Which Ad Won? New PPC Ad Boosts CTR by 52%

Today, I'm featuring another contest from the ongoing optimization of the BoostCTR campaign running on AdWords. I'm doing this for two reasons:Reason #1. It's important that you know "we eat our own dog food." Which is to say, we follow the same ad optimization process that we recommend to our clients.

Reason #2. We have now completed a few BoostCTR contests. So I can show you how the ads have evolved over the last couple months.With that in mind, let's take a quick look-back at the very first contest we ran in this campaign...PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2In this first contest, the long copy destroyed the short copy. Ad #2 was written by "chewiness," and it increased CTR by a stunning 326% -- more than triple the original CTR.We then ran a second contest, which produced a new winner. And now we have r... > Read more

August 02, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 0

Performance-Based Pricing: Key Considerations with Pay for Performance PPC Management Services

Earlier this year George Michie of the Rimm Kaufman blog had a great two-part blog series on performance-based pricing in PPC. The first post did an excellent job of outlining why performance-based pricing may not be as much of an incentive for agencies as some contend, while the second post focused on three additional issues with performance-based pricing, namely:Performance metrics aren’t simpleThe metrics commonly used can be artificially inflatedCommissions are paid for the wrong performanceBefore you get started with a pay for performance agency, you’d be well served to read both posts, but many successful agencies and happy advertisers find ways of making pay for performance work, as George himself points out in both the body and the comments of his posts.

Here we’ll walk throug... > Read more

August 01, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

WordStream's Best of the Month & Weekly Web Marketing Highlights

Our most popular post in July was no big surprise – in fact, Larry's analysis of our latest infographic (Where's Google Making Its Money?), in which we delved into our keyword data to find the top 20 keyword categories in AdWords with the highest volume and costs per click, was not only our top post for the month, it's our most popular post of the year so far.

We're glad you all found this data as fascinating as we did!Here are the rest of the posts that grabbed your eyeballs this month (we hope they didn't cause any bruising):What to Do When Your AdWords CPCs Are Too High – Tom outlines five ways to lower your AdWords cost per click and get your campaigns back to profitability.The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook – Our infographic caus... > Read more

July 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Quality Score 101: Learn About Google AdWords Quality Score from Four Definitive Sources

When talking to people who are new to SEO and PPC, one thing I often caution them about is not to get bogged down by information overload. There is a remarkable amount of content to consume pertaining to search marketing, but much of it is:Good but redundantUnique but not really applicable for many peopleHigh-quality, but too advanced for beginnersMisinformationAs a result I really like to introduce people to a very short list of two to four authoritative resources on a subject so that they can get a few different perspectives and a complete picture on the topic, avoid information overload, and ensure that they’re reading quality information.

This week our friends at PPC Hero re-released their Ultimate Guide to Quality Score, which is an outstanding resource on the topic, so I thought it ... > Read more

July 28, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Blend Your SEO and PPC for Better SEM Results

The recent infographic from WordStream depicting the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords got me thinking about the true ROI of SEM. If Google is making $50 per click, what kind of value is that keyword producing for your company? If your business goes after keywords outside of the top 20 most expensive, how does that impact your ROI? Big brands can afford to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a PPC campaign, not really worrying about the cost per click and how that impacts their bottom line, but what about the rest of us?One of the biggest advantages of running a PPC campaign is that it is relatively quick to launch and easy to test.

If the final cost per conversion is too high, than you simply drop that particular keyword and target a variation that is less competitive. PP... > Read more

July 27, 2011     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Time to Reorganize Your AdWords Campaigns? Don't Forget Your Roadmap

Are your PPC campaigns delivering the results you want? Are you struggling with any of the below problems?:Click volume too lowCost per click too highCost per conversion too highLow Quality ScoresLow click-through ratesLow ROIIf you said yes, it might be time to reorganize your AdWords account.The below roadmap will guide you through the process of revamping a campaign to improve performance and lower costs.

