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
This is a guest post by David Harry. David Harry is an SEO and search analyst with Reliable SEO. He also writes on his SEO blog and runs the SEO Training Dojo, a top community in the SEO space. You can also track him down via Twitter: @theGypsy. Not so long ago the SEO world was quivering with excitement at a new shiny bobble for their lexicon: LDA (Latent Dirichlet Allocation).
Yes, you remember that one, don't ya? It all started with the poorly named SEOmoz tool and continued since then ushering in a new era of three-letter initialization snake oil. But really, this can still be a good moment for the search geeks of the realm, I promise. While it has left many sheeple with new smoke to waft in front of their mirrors, it has done something else far more valuable; it has SEOs talkin... > Read more
When analyzing the performance of your pay-per-click ads, one of the main factors you'll want to concentrate on is click-through rate (CTR). Ads with high CTR are desirable because they drive more traffic to your site in less time. In addition, a high CTR contributes to a good Quality Score, and that helps lower your cost per click.
It's also an indication that you're targeting a relevant, qualified audience, which can improve your conversion rate as well. (Of course you'll want to keep an eye on both metrics and make sure you're not sacrificing one in favor of the other.) Recently I scanned through the ads in our own AdWords account and identified some patterns in the ads with the highest click-through rates. Note that I've changed the examples so I'm not giving away our best creative, bu... > Read more
Halloween this year brought, along with the usual candy hangover, the launch of a much anticipated (by some, anyway) new search engine called Blekko, which has been in the works for several years. To compete with market leader Google and even Bing, any new search engine really needs to stand out, and Blekko sports a new concept: slashtag searching.
The idea is that you can follow any search with a slashtag that acts as a filter to narrow the scope of your results. For example, say you want to search for information about stars—as in the astronomical bodies, not the shape or famous people. You could restrict your results by searching for "stars /science"—that's the theory anyway. Nicely, when you type in "stars /" you get autocomplete suggestions for potentially related slashtags: The ... > Read more
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make surrounding keyword organization is that they waste good to great structures. It's becoming better understood that intelligent paid search campaign organization is fundamental to paid search success, but just having a strong keyword structure isn't enough.
You have to then work to get the most out of that organizational advantage. How to Waste Great Keyword Structure in One Easy Step One of the really important things to understand about keyword grouping is that as you create new groups of keywords and get more and more granular with your segmentation, you're actually just speaking to an additional layer of intent. A keyword, after all, is an advertising control, and you're hand-picking a certain type of prospect with the keyword and signa... > Read more
I'm sure most of you are familiar with Google AdWords Impression Share reporting, now available in your Campaign tab. But how many of you are using the new "Analyze the Competition" tool available in your AdWords Opportunities tab? This new tool adds useful and detailed data for competitive intelligence.
To quote Craig Danuloff over at ClickEquations speaking about AdWords Impression Share data, "Maybe one day Google will share with us Impression Share at the ad group or even the keyword level. Wouldn't that be grand?"Well, not only did Google start offering share of impression data at the ad-group level, they also included categories, sub-categories, and comparisons for CTR, AvgPos, and Clicks. They even have a weird little video to explain exactly how it works:Why aren't we hearing more a... > Read more
Your landing pages – the pages that searchers land on after clicking on your ads – should usually be substantially different in content and style from a regular web page. This is because they are built around different goals. Web pages may be built to rank organically, to inform, to entertain, and sometimes to sell.
Landing pages are almost always intended to sell. Here are three points to keep in mind when creating landing pages as opposed to other types of pages. 1. Landing pages should be closely aligned with your keyword and ad. It's especially important when creating a PPC landing page to form a clear line between the keyword, the text ad, and the page. Using the keyword prominently in both the ad and the landing page demonstrates clear relevance to both the user and to Goog... > Read more
This is a guest post by Willy Oghinan, a search engine marketing consultant and CEO of Salesplux, a leading Google AdWords management and marketing enhancement company. With Google AdWords, you can build your brand and increase your customer base with near immediate results. However, the challenges in properly creating and managing an AdWords campaign are such that many marketers abandon the whole project before they can achieve any return on investment.
These challenges include, but are not restricted to, high bid rates that exceed your budget and non-converting clicks that further erode your spend. But there are two critical factors that go a long way toward ensuring greater AdWords marketing success, enabling you to implement precisely targeted advertising and turn your PPC campaign in... > Read more
As I went through the blog rounds this week collecting interesting links, I noticed a pattern: everything was turning up Google. Not exactly shocking in the search industry, I know. But for some reason this week seemed especially Googley. Here are some of the many Google stories I read this week. First up, Google has made a significant change to its local search results pages called "Place Search.
" According to Google, "We've clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go." As Patrick Altoft puts it, Google is phasing out organic search results for local queries, giving local results all the prime real estate: "The impact of this change is that in the long term any site that doesn’t have a physical address in the location... > Read more
So what are you going to be for Halloween? One of these kooky costumes for SEOs perhaps? (I like the RT of someone else's costume.) Too conceptual for you? You could work instead on "optimizing" a more traditional costume for maximum recognition—there's nothing worse than getting all dressed up and then having to tell everyone who you are.
In the meantime, reading our best posts of the month should work up your appetite for the incoming candy (fun-size is the best size). The Problem with Footer Links in SEO: This guest post by Lior Levin explores why footer links may be detrimental to both your site and the site you're linking to. Google is Testing New Sitelinks: Ken spotted a new sitelinks format in the SERPs. Have you seen this test? 11 Essential WordPress Plugins for Ne... > Read more
I’m sure by now that most of you have heard of Google AdWords’ new feature, Broad Match Modifiers (BMM). In short, by adding a simple “+” before a word in your broad match keyword, Google requires that word (or a close variation) to appear in the user’s search query. If you’re not excited, you should be.
This is exactly the type of feature that we advertisers have been asking for and can benefit greatly from. BMM gives us more visibility and control over how we spend our money. (Check out Alan Mitchell’s blog post on using Modified Broad Match and its effect on CTR and CPC if you still need to get pumped up about trying out this new feature.) So who should use this exciting new feature? Anyone who has been afraid to use Enhanced Broad Match (EBM) in the past because it’s ... > Read more
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Director of Inside Sales: Have experience selling SaaS products and managing inside sales? Then come help us build and provide lead... > Read more
Click here to read Part 1 of our Complete Guide to AdWords Matching Options (covering broad match and modified broad match). Phrase Match The phrase match keyword option offers a much more targeted approach than broad match, but still allows flexibility for Google to match your ads to more queries than your exact keyword phrase.
When using the phrase match option, your advertisement will appear for searches that include your keyword phrase in the correct order, but can still display for queries including additional words. To use the phrase match option in AdWords, enter your keyword phrase in quotation marks. Entering your phrase as “Gel Batteries” indicates to Google that your advertisements should only appear when someone has entered a search term that includes this exact phr... > Read more