It's an age-old question that many in search engine marketing struggle with: "How do I judge competition for keywords?" Do it wrong and you could waste countless hours and dollars chasing after an impenetrable market. Do it right and you could uncover a very profitable keyword vertical. Given the importance competitive keyword analysis, we reached out to 35 of the world's top search marketers and asked them a single question: “What is your best tip/trick for determining how competitive a keyword is?” We've collected the answers and compiled them into the Web's first comprehensive guide to analyzing keyword competition.
The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competition features advanced tips and tactics from such search gurus as Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, Michael Gray, Todd Malicoat, David Harry... > Read more
As ion interactive's online marketing manager, Megan Leap manages webinar, social media, search and email campaigns. She has extensive experience in conversion rate optimization and social media marketing, and when not championing high-ROI online marketing strategies, can be found running marathons across the U.
S. She is also a frequent contributor to the Post-Click Marketing Blog. Follow Megan on Twitter: @MeganLeap. What’s it like for an online marketer who’s marketing LiveBall, an online marketing software product, to other online marketers? Marketing to marketers is a lot of fun. If I worked somewhere else, I would be our target audience. Plus, I use our software product every day in my job, so I know it inside and out. That gives me a unique perspective. Our audience kno... > Read more
My friend Jessica, who has been blogging since at least 2006, warned me the other day that as my blog gets more popular, the comments will get progressively more annoying, truculent and even abusive. Though she is young and lovely, she said this with the tone of a knobby old seer. I chuckled nervously and tried to dismiss her prediction—I love my blog commenters—but I wasn't sure how to respond.
So my ears pricked up, or my eyes, or something, when shortly after this, Danny Sullivan tweeted that Engadget is turning off comments for a bit. In the announcement post, Joshua Topolsky wrote: Hey guys, we know you like to have your fun, voice your opinions, and argue over your favorite gear, but over the past few days the tone in comments has really gotten out of hand. What is norma... > Read more
Search engine marketing (SEM) spend is expected to rise in the U.S. from $13 billion in 2009 to $26 billion by the year 2014. With more and more marketing dollars predicted to flow into paid and organic search marketing efforts, we wanted to poll our readers to see if their organizations are following the same trend.
We're conducting a brief, 10 question survey on search marketing budget trends in 2010. We want to know: will your spend on SEO, PPC and SEM-related activities in general rise, fall or remain the same in the coming year? The Poll is now closed. To view the results of our survey, go to 2010 Search Marketing Spend Trend Survey Results ... > Read more
This is a guest post by Blake Bowyer. Blake is a social media marketing enthusiast and Media Program Analyst at D.C.-based EyeTraffic Media, a digital marketing firm specializing in top-notch online campaign execution and measurement. You can find them at eyetraffic.com and follow them on Twitter at @EyeTraffic.
Join the conversation, but don’t try to dominate it for search’s sake. The beauty of Twitter is that a 140-character limit allows anyone to chime in. You don’t have to be composing bi-weekly novellas with flowery prose to get heard on the Web. All you need is a half-coherent thought and some shorthand at your disposal. Of course, that ease is also a curse for the many netizens who end up listening to people who have nothing to say. And now that social media messag... > Read more
One of the best ways to save money on your AdWords campaign is by improving your click-through rate (CTR), or the percentage of viewers who actually click on your ad. A higher click-through rate leads to a higher Quality Score -- a grade Google applies to your AdWords keywords and ad groups. When you have a high Quality Score, you pay less for better ad spots.
Here are 10 steps you can take to improve your AdWords click-through rate: Include promotional offers, attractive adjectives, and calls to action in your ads. People are more likely to click on your ad if you tout a special promotion, like free shipping. Also, words like “save,” “easy,” and “new,” and calls to action like “buy now,” “reserve today” and “call now,” can prompt a click. Put your keywor... > Read more
My favorite way to find quality blogs (and books and movies, for that matter) is via recommendation. Towards that end, I thought I'd share a PPC Blog you might not be reading (every so often we share a list of our favorite search and online marketing blogs). Aaron and Giovanna Wall of SEO Book fame (see our SEO Book review here) have started collaborating on a sister site that focuses on PPC.
The content is really strong, offering a very similar level of high quality how-to and industry trend material. They recently launched a very clever AdWords tax calculator that can help give you an indication of how much you might be wasting on paid search. Here is some of the content they've churned out so far: A PPC Copywriting Guide A Post on Leveraging Search Query Reports (Though of course we a... > Read more
I was lucky enough to win a SEMMY for best 2010 PPC article. Many thanks to Matt McGee and David Mihm for taking the time to highlight various contributions within the search space, and thanks also to the PPC Hero blog for letting me put the post up there. I wanted to highlight some of the other winners: The link building category was stacked with three strong articles.
