Time flies by in such a blurry fashion these days, I can no longer remember without assistance what happened in the past year and not, say, three years ago—it all feels roughly equidistant somehow. But luckily, thanks to our blog archives, I have a handy reference of everything major that went down in 2010.
Looking back through roughly 50 weeks’ worth of Friday roundups, here’s what stood out in terms of big news and milestones in the online marketing space this year. Facebook f*cks around with our privacy Facebook changed its default privacy settings so users would be required to opt out of sharing everything with the whole world; Zuckerberg defended the decision by claiming that society was moving toward more openness and people want less privacy. Many didn’t buy ... > Read more
We recently did a post on how to use AdWords Campaign Experiments and why they have the potential to be so powerful. In that article and in Joe Kershbaum's post over on Search Engine Watch, one of the biggest complaints was what a hassle it is to export AdWords data and report on it from Excel. It certainly is significantly more work than it needs to be, but because I think this is such an amazing tool (it can be as valuable to a PPC campaign as Website Optimizer, in many ways) I think it's worth walking through how you can actually get at the output of your campaign experiments so that you can act on the insights.
Defining the Problem - Why AdWords Exporting of ACE Needs Help Let's imagine we've set up a nice AdWords campaign experiment. How do we view this data? Well, we can start by cre... > Read more
There are few things as frustrating in the world of internet marketing as having your Google AdWords account suspended. Many people are surprised when it happens. Google essentially has a policy of no tolerance. If you violate their terms of service, you will not be able to get a new account under the same name, and you will not be able to drive traffic to the same domains through AdWords ever again.
The only way to avoid a suspended Google account is prevention. Here are some of the reasons that an AdWords account might get suspended. Your Site Displays Only Ads If your only goal in using AdWords is to drive traffic to your site so that you can make money off of advertising, Google will not consider your site to be an appropriate landing page. The reasoning behind this is that when a user... > Read more
Corporate blogs have a reputation for being nothing more than another way of distributing press releases. This is because most companies just don't understand how blogging is supposed to work, and they view it as a way to talk to the public rather than with them.While corporate news, sale announcements and product launches are all important things to have in a corporate blog, they don't have to be the focus.
A good corporate blog offers readers a reason to subscribe and can keep customers connected and interested in a company, even when nothing in particular is happening.But while creating an engaging corporate blog is not complicated, very few companies seem to have mastered it. However, some have and here are just ten examples of companies with compelling blogs that do more than serve as... > Read more
This is the last post in my series on Advanced Search Query Mining. Here is a list of the previous posts in this series just in case you missed one. Part 1: The Power of Search Queries Part 2: Getting the Right Data Part 3: Preparing Your Data for Analysis Part 4: Mining Your Data for Insights In my previous post on search query mining I showed you my technique for creating an ad-group-level negative candidates list and a keyword expansion list from your search queries.
In this post I’m going to show you a method for acting on those insights. I will also include a link in the conclusion of this post to a free Excel download that has all of the formulas I’ve used in this series. Acting on your Negative Candidates There are several factors that could be impacting the performance o... > Read more
Whether you're a novice at link-building or an experienced link-builder, you could always use learn a few more tricks for quick and dirty ethical links. Use absolute links, not relative links, in your blogs posts. That way, if a post gets scraped, the links in the content are preserved. When you write a guest post, send the bio along with your preferred links and anchor text already coded in.
This makes it easier for the hosting blog, so it's less likely that they'll mess with your link(s). If someone sends you a guest post, ask if you can return the favor by writing a guest post for them too. (If your sites are relevant to each other, this won't look like a suspicious reciprocal link.) Keep track of keywords you'd like to improve your ranking for. When guest post opportunities pop up, w... > Read more
There are a lot of great Google Analytics hacks and a myriad of ways to get at some terrific data in Google and other analytics packages. This can be a great asset for veteran analysts, but the different ways available to slice and dice data inside of these analytics packages can often overwhelm small businesses and those new to analytics.
In this post and in a follow-up post, we'll walk through two very simple custom reports that you can set up in Google Analytics to get actionable insights surrounding keyword-driven traffic and subsequently traffic to certain types of content on your site. Creating a Google Analytics Custom Report Setting up custom reports is very simple. First, you select Manage Custom Reports: Next, you can create a new report: Google has a nice overview of how to cr... > Read more
On Black Friday, the New York Times ran one if its oh-so-savvy pieces about Google, demonstrating once again its deep understanding of SEO. </sarcasm> The article, titled "A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web," tells the story of DecorMyEyes, an eyeglasses business with an ungrammatical brand and a bad attitude.
