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
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 into a money-making machine. Step 1: Define Your Target Market One of the reasons why most AdWords marketers record below-average performance is aimless promotion. Since t... > 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
Out of work? Unhappy with your present gig? Interested in Internet Marketing? Why not start a career in online marketing? Consider applying for a Job at WordStream! We're on a mission to build the next generation of Internet Marketing Software solutions to simplify and improve customer success with PPC and SEO, and are currently hiring for the following search marketing jobs in sales, marketing and product development: We're hiring for the following positions and offer a competitive salary and benefits package: Director of Business Development: Become a significant revenue driver for WordStream by discovering new sales and partnership opportunties.
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
Selecting targeted keywords is the first step to setting up a PPC campaign in Google AdWords, but the keyword matching options that you use can also have a large impact on your success. There are five AdWords match types: Broad Match, Modified Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Negative Match.
All keyword match types have advantages and drawbacks, so we'll discuss each in detail to help you choose the most advantageous options for your goals.For our discussion of the different AdWords matching options, we'll use "Gel Batteries" as the example keyword to illustrate how different options affect when your advertisements will be displayed.Broad MatchBroad match is the default matching option for keywords used in your AdWords campaigns. A broad match keyword will be entered as Gel Batt... > Read more
There's been a lot of speculation this week, everywhere from The Atlantic to Hipster Runoff, that Apple is planning to buy Facebook. I'm pretty skeptical about this possibility, but nonetheless, it frightens me. No two companies I can think of have inspired so much cultish devotion among millennials, who rank brand loyalty up there with religion and ethnicity in terms of personal identification.
If Facebook and Apple joined forces, world domination couldn't be far behind. And that would be a scary world, a world with only rounded corners and far too many email notifications. Speculation began on Monday when Steve Jobs made intimations during an earnings call that Apple was poised to spend some of its $51 billion in cash on acquisitions. Or, as he put it, they have "a unique opportunit... > Read more
Your headline is the first thing people will see in the search results – assuming they notice your ad at all. To catch eyes and get clicks, it's essential to write a headline that:Includes your keyword, signaling relevance to the search, while alsoBeing unique and compelling, so it stands out from the crowdMost advertisers have the first qualification down.
The second part is harder; it takes cleverness and creativity to get say something interesting in just 25 characters. But better ads earn you higher click-through, so it's worth it to invest a little more effort into your ad's headline.Here are some dos and don'ts to consider when writing headlines for PPC.DON'T use a generic headlineDo a little competitive research on the keywords you plan to bid on before you write your ads, and tak... > Read more
So the crew over at SEO Dojo are at it again and have created a sick, new iPhone app called SEO Dojo Radio.Here's the iPhone App Description:SEO and all forms of internet marketing are our topics. We discuss industry news, SEO techniques and interview the top names in the SEO Game!Here are a couple of screenshots of the SEO Dojo Radio App too:Now, I'm a huge fan of SEO Dojo Radio.
And how can you not be with kick ass guests such as Jill Whalen, Debra Mastaler, Garrett French and former WordStream Director of Marketing and Measured SEM consultant Tom Demers.So if you're a fan of SEO news and insights, you're definitely going to want to download the new SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App. Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more
Most people who are familiar with SEO know that not all links are created equal. In addition to the “nofollow” tag, there are many ways that a webmaster can value or devalue a link, intentionally or unintentionally. This includes everything from the keywords included in the anchor text to the HTML formatting that surrounds the link.
However, there is one aspect that is often overlooked, especially by those relatively new to SEO: the position of the link on the page. Though a link can be stuck anywhere on a page, the search engines quietly judge links based on their location. One spot in particular – the site footer – has drawn their attention, and not for good reasons, so much so that Yahoo secured a patent aimed largely at devaluing footer links, and anecdotal evidence sug... > Read more
This Thursday, October 21, you have two opportunities to learn from WordStream. First, we'll be presenting the following SEMPO webinar: WHAT: Developing a Negative Keyword Strategy WHEN: Thurs., Oct. 21, at 12:00 PM Eastern (9:00 AM Pacific) WHERE: Online (register here) WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Executives, in-house marketers, SEMPO clients and prospects Do you know how to develop a negative keyword strategy? This FREE webinar will provide a series of tips and tricks for cutting the fat from your paid search accounts and for identifying irrelevant traffic that your keywords could be matched against, before you waste any advertising spend.
We will outline a repeatable process for leveraging negative keywords to help cut costs and improve the relevance of PPC traffic. Don't miss this opport... > Read more
At the beginning of September, Google AdWords and I were in a relational rut. Our daily lives together had become monotonous and uninspired. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to blame Google for our static relationship, the truth is Google was never short on ideas for me to implement into my client accounts.
I, on the other hand, was stubborn and already knew what worked best for my accounts. After talking to some colleagues, I have found that this is a common problem among PPC account managers. When managing accounts, we often find ourselves falling into daily, weekly, and monthly account maintenance routines, and while we are utilizing best practices, we are also missing out on unique and innovative growth opportunities. Typically, any given day or week will include minor – although... > Read more
Ideally you would be able to produce multiple new blog posts, press releases, case studies and newsletters every day, bolstering your company's supply of marketing content and appealing to Google's love of freshness. But the reality is you are not a machine, and can only write so much during your workday.
