Recommended SEM Resources: Manoj Jasra

Recommended SEM Resources is an ongoing series here at WordStream where we plug some of our favorite sources of Web marketing wisdom. It's our version of the employee recommended movies section at Blockbuster, but for search marketing. This month's Recommended SEM Resource is Manoj Jasra. Manoj is a Web Analytics Analyst and President of Jasra, Inc, a Web analytics and SEO firm in Calgary, Alberta, and the Senior Search Marketing Strategist at Shaw Communications.

He's also a prolific blogger and frequent contributor to a number of SEM online publications. Manoj's personal blog is Web Analytics World, which focuses on search marketing, technology and Web analytics insights. Many of Manoj's posts on Web Analytics World advocate how important it is to incorporate analytics into your marketin... > Read more

April 08, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Best Online Marketing Blogs   |   Comments: 1

WordStream Wins Always On On Demand 100 Award

Every year Always On puts together a list that "recognizes companies with game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. " This year they've included WordStream on the list. As a young company, being included on these sorts of lists is validating for a number of reasons, but most notably we're impressed by: The Company We Keep - There are some very, very smart companies on this list solving some incredibly challenging problems.

Included in the list is a series of fellow Sigma Partners backed companies like Nasuni, oDesk, Responsys, and Zetta. The Process - Always On has a very discerning process for the selection of this list, which always makes inclusion more gratifying. Consistent Validation - Winning multiple awar... > Read more

April 07, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Survey Results: The Most Annoying Part of Search Marketing

We recently sent a survey about our product suite to a number of prospects in the search marketing industry. The (anonymous) results told us a lot about the profile of a typical search marketer, from job title to PPC spend to favorite tools to size of company. One of the questions was "What are the most annoying, time-consuming and/or challenging aspects of search marketing? (Select all that apply.

)" Here are the results: The winner? (Or loser, as the case may be?) Link building. More than a third of search marketers (37.5%) find link building to be a time-consuming, challenging and altogether aggravating chore. This jibes with advice from link building expert Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures, who told us that 60% to 70% of your SEO time should be spent on link building! From this virtual... > Read more

April 06, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 7

5 Tips for Passing PPC Certification Exams

I was never a very good test taker. I would easily ace papers and homework assignments, but please do not ask me to reveal my SAT scores. This is a post for all of those that can share in my pain – tests are not fun. In the PPC industry, there are several certification exams that one can take: the Microsoft adExcellence Exam, the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam, and of course the king of them all – the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) Test.

We recently celebrated when our newest member, Jen Barrett, passed the analytics exam (any excuse for Happy Hour on a Tuesday, right?). She is now ready to conquer the world of analytics, SEO and PPC consulting and I thought we would help you all do the same with a few tips and tricks for passing these industry exams. Some of thes... > Read more

April 05, 2010     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Google PageRank Update: April 3, 2010

So looks like the ongoing rumors of Toolbar PageRank's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Amid rampant speculation that the lil' green pixel bar would soon be extinct, Google has once again updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) metrics. I can hear the collective groans of SEOs across the globe on this one.

The Google PageRank update is occurring as I write, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, 2010. If you're keeping score at home, this is the first PageRank update of 2010. It coincides with previous year's changes, which have all occurred in April the last three years. Maybe this is Google's way of heralding the advent of Spring. Who knows... I noticed the changes occurring while doing some client work this morning. As I was editing text on the client site's home page, I watched in deligh... > Read more

April 03, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 10

How to Create Amazing Backlinks

Go to any SEO forum and you’ll find the obligatory post from a confused, link building noob wondering, "How do I create amazing backlinks?"In the post, the frustrated linker claims they’ve tried everything to build quality backlinks: free directories, profile links, article submissions, comment spamming, etc.

