For whatever reason, you may not have yet partaken in a pay-per-click advertising campaign. Maybe you thought print advertising was more effective, feared the potential of click fraud, or have just been too busy to learn the ins and outs of the PPC advertising model. Now you’ve decided that PPC may be worth your while.
You’re doing your best to read all you can about the advertising form, determine your keywords, and set a budget for your pay-per-click ad spend. As you venture into this new advertising territory, there are many tools that can help you effectively shape your PPC campaigns. Here are 13 PPC tools for beginners:Google AdWords Traffic Estimator: Use this tool to get the estimated average AdWords cost per click (CPC) amounts for particular keywords and keyword phrases. ... > Read more
Anna Talerico is the executive vice president at ion, where she manages sales, marketing and client services. Can you tell us a little about your role at Ion Interactive? What's your conversion rate optimization (CRO) philosophy? As the executive vice president here at ion I manage the sales, marketing and client services teams.
It's a great place to be sitting because I can make sure these three teams are working very much in unison. I think that ultimately benefits our customers a great deal. My CRO philosophy is really simple: Test. Test continuously. Test to statistical significance. Learn what you can from the results, and then move onto the next test wave. Constantly be seeking improvement in both conversion rate and conversion quality (average order value, lead score, etc). Wh... > Read more
Friends, I wasn’t planning to write about Facebook again this week, I swear. But every other post in my feed reader, every other link I saw on Twitter was about Facebook. Clearly, the world wants to talk about Facebook. You want it, you got it: I bring you the epic Facebook link roundup. The first Facebook story I read this week was a Wired piece called “Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative,” Ryan Singel argues that the company is “drunk on founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams of world domination.
” He lodges a series of complaints about Facebook’s steady decrease in privacy: Facebook thinks that your notions of privacy — meaning your ability to control information about yourself — are just plain ol... > Read more
We don't typically talk about specific feature updates to our own products here on the blog, but as early as tonight we're launching something to our customers and trialers that I think is really pretty interesting and novel, and actually may be interesting for people doing any kind of paid search marketing work, so I thought I'd share it here.
What is the New Feature, and Why is It Interesting? We've released internally (we're pushing it live to customers and trialers very soon) a WordStream dashboard. The reason this is interesting is because it's chock full of reports that you've almost certainly never seen before, and because it's a dashboard you can take action against. The core competencies for the WordStream product revolve around discovering profitable keywords, identifying ... > Read more
Our recommended resource this week is the adorable Virginia Nussey. Virginia, self-professed Rock Band fan and tortoise owner, is currently a media writer at Bruce Clay Inc., one of the world’s leading search marketing companies. Here are some of the many ways that Virginia gives back to the community: She’s a fellow Friday recapper! I always learn something from Virginia’s Friday recaps—and not just the same tired search marketing news either.
Last week she pointed me to the fascinating results of a color survey on XKCD, not to mention the ten tricky secrets of effective liars. Applicable in any industry! (If there was any doubt, she also covers relevant industry topics in her recaps, such as the recent Facebook exodus and site content development.) Fridays aside,... > Read more
Elisa had a great write up on the new Google design, and I was able to contribute some thoughts in a piece that ran in USA Today, but I had some additional thoughts on the new design, Bing's design, and what it all means for search marketers that I thought I'd share here. The Bing/Yahoo Merger I mention in the piece that "the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts" when Bing and Yahoo finally consumate their search merger.
What I mean by this is that advertisers will be more likely to move to the single platform with better reach (BingHoo), and that Bing's access to their once-competitor’s technology will (eventually) make their algorithm better. Beyond that, the increased market share will be self-reinforcing; it’ll allow Microsoft to invest more resources ... > Read more
Since the Microsoft Bing search engine was unveiled about a year ago, it has garnered a fair amount of media attention. Much of the attention has revolved around Bing’s potential threat to Google’s market share. It looks like Bing is indeed emerging as a danger to Google. Watch out Google! Bing PPC advertising is gaining ground.
According to Hitwise, in June about 5% of U.S. searches were conducted with Bing and 74% with Google. In April, however, about 9% of U.S. searches were conducted with Bing and 71% with Google. It remains to be seen if Bing’s momentum will continue. But it is worth asking yourself whether its growing popularity should prompt you to consider advertising on its search results pages. Before you make that decision, however, you should familiarize yo... > Read more
Confirming rumors, Google this week rolled out a fresh new design. As of late in the day Wednesday, I’m seeing The New Google in my searches across all browsers. Let’s see what people think of it, shall we? Many observers find the new design strikingly similar to the Bing search interface.