Our friend Garrett French churns out a ton of great stuff with staggering consistency, and anyone with any serious level of familiarity with the industry is familiar with Weip, who's similarly impressive in terms of consistently high-quality content creation. The blogs and blogging category is another deep one, with the Guide to Guest Blogging being a really great overview on how to effectively execute on external po... > Read more
Chris Brogan is President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, and home of the Inbound Marketing Summit conferences and Inbound Marketing Bootcamp educational events. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR through the use of social software, community platforms, and other emerging web and mobile technologies.
Chris is also co-author of the book Trust Agents, with Julien Smith. For more information, read his blog or follow him on Twitter. What are the first three things someone should do if they have little to no social presence and want to change that? Start by listening. Use social media listening tools (google "Grow Bigger Ears" for starter advice), and start seeing what people are saying. Where are they... > Read more
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.
I discovered the term "disruptive technology" while dabbling in day trading. Basically it's a technology or business that enters a space and disrupts the current sales and business model -- these days, almost always using technology as a catalyst. I actually did some trading in these stocks, and here's a tip: When it seems the price is stupid ... it is! The Interwebs have proven be a very disruptive technology. The Web changed the travel industry, in f... > Read more
I didn't want to write about the iPad this week, but now I want to write about the iPad this week. Though I am not a gadget person, it was difficult to ignore the onslaught of buzz and anti-buzz that swarmed Twitter on Wednesday before, during and after the unveiling of the iPad. Maybe I gravitate toward snarky (wise) people, but the sentiment from my view was overwhelmingly negative, especially if you count "wings" jokes as negative.
The reactions were largely along these lines: "So it's just a big iPhone that doesn't work as a phone? Really?" This got me thinking about the path that personal devices seem to be taking—that is, getting larger, not smaller. The iPhone is already significantly larger than the Razor, which all the cool kids were carrying before ... > Read more
The end of January. The Thursday of winter. Spring, she is so close, and yet so far—especially in Boston, where spring's subtitle is Winter Part 2: The Bitch Never Left. Whether or not you live in a northern clime, please allow our best loved blog posts from the past month to warm your hearts and extremities: New Social Media Polling Data Suggests Republican Scott Brown Will Trounce Democrat Martha Coakley in US Senate Race: This timely post (whose prediction turned out to be correct) trounced our other blog posts in traffic this month.
In fact, it's one of our most popular posts ever. Check out how Larry looked at social media metrics to determine who—despite what the polls said—was the more popular candidate. Social Media Poll: Conan vs. Leno: In this copycat post... > Read more
As part of my SEO services for clients, I build links. Most SEOs agree that manually building and begging for links is tedious and even loathsome, but a necessary evil. Without links, you don't rank. It's that simple.Like many link builders, I've discovered what I call "link equity wells:" prime link juice target sites that pass trust, equity and aren't impossible to acquire links on.
Now, I'm not talking about low value article directories or forum signature links. These are solid, moderate value links that I tap for juice to client sites as needed. Downside is, revisiting the same link wells again and again is not only laborious, it's inefficient. Face it, link building on its own sucks, but having to repeat the exact same link activities on each new client site can be mind-numbing. It's... > Read more
Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering online GED services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question from Richard I'm in the proces... > Read more
This is a guest post by Jenny Anderson, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. She works with a variety of clients and writes for Hanapin’s blogs, PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Outsourcing your clients’ work can get a little sticky, and there are plenty of reasons why some agencies may never turn to external help – even when they’re on overload with other client work.
They might not want to lose the control of knowing every detail in the account, they might think they know the product better than someone on the outside, or they might be afraid of what their client will think if they find out. In our experience with managing outsourced accounts at Hanapin, I can tell you that it’s really not that scary. Below are some tips and hints on how to successfully outsource, along wit... > Read more
Tamar Weinberg is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media strategist. Her specialties are blogger outreach, content promotion, community management, and viral strategy. In July 2009, Tamar published “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web,” which covers the gamut of social media marketing topics in an easy-to-understand format.
Tamar is also the community and marketing manager for Mashable, the top ranked blog on all things social media. She maintains her own blog on social media marketing strategy at Techipedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamar/. You're active on "many social communities," according to your website. Which one do you find to be the most valuable for business? What about for personal stuff? It really depends on the content.&... > Read more
Regardless of which candidate you supported in the January 19 special election to fill the seat vacated by Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, there is one thing that should make Internet marketers proud: The first poll to correctly predict the election outcome was a social media poll published on Thursday, January 14.
