Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering online GED services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question from Richard I'm in the proces... > Read more
This is a guest post by Jenny Anderson, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. She works with a variety of clients and writes for Hanapin’s blogs, PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Outsourcing your clients’ work can get a little sticky, and there are plenty of reasons why some agencies may never turn to external help – even when they’re on overload with other client work.
They might not want to lose the control of knowing every detail in the account, they might think they know the product better than someone on the outside, or they might be afraid of what their client will think if they find out. In our experience with managing outsourced accounts at Hanapin, I can tell you that it’s really not that scary. Below are some tips and hints on how to successfully outsource, along wit... > Read more
Tamar Weinberg is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media strategist. Her specialties are blogger outreach, content promotion, community management, and viral strategy. In July 2009, Tamar published “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web,” which covers the gamut of social media marketing topics in an easy-to-understand format.
Tamar is also the community and marketing manager for Mashable, the top ranked blog on all things social media. She maintains her own blog on social media marketing strategy at Techipedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamar/. You're active on "many social communities," according to your website. Which one do you find to be the most valuable for business? What about for personal stuff? It really depends on the content.&... > Read more
Regardless of which candidate you supported in the January 19 special election to fill the seat vacated by Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, there is one thing that should make Internet marketers proud: The first poll to correctly predict the election outcome was a social media poll published on Thursday, January 14.
Traditional polls were showing a close race, and before the Suffolk News 7 Poll, the Blue Mass Group/R2000 poll, the PPP Poll, PMJ/CrossTarget poll, or even the Rasmussen Poll – which all later showed Scott Brown pulling ahead – a social media poll published on our very own blog showed that Scott Brown held a significant edge over Martha Coakley in social media engagement metrics, including: A 10:1 advantage in Web traffic A 10:1 advantage in YouTube video vie... > Read more
If you're interested in the semantics of search, Google's announcement this week that it is now bolding synonyms in search results probably turned your head. (In fact, you might have noticed this happening before the official announcement.) In a post titled "Helping Computers Understand Language" on the Official Google Blog, Google engineer Steven Baker writes: An irony of computer science is that tasks humans struggle with can be performed easily by computer programs, but tasks humans can perform effortlessly remain difficult for computers.
I don't know if I'd call this an irony. Humans are better at some things, computers are better at others. You can say the same thing about bees, buzz saws, and evolution. But identifying misuses of the word "irony" is so 1996, so le... > Read more
The recession forced all businesses to reconsider each and every dollar spent, and search marketing was no exception. We saw our own PPC software client, 1-800-Mattress, side-step the recession after implementing a well-organized pay-per-click campaign. However, Ken's salary survey suggested the recession lowered online marketers' income; his data showed that the average salary was down from industry surveys of the previous year.
In April of 2008, Joshua Stylman predicted that of all branches of marketing, paid search would take the smallest hit. I think he was absolutely right, and I think the trend of search dominating marketing dollars will continue. Here are five reasons why I think search marketing is just about as recession-proof as they come. 1) Paid Search Was Built with ROI in Mi... > Read more
After the popularity of last week's social media poll on Scott Brown vs. Martha Coakley (Larry's prediction actually turned out to be right!), we thought it would be fun to see who's winning in the "race" between erstwhile Tonight Show host Jay Leno and his successor Conan O'Brien, who, it's all but certain, will leave NBC after the network proposed giving his show back to Leno and pushing him back to a later, less coveted slot.
A lot of very vocal Conan fans aren't too happy about the change, but ratings are what really matter to NBC, presumably, so there must be a lot of Leno fans out there too, right? We looked at some social media metrics to see who has the most supporters in the online sphere. The results? Well, it's complicated. We couldn't use the exact same methodology that we used... > Read more
One of the best ways to learn how to write engaging and SEO-friendly website copy—and keep up with industry changes—is to read what the experts have to say. Plenty of blogs focus on the topic of online copywriting, but many of those blogs are not updated on a weekly or even monthly basis. Also, many of those blogs are little more than a promotional tool for a company’s product or author’s book.
We've saved you time by creating a list of the best copywriting blogs that are out there. Here they are, in no particular order: 1. Copyblogger Copyblogger has a large following, with some posts getting over 1,000 tweets and 250 comments. New media writer/producer Brian Clark started the blog four years ago. It includes posts by him and other copywriting professionals. One of the fir... > Read more
Alexander B. Howard is the Government 2.0 Washington, D.C. Correspondent for O'Reilly Media. Previously, he was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com at TechTarget. His work there focused on how regulations affect IT operations, including issues of data protection, privacy, security and enterprise IT strategy.
