This weekend at home, I was surprised to find Google was giving me way more than ten results per page—more like twenty, though I confess I didn't bother to count. (It seems Google no longer does the counting for you.) I quickly sent an email to Tom and Ken about it, but it appeared it was "just me," or rather an experiment that was only affecting some users (as reported by Andy Beard and Barry Schwartz).
I was still thinking about this experiment on Wednesday, contemplating a post called "No More 'Ten Blue Links'" when Google unveiled a much bigger change—big enough to warrant a live press conference, big enough to get everyone on Twitter talking, and not just the "tweeple" in my web marketing column. This big change is Google Instant. It sounds a ... > Read more
As any link wonk will tell you, link building is hard work. So for efficiency's sake, I’m a big fan of harvesting the low hanging fruit in link building. Why kill yourself trying to acquire links from super domains, like CNN.com or The New York Times, when you can grab some quick wins just by tending your own garden?One of the ways I snag some easy link wins is by turning citations into links.
Of all the daily link building tactics I engage in, this is probably one of the best ROI producers. You see, at WordStream, we get cited dozens of times each day across the Web. Most of these mentions (I'd say about 70%) contain links back to our site. But roughly 30% are linkless. And therein lies the opportunity to build a link.Now when it comes to local SEO, I know that citations are like links.... > Read more
Google Analytics (GA) is undoubtedly the most popular web analytics tool on the planet. If you're a search marketer, blogger or online business owner, you likely use Google Analytics on a daily basis to do some basic traffic and performance analysis. But like many, you're probably not harnessing the full power of Google Analytics.
So to help you get even more out of GA, we reached out to 17 Google Analytics experts to create The Power User's Guide to Google Analytics Hacks, Tips and Tricks. The guide features a variety of advanced user features from our all star lineup of Google Analytics Hacks Panelists, including Aaron Wall, Vanessa Fox, Joost de Valk, David Harry, Will Critchlow, Brian Clifton, Justin Cutroni, Bryan Eisenberg, Bas van den Beld and many more analytics experts. Hope ... > Read more
If you’re a serious company you should care about how you appear to potential customers or employees on the Internet. People are always online nowadays, looking up information about a company before they do business or apply for a job. If someone searches for your company in Google, Bing, or another search engine, it’s important that the first page of search results contains positive information about your company.
Here are a few reasons why you should control the first SERP: If someone finds a negative review about your product or service, they’re less likely to purchase it (or anything at all from your company). If someone sees people complaining about working for your company, they might not apply for a job there. If someone finds negative articles about yo... > Read more
On Wednesday, the moderators of Sphinn announced that the site would lose its main social feature—voting—and move to a pure editorial format, with the editors hand-selecting the best of submitted stories to promote to the front page. If you haven't already heard about this, you either: Took a few days off Haven't been on Twitter lately Don't work in Internet marketing Have real job responsibilities and/or "a life" Just kidding about that last one.
Perhaps the death of Sphinn as we know it isn't quite as earth-shaking as Michael Jackson's passing, but it definitely caused a stir in the search marketing community. After the announcement was made on the Sphinn blog, Ruud Hein was one of the first to react. In a post called "Sphinn Is Dead: Long Live Anything Else,... > Read more
We recently ran a webinar on negative keywords, sharing tips, tricks and best practices for using negative keywords to identify and eliminate areas of wasted spend in AdWords pay-per-click campaigns. The webinar included: Tips for identifying wasted spend before it happens Methods for identifying underperforming queries that are costing you money in your AdWords campaign Step-by-step instructions for setting negative keywords within your AdWords campaign via the AdWords interface If you missed it, you can view a video of the webinar or the slides below.
And we hope to see you at the next webinar! Negative Keywords: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices Need more help with negative keywords? Download our free white paper: Negative Keywords: How to Put an End to Wa... > Read more
It used to be that everything was done on the computer, but now, with the introduction of mobile technology such as PDA's and smartphones, the internet has shifted from your desk to the palm of your hand. With this shift come new strategies for online marketers, especially affiliates. This opens up a brand new set of mobile marketing strategies that havn't been around for long and don't have set rules.