The owner, whose name, believe it or not, is Vitaly Borker, claims that horrible service – we're talking criminally bad – is his business strategy, because (ex-)customers leave negative reviews on the Internet, driving up his rankings: "I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven." Danny Sullivan did a long write-up of the article, calling it "great." But I was immediately suspicious of the NYT bla... > Read more
Once you've thought through your PPC geo-targeting strategy, how do you go about effectively building out an AdWords keyword list for local PPC? This is a tough question because the same keyword tools you use for generating generic keyword lists are often insufficient for local keyword research (I think this is a particular frustration with UK advertisers).
So what's a local business to do? Step One: Generate Keywords (Make an Educated Best Guess) Since a lot of keyword tools struggle to unearth local keyword suggestions, I find that you want to rely less heavily on them. That said there are a few tools that can be useful here: Aimclear had a great post on ScrapeBox, which is a really nifty tool that can give you some suggest data from various IPs. Google's insights for s... > Read more
Seeing as 2010 is winding to a close, I had the idea to do a sort of year in review for keywords, using Google Insights for Search to find patterns in the year's keyword trends. However, I got so distracted by the screwed up categories, I abandoned the post. Instead I'm just going to complain about how useless they are.
When you filter your Google Insights results for a given time period (I used 2010), the default results call into "all categories," but you can further sort those into 27 (by my rough count) categories, including "Business," "Entertainment," "News & Current Events," "Shopping," "Sports," and so on – sounds potentially useful, right? Unfortunately, whatever method they're using to sort the rising search qu... > Read more
In the last post in this series, I showed you how to prepare your search query data for analysis. We had some specific questions that needed to be answered and that shaped how we transformed our data. These questions included the following: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks? What search queries have resulted in a conversion? What search queries have a below-average CTR for the ad group? What search queries have an above-average cost/conversion? Do I have a problem with ad poaching and duplication? For the most part, these questions are focused around search queries that may need to be added as negative keywords and search queries that need to be a part of a keyword expansion strategy.
I like to start my query mining analysis with a quick surv... > Read more
Do you hear sleigh bells ring-a-ling, ding-ding-ding-a-ling too? Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means it's officially open season Christmas season in the eyes of the American advertising industry. Prepare yourself for the Xmas onslaught! (I once had "Here We Go A-Wassailing" stuck in my head for like three years.
No joke.) If you can tear yourself away from the e-commerce and/or decorating the tree, check out our greatest hits from November: Real Life Link Building: Three Real Relationships You Can Turn Into Virtual Votes – Tom wrote this great post about how much of link building is really relationship building. Semantic Analysis for SEO: Going Beyond LDA – In this guest post, David Harry talks about how to use semantic analysis concepts f... > Read more
One of my AdWords accounts got an interesting AdWords class action lawsuit notice today (bolding is mine): Subject: Google AdWords Class Action Settlement Notice Google is sending you this notice of a proposed class action settlement that may affect your legal rights as a creator of an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009.
This notice is being sent to you by Court Order so that you may understand your rights and remedies before the Court considers final approval of the proposed settlement on March 11, 2011. This is not an advertisement or attorney solicitation. A settlement agreement has been reached by the parties and is pending approval by the Court. Under the proposed settlement, Google will pay a total of $3,500,000 to the settlement class, in... > Read more
Within the Google AdWords interface there are some awesome tools, like: AdWords Campaign Experiments The Search Query Report Modified Broad Match Analyze the Competition These controls are fantastic power tools for power users that allow for a lot of great campaign optimization tactics. Some other tools inside the AdWords interface either aren't so useful, are hidden from view, or can have a dubious overall impact on your campaigns -- like the hard to find IP exclusion tool and conversion-focused bidding options like Enhanced CPC and AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which can generate terrific improvements in many cases but force advertisers to cede control of their bids to Google.
A great example of a tool that falls into this second category is the AdWords opportuniti... > Read more
Early-bird registration for the Landing Page Success Seminar ends this Friday, Nov. 26. WordStream will be one of 20 organizations presenting at the first major online seminar on conversion rate optimization (CRO) for landing pages and websites. Learn how to take your landing pages to a new level of success, all from the comfort of your own home or office.
