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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 email@example.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
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is the second 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 get AdWords help and 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 1Today’s interview is with Stefan van Vliet, co-owner of Dutch agency Compass Online Marketing.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser? What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?I have been working as an SEO consultant for a small Dutch web marketing agency for some years. Last February I launched a webstore, Feestkleding 365, selling fancy dress clo... > Read more
Gizmodo is largely a gadget blog. For the most part, they leave the gossip-based page-view baiting to sister site Gawker. However, this week, Gizmodo published a story that has nothing to do with gadgets and little if anything to do with technology, unless you consider online dating a cutting-edge technology.
The story, “My Brief OkCupid Affair With a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player,” has racked up hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands of comments – probably hundreds of links to boot. So: successful linkbait, or craphat journalism? You be the judge! Here’s the gist of the story, which seems to have been edited by the author since its original posting: Alyssa Bereznak claims to have created an OKCupid profile after coming home drunk one night (... > Read more
This week Distilled released the Ultimate Guide to Linkbait, by none other than 17-year-old Ed Fry. As incredible as this guide is (and you should read it. Twice.), today I'd like to go into a few more ways to scale linkbuilding, using only Google Docs. While I highly recommend link CRM tools like Buzzstream and other tools like WordStream, I also recognize that not everyone can afford such tools.
So let's explore some ways to bootstrap your way to scaling linkbuilding.Google DocsAre you working on a team to build links for a specific client? First off, I highly recommend this, yet it brings its own challenges. Most of us in SEO are lone rangers, as in we like to work on our own and get things done. If you are working on a team, however, Google Docs is amazing for shared documents.Here are... > Read more
I’m pretty excited about Google Analytics multi-channel funnel reports, which isn’t always the case for me with new Google features. The interesting thing about this new data being available in Google Analytics is that it allows advertisers to get insight into areas of their online efforts that were creating more value for their business than they’d originally anticipated.
In this post, I’ll walk through some great reports for identifying assets in your AdWords campaigns that you may have been undervaluing.Creating the Reports – Using Channel Groupings, Assisted Conversion Values, & Assisted/Last Conversion Rates to Identify Undervalued AssetsBecause they’re both Google products the multi-channel reporting suite has a lot of nice prepopulated AdWords reports. To grab these ... > Read more