URLs: Who Needs 'Em?

With a ridiculous click-baiting title that made me laugh out loud ("Is Social Sexier Than Sex?"), Fast Company uses the auctioning of the domain Social.com as a jumping-off point for a really interesting question: Is the URL on its way out? Sex.com sold for $13 million in 2010. Now Social.com is up for sale and the bids open at $5 million, so it could easily surpass the cost of Sex, hence Fast Company's clever title.

Writer Kit Eaton, however, thinks hubbub over domains may soon be a thing of the past: A huge fuss erupted online last week because Google finally made good on its promise to adjust the Chrome browser so that the URL address bar could be removed. It's a style thing for now, freeing up more real-estate on the screen for the actual web content you're trying to access r... > Read more

June 03, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 9

Google +1 Review: A Deeper Look at the Google +1 Button

Just over two months ago Google announced their Google +1 Button, and yesterday they expanded on the offering by releasing the Google +1 Button for Websites. Having been signed up for the Google +1 service for a few weeks now, I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences using it so far. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found it to be that helpful.

Does Google +1 Even Work?For starters, my understanding was that Google was going to roll out Google +1 data in their paid and organic search results in order to help get "Recommendations when you want them," as advertised on the Google +1 product page. Take a look at this screenshot:But what I’m seeing is that:The +1 data doesn't get updated very often. 1,401 people have +1'd Facebook and it's been stuck at that number for nearly a month now.&nb... > Read more

June 02, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 17

Top 5 Ways to Monetize a WordPress Blog

Many people start a blog with one intention: making money. While this is not a good sole reason to start a blog, it is a nice added benefit that comes with building up your blog with quality content and maintaining a decent amount of traffic.It’s not a mystery that you can make money from your blog, but many users often struggle with it and end up giving up altogether.

You cannot expect to make a lot of money when first starting out. You have to create a name for yourself and prove that your blog can stand on its own. While these five methods to monetize your WordPress blog are sure to come in handy, you’ll also want to take note of the essential tips for building and maintaining a successful blog.Pay Per ClickThis is one of the most popular methods used to monetize a blog and one of t... > Read more

June 02, 2011     |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 11

Button Battles: Google & Twitter Release New Social Buttons

Get ready for your site to have more buttons than an 80’s denim jacket.In the ongoing battle over social media, buttons seem to be a popular ammunition tool, attracting users like, well, a shiny button.It may be no coincidence then that today both Google and Twitter are releasing updated or new buttons that can be embedded in websites.

Google +1 Button Now Available for WebsitesWhen Google +1 was first released, the +1 button was designated solely for the search results page. In case you need a quick reminder, the +1 button allows users to recommend certain search results. +1 is Google’s next step in an attempt to beef up their social media influence (especially after Buzz’s relative flop).You can check out our post when +1 was first released for more info, and our review of Goog... > Read more

June 01, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

AdWords Quality Score FAQ Continued: 5 More Questions About Quality Score

We received the following questions during our recent webinar, "Improving Quality Score." For more help with understanding and improving AdWords Quality Score, check out these resources:Quality Score Toolkit (this free kit includes a Quality Score worksheet, cheat sheet, white paper, and video)Quality Score FAQImproving Quality Score (webinar recording)Ultimate Guide to Quality Score (15 experts on Quality Score)Do site links improve CTR and Quality Score? According to data from Bigmouth Media, "ads that run with Ad Sitelinks typically result in an average click through rate increase of 30%.

" RKG reported similar results: "To take seasonal shifts out of the picture, I looked at the brand performance since the links were launched, and compared this data to the same time period last year. We... > Read more

June 01, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

May Blog Highlights: WordStream's Best of the Month

The weather in Boston this month was really starting to get to me; it felt like most of May was rainy and unseasonably cool. But I went out of town for the long weekend and came back to the first sweltering weather of the year. We didn't get back to our apartment till 1:30 a.m. on Sunday night, entirely exhausted, and we still installed our air conditioner right then because there was no way we were going to get to sleep in an 85-degree apartment.