According to USA Today, the makeover “signals the start of what promises to be a period of intensified competition with rival Microsoft Bing”: Google touched up its logo, adopted a new color scheme and has begun to insert images more liberally amid search results. The biggest change: a Bing-like navigable column appears down the left side of search results pages. It is designed to help readers fine tune their searches. They aren’t the only ones who notic... > Read more
You’ve probably heard numerous times that landing pages should contain your keywords, be attractively designed, and provide sufficient information for the customer to make a sales or registration decision. However, you might not have been provided with good examples of these concepts at work.
Worry no more. This article contains five examples of great PPC landing pages. While viewing these pages, however, remember that you never really know if a landing page is effective unless you test it and look at conversion data. Rosetta Stone This is the top part of Rosetta Stone’s landing page for its Spanish software offerings. I typed the keyword phrase “learning Spanish software guide” into Google, clicked on a resulting Rosetta Stone PPC ad, and this page appeared... > Read more
The UK General Election is tomorrow – May 6. Are you ready? Will Gordon Brown from the governing Labour Party secure a 4th consecutive term in office? Will the Conservative Party grab the most votes and gain a dominant position? Or will the Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power and form a hung parliament? NATIONAL POLLING RESULTS Many British research and polling consulting companies have been tracking the national polling results closely.
The two charts below are by UK Opinion Poll Tracker and Forecast UK, a private electoral prediction project. Both poll trackers predict that The Conservative Party will win by a higher share and grab governance. The momentum is really strong too. But being a search marketer, I want to see what Google says and what sentiments are present in ... > Read more
At WordStream we get asked a lot of questions about search engine marketing. These questions come from emails, blog comments and Webinar participants who want to know our take on tips and tricks for better SEO and PPC marketing. The questions range from the budding noob (just starting out) to advanced SEM practices.
Occasionally, we select one to highlight that addresses some of the more common or intriguing issues that many struggle with to give a direct response on our blog.Today's question comes from Dawn Barson at Think Creative Group. Dawn asks:"How many pages and how much content do you need on your site to have a chance at ranking highly in Google? Will a small, 5 to 10 page website, with only a few paragraphs of text have any chance of ranking highly?"So like answers to most questi... > Read more
Copywriting is one of the neglected aspects of SEO, rarely mentioned and rarely considered. As an SEO copywriter myself, I should know! I guess writing just isn't as sexy as ... um, building links? (SEOs and their weird fetishes.) So this week our recommended resource is someone who really knows her writing stuff, from web copy to white papers to newsletters and anything else wordy on the web: Angie Haggstrom, also known as Angie Nikoleychuk, of Angie's Copywriting.
Angie is a professional copywriter and online writing coach offering content consulting services. Here are some of the ways you can follow and learn from Angie: Angie is on Twitter (@angscopywriting), sharing links and chatting every day (and she always seems to be in a good mood. Note to self: Complain less). She's on over 1... > Read more
This is a guest post by Beth Hrusch. Beth is Senior Editor at Interact Media, a website content development service. Companies both large and small are jumping on the social media bandwagon. Some have large marketing budgets, and some—not so much. One of the great things about social media for marketing is that it gives everyone an equal chance to reach their target markets, regardless of the money they have to spend.
Twitter, for example, is becoming recognized as a pretty agile tool for businesses of all sizes. When you use Twitter, you’re tapping into a resource that can help you engage your audience, increase brand awareness and generate new leads. If you’re new to it, here are a few tips for using Twitter to promote your business: Find your g... > Read more
Apple and Facebook have lately been taking actions that really separate the fanboys from the haters. Earlier this week, police seized Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home computers and servers as part of an investigation into their recent reporting on a new iPhone 4G prototype, which someone "found" in a bar and then sold to Gizmodo.
It now appears that the phone was actually stolen. It is unclear what role precisely Apple plays in this criminal investigation. But according to Yahoo News: The raid that San Mateo area cops conducted last week on the house of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen came at the behest of a special multi-agency task force that was commissioned to work with the computer industry to tackle high-tech crimes. And Apple Inc. sits on the task force's steering committe... > Read more
Recommended SEM Resources is an ongoing series here at WordStream where we plug some of our favorite sources of search engine marketing wisdom. Now, many of these SEM resources aren't as widely recognized as say an Aaron Wall or a Rand Fishkin, but nonetheless we feel they are forces in the SEO or PPC marketing space and marketers you should be following.
