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 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

AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2

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

September 06, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Please Don’t Bait the Geeks

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

September 02, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 4

3 Ways to Scale Linkbuilding with Google Docs

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

September 01, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 4

How to Identify Undervalued AdWords Assets Using Assisted Conversions & Channel Groupings

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

September 01, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Win of the Week: Subtle Changes Make a Big Difference in CTR

Which of the two ads below do you think performed better? Both used the same title text and URL (which is why the URL is not included in the images below). The body copy is the only difference between the two ads.Look closely and you'll notice the ads are quite similar. They include the same basic ideas, the same numbers.

They both include an exclamation point at the end of the second line of body copy. And yet, despite their similarities, one of these ads increased CTR by 111%. Can you guess which one? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 Because of the similarities, it's harder than normal to guess the correct winner. It's unusual to see such a big difference between two ads that are so similar.Alright, enough suspense. In this particular contest, the new winner is ad number one. The winning ad ... > Read more

August 31, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 4

August Blog Highlights: WordStream's Best of the Month

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: August is the Sunday of summer. Although it’s technically still summer until September 22, the end of August pretty much feels like the end of it all – time to trade in late-afternoon cocktails in the sun for hours of homework. (Sorry, the Sunday blues make me forget how old I am.

) Before we all officially go back to school, let’s take a second look (or a first, if you missed them the first time around) at our blog’s top 10 most popular posts of the month: Announcing the AdWords Performance Grader: Find Out How You’re Doing on AdWords and How to Improve for Free – This post introduces our newest free tool. Have you tried it out yet? How does your AdWords performance measure up? Google AdWords E... > Read more

August 31, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Paid Links: Viable SEO Strategy or a Waste of Money?

In the early 2000s, buying and selling paid links to increase rankings in the SERPs was a common occurrence in the world of SEO. It was an acceptable SEO link building practice until 2007, when Google declared that paid links were in violation of their Webmaster Guidelines, as they were purposefully trying to manipulate the search results.

As Google stated,…some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.If there is anything that I have learned in my 12+ years as an SEO professional, it... > Read more

August 30, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 7

AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1

This is the first 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.Our first respondent is Marko Kvesic from Zagreb, Croatia.

Follow Marko on Twitter.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'm the Online Marketing Manager at GoTraffic Online Marketing Agency. I have a master's degree in traffic science and I'm a Google AdWords Qualified Individual. I've been using AdWords for more than eight months. Since I work at an agency and I'm managing my clients' accounts, my primary goal is to ... > Read more

August 30, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

Three Tools to Better Demonstrate the Value of PPC to Clients & Bosses

One of the challenges for any specialist is evangelizing your own channel. Whether you’re a pay-per-click consultant, doing PPC full time in house, or just list PPC campaign management as one of the channels you manage, you want to be sure that the proper budget and credit are being assigned to your pay-per-click campaigns.

In some instances just looking at the standard reporting options might not give you a full picture of where the value in your PPC campaign truly lies, but in this post we’ll introduce you to a few tools that will help you get more granular insight into the true performance of your pay-per-click campaigns.Demonstrating PPC Value with Multi-Channel FunnelsMulti-channel funnels from Google Analytics are a great (new) means of showing previously hidden value being create... > Read more

August 29, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

EARTHQUAKE! Rare Tremors in Northeast Shake Up Twitter

So, I just moved into a new apartment in Denver. This weekend my other half and I went to the new IKEA out here and bought a bunch of bookshelves. He started building them on Monday and by Tuesday we were erecting them and loading them up with books. I noticed some extra parts he hadn’t used, and he said they were brackets to attach the shelves to the wall at the top.

“I don’t think we need to do that,” he said. “The shelves aren’t going to topple over.” “Yeah,” I conceded, “they’re probably for people who live in earthquake zones.” I.e., not us. About ten minutes later I saw this tweet in my stream from Trada's Elaine Ellis: Yikes! Apparently on Monday night a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit about nine miles from Trinid... > Read more

August 26, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels: How to Use Multi-Channel Tracking & Attribution

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by slightly more interesting tech news yesterday, the Google Analytics blog made a big announcement: multi-channel funnels are now available to everyone.First of all, I want to call out that this is very likely great news for anyone who makes their living optimizing Google AdWords accounts.