Click the image to enlarge the roadmap. You'll find links to helpful resources at each road sign, so if you need more help in a given area of PPC, click on the green sign for more tips and information.If you're looking to get a free assessment of your AdWords account, try our AdWords Performance Grader. It grades your AdWords accounts on key criteria, showing you where and how to make ... > Read more

July 27, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook

In light of recent reports of Google+ gaining significant traction, I wanted to find out: Is Google+ worth the effort from a marketer's perspective? The short answer: Yes! From our perspective, Google+ is already beating LinkedIn in terms of how much traffic they're driving, and it's quickly closing in on Twitter and Facebook!For this case study, I compiled Web analytics data for the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog for the week of July 18-July 24, 2011 (an unusually high traffic week for us), to see which social media network drove the most traffic – the results are illustrated below: The Social Media Showdown: Google+ vs.

Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn (click to enlarge).The results of the Social Media Showdown are as follows:1st Place: Facebook with 47.26% of visitors2nd Place: T... > Read more

July 26, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 4

Three Types of Infographics that Attract Traffic & Links

It’s true that infographics have become somewhat more difficult to attract attention with, but a clever concept and solid execution around promotion can still help generate a lot of authority and a high volume of quality links for a domain quickly. The question is always, “What sorts of things make good data visualizations?” In this post we’ll walk through three categories of infographic and offer a real-world example of each from the WordStream blog itself.

Evergreen InfographicsEvergreen infographics are graphics that aren’t tied to a specific date and won’t get “stale” over time. A couple of examples of this type of graphic are:“History Of” graphics that detail the chronology of an event in the past or a specific topic – even if new events occasionally happen in the... > Read more

July 25, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 2

Where's Mesothelioma, What Is Cord Blood & Other FAQs About Our Most Expensive Keywords Study

Earlier this week we released a study that revealed the 20 most expensive, high-search-volume keyword categories to provide some insight into where Google makes all its billions in ad revenues, as well as tips on how to target super-competitive keyword verticals.The response was overwhelming! I’d like to especially thank Ryan Singel at Wired Magazine, Laurie Sullivan at Media Post, and Karen E.

Klein from Financially inKleined who helped us get the story out early on, as well as the thousands of folks who blogged and tweeted about the story this week. (And of course thanks to my colleague, the brilliant Ms. Elisa Gabbert, for having come up with the idea in the first place!)In this post I would like to briefly talk about the most common questions that came up about the study in the ... > Read more

July 22, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 8

Google Analytics & AdWords Tracking Issues: Multiple AdWords Accounts for One Google Analytics Account

Google does a lot of things really well, and there is a ton of utility to be had in many of their free programs, but their account permissions and cross-product integration for things like Google AdWords, Webmaster Tools, and Google Analytics can be maddening sometimes.One common issue AdWords advertisers struggle with is linking multiple AdWords accounts to a single Google Analytics account.

In this post we’ll walk through some possible solutions here. (If you're looking to link an Adwords account to Google Analytics, we have that covered too.)Why Would I Want to Have Multiple AdWords Accounts and a Single Analytics Account?Before we address how to link multiple AdWords accounts to a single Google Analytics account, let’s walk through a few different reasons you might want to create s... > Read more

July 21, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

The Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords

On the heels of Google's blow-out Q2 2011 earnings announcement last week, we wanted to find out the most expensive keywords - what keywords demand the highest costs per click and are most competitive in terms of high search volume. Since the vast majority of Google's profits come from AdWords advertising, these high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google's profits.

The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords. (Click the image to enlarge the google adwords keywords infographic.)Table of Contents:Google CPCExpensive KeywordsBidding TipsBid InfoThe 20 most expensive keywords categories with the highest search volume (i.e. the most used keywords) and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:... > Read more

July 18, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 118

What to Do When Your AdWords CPCs Are Too High

An issue that is becoming more common as PPC gets increasingly competitive is escalating costs per click (CPCs) in niches that had previously been relatively uncompetitive. The problem here is that PPC campaigns that had once been profitable or that may have been viable become untenable for advertisers.

If a conversion becomes profitable for you at $75 and you’re paying $15 a click, it’s very difficult to run a profitable campaign.In this post, we’ll look at five things you can do to try to push down those AdWords costs per click.1. Focus on Improving Quality ScoresWe usually like to start here, as a focus on Quality Score affords you an opportunity to compete in the auctions you want to be in for a reduced rate without shifting your keyword or network targeting. Many times if you’... > Read more

July 18, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

SEOs vs. Developers: Ultimate Nerd Standoff

Is it finally time to talk about something other than Google+? Yes, I think so, and this week we’re getting back to basics with an old-fashioned throwdown between two factions of web geek: search engine optimizers and developers.The battle began when Outspoken Media published a guest post by Andrew Norcross titled “News Flash to SEOs: Your Developer Hates You.

