Next-Generation Keyword Tools - Now Available Free

Today WordStream has launched two new, powerful, patented, and totally FREE keyword suggestion tools. The Free Keyword Niche Finder – To use this tool, just enter a keyword and get back structured pockets of keyword suggestions ready to use in paid and organic search marketing campaigns.

The Free Keyword Grouper – Drop in a list of keywords or analytic data and this tool segments your keywords into tightly related semantic groupings. I'd like to talk a little about why we created these tools and why I believe that the future of keyword research for both pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization will involve thinking of keywords in terms of niches, rather than individual keywords. What Is a Keyword Niche? A keyword niche (or keyword grouping), as oppo... > Read more

December 16, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 12

Personalized Search: Kind of a Big Deal

It was another big week at the Googleplex. (This opener is starting to feel like the Friday roundup equivalent of "Once upon a time.") The "search giant" made about a jillion announcements—I think Google has decided to mimic Bing's ever-changing homepage image by adding a new feature every day. (Ooh, fade-in buttons! But why!) Some of these announcements had real implications for search marketers—particularly integration of real-time search and the launch of "universal personalized search," which means, in effect, there's no "real" ranking, no official SERP; like Google's homepage of late, it's always different.

(Of course, one could argue that with geo and time data incorporated it was always different anyway …) The search community is divided on the significance of personalized sea... > Read more

December 11, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

Google Real Time Search - How Google is Determining Where to Show Real Time Search

A lot of people have been writing interesting stuff and trying to get a feel for what's going on with Google's new real time search feature. It seems that Google is using two key factors in determing what does (and doesn't) get a real-time SERP box: Query Type - This is standard operating procedure for blended search.

Google looks at query type in determining when and how aggresively to integrate things like news, video, etc. Twitter Activity - This is the interesting piece, for me: it looks like Google is monitoring (via API or possibly by crawling) the activity of certain terms across Twitter, and integrating twitter results based on the amount of activity they see on Twitter. My methods for arriving at this conclusion are far from scientific, but it makes sense and I'll explain why I t... > Read more

December 11, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Google's Real Time Brandjacking

Okay, so I've been running my share of real time SERP testing recently to get an idea how this may or may not impact SEO. As expected, others in search have been doing much the same with some very funny (yet scary) results. But nothing concerned me more than what I found last night. I was doing a branded query for WordStream to see what if anything was being integrated into our real time search results and here's what I find:   So the WordStream home page was pushed out of the first position for our branded query in favor of some random RTs from Twitter that are totally unrelated to the WordStream brand.

I was pretty ticked when I saw this. The reputation management implications are huge if this is what Google has in store for brands. I mean, it's one thing to integrate real time resu... > Read more

December 10, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

SEO Lab: Testing Anchor Text Links

To be an effective and successful SEO, it's imperative that you're always testing, testing, testing. Why? Well, for starters, the variables that comprise and dictate the SERPs are totally out of our control. How do you know what truly works unless you test? Another reason is that's it's very unlikely you'll ever run into a search engineer from Google at a bar who's so hammered that he reveals Google's ranking algo to you.

But to be more specific, continuous testing is valuable and necessary because: Algorithms are constantly being updated, so what worked yesterday may not work today Without evidence or cold hard facts, you're operating blindly Every test you conduct adds to your knowledge base There's a lot of misinformation and SEO myths, so you can't believe in and rely on everything yo... > Read more

December 10, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 11

Coming Soon: New Guide to E-Commerce SEO

Ari Ozick, a friend of WordStream and a great contributor to the SEO Book forums, is launching a new SEO guide soon: The Contrarian Guide to E-Commerce SEO. We got a sneak peak at the guide and it's got a ton of advanced information for "e-commerce site owners and marketing managers who want the nitty gritty on SEO, and have the resources to drive their SEO efforts.

