Quick and Dirty Link Building Tip Part 1: How to Get Lots of Link Prospect URLs FAST!

Once you've created some stellar content, as an SEO, the next step is to go and promote it. One of the challenges with link prospecting is that not every link is a home run. In fact, most of the people you'll identify as possible prospects through traditional means will be some combination of: Irrelevant - Some of the potential targets you pull up in your research won't really be targets at all (often you'll find competitors, sites that are dormant or don't link out, etc.

) Unresponsive - If you are creating content and generating a "traditional" link outreach list, a large number of possible linkers won't respond to your emails. Slow to Respond - Additionally you'll also often run into linkers who just take their time getting around to your request. For these reasons, it's important to "... > Read more

January 06, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 6

B2B SEO: 4 Kinds of Keywords that Speak to Business Customers

As we've said many times before, the types of keywords you should use in your SEO copywriting depend on your industry and your goals. They also depend on your customers, which is why it's so important to know who your customers are before you start writing your site. What are their demographics? (Age? Gender? Income/educational level? Location?) Are they one-time or repeat buyers? Similarly, if you're targeting business customers rather than individual consumers, your keyword choices will need to reflect that.

B2B (or business-to-business) keywords typically have lower search volume than consumer keywords, and you'll need to delve into the long tail. (Your own analytics are your best source for high-converting keywords.) The below keyword types are particularly applicable in the B2B space.... > Read more

January 05, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 3

10 PPC New Year's Resolutions for 2011

1. I will use Broad Match Modifiers more This feature is something that we PPC’ers have been wanting/needing for a long time. It is a real step forward in giving us more control over how we spend our money on broad match. But with great power comes great responsibility. It’s up to us to use BMM to its fullest potential, which unfortunately means more disciplined work.

Some of you may remember the Broad Match Modifier tool I created earlier this year to help you get started. I wrote about how to use BMM here.  2. I will use geo-targeting more Geo-targeting has been around a long time, and like the new BMM it takes a disciplined approach to use it properly and effectively. Using geo-targeting gives us advertisers more control over how we spend our money, but it makes me tired just t... > Read more

January 04, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Informational Keywords & the Buying Cycle: Targeting Early-Stage Keywords via SEO

Rand Fishkin just had a great post over on the SEO Moz blog that listed off five creative solutions to tough SEO challenges. Number four in this post focused on the idea of competing against a site with a strong lead in the SERPs for a particular keyword. In the WordStream guide to keyword competition, Larry outlined a process for getting around an inability to rank for a particular term: For organic search, it looks like this: Publish something - It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Just something quick to get a read on how difficult it is for your site to rank on a particular term. Who knows? You might get lucky and your content might rank well immediately. Or it may only require minor optimization to rank better. If you got lucky, then mission accomplished. Move on to next keyword targets.... > Read more

January 03, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 1

PPC VLOOKUP: How to Use VLOOKUP for Paid-Per-Click Marketing

VLOOKUP is one of a number of handy Excel functions for PPC. For grizzled PPC campaign managers this function is likely very familiar, but as a former philosophy major who fulfilled his math requirement with a class in logic (taught by a philosophy professor) I think it's helpful for non-Excel ninjas who are new to PPC to understand:How the Excel VLOOKUP function worksHow it can be applied to pay-per-click managementAs a result in this article we’ll walk through some specific applications and resources offering more information on using the VLOOKUP function for PPC.

How to Do a VLOOKUPBefore we dig into the applications of the VLOOKUP function for PPC I want to go over how to actually use the VLOOKUP function. Here are a couple of videos that should help you to learn the function:And anot... > Read more

December 30, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

AdWords for Beginners - Explaining Pay-Per Click (PPC) to Clients & Novices

I have failed to effectively communicate "what PPC is" to people on numerous occasions. Some of that may be that I talk unnecessarily  fast, but I think most of it was a result of my approach. My more recent efforts to explain to people what PPC is, how it works, and why it's important to their business have been more successful (from what I can tell and from what I've been told) and since this is an issue every PPC consultant is likely to face in some capacity or other, I thought it might be useful to talk about what has been (and hasn't been) effective for me in communicating to non-PPCers on the topic of paid search marketing.