” And Norcross isn’t mincing words:While it’s no secret that many people have a general disdain for SEO’s in general, the guy (or gal) writing the code for that new niche website you’re getting ready to launch probably hates your guts. OK, maybe hate is a bit strong. But they almost all think you’re probably a fraud and cringe when they receive any form of communication from you.Norcross thinks a lot of the problem is ... > Read more

July 15, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 11

AdWords Top vs. Side Ad Performance: How to Use the Latest AdWords Report Segment

The Inside AdWords blog announced yesterday that there will be a new report segment available in AdWords accounts: top versus side. Basically the idea here is that you can see how your ads perform when they’re placed above search results versus when they’re placed below search results – the focus here being on physical position on the page rather than the numeric order in which the ads appear.

The report looks like this:As with any new AdWords feature, the key question to ask as you’re shown more data by the folks at Google is: What can I actually do with this information? In this case the top versus side segment data can be useful in a few different ways.What to Do with AdWords Top Versus Side DataLooking at the new top vs. side reports, I see three interesting potential applicati... > Read more

July 14, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Why Blog? Three Good Business Reasons to Blog

 Richard Kraneis, a longtime WordStream reader, recently left a comment on our blog questioning whether a certain post would "drive qualified traffic to our website." This brings up an interesting question: Why blog? What are the goals of blogging?Of course the answer is different depending on whether you're talking about a personal blog or a corporate blog, but this is a business blog, and we wouldn't devote resources to blogging if it didn't make good business sense.

Here are three reasons that might motivate you to write a blog post for a corporate blog. In my opinion, every blog post doesn't need to fulfill all three purposes, though it's great if they do. The important thing is that every post fulfills at least one of these purposes, and that you don't focus only on one of the thr... > Read more

July 13, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 10

Four Ways to Gather Feedback for Product Development

Here at WordStream we always have a lot going on. For example, when we’re not busy writing the most helpful search marketing articles around, we’re building software to help you find the perfect keywords and optimize your PPC campaigns.In fact, a lot of the resources at WordStream are devoted to creating innovative software to help you save time and money while optimizing your SEO and PPC campaigns.

But what is the best way to save both time and money when working on search marketing? The question is especially tricky because while there are fairly well-established best practices, everyone’s advanced techniques and workflows are a little different.That’s where I come in. As a product manager at WordStream, it’s my team’s mission to figure out exactly what should go into the sof... > Read more

July 12, 2011     |   Posted In: Usability   |   Comments: 1

Google AdWords Editor 101: AdWords Editor Tutorials, Tips & Resources

If you’re managing pay-per-click campaigns, the Google AdWords Editor is a really handy (but fundamentally limited) free tool provided by Google to help you with certain PPC tasks. It’s a free, desktop-based application, currently in the 10th version of the tool (check out the changelog here and get the application itself here).

To help you get the most out of Google's AdWord Editor, it’s important to understand what the tool is and what it isn’t.AdWords Editor is a free resource provided by Google that can help you with several bulk editing tasks within your AdWords campaigns, such as:Raising or lowering bids on a number of different keywordsCopying large sections of your campaigns and then tweaking certain areas (moving a list of keywords, a set of ad text, etc.)Changing keyword m... > Read more

July 11, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Casey Anthony and the 'Social Media Trial of the Century'

With the Casey Anthony trial and its shocking verdict a couple days behind us, it’s interesting to take a look at how social media interacts with real world news. The Social Media Trial Time called it the “social media trial of the century,” and truly social media venues have been overrun with opinions on the trial’s verdict, mostly disapproving.