Currently there are four main uses of mobile affiliate marketing: click-to-call, smartphone applications, mobile landing pages, and SMS campaigning. Click-to-call is one type of mobile marketing campaign chosen by affiliates. Also called pay-per-call, it allows the affiliate to focus on a set of phone numbers and send them their ads. It is very easy for the recipient to interact with this fo... > Read more
I was reading Google’s post about Enhanced CPC (they're offering a free webinar about the feature next week) when one sentence in particular struck me as very interesting: “Enhanced CPC is compatible with advanced campaign settings and third party bid management systems.” For a while now, I have been using a proprietary, in-house bid management system in conjunction with Google’s Conversion Optimizer to produce excellent results.
I can do this because my company has built our own web analytics data warehouse. Our solution is unique in that we have embraced Google Conversion Optimizer and modified our bid management system to change CPA bids at the ad-group level. This “best-of-both-worlds” bid management approach is available to anyone using third-party bid management software.... > Read more
August was a very graphic month for WordStream. I’m not talking about anything R-rated (though our marketing meetings can get pretty violent)—I’m talking about infographics! Who doesn’t love infographics? Definitely not us. I mean, we definitely don’t not love them.
I mean, we love them. And you all love them too, judging from the page views. And you loved hearing about our infographic strategy almost as much as loved the infographics themselves. Here are the top 10 most popular posts from the WordStream blog in August: How We Got a Link from CNN and Drove Loads of Traffic with Infographics: This case study shows we used infographics to score a huge range of links and big traffic spikes in a short amount of time. Five Myths About Link Building: Larry de... > Read more
Do you need help writing copy that's optimized for search and conversions while still being readable? It's not easy to write at your best while keeping keywords and business goals in mind. If your SEO copywriting skills could use some brushing up, we recommend you check out a seminar being run by friend of WordStream Heather Lloyd-Martin, the CEO of SuccessWorks Inc.
, a pioneer in SEO copywriting services that has been providing training for over 12 years. This training seminar will equip you with skills including: Forming a keyword research strategy Using keyword research tools Finding topic ideas Writing powerful, clickable titles and meta descriptions The three spots you should always place your keyword phrase A step-by-step process for writing optimized content Heather stre... > Read more
Bloggers love a controversy, and that includes me. The big controversy this week was over a new "tax"—more accurately, a business license—being imposed on bloggers in Philadelphia. Last week, Philly's City Paper reported that owners of small, low-traffic blogs were receiving letters from the city "demanding" they pay $300 for a business privilege license.
This license applies to all businesses in the city, not just blogs, but only recently, it seems, has the city attempted to enforce it with blogs. There does seem to be an inherent difference between a blog and a brick-and-mortar business—the latter is probably benefiting from services that the city provides, but a blog run by someone who happens to live in Philadelphia wouldn't seem to. But the license, city officials claim, applie... > Read more
This is the final excerpt from our free white paper, Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper including the last three steps. You've done your research and organized your keywords. You have a system in place for ongoing keyword management and growth. This provides a strong foundation for your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.
But until you have a good understanding of which keywords really work for your business, you can't learn from your campaigns and improve your results. The next step is to use keyword analytics to analyze your keywords and monitor results. Keyword analytics allow you to drill down to the level of the keyword group or the single keyword to see which terms drive the most traffic and conversions, as well as... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. Starting with extensive keyword research allows you to evaluate a number of opportunities and determine which keywords truly have the potential to drive profits for your business.
However, evaluating and refining your keywords will be a lengthy and tedious process if you don't first impose a meaningful order on your keyword research. So the next step is to segment your keywords into small, tightly related groups. Grouping your keywords will change everything else you do in search for the better. Here are just a few of the benefits of better keyword grouping and organization: Higher Quality... > Read more
Unless you've been living in a cave, you know the flavor of the month for link baiting is INFOGRAPHICS!!! They're everywhere, and many major online publications (Huff Post, Fast Company, BoingBoing, Mashable, etc) make it a habit of running cool infographics each day. What's more, infographics hit the front pages of social giants like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon on a regular basis.