But nothing works. Despite all their low value efforts, they can't leapfrog their competitors in the SERPs, so they're pleading with others to share their secrets to building amazing, stupendous, superfantastic backlinks.Trouble is, those secrets don't exist.There are no magic shortcuts, no highly classified insider hacks to getting quality links for your website. Building amazing backlinks takes work. But that's the last thing the forum vagrants want to hear. They want a quick fi... > Read more

April 01, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 52

Monthly Blog Roundup: WordStream's March Highlights

Seems like every time I write this post, the weather is atrocious. Well, today is no exception. But it's spring now. I refuse to focus on the terrible weather or post a picture of a cold wet dog. Let's focus on springtime folks! Asparagus! Crocus buds! Baby birds! Rainbows! Pinwheels! Etc! And now that you're happy, let's take a look at the WordStream blog's greatest hits of the month: Five Experts on SEO Link Building: We asked five link-building experts, including Debra Mastaler, Garrett French, and Wiep Knol, eight questions about scoring loads of quality links.

Top 12 Small Business Marketing Blogs: Our favorite blogs focused on helping small business owners market their offerings online. Best Practices for Building Scalable Information Architecture: Terry Van Hor... > Read more

March 31, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Google AdWords Search Funnels: What Are Search Funnels?

Last week Google announced a new tool for its AdWords customers to measure conversions: Search Funnels.Search Funnels are a collection of reports that detail the Google.com search ad click and impression conduct leading up to a conversion. The reports, for example, show the number and percentage of conversions that were “assisted.

” Assisted conversions result from two or more Google searches. The user conducts a keyword search, sees or clicks on a particular ad, and then abandons the ad. Then, sometime within the next 30 days, the user conducts another keyword search, sees another ad for the same company, and clicks on it. A conversion follows. Search Funnels also show advertisers which keywords led to assisted conversions, the number and percentage of conversions that resulted fr... > Read more

March 30, 2010     |   Written by: Christine Laubenstein   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 1

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Interview Series: Tim Ash

Tim Ash is the CEO of SiteTuners.com, a landing page optimization firm that offers conversion consulting, testing, and software tools to improve conversion. SiteTuners’ unique visual attention prediction tool can be used on a landing page screenshot or mock-up to quickly identify major conversion issues.

Tim has worked with many leading companies and is a highly regarded keynote speaker at Internet marketing conferences. He is a contributing columnist to several industry publications and is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization. Tim is the founder and chairperson of ConversionConference.com, the first conference focused on improving online conversions. Can you start by telling us a little about SiteTuners.com and your role there? SiteTuners is a firm that is focuse... > Read more

March 29, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 1

The Week in Search … In 2005!!!

It's been a while since there's been a big shake-up in the online marketing industry*. Google hasn't launched a massive failure of a product recently. No one declared SEO dead this week, nor did anyone save the industry. Things have been pretty ho-hum, all told. So let's rewind a bit and see what happened in search marketing this week … in 2005!!!!!11($%^&*) (Bonus Tip! To search news archives for a specific date range, enter your query, hit enter, show options, click "Sorted by date," then "Archives.

" I could only get this to work in Internet Explorer. Note to Google: This should not be that hard.) There were some big acquisitions in March 2005: InterActiveCorp bought Ask Jeeves for $1.85 billion: Awww, how cute. Remember when it was called "Ask Jeeves"? At the time, CEO Barry Dille... > Read more

March 26, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Pros and Cons of View-Through Conversion Tracking

A good way to evaluate the effectiveness of your display ads is to look at conversion statistics. Generally these stats focus on how many users performed a desired action, like a purchase, and what percentage of conversions followed a user clicking on the advertisement.   But online advertising platforms are starting to offer an additional measure of conversion performance: view-through conversion rate.

  What Is View-Through Conversion Rate?   View-through conversion rate is the percentage of users who view an ad and neglect to click on it, but within a certain period of time go to the ad’s associated conversion page and undertake the desired action.   Unlike click conversion rates, this statistic measures conversions that don’t result from clicks on the advertisem... > Read more

March 25, 2010     |   Written by: Christine Laubenstein   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 4

Recommended Resources: Sage Lewis

If he's not already on your radar, he should be: Sage Lewis is a great resource for all things SEM. Here are some of the places you can find Sage Lewis sharing information and advice on a variety of topics related to online marketing, from SEO to analytics to social media marketing:   The SageRock Digital Marketing Blog is the blog of SageRock Inc.