Before moving his focus to security and compliance, he was the associate editor of WhatIs.com, an online IT encyclopedia. In that role, he researched and wrote about nearly every aspect of enterprise IT. Alexander graduated from Colby College in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. In his spare time, he enjoys running with his greyhound, reading, microblogging, fishing, cycling, gardening, cooking and hiking. Learn more at his blog or follow him on Twitter: ... > Read more
In an interview with Michael Arrington last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told the world that Facebook is changing to keep up with it—and what the world wants, apparently, is less privacy. Naturally, this caused a big hubbub (at least in the online marketing corner of the world), with many claiming Facebook is acting against its users' best interests, trying to trick them into doing what will increase Facebook revenue—or, rather, into not doing what won't help its revenue.
By not changing the now-default settings, users will (perhaps unintentionally) make their data more public and searchable. Others leapt to Facebook's defense. This is the way society is moving, they said; get over it. Falling in the former camp, Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote a two-part think piece of s... > Read more
New social media polling data suggests Republican Scott Brown will trounce Democrat Martha Coakley in US Senate Race
If you like this post, please bookmark it on Delicious for future reference, or Digg it.Social Media Polling:YouTube ChannelsFacebook FansTwitter MentionsAlexa RankingsPrediction AccuracyThe state-wide special election to fill the seat vacated by US Senator Edward Kennedy on January 19th has attracted huge national interest because if the Democrats lose this seat, they lose the filibuster-proof margin they currently have in the US Senate.
For the first time for as long I can remember, my very own home state of Massachusetts is today considered a battleground state. Recent polls show the two candidates, State Senator Scott Brown (Republican) and State Attorney General Martha Coakley (Democrat) engaged in a tight race – well within the margin of error. DatesScott Brown (R)Martha Coakle... > Read more
As the link profile of WordStream.com continues to grow and grow, we realized it was time to purchase software that would assist us in managing our ballooning link database. Up until now, we'd been tracking all of our link acquisitions and link outreach efforts in Excel. But Excel has serious limitations, due in part because it's not built for link management.
As active link builders, our goal was to find a product that was designed specifically for our link management needs. And as Garret French espoused in Link Building Trends for 2010: "2010 will be the year of “link relationship management” software, and more and more link building firms will shift away from spreadsheets." I wholeheartedly agree. Why do you need a link management tool? If you're serious about link building and... > Read more
Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering GED online services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some really great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he poses questions and seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question fro... > Read more
This morning, Chris Brogan wrote on his blog that he's planning to use Bing as his only search engine for 30 days. Day 1 of his little experiment didn't go so well—he found that a search for "Chris Brogan" returned, above his own blog, results for Chris Brown. His response? "Um, no." Chris Brogan is a pretty well-known name, if slightly lesser-known than "Chris Brown.
" If he can't get top billing for his vanity search, how well can the rest of us plebes fare? I "googled" myself on Bing back when it launched and remember thinking the results were inscrutable and disappointing. I decided to try the same search again to see if the Bing results had gotten better (or worse). Well, certainly not better. ZoomInfo? Really? I would only expect to see a crappy, generic result like this at #1... > Read more
Are you new to Twitter and unsure who to follow? Not so new to Twitter but still don't know who to follow? Or maybe you just want to make more connections, find new resources and learn from the best? Twitter lists are a great way to keep up with the search marketing industry. You can follow a whole swath of thought leaders, hand-picked and pre-approved by those in the know, with one quick click.
These 16 Twitter lists were curated by (and include) some of our favorite voices in search and online marketing. (And while you're at it, follow the WordStream list to keep up with our whole team.) Selective Search Marketing Twitter Lists These picky-choosy lists include fewer than 60 people or brands each. Aaron Bradley of SEOSkeptic.com's Internet Marketing Musts. Christine Churchill's Must Read... > Read more
As I flâneured around the blogosphere this week (permit me to verb a French noun derived from a verb), I was overcome by a gadget-induced ennui. Nexus One. The iTablet/iSlate. Blah blah blah. I have nothing to say about these developments. "Will 2010 be the year of the smartphone?" Who cares? Sorry, gadgetheads—not me so much.