Think About Your Objective I think that your objective should always be education. Whether you're selling PPC services, PPC software, or just trying to "sell... > Read more

December 27, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

WordStream's Best of the Year: Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2010

2010: The year of the link? At least here at WordStream it was. Six of our top ten most popular blog posts of the year had the word "link" in the title. That's great guys – I'm glad you understand the value of the link when it comes to Google and SEO. However, there are only so many creative-commons images of chain-link fences I can put in these round-ups, so let's make 2011 the year of something pretty, OK? Can we do for kittens what we did for links? Without further ado, here they are, our 10 biggest hits from the entire year! And a huge thank you to all our readers – we couldn't, or at least wouldn't, do it without you.

How to Create Amazing Backlinks – Why settle for ho-hum backlinks when you can have amazing backlinks?! Amazing backlinks, of course, t... > Read more

December 22, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

Quick and Dirty Google Analytics Custom Reports, Part 2

I recently wrote up a short, actionable custom report from Google Analytics to help you get at some useful SEO and keyword level analytic data in a few short steps. This time we'll try to keep it equally short and just as sweet, and walk through a custom report that can help you to understand how different types of content perform.

Getting Unique Visitor & Goal Data on Content Segments with Custom ReportsSEO Moz had a couple of great posts on benchmarking and analyzing different segments of your site's content. Those posts do a really nice job of explaining exactly why comparing various types of content are important, and what we'll do here is walk through how you can get a bit higher resolution look at exactly what's going on with different types of content.First, we need to set up a c... > Read more

December 21, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Campaign Experiments Adds Ads: Why I'm Disappointed

Was anyone else a little confused and let down when Google launched AdWords Campaign Experiments back in August without the ability to test ads? Instead of the obvious new ad testing features, Google focused on split testing across ad groups and campaigns for changes to keywords and ad groups.For example: The first test I ran was a keyword reduction test.

I paused low impressions, low Quality Score keywords, etc. for an entire campaign. ACE worked great for this type of test.But why not start with the ads? Ads are the single most tested element of anyone’s PPC campaign, and yet they were mysteriously missing from the initial release.So, Google has now announced the ability to use ACE with your text and display ads. Better late than never—right?You can watch the video below to learn how... > Read more

December 20, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

The Year in Review: A Look Back at Online Marketing in 2010

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

December 17, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 7

Exporting AdWords Campaign Experiments: How to Report on ACE

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

December 16, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Is the Internet Hurting Our Environment? (Infographic)

So we pulled together this infographic about how the Internet is impacting our environment and whether or not the benefits outweigh the consequences. If you like it, share it! Also, be sure to take a look at the full-sized version and our infographic case study! Infographic by WordStream Internet Marketing... > Read more

December 15, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 3

Why Did My AdWords Account Get Suspended?

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

December 14, 2010     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 8

10 Great Corporate Blogs and What Makes Them Work

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

December 13, 2010     |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 4

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 5: Acting on Your Insights

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

December 08, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

10 Super-Quick Link Building Tips for Bloggers and Site Owners

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

December 07, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 9

Quick and Dirty Google Analytics Custom Reports, Part 1

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

December 06, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

Google Changes Algorithm to Appease Media ... Or Not

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

December 03, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

How to Build a Killer Local AdWords Keyword List with the Best Local PPC Keyword Tool Ever

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

December 02, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Google Insights for Search Categories Are Largely Useless

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

December 01, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 4: Mining Your Data for Insights

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

December 01, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Best of the Month: WordStream's November Highlights

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

November 30, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Class Action Settlement Notice: CPC Content Bid Field Left Blank

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

November 29, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Why the AdWords Opportunities Tab Is a Great Opportunity ... for Google

 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

November 29, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Last Chance to Register for the Landing Page Success Seminar

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

November 24, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 0

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 3: Preparing Your Data

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

November 24, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

What's Up With the Latest Quality Score Drops?

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

November 23, 2010     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE): How to Use ACE to Optimize Your Paid Search Campaigns

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

November 23, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

What's a Good Click-Through Rate For ...

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

November 22, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: SEM Questions   |   Comments: 9

Facebook Launches Messages, Google Launches Boutiques.com, Apples Tries to Look Busy

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

November 19, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0
 
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