, a digital marketing agency that offers online marketing services, including consulting and training, in search, social media, mobile and rich media, behavioral targeting and other areas. Recent posts have covered topics like the death of print advertising ("In the future, TV and print will just be a support mechanism to the 'real' marketing that happens online. The reason I know this will happen is because of one simple reason: Online mar... > Read more

March 24, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Best Online Marketing Blogs   |   Comments: 2

AdWords Advantage Online Summit: Advanced PPC Keyword Research

Please join Tom Demers and Larry Kim tomorrow for their AdWords keyword research session at the AdWords Advantage Online Summit.What: Researching & Managing Keywords - The Key to AdWords SuccessWhen: March 24 at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST)AdWords Advantage is the largest online training summit for marketers looking to master Google AdWords.

AAOS is led by 14 search marketing experts such as Bryan Eisenberg, Mary O'Brien, and David Szetela, and includes training sessions, a comprehensive Google AdWords Guide and expert tips and tricks for mastering Google AdWords.Here's a more detailed description of the session: Effective keyword research and management is the most critical element of Google AdWords success. Do a bad job at keyword research, and everything else – bid manipulation, landin... > Read more

March 23, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Best Practices for Building Scalable Information Architecture

This post was inspired by a discussion/questions in the SEO Dojo forums and the Google Webmaster Central blog announcing microdata is supported for Rich Snippets. Microdata is part of the HTML5 specification. Over the years not much has changed IA (Information Architecture) wise. The only real big change is the use of MRL (Machine Readable Languages) for distribution and use by Google's Rich Snippets.

The Salmon Protocol is an innovative protocol that could substantially reduce internet traffic, scrapers and other nonsense exacerbated by the bandage solution for opened arteries that Robots.txt is. The discussion in the SEO Dojo was about "best practices" for IA and the difference between the IA of e-commerce and lead generation sites. Future proofing my promotion strategy is always a chief... > Read more

March 23, 2010     |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Social Media Interview Series: Rebecca Kelley

Rebecca Kelley is a blogger and writer with expertise in SEO and social media. She has held positions at SEOmoz (as a copywriter and SEO consultant) and 10e20 (as Director of Social Media) and is currently involved with a new marketing startup. Follow her on Twitter.     Can you tell me a little about your current role? I recently transitioned from consulting to an in-house marketing position for a startup that’s working on a few different projects.

I can’t disclose a whole lot more until we launch our first endeavor later this spring, but essentially my role is the Director of Marketing and Community Relations. I’m very excited to apply the skill set I’ve built from years of consulting towards these new projects. What factors make a piece of content good linkbait? If it... > Read more

March 22, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

Blank vs. Blank, or, I Have an Idea for a Website

Mashable does a series of polls called "Web Faceoff" that pit similar Internet phenomena against one another, e.g. GTalk vs. AIM, Foursquare vs. Yelp, Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS, and so on. This week, the Web Faceoff was "Chatroulette vs. Hot or Not." My first thought was, "…Huh?" I read on to see why these two, to my mind, very different sites were matched up in the pen.

Chatroulette, which was launched in late 2009, is a webcam-based chat site that matches you up with a random stranger. Hot or Not, launched almost a decade earlier, shows viewers user-submitted photos and allows them to rate the photos on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being smoking hot, naturally). What's the connection? According to Mashable, they both share a "philosophy of randomness." Huh. Yeah, I guess so. It would make mor... > Read more

March 19, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 3

SES New York 2010

SES New York will be the first time WordStream's had an opportunity to exhibit at a Search Engine Strategies show, so hopefully you’ll stop by and say hello to us at Booth 125 if you’re attending. We’ll have lots of goodies like water bottles, desk paraphernalia and official WordStream couture, plus the chance to win an eMachines Netbook!  If you know you’re attending and would like to set up dedicated time to speak with us, don’t be shy.

We’ve even created a special offer for SES attendees to get two months of WordStream pay per click management software for free! We’ve attended our fair share of industry conferences and tradeshows, and we’ve put together some of our most valuable tips for any conference newbies: Dress warm because convention centers are notor... > Read more

March 18, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

How to Discover Profitable Affiliate Niches

The following post is from a recent email discussion thread I was having with one of our guest bloggers Richard Kraneis. The topic we were discussing was affiliate marketing, in particular, how to find profitable affiliate niches to target. This is a question many ask when starting out in affiliate marketing.