With enough tragedy, mystery, and deceit to match a prime-time TV drama, it’s understandable why this trial captured the nation’s attention. Many compare the Casey Anthony trial to the OJ trial that had Americans glued to their television sets in 1995. But there wasn’t much social media in 1995, and this time around social media made it easier than ever for people to get the latest updates on the trial pro... > Read more

July 08, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 2

Google+ Still Getting Buzz, Making Waves

Google+, Google’s latest answer to the Facebook question, launched last week, and the fact that people are still talking about it could be a good sign for the search giant/social giant wannabe. Could it be that Google+ isn’t destined for the Google graveyard?On the Plus Side, It’s Better Than BuzzDanny Sullivan took a look at Google+ one week after launch and finds that users are gaining followers and traffic.

He points out that it took 17 months for Search Engine Land to get almost 1,000 followers on Google Buzz. In the same time period, its Facebook fans increased by nearly 16 times as much, and Twitter followers increased by about 35,000. And in just one week, Search Engine Land has 1,000 followers on Google+, indicating that it’s a lot more successful than Buzz right out of the... > Read more

July 08, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Facebook Announces New Skype-Powered Video Chat

Facebook and Skype, Together at Last Yesterday Facebook unveiled its “awesome” new video chat, powered by Skype. Skype-managed video chat has been in the rumor mill for quite some time, and now we finally get to see it in person! Redesigned Chat Grouped with the new video chat comes a redesigned Facebook chat system featuring a sidebar for the friends you chat with most.

Group Chat Facebook chat also now allows for group chats, allowing users to easily communicate with multiple friends at once. Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts Facebook’s new video chat feature arrives on the tailwinds of Google+ with its own Hangouts feature.  How do they compare? Well, Hangouts allows video chatting with up to 10 people, while Facebook keeps it to one on one.  Zuc... > Read more

July 07, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 2

Google AdWords Remarketing Strategy: Three AdWords Remarketing Tips

Google AdWords remarketing (and really remarketing in general) is a hot trend in the world of pay-per-click marketing. Remarketing is basically a way of getting your message in front of people who have visited your site in the recent past – you’ve no doubt seen a site you recently visited “following you around” via advertisements.

And if you’re a paid search manager, you’ve likely set up a slew of remarketing campaigns in the last few months, many times at the specific request of the client, but there are still PPC advertisers who are either just getting their remarketing campaigns started or are still considering how much value there would be in a remarketing campaign.In this post we’ll cover three important things to consider as you get your first remarketing campaigns up an... > Read more

July 07, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Four Ways to Improve the Long-Term Effectiveness of Your PPC Campaigns

Do Better Keyword Research Some keywords drive tons of volume, and are therefore highly competitive and costly to bid on. Other keywords are practically free, but are searched on so infrequently, they won’t deliver a significant number of leads. As a search marketer, your goal is to find the sweet spot in your keyword universe – terms that are specific and targeted to your business, and common enough to drive a healthy traffic volume without being so common that you can’t afford to rank on them.

So if high ROI is what you’re after, you’ll need to diversify your keyword sources and aggregate a large number of keywords, then test, test, test to find your own keyword sweet spot – the terms that give you high click-through and conversion rates for relatively... > Read more

July 06, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Facebook Blocks Friend Exporter Tool

Facebook is seeking to block Facebook Friend Exporter, a Google Chrome extension that does exactly what its name implies. The Facebook Friend Exporter allows users to easily extract their friends list along with emails, phone numbers, and other friend data. The tool allows the data to be saved into a text file or imported easily to Gmail.

While the extension is currently out of commission, creator Mohamed Mansour hopes to build a new version that uses an alternative design to combat the Facebook restrictions.The Cat-And-Mouse GameRoad blocks were first implemented when Facebook began showing email addresses as graphics rather than normal text that can easily be found and processed by data scraping tools. Mansour bypassed this by obtaining the email addresses through Facebook’s mobile site... > Read more

July 05, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Google Realtime Search Disappears As Contract With Twitter Ends

Google Realtime Search is on hiatus since the company's contract with Twitter, enabling access to the full feed of public updates, expired on July 2, 2011.While the unique Twitter feed has been suspended, Google notes that the publicly available information on Twitter is still available and searchable on the Google search engine.

Google plans on relaunching its real-time search with access to content from various sources including Google+ information, although the date for this relaunch has not yet been set.Hopefully it will come soon, because with the suspension on Google Realtime, there is no way to find tweets further back than a few days, as Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land notes:Twitter has largely outsourced the service of Twitter search longer than a few days to Google, a deliber... > Read more

July 05, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Small Steps, Big Results: The Microdynamics of Paid Search

Whenever I’m confronted with the task of building new AdWords campaigns from scratch or expanding existing ones, I focus on the above four steps one at a time. Without having that first impression, no click is possible. With no clicks, you can’t hope for a conversion. Without conversions, there’s no customer loyalty.