This month's Recommended SEM Resource is Shaun Anderson. Shaun is the Director & Co-Founder of Hobo Web, an SEO Company in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Shaun self-reportedly possesses "an obsessive passion for on-site SEO, linkbuilding and web accessibility" and is well-known in the global SEO community. Shaun is a frequent contributor to Hobo Web SEO Blog, which is one of my favorite SEO blogs and a mainstay in my Google Reader. Hobo Web's... > Read more
April was a pretty big month for WordStream. (Hm, why do I feel like I've said that before?) We updated and relaunched our SEO Keyword Management product, released some totally new products (two APIs and a content creation plug-in), and lest we forget, I celebrated my one-year anniversary with the company.
(That may not seem like a big deal to you, but at a company this new, not too many people have been around more than a year!) May pole dance! But enough about me. Let's focus on WordStream – namely, our blog's greatest hits this month. These 10 posts were our most popular with readers, so please check them out if you missed them the first time! How to Create Amazing Backlinks: Our readers love how-to content, so it's not surprising that Ken's post on building "amazing" ... > 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.Understanding the Boundaries and How to Play SafeAre you a web spammer? No, seriously, I mean it.
If there is one area that a lot of search peeps and marketers aren't always clear on, it's penalties and filters from search engines. This is something you will find very common in SEO circles. We need to look no further than something like duplicate content. While it is (generally) a filter, there is no shortage of people that call it a "duplicate content penalty."As such, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the many faces of web spam, from th... > Read more
Today Garrett and Ben over at Ontolo launched their Link Building Toolset to the world. We got a chance to catch up with them and get a sense of what their tool does and how it's different from the industry standard for backlink prospecting: competitor backlinks. Note: To thank early adopters during the launch of their new Link Building Toolset, Ontolo is offering a 25% discount that ends today (4/27/2010) at 9 p.
m. PST. They've let us know that they will never offering this service at this low of a price again, and that the pricing is good through all future upgrades, price changes, etc. First off, here's what it does, in their words: "We start with your targeted SEO Keywords. Using these we deliver, each and every week, new link prospects to you that have been crawled and analyzed b... > Read more
Today marks my one-year anniversary at WordStream—happy anniversary to me! When I started, we were in a temporary space with stained carpets and terrifyingly temperamental elevators, and only about 12 full-time employees coming into the office every day. We've come a long way since then, and I'd like to think I've evolved a little too.
After all, at a startup, one year under your belt practically makes you an old veteran. Here are a few things I've learned in the past year about search marketing, business, and—that's right—myself. 1. Everyone at a Company Is Important Working at a very small company—perhaps especially a new company—really throws this fact into relief: Everyone matters, from the CEO down to a lowly copywriter like me. With less noise and... > Read more
If you are involved with pay-per-click advertising, one of the metrics you should be concerned with is click-through rate. Click-through rate is the percent of ad views that result in clicks, and it is one of the key factors in Google’s search engine results ranking formula. Ads with higher click-through rates get better quality scores and higher placements in Google search results.
This doesn’t mean, however, you should aim for the highest click-through rate possible. Why? Because each click costs you money. If your conversions aren’t keeping up with you click costs, then you will be losing money. Click-through Rates CTR rate goals Below goal CTR Above goal CTR Optimize CTR Monitor CTR Change CTR goals So, what’s a good click-through rate then? Your ideal click-through rat... > Read more
We recently re-released our WordStream Keyword Management for SEO product with some new and updated features including the WordStream SEO for Firefox plugin, a content authoring tool. (On Tuesday Larry explained how the new features help marketers leverage the long tail for SEO.) So for the roundup this week I'd like to point to some of the blogs and sites that helped spread the word about WordStream for SEO – we extend a big THANK YOU to all of you! Ben Spark of Blogging Tips wrote that the new Firefox plugin is what "really makes this product unique": "I’m pretty sure that I am inherently a bit lazy and I like being able to do everything in one place so this Firefox plugin looks great to me.
I simply cannot be bothered to have multiple tabs open or additional software open to g... > Read more
I thought I'd post the presentation for the Webinar we hosted yesterday, which was titled "How to Organize and Create Content for SEO." The presentation was a step by step process detailing how you can create an SEO-friendly information architecture for better Google rankings, and how to create and organize content geared for search engines, which includes some tips on keyword research and integrating specific SEO best practice page elements.
This post includes both the slide presentation and the script I used for the Webinar. SLIDE 1 – INTRODUCTION Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for today’s webinar: How to Organize & Create Content for SEO. My name’s Ken Lyons and I’m the Senior Online Acquisition Marketing Manager for WordStream. Today I’... > Read more
One of the biggest pain points for bloggers is trying to come up with fresh blog topic ideas. It's not easy to generate new ideas for content on a regular basis, week in, week out. Some bloggers get their inspiration from trending topics, hot news stories or even seeing what people are blogging about.