So, yeah, it's still technically spring, but nonetheless, I say welcome to summer!! And now it's time to kick back with an iced coffee in the cool breeze of the AC and enjoy our top 10 posts from the month of May: Five Ways to Lower Your PPC Campaign's Cost Per Action: Tom did a series of great posts this month on five ways to meet key PPC ... > Read more

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

Infographic Marketing: An Interview with Brian Wallace of NowSourcing

Brian Wallace is the founder of NowSourcing, a social media marketing firm based in Louisville, KY. NowSourcing offers infographics, WordPress consulting, online reputation management, SEO, PPC and other Internet marketing services. You can follow Brian on Twitter.Why do you think infographics have become so popular in the past couple of years from a marketing perspective? How do they differ from other forms of linkbait (aside from the obvious graphical element, of course)? Even though it seems that infographics are a fairly recent trend, they have been in the print world for some time.

I often think of USA Today – it ran a bunch of infographic equivalents for years before I ever saw anything like that on the web. Why they’ve become popular is for a few reasons:You’d be hard pressed ... > Read more

May 26, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 4

Google Correlate: Google Trends in Reverse

Google has just released a nifty new addition to Google Labs. Today we welcome Google Correlate.Google Correlate – The Opposite of TrendsWhile Google Trends and Google Insights allow you to enter a search term and see the search trends, Google notes that:Researchers told us they want to enter the trend of some real world activity and see which search terms best match that trend.

In other words, they wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse.Google Correlate is the response, allowing you to upload your own data series and get back a list of search terms that correspond with the real world trend.Taking Google Correlate for a Test DriveUpon first learning about Google Correlate, I was a little more than confused; science has never been my strong suit. But the Google Correla... > Read more

May 25, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Know a PPC Expert Looking for a Job? There Could Be a Grand In It For You

WordStream is growing fast, so we're looking to add an enthusiastic and experienced Paid Search Specialist to our team of in-house AdWords experts. If you know someone who fits the below description, there could be $1,000 $2500 in it for you.Our ideal candidate for the Paid Search Specialist position will:Be passionate, ambitious, and ready to roll up their sleeves and immediately dive into managing paid search accountsHave at least two to three years of experience and demonstrated success in managing PPC campaigns and other search marketing initiativesHave comprehensive knowledge of building and optimizing PPC campaigns in Google AdWords as well as hands-on experience with content and display networks, phone tracking, and bid managementThe Paid Search Specialist will be responsible f... > Read more

May 25, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Keywords vs. Search Queries: What's the Difference?

In casual conversation, the terms "keyword" and "search query" are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference. So what is the difference between a keyword and a search query? A keyword is sort of like the Platonic ideal of a search query – it's an abstraction that we extrapolate from multiple search queries.

A search query, the actual word or string of words that a search engine user types into the search box, is the real-world application of a keyword – it may be misspelled, out of order or have other words tacked on to it, or conversely it might be identical to the keyword. As search marketers, what we target are keywords. In SEO, we target these abstractions by optimizing on-page content (using the keywords in URLs, title tags, bo... > Read more

May 25, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 22

How to Use Google Organic Click-Through Rate (SEO CTR) in Your Keyword Research Process

One of the most important pieces in mapping out any SEO project is determining which keywords to target and how. There are a lot of great processes for this, but one thing that’s highly valuable as you research keywords is an ability to go beyond the rough estimates keyword tools give you to get at a more precise estimation of how much traffic you can expect from various keywords each month.

This information allows you to:Prioritize one basket of keywords over anotherMake rough projections around how many leads and sales you can expect based on historical conversion dataDetermine, based on a keyword’s competitiveness as well as how much traffic it will drive, if it’s worth your effort.In this post we’ll walk through a couple of quick and easy ways to get at your keywords’ organic... > Read more

May 24, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Ramifications of a Lackluster Rapture: Google Trends and the Social Media Response

Saturday has come and gone, and the continuously impending apocalypse has been put off once again. No people levitating into the sky, no fiery asteroids hurtling towards earth, just a volcano in Iceland letting off some steam. Even the volcano’s biggest threat was that it might possibly disrupt flights in Scotland.