I am, however, interested in other directions the industry may take in 2010. (And while we're on the topic, you are on board with saying "twenty-ten," foregoing the cumbersome "two-thousand" prefix, are you not? Excellent. Glad we're on the same page.) And luckily, bloggers are still churning out resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. I especially liked Debra Mastaler's Link Building Trends For 2010. After providing an overview of 2009, Debra, Julie Joyce... > Read more
This is a guest post by Shawn Livengood. Shawn Livengood is a search marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He is also pursuing his master’s degree in information architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. You can read more at his PPC marketing blog, PPC Without Pity. When you sign up for a pay-per-click advertising account, you might assume that you are buying your traffic directly from the search engine.
If you bid on keywords in Google AdWords, you're just getting traffic from people who search on Google.com, right? Wrong! What many people don't realize is that a significant portion of PPC traffic comes not from the search engine sites themselves, but from a network of "search partners" associated with each search engine. So what exactly is a "search... > Read more
It's been a really exciting first year for WordStream, and the WordStream team is growing (so much so that we had to move to swanky new digs to accomodate all the new hires), and we're looking to add a few more. Since most of our blog's audience is in the sales and marketing space, I thought we'd throw the job here to see if anyone's interested in applying.
And, to try to make the post a little more interesting for any of you who aren't looking to move right now (and because I'm poring over resumes and it's fresh in my head) I thought I'd put out a few tips that will help get you hired the next time you go to look for work (or at least would if you were applying for a job with the WordStream marketing team). How to Get a Job in Search Marketing (and Other Industries/Disciplines) We'll sta... > Read more
As a long-time PPC manager, one of my biggest pet peeves is automation for the sake of automation. Yes, we’re all looking to save some time and make our processes more efficient. But efficiency will only benefit you if it means you are still getting great results from your pay-per-click campaigns! For a long time I naively avoided bid management tools or anything that “stank” of blind automation.
Then Google AdWords went and created Conversion Optimizer, which switches the bidding process from cost-per-click (CPC) to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Not only that, but it automates keyword level bids. With some trepidation on my part, I decided to give Conversion Optimizer a shot and I haven’t looked back since! You still pay per click, but you no longer need to adjust your bids manually... > Read more
Repeat after me. This year, I resolve to... 1. Get More Organized Is your idea of "keyword research" just a bunch of keywords jammed into in a spreadsheet? Effective keyword organization and keyword management is a foundational component of paid and organic search marketing. In PPC, it means grouping together similar keywords and matching them with targeted ad text and landing pages.
And in SEO, it means effectively targeting keyword niches in order to create and link together original themed content about specific topics, which in turn are more likely to rank highly for targeted organic searches. Start the new year off with strong organizational footing by checking out our Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization. 2. Lose Weight Trim the fat from your PPC campaigns! Negative ke... > Read more
In 2009, the scientific community treated search and social media marketers to what seemed like a never-ending supply of meaty and game-changing research projects, covering everything from information retrieval, to personalized search, to integrated SERP analysis, to studying user behavior on social networks.
I decided to compile and share a list of my favorite Search and Social Media Marketing Research Projects of 2009. Hopefully, these research papers will inform and inspire your marketing efforts going into 2010.By the way, if after reading all the papers on this list you find that you're jonesing for more, here are two great resources for marketers to find research papers on social media marketing and search engine marketing:Google ScholarYahoo ResearchVideo LecturesSo fire up your neu... > Read more
So despite claims of ditching the little green pixel bar, Google has once again updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) about an hour ago, at 8 p.m. on December 30, 2009. I noticed the change immediately when I was doing a little WordStream brand searching and saw in the SERPs that we'd jumped from a PR5 to a robust PR6.
The change literally took place before my eyes. One minute we were PR5, then next search: BOOM! PR6. Totally geeky, I know, but my heart skipped a beat. The actual SEO for Firefox Toolbar has yet to update though. It's still reading PR5, but I'm sure that will change by tomorrow. I'm also seeing changes across many of my sites, all for the better, which is a nice way to kick off 2010. By my count, this is the sixth and final update for 2009, with the last PageRank update oc... > Read more
Since we launched the WordStream blog earlier this year, what follows is not merely a list of our top posts of the year. These are our greatest hits of all time. (Cue Kanye joke, for nostalgic value – it's so 2009.) So pour yourself a glass of champagne and revisit our top 10 most popular and best loved blog posts ever: SEO Title Tag Formulas: How to Create High-Performance Title Tags – We all know how important good titles are for SEO.