Infographic Workflow:Bait CreationInfographic PromotionEvaluate ROICase Study SummaryNow even though we may be a bit late to the infographic link bait and social traffic bonanza party, we still wanted an invite. So we decided it was time to roll out our own infographics link bait campaign. After sitting on the sidelines and seeing what works (and what doesn’t), we felt we had a pretty good idea how to create some... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. As discussed in Step 1, it's important to start with a broad base of keywords when embarking on a search marketing campaign. But a large number of keywords can quickly become unmanageable.
However, you can do extensive keyword research without losing control of your campaigns. The key is to create a flexible, dynamic keyword structure that makes it easy to manage a large and growing list. This means transforming a keyword list into a keyword database. A keyword database has a number of advantages over a keyword list or spreadsheet: It's private and proprietary, unlike lists generated by third-party keyword tools, ... > Read more
For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. If you've got seven days, you've got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. Whether your focus is organic search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, also known as paid search marketing, these seven simple steps will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic keyword database that will drive traffic and revenue through search.
As soon as next week, your business will start to see: An increase in traffic More qualified leads Lower search marketing costs These are just a few of the benefits you'll experience with more effective keyword research, organization, and... > Read more
The Internet is obsessed with death. Number of Google results, in millions, for "is alive" and "is dead." The following is a partial list of entities that the Internet (as reported by Google) has declared dead in the past year: Love Microsoft Kin Google Wave "Authentic" The Avant-Garde Print The Book The Page Blogs Flash HP Slate Open Office Email The Phone Call Jazz Chivalry And the latest: the Web.
Yes, the Internet has declared the Web dead. Is that an oxymoron? No, not really—there's a subtle difference between the Internet and the Web, according to Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, in a Wired article published on Tuesday: Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to sem... > Read more
It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Traffic is the lifeblood of any online undertaking. The success of an online business greatly depends on the amount of traffic it can generate for its pages. This is an indubitable fact.What is subject to a lot of debate, however, is the matter of SEO vs.
PPC, two of the most powerful traffic generating approaches. SEO stands for search engine optimization. PPC stands for pay per click. Though their end goal is the same, they are different concepts that require different techniques and methodologies.Both are effective methods of garnering visitors for a website, but one method can work very well for certain circumstances, while with the other, you may encounter difficulties generating traffic in the same situation.To succeed with either method... > Read more
Google recently introduced a new AdWords feature that lets you create keywords that are more targeted than broad match, yet have a greater reach than phrase or exact match. With modified broad match, you put a plus sign (+) in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. The words that are preceded by a (+) sign must appear in the user’s keyword phrase exactly or as a close variation.
The words that are not following a (+) sign will trigger ads on more significant query variations. This feature can drive more traffic than phrase or exact match, and attract more qualified traffic than broad match. What are examples of modified broad match phrases? Say your broad match phrase was “red purses.” That phrase could prompt ads on relevant query variations like “red bags,” ... > Read more
There's a reason that link building is often touted as being one of the top strategies for gaining exposure online: it works. Unlike many other online marketing strategies, link building is a consistently reliable way to draw targeted traffic to a website. Like anything else, though, plenty of myths about link building are swirling around out there.
In order to make the most out of your Internet marketing experience, you should educate yourself about the most common link building myths. By doing so, you can use link building to enjoy a more fruitful online marketing experience. Dispelling the Top Five Link Building Myths The Internet is awash in conflicting information about link building. Below, we highlight five of the most pervasive link building strategy myths, then cut th... > Read more
Google has an interesting tightrope to walk with their AdWords platform in that they have two central competing interests:They want to make the system intuitive to use and easy for the "tail" of AdWords advertisers to spend money with.They need to continue to make AdWords a profitable channel for the top advertisers, who represent the bulk of the money spent on their platform, and they need to present power users with access to power tools.
To date the way they've handled this is to offer defaults on the front end that encourage spending, with advanced features that help optimize larger spends available but less accessible (which possibly accounts for their alarmingly high client churn amongst small businesses).A great example of this push-spend-in-the-front-intelligent-features-in-the-back... > Read more
Is Anyone Being Evil Here? Google-Verizon Compromise Proposal Draws Criticism from Net Neutrality Advocates
Last week, the New York Times and other media outlets reported that Google and Verizon were in talks to form a deal that would fly in the face of net neutrality, suggesting that Google planned to pay Verizon to speed up delivery of YouTube videos. Both companies denied the reports. On Monday, Google and Verizon held a press conference to discuss the actual content of their proposal.