Very terrifying. By now we should be well accustomed to being disappointed about end time prophecies. With Y2K still fresh in many minds, hopefully we’ve developed a healthy enough dose of skepticism to be critical of such predictions.  Human history has been littered with apocalyptic predictions. Can you guess how many have come true? The World is Ending … Again But I suppose you can’t really place too much blame on people like Harold Camping, who... > Read more

May 23, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Web Analytics Strategies: An Interview with Performable CEO David Cancel

David Cancel is a serial entrepreneur with a twelve-year record of building businesses in online marketing technology, social media, and scaling large data systems. Prior to becoming the CEO of Performable, David was the co-founder and CTO of Lookery, and before that, he was a founder and CTO at Compete, which was acquired by WPP(LON:WPP).

Prior to his seven years at Compete, he was the CTO of BuyerZone, which was acquired by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK). In the late 90s, David was part of the founding team of Bolt.com and part of Lycos. He sits on the advisory boards of Visible Measures, Sonian Networks, Yottaa and Shareaholic. David is originally from New York City and now lives in the Boston area with his wife and five-year-old daughter. He likes to grow vegetables, make pizza from scratch... > Read more

May 23, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

Adapt or Die: Guilt Is Not a Business Model. Neither Is Whining.

I read a great post this week on Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That!: “It’s not about the competition. It’s about not sucking.” Andy is talking about the perceived threat from competitors – especially new kinds of competitors that emerge as technology and culture changes – and how businesses kick and scream about the new competition rather than making changes to ensure they’ll survive.

Here’s a hefty excerpt: [M]ovie theaters are in a constant panic about competition from DVDs and on-demand options. Which is the wrong thing to be paying attention to. It’s not an either-or choice. If a home movie is pleasant, you’ll do that. If the theater experience is worth 10 bucks, you’ll do that too... > Read more

May 20, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Five Ways to Squeeze More Efficiency Out of Your Best Performing Campaigns

Sometimes as a paid search campaign manager, you get to a point with a campaign where you’ve done a really strong job with all of your standard “blocking and tackling.” You’re managing bids efficiently, your campaign structure is solid, you’ve effectively refined your match type strategy, you’ve done a thorough job of researching keywords, and you’ve put in place processes to consistently mine search queries and optimize ad text and landing pages.

Frequently, a logical next step is to look to drive more leads by expanding to new keywords and new campaigns. But the reality is that in a lot of niches, you’ll wind up driving a lot of your account’s volume (and spending a lot of your cost) on your biggest campaign or couple of campaigns, even after you’ve exhausted several e... > Read more

May 19, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 5: Dynamic Controls

This is the final post in my series on Re-Creating the AdWords Dashboard in Excel. For the rest of the series, see below:Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 1: The DataRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 2: The TransformationRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 3: Making the ScorecardRe-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 4: Making the ChartsIn part four of this series, you learned how to build the charts for the AdWords dashboard.

In this article, I will show you how to make the dashboard dynamic by teaching you how to:Add a dynamic campaign filter.Add a dynamic date-range picker using a Data Validation list.Building the Campaign FilterAs you may recall we are using the DTP framework as... > Read more

May 19, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

B(r)ing Along Your Friends: Bing 'Friend Effect' Adds Facebook Data to Search

Recently Bing started bringing what they call the “Friend Effect” to search, giving users the option of searching the web with integrated Facebook data. You’ll never be alone again, as your Facebook fellows will be right alongside you recommending pages and pointing out hot deals to you.

This seems somewhat odd considering that only a week ago Facebook was attacking Google guerrilla-warfare style for trying to use Facebook data in their own social search ideas. Facebook is wheeling and dealing like a true mob boss. Despite Facebook’s continuously spinning needle on the moral compass, it’s hard for me to be too critical, because after checking out the new Bing, I really like what I see. Bing is using Facebook data in some really awesome new ways. Let’s ta... > Read more

May 18, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Showing Display URL Domain in Headlines for Select Ads on Google

Google has made a series of changes to the way ad text is served and displayed recently, and it’s important to follow how they’re displaying ad copy and what level of control you have.Towards that end, they recently announced that display URLs domains will be included in headlines, stating that:…starting today, we’ll automatically show your display URL domain in the headline for select top placement ads on Google.