Why? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that before they rolled this feature out for everyone (and particularly for multi-million-dollar-a-month spenders) they took a look at whether or not the data was, shall we say, “flattering” to paid search – and particularly AdWords – traffic. The same is likely true for search engine traffic in general, so if you’re optimizing websites for paid or organic search, you probably just got another weapon in your value dem... > Read more

August 25, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 3

Vote for WordStream to Present at Mass Innovation Nights!

The next Mass Innovation Nights event is coming up on September 14, 2011. We'd be thrilled if you showed your support for WordStream by voting for us to present at the event! Mass Innovation Nights features innovative new products from companies in the Boston area. Here's more information about the event via MIN: We've got a great evening planned for our 30th event! MIN30, September 14, 6-8:30 pm, is going to be part of FutureM, a week of events in the Boston area, celebrating the future of marketing.

Our line-up looks terrific, with a great group of products somehow related to marketing. Join us! Remember, we’re here to help launch new local products, so here’s what you need to do: Check out the cool new products. Visit their websites for more info. Pick your favo... > Read more

August 24, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 3

Win of the Week: Clarity, Specificity, and Urgency Produce 115% Increase in CTR

Which of the two ads below do you think performed better? Both used the same URL, but the titles and body copy are significantly different. PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 Here's another way to think about it: If you were searching for "horror movies," which ad do you think you'd click? Make your decision then scroll down for the answer.

In this particular contest, the new winner is ad number two. The winning ad was written by "ctr_guru," and it increased CTR by 115%.So why did the the new ad perform so much better and attract more than twice as many clicks as the original ad? Let's take a look...1. The title copy of the original ad is fairly vague. "Horror Movies" lacks specificity. Am I going to be able to watch horror movies when I click this ad? Or read reviews about horror movies? Or lear... > Read more

August 24, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Conversion Rate Optimization: Are You Considering Page Speed as a Variable?

Every year my marketing team has an offsite planning meeting where we lay out major goals and initiatives for the coming year. Last winter, site speed made it to the top of that list. The main push for making site speed a priority came from our SEO team. They felt strongly that improving our website’s page load times would improve our organic rankings.

Besides the potential SEO benefit, it just makes sense to give your visitors the best possible experience.We are halfway through the year, and we’ve made some measurable improvements in site speed. Our IT department has revamped code, optimized images, etc. to give our webpages a diet, and we’ve seen real improvements in site speed. During this process, something interesting happened that we hadn’t really planned for or expected (alt... > Read more

August 23, 2011     |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 4

Google AdWords Topic Targeting: What Is AdWords Topic Targeting & When Should You Use It?

Last week we pointed out that Google Display Ads have been the subject of a lot of Google marketing and advertising attention recently, and of course there is a lot of opportunity on the content network in many verticals.So when Google rolls out a new display network control like topic targeting as they did in March, it’s worth taking some time to better understand how the feature works and when it makes sense to utilize it.

What is AdWords Topic Targeting?Google describes topic targeting by explaining that:Using topics to contextually target your ads offers broad targeting and reach and is a good way to connect with a large audience quickly and easily to generate awareness or drive sales. When using topic targeting, our system looks at all the terms on a page to determine the t... > Read more

August 22, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Friday Link Roundup - The Best of This Week

 In honor of Elisa’s trip crossing the great Midwest this week, I’ve decided to do an Elisa-style roundup today, offering you a smorgasbord board of delectable links from this week. The Big News – In Case You Missed it Google’s announcement of their plans to buy Motorolla Mobility had everyone talking this week.

Search Engine Land wrote a great piece covering the ins and outs of such an acquisition, while Read Write Web collected various opinions on the matter. Links to Learn The end of August marks the end of summer for most students, and school is already back in session with Google as they introduced a new online resource, Learn With Google. This nifty new creation offers a wide variety of learning tools for small businesses looking to learn more about ... > Read more

August 19, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Google AdWords Display Ads – Google’s Paying Close Attention to Display, Does that Mean You Should Too?

 You can learn a lot about marketing from Google, and if you’re in search marketing paying close attention to what Google says and what types of things they place emphasis on are vital to your lively-hood. This is why Matt Cuttsgets 350 comments on a post announcing a change in the algorithm that affects around 2% of queries, and it’s why search marketers have a much keener interest in Google Plus and its integration in SERPs, Webmaster Tools, et al than your average social network.