" You can sign up now on Ari's site to get on the waiting list for the guide. We'll do a more in-depth review when it becomes publicly available. ... > Read more

December 09, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Five Ways to Expand Your PPC Presence

The following is a guest post by John Lewis, one of WordStream's client services representatives. John helps customers overcome challenges and hone PPC performance. Pay-per-click marketing is a continual process and there are always ways to expand your presence and improve performance. The following are five ways you can explore different PPC opportunities even after you have thoroughly segmented your keywords into an effective structure: 1.

Advertise on the content network: A good form of spreading your brand name to a relevant audience. Select verticals of websites that are related to your product to reach out to the most qualified audience. A study conducted by Forrester indicates that display advertising in the content network increases brand awareness and results in higher click-thro... > Read more

December 08, 2009     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Top Online Marketers of 2009: Vote for Larry Kim!

Nominations are up for Invesp's top 100 online marketers of the year, and Larry Kim is among the nominees! Larry is WordStream's founder and VP of product development; he's a believer in the power of search as a marketing tool and has always played a big role in our Web marketing efforts. He's in the company of many great marketers and friends of WordStream, including Aaron Wall, David Szetela, Debra Mastaler, Eric Enge, Manoj Jasra, and Michael Gray.

But we hope you'll vote for Larry! Voting is open until midnight on December 13. ... > Read more

December 07, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

The Power of Anchor Text. True Story!

It's something you hear over and over again from SEOs: Anchor text matters. Chris Brogan relayed this familiar advice this week in a post on decisions we make as bloggers: By the way, HOW you link to something matters. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it Chris’s blog, then you’re telling Google that people searching for “Chris’s blog” might want chrisbrogan.

com. If you link to chrisbrogan.com by calling it social media resources or social media strategy or whatever (frankly, I’ve never known what to bother ranking for in search results), then you are telling Google that people searching for social media whatever might want to find my blog. So in choosing the words for the link text, you’re also making decisions. Aside: It took me FOREVER to find where I'd read this a... > Read more

December 04, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 3

You Know You’re a Search Geek if...

Okay. I admit it. I'm a big ole' search geek. My life pretty much revolves around search. I mainly read search marketing blogs, have a SEO consulting biz on the side, and work full time for WordStream, where I'm surrounded by other search marketers all day, and we sell search marketing tools to members of the search marketing industry.

So my search geekiness should come as no surprise. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to create a list and share some of the truly nerdy search stuff I’ve done that makes me an uber geek. Plus, this should help anyone who's on the fence, wondering if they are or aren't a search geek too. Because if you've ever done any of these things, then well... You Know You’re a Search Geek if... You're impressed by domain names When we moved into our new office last ... > Read more

December 03, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Designing and Maintaining Scalable Information Architecture

This is a guest post by Terry Van Horne. Terry is the founder of SeoPros and a 15-year veteran of Web development, currently working out of his consulting and development firm International Website Builders. Terry's interests are primarily the socialization of search and analysis of social Web traffic and applications like Twitter.

There is a faction in the industry pushing SEOs toward developing websites with the main emphasis being search engine rankings. Sorry, last I looked search engines don't buy things—people do! Your target audience has been lost when you focus primarily on search engines. It seems to me, especially where links are concerned, SEOs have become search-engine-centric. I was discussing a great site I'd found with some SEOs. One piped up and said, "Site is us... > Read more

December 02, 2009     |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Link Building Experts Interview Series: Julie Joyce

Julie Joyce is the cofounder and director of operations at the link development firm Link Fish Media, Inc. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, Link Fish Media specializes in building links for the most competitive industries. On the Link Fish site, you talk about the importance of "managing your links." What does link management entail? Oh dear, you looked at that site? Ha! We've ignored it, we're trying to agree on how to redo it, and generally I just can't bear to look at it.

OK, so link management ... Link management is taking an active interest in your links, basically. It's understanding your link profile with the recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach will work about as well as it would with actual human beings being managed. There will be great links that send tons of qualified ... > Read more

November 30, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 2

Monthly Blog Roundup: WordStream's November Highlights

Anticipating tomorrow's onslaught of fowl and starch, most of you are probably in a preemptive food coma. Instead of trying to "digest" something new from the blogosphere (or get any actual work done), why not revisit our top content from the past month? November was link building month at WordStream, and every Monday we posted a new interview with a link building expert (there's one more to come on Monday the 30th!), gathering insight on when it's OK to buy a link (and how to get away with it), how to handle link requests, strategies for creating linkbait and viral content, the best link building tools and more.