No travel required. The seminar begins Tuesday, Nov. 30, and runs through Thursday, Dec. 16. Registration is strictly limited to first 500 marketers who sign up. The company's last seminar sold out before the early-bird discount ended. Register now to save $300 (over 50%)! When you register, you'll also receive $584 in eight free bonuses. Expert instructors and topics for this seminar include: Ben Jesson, CEO of Conversion Rate Experts,... > Read more
In part 2 of this series, we gathered all of the data we would need for our search query mining exercise into Excel, as seen below. Now, we must take the time to prepare our data for analysis. This will include creating derived fields to bring information to the surface, flagging and deleting noise, converting counts to proportions, etc.
We are going to use the power of Excel to our advantage and push our data to its limits to extract value. Here are some of the questions our data will need to be able to answer easily: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks? (might be a good negative candidate) What search queries have resulted in a conversion? (promote these to exact match keywords in your account). What search queries have a below average CTR for the ad ... > Read more
This is a guest post by Martin Röttgerding, Head of SEM at Bloofusion Germany. Learn more about Martin at his blog at www.internetkapitaene.de or follow him on Twitter. A new wave of AdWords Quality Score drops is troubling advertisers again. A thread on the AdWords help boards suggests that it started last Friday, just before the weekend.
A Google employee has confirmed that fixing the problem is now a priority for Google's engineers. I used the Excel sheet from WordStream's Quality Score Toolkit to analyze the changes that occurred in one of our accounts. Below is the account's usual Quality Score distribution: The red bars show how often a Quality Score occurs in the account. The green line is an average Quality Score distribution according to WordStream's worksheet. The graph ... > Read more
Perhaps the most powerful thing about paid search is that PPC campaigns offer instant feedback. This is what makes A/B testing so powerful: you’re able to funnel the firehose of data that pay-per-click campaigns fire at you into either of two theses and get instant feedback. This is why a new AdWords feature called AdWords Campaign Experiments (or ACE) is so powerful.
Basically this feature allows you to isolate certain aspects of your Google AdWords campaigns and test certain elements, splitting off traffic in whatever way you like. In this post I’ll walk you through: The things you can test using AdWords Campaign Experiments The things you can’t test How to set up an experiment How to measure your results As background for anyone not familiar with the feature, Google has a... > Read more
Is your click-through rate good, or good enough?This is a really common question, but unfortunately the answer to "What is a good click-through rate" will vary depending on a number of factors, including your industry and keywords. Additionally, in many situations your CTR is not nearly as important as your conversion rate.
Still, it’s helpful to have some general guidelines as to what qualifies as a good click-through rate. Keeping in mind that your mileage may vary, here are some benchmarks depending on the platform you're using for marketing.What is a Good CTR for...Pay-per-click adsFacebookBanner adsEmail newslettersWhat Is a Good CTR for A Pay-Per-Click Ad?What's a good CTR for a PPC ad in a Google AdWords campaign? Earlier this year, a Google employee said that beginner advertisers ... > Read more
The rumors began to fly last week that Facebook was planning to announce a "Gmail killer"—an email service that would obviate the need for ever leaving Facebook. At Monday's press conference, however, we learned that the new service, dubbed Facebook Messages (or maybe sometimes Facebook Messaging—the branding is sort of inconclusive), "is not email.
" This isn't just semantics—it's really not email, because it lacks a lot of the functionality of email. For example, it's one-to-one, with no CC or BCC, and no subject lines. (Also, you send a message by hitting "Enter"—which I guess means you can't have line breaks in a Facebook message. To me, this is not a feature.) I can't see anyone who currently uses email dropping it in favor of this;... > Read more
If I start talking about achieving scale and identifying points of leverage in your marketing efforts you'll likely think about automating processes, software, and maybe about "viral marketing." You probably don't think about relationship building, but in reality it's one of the most leveraged marketing tactics available to you.
This is counter-intuitive because typically we think about relationships as being primarily 1 to 1. But marketing at scale really starts with strong relationships now more than ever because: Everyone's a Publisher - Everyone has a syndication channel. Even borderline introverts have a handful of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Blogging has become remarkably easy and can be completely free. Spreading Ideas Gets Easier Everyday - If you scan 10 TechCru... > Read more
As with any PPC analysis, you must get the right data to answer your questions. Here are some of the questions our data will need to be able to answer easily: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks? What search queries have resulted in a conversion? What search queries have a below average CTR for the ad-group? What search queries have an above average Cost/Conv? What search queries are duplicates of existing exact match keywords? In order to answer questions about a search query’s performance we need the Search Query Report, for questions about comparison metrics we will need an Ad-Group Report, and for questions about duplication we will need a Keyword Account Structure Report.