As outlined on Google's Public Policy Blog, it has seven key elements: Openness of wireline broadband Internet should be enforceable by the FCC. Any discriminatory practices against lawful content, applications or services, as well as prioritization of traffic, should be enforceably prohibited. Broadband providers should be transparent. The FCC should address complaints on a case-by-case basis and impose pena... > Read more
This week's recommended resource is one of my favorite people in the Internet marketing sphere, Megan Leap. Megan is a fantastic marketer, blogger and world class sweetheart. When I first connected with Megan, she was working for Ion Interactive as the Online Marketing Manager and was a key contibutor to the Ion Interactive Blog, where she shared her insights on search, social media and conversion rate optimiztion tips and best practices.
Recently, she left Ion and is now managing the marketing activities over at MarketingProfs. She still blogs frequently and shares her deep knowledge of the online marketing space, so make sure you check out and bookmark her articles on the Marketing Professors Daily Fix Blog. Megan also has her own personal site, where she posts links to her guest article... > Read more
This is a guest post by Amy Hoffman, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. She also blogs for PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Have you ever looked through an old scrapbook to find yourself smiling at memories you’d nearly forgotten? For me, it may be dressing up as Aqua to perform a sixth grade rendition of “Barbie Girl,” holding my at-the-time new baby brother, or some other embarrassing, proud or hilarious moment.
Some of these moments will live on only in the scrapbook. (I can double-check but I’m pretty positive my mom won’t have any more kids.) On the contrary, these memories can spark future plans such as a reunion with my fellow Aqua impersonators. By now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Believe it or not, the lifespan of a PPC account follows... > Read more
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important part of building a web business. While advertising and social networking are important parts of growing your online presence, the majority of people still come across new websites by using search engines. Search engine traffic is also far more likely to be looking for something to buy than social traffic is.
But SEO has changed quite a bit over the years. In the past it was easier to try to outsmart the search engines by using questionable tactics that filled the web with sites that were little more than spam, packed with repetitive keywords and useless to the visitor. Unfortunately, some of these tactics are still taught by people claiming to have knowledge in the field of SEO. It is important to avoid these pitfalls that in the best cas... > Read more
Search Engine Watch today published a really interesting article called "How to Cut Through the Clutter in Branded Search," using WordStream's keyword tools as the first step in a brand query analysis. In this article, Web Liquid Group's Paul Burani (Web Liquid is a New York marketing agency that measures brand health in the digital space) helps a friend, a chief marketing officer, develop a methodology for obtaining "an objective view on [a] brand's overall performance in digital.
" Paul writes: I told him that one way of answering the question would be to look at the trend in search query volume for the brand name -- if more people are querying keywords related to the brand name this month, compared to last month, that would be one way to answer the CMO's question. Thi... > Read more
Summer is winding down, and I’ll miss the warm sun, lazy beach days and endless BBQs. However fall is right around the corner and is sure to bring crisp air, pumpkin coffee, football season … and conferences! That’s right; it’ll soon be time to decide which shows to attend, which tracks pique your interest and which industry celebrities you will stalk.
WordStream is excited to be exhibiting at SMX East in New York City this October. Whether you’re looking for in-depth workshops or networking opportunities, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, SMX East will have you covered. We’ll be there, and we hope to see you, too! So get a head start on your conference schedule, register early and save 10% with our discount code (note t... > Read more
Slate this week featured an interview with Google's research director, Peter Norvig, as part of its series The Wrong Stuff—interviews with people about "the role of error in their lives and their fields." This approach feels particularly apropos this week, since Google announced plans to stop development on Wave as a standalone product.
Kathryn Schulz's opening gambit: I'm interested in the way that attitudes about error vary across professional cultures—doctors typically think about error very differently than pilots and politicians and so forth—as well as across the cultures of different companies, even within the same field. How would you characterize the overall attitude toward error at Google? Norvig, we learn, along with the other executives and engineers... > Read more