Given time and energy limitations, it's key you find efficient ways to reuse, recycle and repackage your content (otherwise known as repurposing your content). Here are five ways to repurpose your marketing content to save time and get maximum leverage out of your work. 1. Tweak a blog post you've published and pitch it as a guest post. Google doesn't look kindly upon duplicate content, and neither do your fellow bloggers, but if the posts are significantly different, you should be in the... > Read more
On Wednesday, Bing and Facebook announced a partnership to make search more social by integrating Facebook "likes" into search results. According to the Facebook blog: When you search for something on Bing or in web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you'll be able to see your friends' faces next to web pages they've liked.
So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search. In theory, if you search for "The Social Network" in Bing, you might see links to reviews or stories about the movie that your Facebook friends have given the thumbs-up. Or if you're searching for a hotel in Santa Monica, you might see that a friend liked a certain hotel's Facebook page. In addition, people in your FB network will be more likely to show up in searches for names. Mark Zuc... > Read more
The folks over at BlueGlass are hosting another stellar, star-studded must-attend event for "serious marketers," and they're offering an exclusive 15% discount to readers of this blog. BlueGlass FL 2010 is happening on November 2 and 3, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The conference will feature some of the top social media and search marketing industry experts, including Brian Clark from Copyblogger, Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia.com, Marty Weintraub of AimClear and Dennis Goedegebuure Director of SEO at eBay. Register for BlueGlass FL with the WordStream Discount Code! If you register with the exlusive discount code "ws15," you'll get 15% off. And there are no limitations on the number of sign-ups associated with this code so pass it along to your ... > Read more
I've been blogging now for a little over three years now, and one of the important lessons I've learned during that time is that, to have a successful blog, you need to build relationships with other bloggers. Now, smart link builders have long understood that "link building is relationship building," and you will get more links by forging friendships than you will cold emailing strangers and begging for links.
The same holds true for "blog building," and developing relationships with your contemporaries is something that should be part of every bloggers' strategy. Networking with other bloggers in your niche allows you to: Develop mutually beneficial connections Generate more awareness for your own blog Establish credibility and cache for you and your blog (via a recommendation from an ... > Read more
It appears that Google is testing a new sitelinks format in the SERPs. I haven't seen this mentioned before in the blogosphere and it's the first time I've seen this new format so it's new to me. Anyway, I'm only seeing the new format with branded/navigational queries. With the new sitelinks format, Google has rolled up paired listings along with multiple domain and subdomain listings for a brand into a new expanded sitelinks format.
Here's one for "WordStream" And here's one for "Compete" At first blush, I'm a little torn as to whether I like it or not. It's definitely better for user experience and someone running a navigational query. However, from a SERP management standpoint, rolling up my paired listings and subdomain listings into one big sitelinks section all... > Read more
Today is a bittersweet day at WordStream – our much-loved director of marketing, Tom Demers, is leaving WordStream for another opportunity. We're very happy for Tom, who is buying a house with his beautiful wife and kids in Connecticut, but very sad for ourselves! Tom's shoes will be extremely hard to fill.
He's been with WordStream since waaaaaay back – as way back, at least, as a startup can go. Back when WordStream was just a handful of people meeting with laptops in a Panera, Tom was there, laying out the early marketing strategy and creating most of the content that became our website. He's seen us through several office moves, site redesigns and product overhauls, dozens of hires, and roughly a thousand meetings, with a huge smile on his face the whole time. Tom is an ama... > Read more
For a while now, we've been offering a free Quality Score Toolkit that rounds up our best resources for marketers looking to learn more about Quality Score. This toolkit includes: A white paper on improving Quality Score by increasing relevance A "Mastering Quality Score" video (a recording of one of our most popular webinars) A Quality Score Cheat Sheet, a one-pager dense with information about Quality Score And we've just added a fourth element that makes this toolkit even more useful for search marketers.
One of our resident PPC experts, Andy Stefano, has put together a Quality Score worksheet that will give you a quick overview of where your AdWords account stands from a Quality Score perspective. Just plug in some key numbers in the first page of the worksheet, and a dashb... > Read more
Since WordStream launched, we’ve talked a lot about Quality Score and created a number of Quality Score resources: A Quality Score white paper A Quality Score toolkit including a handy Quality Score cheat-sheet, a webinar on the topic, and a meaty white paper. And an interview which we think serves as a pretty comprehensive guide to Quality Score (despite what some people may think about the veracity of some of the interview answers – hat tip to Aaron of SEO Book and PPC Blog PPC Training for the very insightful comments incidentally!) We believe campaign structure is a foundational element in building out profitable pay-per-click marketing campaigns, and we know that it’s a crucial component of Google’s ad auction.
And while many vendors focus on tool... > Read more
The link building game changed today with the launch of Ontolo's V2 Link Building Toolset that, according to the Ontolo boys, makes link building "ridiculously easy." They dropped by our offices today (ok, via email) to answer some questions about how they're revolutionizing the link building tool space.
.. These guys are on fire lately so it's a real treat to have them "on our blog" today. BTW, we've reviewed their V1 launch and had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Wills and Garrett French before. Ken: Guys, welcome back! Talk to me about how the Ontolo tool makes link building "ridiculously easy." Ben: Thanks Ken! The Ontolo Link Building Toolset makes link building ridiculously easy in the following ways: We find and measure link prospects based on your SEO keywords as well as your targ... > Read more