This tutorial does require a basic understanding of how to use the AdWord... > Read more
It looks Google has rolled out a new tab/feature called auto targets. It looks like the feature leverages the Google Merchant Feed and allows you to create product sets and link them to ad groups, but as Matt Umbro points out the help page appears to be a blank document: Anyone have any more info here? If anyone has a write up drop it in the comments and we'll update the post with any links.
UPDATE: The feature doesn't appear to be that new after all :). Thanks to Chad Summerhill of PPC Prospector for the link to Elizabeth Marsten's awesome in-depth walk through on Portent's blog and for dropping in the help rollover info (for some reason that help menu never loaded for me): Auto targets Auto targets allow you to target your ads to search terms by specifying attributes th... > Read more
This is a guest post by Terry Van Horne. Terry is the founder of SeoPros and a 15-year veteran of Web development, currently working out of his consulting and development firm International Website Builders. Terry's interests are primarily the socialization of search and analysis of social Web traffic and applications like Twitter.
As in all things I do for SEO, the segmentation process starts with a client interview and discovery consultation, where website and business goals of the client are established. The discovery consultation is important in order to understand website and sales goals so the best KPIs (key performance indicators) can be put in place. Keyword research is at the early discovery stage since it hasn't been put in context of the established goals for targeting at the mo... > Read more
As with many aspects of AdWords and the other paid search marketing platforms, I find that geotargeting for PPC is easy to do quickly and difficult to do well. In this article we'll walk through a few simple steps for setting up "default" geotargeting options, and then I'll talk through a couple of additional levers that advertisers can pull to both expand and refine their geo targeting reach.
If you're an advanced user already painfully familiar with how to get a new geotargeted campaign up and running via the AdWords interface, I created a handy anchor link so that you can skip ahead to the meatier stuff. Setting Up Geo-Targeting As you create a PPC campaign, you're offered with some initial options for geotargeting: If you already have a campaign set up, you can go to the Campaig... > Read more
Slate Labs has been developing a tool called Plain English that "translates" legalese, technical jargon or other lingo-heavy English into just plain English. NPR used the tool to translate the Federal Reserve's $600 billion stimulus plan. When you click on a yellow phrase, it toggles over to a gray translation in plain speech, like so: Note that you can't use it to automatically generate translations; it's just a way of presenting two versions of a text.
(I find Slate's disclaimer at the top of the page funny: This product is still in development. Contact us if you have an idea for how to use it. Aren't you supposed to come up with a reason for its being before you develop it?) Anyway, this got me thinking about all the corporate lingo that I used to disparage and have pret... > Read more
When my wife turned to Google to look for the best possible Tinkerbell costume for our daughter last month, she contributed to a sharp uptick in Halloween costume search volume: Businesses and product lines like Halloween costumes have really obvious seasonal demand fluctuations. Even things like heating oil are intensely seasonal.
If I'm an e-tailer on Black Friday understanding my query volume by time of year is really intuitive and seems like a no-brainer. But what if I sell software?Why You Would Care About Keyword Trend Data?The reality is, even for a SaaS company or someone selling a B2B product there will be some seasonality in your business. Things may slow down in July and August with vacations and may become sluggish again in December. If you can identify these trends at the... > Read more
Yesterday Google launched a new feature in Instant Search: Google Instant Previews. When this feature is activated, you can click the magnifying glass icon to the right of a search result to view a pop-up preview of the page before clicking through. It appears that the preview is sometimes an accurate representation of the page, as above; in other instances Google will remove and/or magnify a portion of the page to show relevancy, as below: The pop-out quotes show where the keyword ("civet coffee") appears on the page.
On this particular SERP, Google altered the appearance of the preview for about half the results on the first page. It's not entirely clear what governs this. Will this affect the behavior of the typical Google user? It's hard to say what impact this will ha... > Read more
If you are bidding on broad match keywords and ignoring your search queries, you are definitely wasting money, by not managing your negative keywords, missing out on profitable long-tail keyword opportunities, and possibly missing new emerging search trends in your market. Keywords are not search queries Keywords are not search queries, although search queries can be keywords.
Keywords are assumptions about the words we think our customer will use when using a search engine, while search queries are the reality. If you are only using exact match keywords in your PPC campaigns, then your keywords will match your customers' search queries exactly every time a search is matched to your ad. However, if you are taking advantage of broad and phrase match, oftentimes one keyword ca... > Read more