As a result, your brand will be featured more prominently in your ad, and you can use the text in the headline to highlight other information. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be able to more easily identify the site to which they’ll be taken after they click on your ad…When shown in the headline, the display URL will be separated from the rest of the text... > Read more

May 18, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

Content Network Checklist: How to Get More Volume from Your Content Network Campaigns

As a PPC manager, your job is more about achieving objectives than just leveraging features and tactics (features and tactics are a means to an end). Towards this end we put together a three-part series in which we offered specifics tips on how to:Get More Leads from PPCLower Your Cost Per AcquisitionLower Your PPC CostsBut what if you have a more specific objective? One common consideration for account managers is how to get “more leads,” but this is particularly true as it relates to leads from a campaign or channel that is very cost-effective.

Often the content network falls into that category.In this post, we’ll assume your content network campaigns, or a client’s, are launched and off to a great start, and you’re looking to audit a campaign to find opportunities to increase ... > Read more

May 17, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Linkbait Case Study: How We Got on the Front Page of Mashable

Back in December we launched an infographic centered around the Internet and the environment. It didn't do as well as our previous infographics, which didn't particularly surprise us – we weren't completely happy with how it came out, and we didn't put as much effort into promoting it. A couple of weeks ago, we relaunched the infographic (see below; click to enlarge), after giving it a complete overhaul, to coincide with Earth Day.

This time around, it got the traction we had hoped for, attracting over 150 new links, including several high-value links from new domains like the LA Times and the Atlantic, and giving us a big spike in referred traffic. So what did we do differently? Why did the infographic perform so much better the second time around? Here are three reasons why I thin... > Read more

May 16, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Facebook vs. Google: Battle of the Online Giants

Godzilla vs. Mothra, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, and now this summer, coming to a theater near you: Facebook vs. Google.It’s no secret that social is the new currency across the internet, but Facebook’s recent attack on Google shows just how precious and coveted such social data is.Facebook Hires PR Firm to Bad-Mouth GoogleOver the past few days, there has been a lot of speculation concerning what mysterious entity hired the private PR firm Burson-Marsteller to encourage mudslinging against Google by pitching anti-Google stories to newspapers.

 Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast reports that they discovered it was none other than Facebook – and they found out just by asking.A Facebook spokesman admitted that the company hired Burson for two reasons:First, because it believes ... > Read more

May 13, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

SEO Title Tags vs. Witty Headlines: Is There Room for Puns in Online News?

You know I can’t resist commenting when the mainstream media talks about “S.E.O.” (as the New York Times would have it). This week, The Atlantic is throwing its hat in the ring with a piece called "'Google Doesn't Laugh': Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO," and subtitled “If online searches are literal, what happens to headlines that involve word play? Copy editors* fear they're going the way of the classified ad.

”Unsurprisingly – since this is a mainstream magazine we’re talking about – the topic is nothing new. Journalists have been wringing their hands over the supposed loss of the clever headline since SEO first started, well, making headlines (making waves? making hearts go pitty-pat?) five or six years ago.According to David Wheeler at the Atlantic, headline wr... > Read more

May 13, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 6

Marketing Profs Virtual Conference: This Friday (It's Free!)

Got plans for Friday, May 13? Now you do! Join us for Digital Marketing World: Search Marketing, a FREE virtual conference presented by MarketingProfs. Three Info-Packed Sessions Today's Top 5 SEO Essentials Integrated Search and Social The Future of Search: Top Trends to Watch Check out the complete program and session times here.

More Good Stuff Register now and get access to: Live Q&A time with the speakers Search marketing resources Professional networking opportunities On-demand recordings (available for the next three months) You'll also have the opportunity to meet search marketing experts and participate in virtual roundtable discussions with your peers in the Digital Marketing World exhibit hall. As one of this month's sponsors, we'll be there ... > Read more

May 11, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 4: Making the Charts

In part three of this series, you learned how to build our dashboard’s scorecard. In this article, I will show you:How to build the charts.How to copy and reuse your charts to save time when building multiple charts.Building the Charts The AdWords Campaign Performance report only has two charts and they allow you to choose from many different available metrics for comparison.

