, what can you sell them? If you aren’t using keyword research as part of the development of new products, then you’re missing out on an untapped resource of new ideas, as well as gaining valuable insight into what customers have already indicated they want.

In this guide we’ll show you some great shortcuts to finding this vital consumer data with keyword research.Let Customers Tell You What They WantNo longer a standalone feature, as you type keywords into Google, the search engine will attempt to complete your thought based on popular queries. This autocomplete feature helps show what customers are already actively seeking, and unfulfilled niches where you can make money.Your results will only be as good as the keyword you put in initiall... > Read more

September 14, 2011     |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Win of the Week: Clarity and Attention to Detail Increase CTR by 86%

Studying new winning ads is always fascinating because of the variety of products and services for which we're optimizing ad copy.Every week, there is a new win ... in a new market ... for a new product. And yet, in spite of this variety and "newness," the principles of good ad writing prove themselves over and over again.

With that in mind, which of the two ads below do you think performed better? The headlines and the URLs are the same. Only the body copy is different. Which approach do you think worked best? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 I suppose it's not too difficult to pick the winner. The grammatical errors make it easy to spot the losing ad. Ad number two is the winner. It was written by "SwayamDas," and it increased CTR by 86%.So why did the new ad win? Here are a few reasons why..... > Read more

September 14, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Meet WebMetricsGuru Marshall Sponder on Thursday Sept 15, 2011 in Providence, RI

Meet the Web Metrics Guru in person!Our friend Marshall Sponder of WebMetricsGuru.com (a contributor to the WordStream blog) has written a new book called Social Media Analytics, Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting and Using Metrics.To mark the occasion, Marshall will be at a book-signing event at Aspire Restaurant in Providence, RI this Thursday, September 15, 2011.

Registration is limited but you can RSVP for free here! Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

September 13, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3

This is the third in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2Today’s interview is with Rick Archer.

Rick is the founder of Search Summit, an independent search consultancy based in Iowa. You can reach Rich at rick@searchsummit.com.Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser?I’ve been using AdWords for about 10 years. I also work with adCenter, and I used to play with smaller ne... > Read more

September 13, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Google AdWords Location Targeting: How Does AdWords Geographical Targeting Really Work?

On the surface, Google AdWords location targeting seems pretty straightforward: I tell Google where I want my ads to show and they show them only in that location. From Google’s own documentation (the number one result for “adwords location targeting” for me in Google, so it must be right, right?!):For each AdWords campaign, you can select the countries or regions and the languages for your ad.

That campaign's ads will appear only to users located in those areas and who have selected one of those languages as their preference.Emphasis is mine, but it seems to confirm what one would initially, intuitively assume. If that were all that were going on though, this would be the second nice thing I wrote about Google in the last 30 days (and that after I didn’t even totally pan AdWords E... > Read more

September 12, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies ... Or, You Know, Don't

A couple of posts that caught my eye this week focused on a sticky little problem at the heart of all marketing and advertising: honesty, or lack thereof. These posts raise the question, is it possible to market a product without crossing any ethical lines?Is It Ever OK to Lie? (Like, Say, for Mad Links?)Jill Whalen wrote a post this week called “Deceptive Marketing: A Necessary Evil for Search Marketers?” From the title, I expected this to be about truth in advertising – in other words, does marketing copy always stretch the truth? Instead, Jill was writing about link building and the little white lies we sometimes tell in order to score a link.

She tells a story about a link building technique she read about several years ago. The marketer, Melanie Nathan, recommended finding broken... > Read more

September 09, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 5

Yahoo Says Goodbye to CEO Carol Bartz: Further Evidence of Yahoo’s Fruitless Struggle

To many it may come as little surprise to hear this Tuesday, Carol Bartz emailed her staff to notify them that she had just been unceremoniously fired from Yahoo via phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board.Photo Attribute : Yodel Anecdotal/Yahoo! IncBartz’s three-year term as CEO has shown little progress, and clearly many folks are fed up.

After Yahoo’s disastrous reign under Jerry Yang, many hoped Bartz would be able to turn things around and return Yahoo to its former glory, but things continue to look bleak for the fallen giant.Yahoo once ruled the internet with an ironic exclamation mark. Those glory days seem so long ago now.What Brought Yahoo Down?How did a brand of such extreme success, arguably at one time the number one name on the web, take such a terrible nose dive?Differe... > Read more

September 08, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Search Engines   |   Comments: 2

Why Is My Content Network Cost Per Click So High? 3 Mistakes New Advertisers Make

Sometimes the controls inside of an AdWords account can be pretty overwhelming and confusing. AdWords is constantly adding new features, and it sometimes becomes difficult – particularly for new to intermediate-level advertisers – to quickly diagnose certain specific issues in their account. I think this is particularly the case on the content network, as many advertisers with a limited knowledge of AdWords will have had most of their experience working with search campaigns.

One seemingly simple issue that often frustrates unfamiliar advertisers is how to control cost per click (CPC) on the content network. Today we’ll talk about why your content network CPCs might be higher than they need to be, and how you can correct the issue.Mistake #1: Failure to Split Out Content and SearchThi... > Read more

September 08, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Win of the Week: Use the Language Your Searchers Are Using

Which of the two ads below do you think performed better? The headlines are quite distinct, and the body of each ad is fairly different as well. The URLs are the same. Which approach do you think worked best? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 This ad contest is interesting because the ads are quite different, yet the difference in CTR is relatively modest.

In this particular contest, the new winner is ad number two. The winning ad was written by "ctr_guru," and it increased CTR by 31%, which is about the average increase we see for all contests at BoostCTR. Where the old ad was getting 10 clicks, the new ad is getting 13.1 clicks.So why did the new ad win? I have a few theories...1. The winning ad uses a strong keyword phrase in the title. It's more likely a person will search for "online pawn s... > Read more

September 07, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 2

Recommended Resource: Ryan Healy

Looking for a good copywriter? We’ve got that guy, Ryan Healy, right here.Ryan Healy has helped countless businesses execute professional direct-response sales letters, emails, PPC ad text and other copy that really works to bring in new customers and bigger profits. If you don’t believe us, check out the extensive testimonial section on his site, Business Growth Strategies.

 Here are some of the ways you can learn better copywriting skills from Ryan Healy:Ryan’s website features 10 free “explosive business growth” articles full of ideas and techniques for growing your business, including strategies for curing cash flow problems, improving conversions and outsourcing to experts.He offers a 39-point copywriting checklist to subscribers of his email list.Ryan blogs regularly. C... > Read more

September 06, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Best Online Marketing Blogs   |   Comments: 0
 
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