These interviews were very popular and we expect they'll continue to serve as a resource for link building newbies and aspiring experts alike. Debra Mastaler: "All ... > Read more

November 25, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

The Nonprofit's Guide to Link Building

We've been following Penn State Professor Jim Jansen and his PPC Advertising course for a while now, eagerly awaiting the outcome of his class's competition for the best performing nonprofit PPC campaign. Which got me thinking--those involved in nonprofits understand the difficulty of initiating a PPC campaign for their cause, and as much as I'd like to preach about the ease and importance of PPC for all businesses, nonprofits included, we'll save that until after Jim's results are in (mostly so we can read about the lessons his class learned and then pass them off as our own).

In the meantime, we'll focus instead on link building. In my experience, mentioning "link building" among nonprofit professionals mostly results in blank stares and disinterested looks, so we'll start slow... > Read more

November 24, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 3

Link Building Experts Interview Series: Wiep Knol

Wiep Knol is a link marketer from the Netherlands. He learned about online marketing during his study in 2004, and was hooked instantly. Two years later, he was hired to set up a link marketing service at Tribal Internet Marketing. Now, Wiep works as a partner for LinkBuilding.nl, and he runs a few other online projects as well.

  Want to read more? Check out Wiep's link building blog, or follow him on Twitter. You recently started your own consultancy. What was the impetus for the switch, and what are your plans for the future? Do you want to create your own agency, or remain independent indefinitely? The main reason for me to start on my own was freedom. Being able to make decisions you want, taking on clients you 100% want to take on, and focusing on the stuff you really love to do.... > Read more

November 23, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

Twitter's New Retweet Feature: Yay or Fail? (Please RT)

It's finally Friday, folks, and this week's roundup is all about IMAGE SWIRL! Just kidding. Who cares about Image Swirl? This week's roundup is all about the retweet. Twitter has completed the rollout of its new formalized retweet feature. I want to say that I haven't seen so many people tweeting about the same thing since Michael Jackson died, but the trending topics indicate otherwise.

I guess it's just my dweeby search marketing list. As Ruud Hein pointed out, it's kind of funny to watch the search results for "retweet." (As long as we're complaining about Twitter, can I just add that this is irritating: because the link in Ruud's tweet was broken in TweetDeck, I arrived at the search page for people instead, then had to navigate back to my home page, where it took me upwards of five s... > Read more

November 20, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 6

Sazbean Interview

Hello world! I was interviewed today by Sarah Worsham (sazbean).Sarah is among other things, a Web Strategist, Geek, Mother, Wife, Webgrrl, Computer Engineer and MBA! She runs a website that focuses on helping companies and organizations use the Internet to reach their business goals. The topics are focused around business & entrepreneurship and you can read the article here.

Hit me up on Twitter:  Follow @larrykim ... > Read more

November 19, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

Meta Description Mutiny! Take Control of Your Text Snippets

If you're under the impression that you control what searchers see in the meta description snippet of your SERP listings, you're living in fantasy land. Static meta descriptions are like Santa Claus, Unicorns and men who look "good" in toupees. They just don't exist. That's because the meta description is a chameleon: always changing its appearance.