Our dashboard isn’t really limited by space, so we will be creating a chart for each of our KPI’s.ImpressionsClicksCostConversionsCTRCRCPACPCThe best way to do this is to create and format one chart for one KPI, and then we will copy the chart several times for each of the other KPI’s. This technique will save you lots of time, because you will only have to format your chart once.Follow these steps:1. Ins... > Read more

May 11, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Congrats to Microsoft, Proud New Owner of Skype

Today, Microsoft officially announced its acquisition of Skype, dishing out a hefty $8.5 billion for the popular video conferencing service. The Skype deal will be Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition in its 36-year history. As a company that traditionally avoids pricey purchases, Microsoft must have some big plans for Skype.

A Quick Skype Background CheckSkype was created by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in 2003. Offering free video conferencing and calls between Skype users via computer and certain cell phones, Skype quickly became popular with international callers. Interestingly, Zennstrom and Friis are also the inventors of the infamous Kazaa music sharing program, a big name in the muddied waters of music piracy (Kazaa also became well known for being riddled with viruses).Skyp... > Read more

May 10, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 1

Commonly Used PPC Metrics: What They Will and Won't Tell You

ImpressionsAn impression, in online advertising, is an appearance of an ad on a web page. In search engine marketing, an impression constitutes an appearance of a text ad on a search engine results page. Internet advertising costs are sometimes measured in cost per impression. An impression will tell you how many people have been exposed to your brand or product.

What impressions won’t tell you: If that exposure actually left “an impression.” Search behavior tends to be a fast and reactive experience. Often users only look at one or two results on a page. Even if your ad is at the top of the list, it may be missed.Click-Through Rate (CTR)Your PPC click-through rate is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) that actually go on to click the ad. You can view your cl... > Read more

May 10, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 2

Google's New Toys: Google Releases Site Speed, Business Photos, Search Globe

It seems we’re always talking about Google. Whether we consider it a friend or foe, it’s difficult to deny that much of SEO news revolves around every breath Google takes. And it’s true, you don’t hear folks saying “I don’t know, let's Yahoo it.” In keeping with its nonstop release schedule, Google recently announced several new features.

  Google Analytics Tracks Page Load Times Google is like an inspirational high-school teacher. He sees the potential in you that you have not yet discovered, and he’s always setting the benchmark higher and pushing you further. Google wants you to be the best you can be – for yourself, and for your users. That’s why with Google Analytics you now have the ability to track your page’s loa... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Five Ways to Lower Your AdWords & PPC Costs

This is the last installment in a three-part series on achieving specific goals within your paid search accounts. In the prior installments we’ve covered:Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPCFive Ways to Lower Your Cost Per Action (CPA)And today we’ll cover a third, somewhat less frequent objective: lowering your PPC costs.

It seems like lowering your PPC costs should be a pretty common objective, but in actuality lowering your CPA is usually a much better goal. After all, for most businesses you’ll take as many cost-effective leads and sales as you can get, so the concern is more how much you’re paying for each lead rather than how much you’re paying total. But as most PPC managers know, in the real world there are various factors that sometimes cause businesses to want to quickly... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

What the Heck Is a Sales Letter? Old School Direct Marketing Techniques

I was doing a little research on copywriting blogs recently, and noticed that many of the renowned veteran copywriters who got their start in direct (i.e., offline) marketing would often make reference to “sales letters.” I wasn’t born in the ‘90s or anything (I know who Osama bin Laden is), but my response to this was, What the H is a sales letter?A sales letter, of course, is the “letter” you receive in direct marketing mailings, which begins “Dear ________” and informs you of all the reasons you should give the sender your money.

Believe it or not, young ones, direct marketing still exists – and even works. According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of B2B marketers, 79% of respondents found direct mailing “somewhat” or “very” effective.This is top of m... > Read more

May 06, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Google Tests New SERP Format: Site Links to News Articles Replace Website Description in Branded News Searches

I saw this change in the Google SERP format today on a search for "CNN." Check out how Google has replaced the 2-line website description with up to three sitelinks with full-line descriptions corresponding to the headlines of trending news stories. Take a look here:See how you can click on "Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction" and it will link directly to the article.

 It seems to be working this way on other major national media outlets, for example:USA TodayFox NewsWashington PostCBS NewsI guess on branded searches for media outlets, Google might be thinking something like...The anchor text on site links are too small for news articles (they're typically 1-3 words like "contact us" or whatever)The user probably doesn't care much for the website description (they obviously... > Read more

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0
 
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