So when Google starts to push something and you’re a pay-per click practitioner you pay attention. Recently I’ve been aggressively retargeted by Google’s “Watch This Space” campaign:I’ve also seen it on LinkedIn where I’m sure from a job title, skills, groups, and probably even demographic... > Read more

August 18, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Win of the Week: Designing a Better PPC Ad

If you were going to write a PPC ad promoting the opportunity to run your own graphic design contest, how would you write your ad?That was the question facing the BoostCTR writer who wrote the winning ad in the contest below. Take a look at both ads and see if you can pick the winner: PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 In case you're unfamiliar with 99designs.

com, they provide graphic design services through contests. You pay a fee to host the contest. Graphic designers submit their designs. They are competing against each other to win the contest and collect the award fee. Businesses who host the contests can then pick their favorite design from all those that have been submitted.With that as background, make your decision and keep reading for the answer...In this particular contest, the new wi... > Read more

August 17, 2011     |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

R.I.P. Reputation Management – New Huge Google Sitelinks Kills Online Reputation Management Industry?

Quick! Google the name of your company. See anything you don't like? A Reputation Management service firm can make it disappear or so that was their sales pitch, that is, until now.Yesterday we reported on Google’s roll-out of new, huge site-links that appear on branded searches, which pretty much crowds out the entire browser screen contents.

Organic search listings not affiliated with the company (such as any damaging reviews) are pushed “below the fold” or to page 2 and beyond, where fewer and fewer eyeballs venture out to.And of course, buying a paid advertisement on AdWords for your company’s name can now even further push stuff below the fold since ads are now also huge.The Reputation Management industry has sprouted up in recent years to defend clients against potentially da... > Read more

August 17, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Google Serves Up Super-Sized Organic Sitelinks in Organic SERPS

Google this week has been serving up huge sitelinks for branded searches. Take for example, this organic search for "WordStream" and look at the huge sitelinks (highlighted in yellow):I've seen searches with as few as 2 huge organic sitelinks, and listings with many as 12 huge organic sitelinks. The new super-sized mega sitelinks take up the entire page! (Learn More: WordStream's AdWords Sitelinks Guide)SEO Impact of Huge Sitelinks in Google Search ResultsAll other organic search listings are now pushed down significantly "below the fold".

It's going to be very tough for an SEO to generate any traffic on branded keyword searchs. The new mega sitelink pushes the number 2 organic search result below the fold! And it's even worse when there are a few sponsored links above the organic sea... > Read more

August 16, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

Still on the Fence? Here Are 3 Reasons to Start Doing PPC

Are you still not doing PPC?! Silly business owners! There are many reasons to explore paid search marketing as a lead generation channel. Here are just three good reasons to get you started.1. PPC Ads Won't Poach Your Organic TrafficAdWords recently released the results of a study designed to answer a question that many advertisers ask: Will running pay-per-click ads cannibalize my organic search traffic? To address this concern, statisticians at Google built a statistical model to make predictions about click volume based on ad spend.

According to Google:This model generates estimates for the incremental clicks attributable to search ads or, in other words, the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.Google found that 89% of traffic... > Read more

August 16, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Worst Link Exchange Request Ever

I'm often spammed by bots and people asking for links but I thought this was pretty amusing so i wanted to share (I've just obfuscated the domain name). The part that really cracks me up is the the part in bold, below (lol). This has got to be the worst link exchange request ever.-----Original Message-----From: Bojan [mailto:info@xx-xxxxx.

xxx]Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:16 PMTo: Larry KimSubject: Link Exchange RequestDear owner of,I'm the webmaster of http:// www. came across your site on the Internet and feel that it would fit perfectly into our collection of quality links at http:// www. Google PR of this site is currently 5.We'd appreciate it if you place a link back to our site using the followi... > Read more

August 15, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 12

New Webinar: Cutting Costs With Negative Keywords

We’d like to invite you all to our next free webinar:What: Cutting Costs With Negative KeywordsWhen: Wednesday, August 17, 11 a.m. EDTWhere: The comfort of your desk!Why: Did you know adding negative keywords can save you at least 10-30% on your AdWords spend? Negative keywords are like the chatting block lists of the keyword world – except instead of obnoxious friends or stalker-ish obsessors, you can block out keywords that are depleting your budget without driving any conversions.

Because they prevent wasteful spending on low-value clicks, negative keywords are essential to running a streamlined, cost-effective PPC campaign. Unfortunately, the technique is underused – finding relevant keywords to add to your campaigns is hard enough, but negative keyword discovery is even mor... > Read more

August 15, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0
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