That snippet you tag to show in the SERPs is often discarded by Google for text more germane to a searcher's query. And given that Google’s goal is to return the most relevant results to their audience, I can see how personalized meta descriptions make sense. But that doesn't mean search marketers have to sit by idly and let Google dictate what an audience will or won't see. There are ways to take control of your text snipp... > Read more

November 19, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 9

Using Google Analytics Benchmarking to Improve Your Website

A few years ago, Google Analytics added benchmarking, allowing site owners to compare their own sites to others in the same category. Of course, many sites fit into more than one category, and to enable benchmarking, you must first enable data sharing from within your analytics settings. Using my art blog, ArtNewYorkCity.

com, I wanted to see how well it performs against other blogs in its category. Selecting the right category is crucial for this exercise – fortunately, Google Analytics has a fairly rich selection to choose from, especially if you drill down a few levels. Once you have chosen a category, you can view six charts (see below) comparing your site with the averages of other sites in its category, aggregated from several thousand sites using Google Analytics that have also el... > Read more

November 18, 2009     |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 1

Leverage Analytics Intelligence to Be Alerted to Important Changes in Your PPC Campaign

At the end of October, Google Analytics announced a series of exciting updates. Included was the Analytics Intelligence engine which algorithmically tracks significant changes to patterns in your website’s metrics. This engine works both as an automatic feature for general alerts and a custom feature for you to leverage Intelligence based on any metric and/or traffic source you choose.

Intelligence comes with the ability to provide Daily, Weekly or Monthly alerts. As a PPC manager, I'm thrilled to be able to let Google track my data and tell me when things are going well, and more importantly - not going well. Today I'm going to share with you some quick ideas on how you can leverage Analytics Intelligence for your own PPC campaigns.  But just in case you missed the offici... > Read more

November 17, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 5

Link Building Experts Interview Series: Dixon Jones

Dixon Jones is the managing director of the respected UK Internet marketing consultancy Receptional, which heads up the marketing of MajesticSEO, the world's largest open anchor text link map of the web. He has spoken at Internet marketing conferences including Pubcon, SMX, SES and International Search Summit.

To learn more about Dixon Jones, check out his website or follow him on Twitter: @Receptional. Tell us a little bit about your roles, both at Receptional and at Majestic SEO. I publicly took over the marketing role at director level at Majestic SEO in the summer, after a long discussion with Alex, who is a brilliant programmer and who – I believe – has built something absolutely world-class. I’m not used to working for someone else, as also I founded Receptional, an Intern... > Read more

November 16, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

Rupert Murdoch's Crazy Old Man Syndrome, or Why Can't News Find a Business Model?

This week, another chapter in the slow-motion car crash that is the decline of the news industry (excuse me while I mix my metaphors; I’m working on reduced brain cells today): Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp. will consider moving its websites to a paid subscription model and voluntarily delisting them from Google—equating search engine listings to plagiarism.

In an interview with Sky News (video clip below), he also claimed that “fair use is illegal,” a move Cory Doctorow called the “loonie cherry atop a banana split with extra crazy sauce.” Murdoch claims that “search people” (anyone who finds a story on one of the News Corp. sites via search) aren’t a worthwhile audience. They click on an item in the Google results, take ... > Read more

November 13, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Best Keyword Ranking Tools for SEO

Most SEOs use keyword ranking tools to track where their pages are ranking in the SERPs for target keywords. It gives them an idea how well their optimization efforts are faring against the competition as well as how well those rankings are progressing over time. Now even though rankings without traffic and conversions are meaningless, it all starts with rankings.

If your pages don’t rank, nobody finds them. And the higher you rank, the more potential traffic you can grab. Now, there are a lot of a lot of paid and free tools out there that help SEOs track keyword rankings. Some are paid and some are free. In writing this post, I did a lot of research to bring you the best keyword ranking tools for SEO.Free Keyword Ranking Tools Rank Checker Web CEO Ventio Paid Keyword Ranking Tools Ad... > Read more

November 12, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 17

Sage Lewis Interviews Larry Kim

Sage Lewis of SageRock and Search Engine Watch interviewed Larry Kim about the exciting new features in WordStream 1.6, including Google Analytics integration and multi-source keyword analytics. Watch the two-part video interview below: ... > Read more

November 11, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

Five Myths About SEO Copywriting

1. SEO copywriting sounds forced and mechanical. This myth is almost true: Bad SEO copywriting sounds forced and mechanical. You can spot it from a mile away: The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar? The benefits of apple cider vinegar are many! The benefits of apple cider vinegar include improved health and boosted immunity.