Traditional polls were showing a close race, and before the Suffolk News 7 Poll, the Blue Mass Group/R2000 poll, the PPP Poll, PMJ/CrossTarget poll, or even the Rasmussen Poll – which all later showed Scott Brown pulling ahead – a social media poll published on our very own blog showed that Scott Brown held a significant edge over Martha Coakley in social media engagement metrics, including: A 10:1 advantage in Web traffic A 10:1 advantage in YouTube video viewership ... > Read more
If you're interested in the semantics of search, Google's announcement this week that it is now bolding synonyms in search results probably turned your head. (In fact, you might have noticed this happening before the official announcement.) In a post titled "Helping Computers Understand Language" on the Official Google Blog, Google engineer Steven Baker writes: An irony of computer science is that tasks humans struggle with can be performed easily by computer programs, but tasks humans can perform effortlessly remain difficult for computers.
I don't know if I'd call this an irony. Humans are better at some things, computers are better at others. You can say the same thing about bees, buzz saws, and evolution. But identifying misuses of the word "irony" is so 1996, so le... > Read more
The recession forced all businesses to reconsider each and every dollar spent, and search marketing was no exception. We saw our own PPC software client, 1-800-Mattress, side-step the recession after implementing a well-organized pay-per-click campaign. However, Ken's salary survey suggested the recession lowered online marketers' income; his data showed that the average salary was down from industry surveys of the previous year.
In April of 2008, Joshua Stylman predicted that of all branches of marketing, paid search would take the smallest hit. I think he was absolutely right, and I think the trend of search dominating marketing dollars will continue. Here are five reasons why I think search marketing is just about as recession-proof as they come. 1) Paid Search Was Built with ROI in Mi... > Read more
After the popularity of last week's social media poll on Scott Brown vs. Martha Coakley (Larry's prediction actually turned out to be right!), we thought it would be fun to see who's winning in the "race" between erstwhile Tonight Show host Jay Leno and his successor Conan O'Brien, who, it's all but certain, will leave NBC after the network proposed giving his show back to Leno and pushing him back to a later, less coveted slot.
A lot of very vocal Conan fans aren't too happy about the change, but ratings are what really matter to NBC, presumably, so there must be a lot of Leno fans out there too, right? We looked at some social media metrics to see who has the most supporters in the online sphere. The results? Well, it's complicated. We couldn't use the exact same methodology that we used... > Read more
One of the best ways to learn how to write engaging and SEO-friendly website copy—and keep up with industry changes—is to read what the experts have to say. Plenty of blogs focus on the topic of online copywriting, but many of those blogs are not updated on a weekly or even monthly basis. Also, many of those blogs are little more than a promotional tool for a company’s product or author’s book.
We've saved you time by creating a list of the best copywriting blogs that are out there. Here they are, in no particular order: 1. Copyblogger Copyblogger has a large following, with some posts getting over 1,000 tweets and 250 comments. New media writer/producer Brian Clark started the blog four years ago. It includes posts by him and other copywriting professionals. One of the fir... > Read more
Alexander B. Howard is the Government 2.0 Washington, D.C. Correspondent for O'Reilly Media. Previously, he was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com at TechTarget. His work there focused on how regulations affect IT operations, including issues of data protection, privacy, security and enterprise IT strategy.
Before moving his focus to security and compliance, he was the associate editor of WhatIs.com, an online IT encyclopedia. In that role, he researched and wrote about nearly every aspect of enterprise IT. Alexander graduated from Colby College in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. In his spare time, he enjoys running with his greyhound, reading, microblogging, fishing, cycling, gardening, cooking and hiking. Learn more at his blog or follow him on Twitter: ... > Read more
In an interview with Michael Arrington last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told the world that Facebook is changing to keep up with it—and what the world wants, apparently, is less privacy. Naturally, this caused a big hubbub (at least in the online marketing corner of the world), with many claiming Facebook is acting against its users' best interests, trying to trick them into doing what will increase Facebook revenue—or, rather, into not doing what won't help its revenue.
By not changing the now-default settings, users will (perhaps unintentionally) make their data more public and searchable. Others leapt to Facebook's defense. This is the way society is moving, they said; get over it. Falling in the former camp, Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote a two-part think piece of s... > Read more
New social media polling data suggests Republican Scott Brown will trounce Democrat Martha Coakley in US Senate Race
If you like this post, please bookmark it on Delicious for future reference, or Digg it.Social Media Polling:YouTube ChannelsFacebook FansTwitter MentionsAlexa RankingsPrediction AccuracyThe state-wide special election to fill the seat vacated by US Senator Edward Kennedy on January 19th has attracted huge national interest because if the Democrats lose this seat, they lose the filibuster-proof margin they currently have in the US Senate.