Adding keywords while writing new ads, analyzing yesterday's results while planning the next optimization steps, instigating competitive research while creating the next landing page test … it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the work associated with paid search marketing. It’s easy to lose focus on what you’re actually trying to achieve. Keeping your attention on one simple goal at a time goes a long way.The following is a summary of each step of the cycle, with li... > Read more

July 05, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Yet More Google Updates: Makeovers, Mobile Sites & Chocolate Milk, Oh My!

Don't You Forget About MeIn the aftermath of all the Google+ excitement, I’d like to call attention to some other Google updates that deserve our notice.You may have thought that Google+ was enough to tide you over, but remarkably Google has been dishing out additional updates without pause.Google Products Get a Face LiftYou’ve probably already noticed the new Google homepage’s cleaner, more sophisticated look.

You’ll be seeing this sleek redesign applied to a number of Google products, as Google aims to deliver an experience “founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.” How oddly vague.As Google notes, a shot of Botox from time to time never hurts…unless you have a negative reaction. Taking a look at Google’s original homepage in 1997, we ... > Read more

July 01, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

June Blog Highlights: WordStream's Best of the Month

Happy July! I hope most of you are not even reading these words, because you're already on vacation. Or, you're getting your last WordStream fix right before you take off for the long weekend. Or, you're on vacation, but so addicted to this blog you're reading it on your phone. Hi out there, wherever you are! Below you'll find links to our top 10 most popular blog posts from June, as voted by viewers like you! Google +1 Review: A Deeper Look at the Google +1 Button – In this post Larry examined Google's new +1 social button, looking for an answer to the burning question, Does it even work?? 8 Quick & Dirty Tips for Landing Page Optimization – Time to brush up your landing pages? Kathy Lamphier provides some easy tips and best practices for increasing your conversi... > Read more

July 01, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Google+ | Google’s New Social Platform Revealed

Google+ Has Arrived!Google’s new super-secret social project is finally being rolled out…to a select few, for now at least.But wait to you hear what Google + has got under its hood; more than just a pretty face (and it is quite attractive, thank goodness), the new social project tries to address the gaps and missing pieces in the current social network paradigm.

Vic Gundotra, one of the key players in Google +’s creation, explains:“We believe online sharing is broken. And even awkward…We think connecting with other people is a basic human need. We do it all the time in real life, but our online tools are rigid. They force us into buckets — or into being completely public…Real life sharing is nuanced and rich. It has been hard to get that into software.”Google + has done its... > Read more

June 30, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Webinar: Advanced Keyword Research Technology and Methodology

Join us this Thursday, June 30th, to learn about advanced keyword research.  We will be teaming up with our friends at ideaLaunch, a leading content marketing agency, to provide you with key insights into structuring your SEO and PPC programs logically and effectively. We will dig deep into the art and science of keyword silo development – the practice of designing your website to be more search engine- and user-friendly.

Our WordStream presenters, Founder Larry Kim and VP of Product Will Eisner, will discuss the following: Keyword research techniques to increase your reach and decrease PPC spend New tools that track the ROI and impact of your content and PPC campaigns Keyword silo how-to and why-to Campaign performance measurement tips Register today! ... > Read more

June 29, 2011     |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 0

5 SEO Recommendations for Better Business Blogging

Corporate blogging is a great Internet marketing technique for multiple reasons. Not only does a company blog give the search engines more content to index (growing your trust factor), a business blog can be instrumental in building your online brand. Blogs are inherently social in nature, which means they are also a great way to connect with current and potential customers.

In short, a well-written blog can help all aspects of your web marketing campaign, including SEO.Here are five simple ways to better optimize your business blog for SEO:Write naturallyIt may sound like a “duh!” thing to say, but you’d be amazed at how many blog posts out there are crammed with keywords and anchor text. It’s the number one rule of any content marketing campaign: you have to write for human reade... > Read more

June 28, 2011     |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 12
 
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