This page is all about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I guess if this page starts ranking for "the benefits of apple cider vinegar" I'll have to eat my words, huh? But seriously folks: SEO copywriting doesn't have to, and shouldn't, be robotic. Keyword research is a supplement to good writing, not a replacement for it. The only reason that keyword-targeted copy would end up sounding as ridiculous as the above paragraph i... > Read more

November 11, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 10

The Future of Keyword Research: WordStream 1.6

Keyword research as we know it suffers from a major disconnect. On one hand, you have keyword tools, which provide keyword suggestions and associated keyword frequency estimates. On the other hand, you have web analytics applications, which provide you with the actual search queries that are driving traffic to your site, and the true relevancy of your keywords based on real conversion data.

But there is no reason for these two types of tools to be divorced from each other. In fact, in my experience, successful keyword research largely depends on your ability to leverage and manage data from both keyword tools and web analytics in a continuous fashion.Let's take a look at why neither keyword tools nor web analytics alone is sufficient for complete keyword research, and how the future of key... > Read more

November 10, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 5

Link Building Experts Interview Series: Ben Wills & Garrett French

Ben Wills and Garrett French are the cofounders of Ontolo, a link building agency. Check out their link building blog or follow them on Twitter: @benwills and @GarrettFrench. (Note: Also check out Ari Ozick's SEO Contrarian blog for a similar series of interviews with link building gurus Tuesdays of this month.

)  What factors go into a "quality" link? Garrett: Backlink profile of prospective linker -- which sites link to the page and the site as a whole An engaged, relevant audience Distribution and reach of target site -- are they social media participants? Do they have an email newsletter? How far will your link there take you? Ben: Relevance and value Keywords used on page, etc. Quantity and quality of backlinks Relevance of entire site Relevance of entire site's backlinks Whi... > Read more

November 09, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 6

The Week in Search: Even More Ways to Brainstorm Blog Posts

I'm sort of surprised that I've never linked to Chris Brogan's blog in a Friday roundup before, since I'm a regular reader. Maybe because his posts tend to be short, to the point and difficult to disagree with, and finding something to disagree with is one of my top ways of brainstorming new blog posts.

It's also one of Chris Brogan's! His "How to Think of Blog Posts" post features the good-old-fashioned rant at #8 (see roundups of Fridays past in which I disagree with Seth Godin, David Powazek and Robert Scoble). I guess I'm feeling agreeable this week because I have no beef with Chris's post; I simply want to add a few more ideas to the list: 1. Expand on a tweet: The next time you start to respond to something or someone on Twitter, hold that thought and see if you can't expand beyond 1... > Read more

November 06, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

5 SEO Myths Busted

SEO is rampant with misinformation, speculation and myths about SEO. But that's the nature of the game, right? Since nobody but Google knows for certain which 200 plus ranking signals comprise the Google secret algorithmic formula, we're left to speculate. However, there's gross misinformation, complete speculation and then there are theories put into practice tested and proven to return results with some degree of reliability.

With that, I've decided to address some of the SEO myths I see or hear from time to time. Most of the following SEO myths I'm attempting to debunk are controversial, meaning the vast majority of SEOs will disagree with my assertions, and I'll probably take a lot of flack. But that's okay. Feel free to lambaste me in the comments. I stand behind everything I'm profe... > Read more

November 05, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 22

New White Paper: Four Steps to Better Keyword Grouping

We're offering a new free white paper for download: 4 Steps to Better Keyword Grouping. This is a focused, tactical white paper offering clear and actionable advice to help you achieve more effective and profitable keyword segmentation for search marketing. If your keyword grouping strategy could use some polishing—or you're not even sure where to start—this white paper is a must-read.

Here's an excerpt from the new paper: If you only have time for one change to improve the overall performance and value of both your pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization efforts, turn your attention to keyword grouping. Far from a single, isolated process, keyword grouping represents a paradigm shift for search market­ing. Better keyword grouping and organization can transfo... > Read more

November 04, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0
 
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