For the first time for as long I can remember, my very own home state of Massachusetts is today considered a battleground state. Recent polls show the two candidates, State Senator Scott Brown (Republican) and State Attorney General Martha Coakley (Democrat) engaged in a tight race – well within the margin of error. DatesScott Brown (R)Martha Coakle... > Read more
As the link profile of WordStream.com continues to grow and grow, we realized it was time to purchase software that would assist us in managing our ballooning link database. Up until now, we'd been tracking all of our link acquisitions and link outreach efforts in Excel. But Excel has serious limitations, due in part because it's not built for link management.
As active link builders, our goal was to find a product that was designed specifically for our link management needs. And as Garret French espoused in Link Building Trends for 2010: "2010 will be the year of “link relationship management” software, and more and more link building firms will shift away from spreadsheets." I wholeheartedly agree. Why do you need a link management tool? If you're serious about link building and... > Read more
Richard Kraneis (@rkraneis) is a good friend of WordStream, a frequent reader of and commenter on our Internet Marketing Blog and runs a site offering GED online services. Like many, Richard is curious about learning the ropes of search engine marketing (SEM). His questions about SEM are always well-thought out and intriguing and often result in some really great dialogue.
So we thought it would be interesting to post some of Richard's questions and follow along in his quest for SEM knowledge as he poses questions and seeks answers from: His own research - Richard's own research will fuel his SEM education The staff at WordStream - We'll offer our own thoughts on Richard's questions and answers Your feedback - feel free to weigh in and give your thoughts too This Month's SEM Question fro... > Read more
This morning, Chris Brogan wrote on his blog that he's planning to use Bing as his only search engine for 30 days. Day 1 of his little experiment didn't go so well—he found that a search for "Chris Brogan" returned, above his own blog, results for Chris Brown. His response? "Um, no." Chris Brogan is a pretty well-known name, if slightly lesser-known than "Chris Brown.
" If he can't get top billing for his vanity search, how well can the rest of us plebes fare? I "googled" myself on Bing back when it launched and remember thinking the results were inscrutable and disappointing. I decided to try the same search again to see if the Bing results had gotten better (or worse). Well, certainly not better. ZoomInfo? Really? I would only expect to see a crappy, generic result like this at #1... > Read more
Are you new to Twitter and unsure who to follow? Not so new to Twitter but still don't know who to follow? Or maybe you just want to make more connections, find new resources and learn from the best? Twitter lists are a great way to keep up with the search marketing industry. You can follow a whole swath of thought leaders, hand-picked and pre-approved by those in the know, with one quick click.
These 16 Twitter lists were curated by (and include) some of our favorite voices in search and online marketing. (And while you're at it, follow the WordStream list to keep up with our whole team.) Selective Search Marketing Twitter Lists These picky-choosy lists include fewer than 60 people or brands each. Aaron Bradley of SEOSkeptic.com's Internet Marketing Musts. Christine Churchill's Must Read... > Read more
As I flâneured around the blogosphere this week (permit me to verb a French noun derived from a verb), I was overcome by a gadget-induced ennui. Nexus One. The iTablet/iSlate. Blah blah blah. I have nothing to say about these developments. "Will 2010 be the year of the smartphone?" Who cares? Sorry, gadgetheads—not me so much.
I am, however, interested in other directions the industry may take in 2010. (And while we're on the topic, you are on board with saying "twenty-ten," foregoing the cumbersome "two-thousand" prefix, are you not? Excellent. Glad we're on the same page.) And luckily, bloggers are still churning out resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. I especially liked Debra Mastaler's Link Building Trends For 2010. After providing an overview of 2009, Debra, Julie Joyce... > Read more
This is a guest post by Shawn Livengood. Shawn Livengood is a search marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He is also pursuing his master’s degree in information architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. You can read more at his PPC marketing blog, PPC Without Pity. When you sign up for a pay-per-click advertising account, you might assume that you are buying your traffic directly from the search engine.
If you bid on keywords in Google AdWords, you're just getting traffic from people who search on Google.com, right? Wrong! What many people don't realize is that a significant portion of PPC traffic comes not from the search engine sites themselves, but from a network of "search partners" associated with each search engine. So what exactly is a "search... > Read more