While others tap into an internal, creative spark to discover topics. Whatever your method, the brainstorming process is a hard slog at times and many bloggers can hit a creative wall. This week, WordStream launched a new software suite "WordStream for SEO," which features a set of powerful keyword analysis and content authoring tools. One of the key benefits of WordStream for SEO is that it helps anyone who writes and publishes Web content on a regular basis avoid writers block by... > Read more
WordStream today announced the release of WordStream Keyword Management for SEO, which has an important new feature: the WordStream SEO for Firefox Plug-in. This new plug-in provides seamless access to your keyword research data as you author or edit Web content in your CMS or blog. In this post, I'd like to talk a bit about the underlying design philosophy behind the product, and show how we've developed features that try to simplify various best practices for on-page SEO.
Target the Head When authoring content for SEO, it's critically important that you: Pick a specific, primary topic that is both popular and relevant to your business. Author content that specifically targets your selected topic, making your page more likely to show up in organic search results for those keywords. Word... > Read more
If you are a savvy AdWords advertiser, or at least someone who wants more control over your AdWords account, you may want to consider setting maximum cost per click (CPC) for your keywords and keyword groups. AdWords offers automatic bidding for those who aren’t interested in setting their cost per click amounts manually.
But for those of you who are, you can follow these steps to formulate your maximum cost per click: Our EightSteps to Optimizing AdWords Maximum CPC: Determine Profit Margins Set A Cost Per Acquisition Goal Pricing Strategies Conversion Rates Maximum Cost Per Click Research Traffic Consult First Page Estimates Optimize Your Maximum CPC for Profit 1. For each keyword or keyword group, determine your desired profit margin for each corresponding sale or sales lead... > Read more
Just wanted to let everyone know that today our Director of Marketing Tom Demers and his wife Kendal welcomed a brand new baby boy (and future SEO guru) into the world: Tommy Demers. Lil' Tommy D weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz. Mom and baby are doing great. Here's a pic of Baby Tommy, fresh from the oven.
If you want to leave a congratulatory note for Mom, Tom, Big Sister Kierra and Baby Tommy, feel free to drop something in the comments. Congrats to the Demers Family! ... > Read more
I know this is an Internet marketing blog and I'm supposed to be talking about search industry news, but the biggest news this week in any industry, truly, was the launch of the new Double Down sandwich from KFC. It seemed to be all anyone was talking/blogging about. But I'm here to show you why there's nothing noteworthy about this news—it's just shameless, attention-grabbing linkbait.
If They Weren't Calling It a Sandwich, It Would Be No Big Deal First of all, as pointed out on the food blog Serious Eats, the Double Down is basically chicken cordon bleu. Chicken cordon bleu is breaded chicken stuffed with cheese and ham; the Double Down is fried (or "grilled") chicken stuffed with cheese and bacon. The main differences are the fact that the chicken doesn't completely env... > Read more
This is a guest post by Kaila Strong. Kaila works for Vertical Measures, an Internet marketing and search engine marketing company based in Phoenix, AZ. She's very active on Twitter (@cliquekaila) and on the Vertical Measures blog, and has started guest blogging regularly. Spring is in the air, bringing thoughts of flowers blooming, spring break, and reevaluating the direction of your website.
Alright, so maybe that isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of spring, but it should be. This time of year is as good a time as any to get your website priorities aligned with your goals, look at areas in need of improvement, and most importantly do a bit of keyword research to see if your efforts need a change. Keyword Analysis When was the last time you looked at your keywords? A... > Read more
Keyword optimization (also known as keyword research) is the act of researching, analyzing and selecting the best keywords to target to drive qualified traffic from search engines to your website.Keyword search optimization is a critical step in initial stages of search engine marketing, for both paid and organic search.
If you do a bad job at selecting your target keywords, all your subsequent efforts will be in vain. So it’s vital to get keyword optimization right.But optimizing keywords isn't something you do ONLY at the outset of a search marketing campaign. Ongoing keyword optimization is necessary to keep uncovering new keyword opportunities and to expand your reach into various keyword verticals. So keyword optimization isn't a set it and forget it process. By continuously perform... > Read more
This is a guest post by Ben Hook. Ben is a search marketer and owner of Navaro, a UK-based SEO company helping clients to increase their online visibility. In the light of Google's recent moves toward personalization in the search results, an increasing amount of advertising campaigns are ditching the traditional "visit us at www.
url.com" and replacing it with "search for: keyword/brand". At first glance this may just seem like a quirky attempt to reach a tech-savvy audience, but it actually has further implications for future search results. To briefly cover the personalization issue for those that aren't aware, Google, in an attempt to bring users more relevant search results, is using individual search history when ranking websites. This means that if you've v... > Read more