It was a question I had too when I was learning about affiliate marketing. So I thought it would be valuable to share the conversation we had about getting started in affiliate marketing and which niches to target using SEO. I’ve pulled out specific references to my affiliate sites to protect my competitive edge ;). Now, by no means do I consider myself to be an expert on affiliate marketing and these are not hard and fast rules. These are just my opinions and my advice to Richa... > Read more

March 18, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Affiliate Marketing   |   Comments: 4

What Is Cost Per Action Advertising?

There are several ways to conduct online advertising campaigns. You can pay search engines or other Internet publishers hosting your ads each time one of your ads is clicked, every 1,000 times the ad is seen, or every time the ad prompts a more sales-related action. The third option entails a user clicking on your ad and signing up for a free trial of a product, registering for a free download, or buying your product.

Signups and registrations generate company leads, while sales generate immediate cash in your pocket.   With this type of advertising you pay the host an agreed-upon fee for each specified type of action. For leads that can mean a set amount, while for sales that can mean a set percentage of the sale amount.   This method of online advertising is called “cost... > Read more

March 17, 2010     |   Written by: Christine Laubenstein   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 6

Five Experts on SEO Link Building

A while back we interviewed a handful of link-building experts (Garrett French and Ben Wills, Wiep Knol, Debra Mastaler, and Julie Joyce) on everything from what features they'd want in their ultimate link-building tool to how to brainstorm linkbait. Here, you can find all of their answers to eight key SEO link-building questions in one place.

 What factors go into a quality link?Which link building tools do you recommend?What features would the ultimate link analysis tool include?What are some strategies for brainstorming and creating linkbait?How does social media change the link building game?How should marketers go about making link requests?If I engage in link buying, how can I avoid being caught by Google?What's a better link: one from an authoritative website, or one from a high... > Read more

March 16, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 14

Rotating Ads vs. Optimizing Ads: Which Is Better?

One question which is regularly asked to any PPC consultant when managing Google AdWords PPC campaigns is whether ads should be set to rotate or optimize. Google's default setting is "optimize," so if you have multiple ads in one ad group, your better performing ads (generally those with a higher CTR) will be shown more often.

This might seem great -- you will automatically receive the maximum number of clicks for your ads. But the more experienced PPC advertisers out there will know that clicks are not generally considered a good measure of success. Instead, conversions -- sales, leads, sign-ups, downloads and other desired outcomes -- are generally considered better measures of PPC performance. So to aid acute PPC advertisers like Shaun Livengood from PPC Without Pity, who like to optimi... > Read more

March 15, 2010     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 23

There Are No Stupid Questions …

In a post called "What's Up, Internet," writer Amelia Gray answers some of the questions that Googlers have found her blog by asking: how long does it take to get a warrant I think you can get one in an afternoon, if you are a police officer and you can find a judge to give you one. (It will take more time if you’re just some guy.

) what sort of rocks are there? All kinds. Some rocks are very hard and others are so soft you can scratch them with your fingernail. Sometimes rocks float. Once I had a dream I was explaining a quartz rock to my child. Amelia may be doing this for laughs, but she still got a good post out of it, right? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Your keywords are content idea generators. If you're already ranking for questions like "What's the worst high five ... > Read more

March 12, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Review of Link Assistant's Rank Tracker

A few months ago, I published an article about the Best SEO Rank Checkers. In it, I wrote a quick review of a keyword rank checking tool called Rank Tracker, by Link-Assistant.com. Of all the paid rank checkers I featured in that article, Rank Tracker was one that intrigued me the most. So recently, I decided to do some more extensive work with Rank Tracker to get a real taste for the tool's full capabilities.

And I'll tell you, after using this keyword SERP tracker for the past few weeks, I'm hooked. So let's take a closer look at Rank Tracker, so I can explain my newfound enthusiasm for this tool. Rank Tracker: Key Benefits There are a lot of keyword SERP trackers on the market, but they have their share of issues. First, they can be agonizingly slow. Some can only run checks on groups o... > Read more

March 11, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Announcing The Expert's Guide to Keyword Research for SEO Copywriting

Last week we published the Expert's Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media. This week, we're offering a similar how-to guide for the SEO copywriter. Many keyword research guides amount to a list of tools, but this guide is all about process. You'll learn exactly when, why and how to do keyword research for blog posts, articles and other content that appears online.