This post – apparently our most useful post ever! – outlines a systematic strategy for creating strong title tags. Find the Unfindable: 12 Ways to Find Anyone's Personal Email Address – Ken appealed to the stalker in all of you with these tips and tricks for tracking down personal contact info. Top SEO College Websites 2009 &... > Read more
My childhood memories of the days after Christmas are bleak and dark: the incredible letdown of all that anticipation, the pressure to actually use the new toys and wear the new clothes as opposed to simply gazing upon them in a shining pile of potentiality. The day after Christmas was no less depressing this year; I spent most of it at the airport in El Paso, waiting in an unmoving line to rebook my flight which was delayed by 8+ hours.
(Note to self: Never, ever book a connecting flight through O'Hare in December. Note to United: Damn you, United!) But late December does bring some good things—like a little light through the windows when I wake up in the morning (though, as my boyfriend is fond of reminding/tormenting me, "As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to stre... > Read more
The following is a guest post by Evan Saks, founder and president of Lungfish Communications. PPC advertisers looking for the best value in search would be well-advised to follow these three steps: search, serch, and seacrh again! One of the wonders of Google is its automatic spelling correction.
Search for the term “Ipod” and Google will return results including text ads from Target, Bose, MacMall, Amazon, AOL, Overstock, and others. Apple gets top position, but it’s a crowded field with plenty of others clamoring for attention. Now search for “ipdo” and Apple’s sponsored link will appear in the first position. And also in the last position. Because it’s all alone, with no other competitive ads. Apple is presumably paying a miniscule... > Read more
With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to take a break from my hectic holiday shopping schedule (ah, who am I kidding...my wife does all the Christmas shopping, even for herself) to see which toy companies have killer SEO'd websites as part of our ongoing series, Top SEO Websites. So I made this "top toy keywords" list and I've checked it twice.
I'm gonna' find out whose SEO is naughty and whose is nice. Okay, okay, cheesy Xmas parody aside, there are definitely some surprises on this list of Top SEO Toy Websites, which includes one very popular toy company that really Scrooged on the optimization this year and deserve a big, honking lump of coal in their stockings. Wondering who it is? Read on and find out. Top SEO Toy Websites: SERP Analysis Process My process for deter... > Read more
Yesterday I talked about using the Free Keyword Grouper to plot out a structure for a new website. Today I'd like to show you how to use our other new tool, the Free Keyword Niche Finder, to quickly set up a PPC campaign. We believe that a high Quality Score is the key to an effective, cost-efficient pay-per-click campaign, and that a well-organized campaign structure is the key to securing high Quality Scores.
Here's how the new tool can help you get there. First, just enter a keyword. The Free Keyword Niche Finder is a keyword suggestion tool and keyword grouping tool in one. Just enter a keyword, and you'll get back extensive, relevant suggestions, but instead of a scattered list, the results are organized into related groupings. Let's use the perfume store example again: Similar to th... > Read more
When you're launching a new website (or doing a site redesign) it's vital to take SEO into account. From square one, you should do everything you can to make sure that the people interested in what you offer will be able to find you. And most people will be looking via search engines. There's an endless list of things you can do to optimize a website for search engines, but at a basic level, SEO-friendly site design is user-friendly site design.
It's important to create a site that: Is logically structured Incorporates keyword research to ensure relevance to your audience Is easily navigable from both the home page and deep pages You can actually use our new Free Keyword Grouper to start planning out the structure—or information architecture—of your new website. Here's how: S... > Read more
Well well well, if it isn't Friday once again. Since next Friday is Christmas, and the following is New Year's Day, this is my last Friday roundup of the year (and decade!). And I'd like to use it to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us spread the word about our new free tools, the Keyword Niche Finder and the Free Keyword Grouper.
Here's a roundup of all the coverage around the Web: On Search Engine People, Terry Van Horne talks about getting back to the "roots of SEO" with keyword research, calling the Keyword Niche Finder "simply one of the best tools I've seen for quite some time." Ann Smarty reviewed the tools on Search Engine Journal: "WordStream, a must-have keyword management tool for PPC marketers we reviewed earlier, has just launched two really nice... > Read more
We just posted a new guide on WordStream.com - The Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization: Build a Foundation for Search Marketing Success. This guide walks you through the benefits and process for organizing your keywords for both pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO).
Here are a few of the topics from the Keyword Organization guide: Keyword organization can be applied across all of your internet marketing channels and provide a roadmap to PPC campaign and website structures. Improve Quality Score and lower your PPC costs. Gain insights into ongoing content creation and information architecture changes for SEO. Learn how to organize your keywords and utilize free tools from WordStream in that process. Happy reading and good luck cleaning up you... > Read more