If you write for the web (or want to), you don't want to miss it. Read: The Expert's Guide to Keyword Research for SEO Copywriting ... > Read more

March 10, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 0

Link Popularity Case Study: The Domino Effect of Inbound Links

For the link-building search nerd, little matches the joy of scoring a really great link. About a month ago, a post on my personal blog got a link from The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan's blog, which is ranked #12 on Technorati's Top 100 Blogs and has a Toolbar PageRank of 8. Now, I'm pretty sure Andrew Sullivan doesn't subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter (to be fair, I don't follow him either).

So how did this come about? Via domino effect: Over the course of about 15 days, I accumulated a series of inbound links, including a few quality links early on, one of which was clearly the tip-off for the Daily Dish link. This very high-authority link (which, sadly, went up over a weekend) sent a big spike of traffic and led to a mini-long-tail of links from sites and blogs with mid-range... > Read more

March 09, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 4

Larry Kim Speaking at SearchFest 2010

Our illustrious founder and VP of product development, Larry Kim, is presenting tomorrow, March 9, at SearchFest 2010, an SEMpdx event, taking place at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. (Click here for the full agenda.) Larry will be talking about competitive intelligence: Your marketing efforts do not exist in a vacuum.

Effective competitive analysis gives you the information you need to ‘remove the blinders’ in terms of viewing your company and brands as customers do, and to highly tune your Paid Search Marketing strategies for success. This session identifies which competitive intelligence efforts enable you to determine what your competitors are doing to drive their online businesses, so that you can either emulate their PPC successes, or exploit their PPC weaknesses... > Read more

March 08, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

7 Ways to Segment Your Landing Page Visitors

There are many ways to segment your online visitors in the three phases of online marketing. On the pre-click side, there is keyword-based segmentation, which maximizes the relevancy of your paid clicks. On the post-conversion side, there is email list segmentation, which as most marketers know, boosts email marketing performance.

  And then, on the post-click side, there is form-based landing page segmentation, which can sometimes provide valuable data, after you sort through all the associate-level astronauts in Arizona who have a company revenue of over 1 billion. And there’s also user-directed, or post-click segmentation.    User-directed segmentation is a form of segmentation in which landing experience visitors are presented with a few simple choices to make about who... > Read more

March 08, 2010     |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 2

Relevance Is Relative: Internet Predictions Past & Present

I'm sure many of you saw this much-shared gem: a Newsweek article from 1995 called "The Internet? Bah!" (subtitled "Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana"), in which author Clifford Stoll argues that the Internet is overrated and will never be as pervasive as the pundits claim (emphases mine): I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community.

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will repla... > Read more

March 05, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

Announcing The Experts' Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media

Keyword research isn't just for search marketing. It's also a highly effective method for social media marketing. Whether your target audience is on YouTube or Twitter, your social media marketing efforts should start with determining which keywords they're using. That way you can match your message to their interests.

With that, I've put together The Experts' Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media. In this comprehensive guide, I give detailed instructions on how (and why) to conduct keyword research for social media, and I break it down with tips and techniques for research keywords on four of the most popular social media platforms: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. Enjoy! READ: The Experts' Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media ... > Read more

March 04, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 5

How Link Bait Strategies Got Me on National TV

Last week I landed a spot in the most watched television broadcast on the planet. The International Olympic Committee estimated that 450 million people worldwide tuned in to watch the Women's Figure Skating Finals at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics – more than the population of the entire US – and I was in the TV coverage! How did I do it? By applying a variation of Ken's link baiting strategy! Goals of My Link Bait Campaign One of my more ridiculous objectives in life is to achieve TV fame.

Now unfortunately I don't have any acting talents, great looks, or anything else remarkable for that matter – so I figure my only hope to achieve my goal is to ride someone else's coat-tails to TV stardom. (Yes, I know, this is pretty sad). And I don't want to be a guest on some d... > Read more

March 03, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 5
 
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