A friend emailed me recently, writing to say he’d “hooked up” with an SEO agency that got him a first page listing on Google. My immediate reaction was he’d been scammed. I say this because the friend’s local business website is brand new: no links, no authority, no legitimate ranking signals and no chance of ranking organically for his target keywords.
With this in mind, I know there are really only two ways for my friend's site to appear on page one of Google: Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) Google Local Listing Now, there’s nothing wrong with paid search. It’s a legitimate marketing channel and delivers qualified traffic and leads when done right. And if the friend were running a pay-per-click campaign with a qualified pay-per-click agency, I’d wish him the best. But m... > Read more
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Gab Goldenberg of SEO ROI. Gab is a 22-year old SEO consultant and law student from Montreal, Canada, and is fast becoming a thought leader in search marketing. Read on for more about Gab. On your site, you write that Jim Boykin offered you a job in 2008.
Can you tell us what the job was and why you turned it down? Jim didn't have a specific position in mind, to my knowledge. He wrote me saying, "I'm a fan of your writings and I'd like to explore the possibility of having you join the We Build Pages team." Pretty sweet compliment to my ears, considering Jim's always been someone I looked up to in search marketing as a leader and generally savvy guy! Anyways, we couldn't work together because Jim needed me to relocate to upstate NY fo... > Read more
The Week in Search Silly search marketing questions and more stupidity. Things a Search Marketer Should Never Say The Search Agents' Ted Ives reminds me a lot of Brian Carter: his posts are a perfect combination of humor and education, and this week was no exception. Top 10 Coconut Headphones Moments in SEM reminds us that search engine marketing should be based on proper analytics and real data.
If you aren't familiar with coconut headphones, they were created by Pacific Islanders trying to mimic the actions of the U.S. military when Americans received equipment and supplies. The natives thought the rituals would bring goods from the gods (think The Gods Must be Crazy)--they created their own headphones to flag down nonexistent planes. Sure, it's easy to judge these cultures for thei... > Read more
Anybody else notice this yet? Looks like Google has just added site links to trusted domain listings that fall further down in the SERPs. I discovered the algorithmic update this morning when looking at the WordTracker home page listing. Note that this WordTracker lisiting is #8 in the rankings, on page one for the query "keyword research tools.
" Now, we've been seeing site links for trusted domains that rank number one in the SERPs for some time now. But adding site links to listings that fall deeper down the page is clearly a new feature. I interpret this as another example of the big Google move to more brand promotion in the SERPs. By incorporating this new trust signal, Google is clearly placing much more emphasis on and rewarding trusted, authoritative brands, and attempting to "so... > Read more
By Sam Hawes Despite some good press the general consensus seems to be that Bing is DOA, destined to the same also-ran fate as other doomed Microsoft projects like the Zune and the PocketPC. In an interview in the Times in May, Steve Ballmer, in his typical blustery style, compared the launch of Bing to the introduction of the landmark Windows versions, 3.
1 and Windows 95, the implication being that Bing, like the early incarnations of Windows, is just the first step towards Microsoft’s eventual dominance in the Search wars. In his blog, Henry Blodgett excoriated Ballmer for using this comparison. Blodgett points out that Microsoft had the advantage of being a monopoly in operating systems, so the millions of consumers who upgraded weren’t examining a field of equa... > Read more
I recently had a chance to interview SEO Book's Aaron Wall. Like many in the SEO space I bought Aaron's popular SEO book years back, and have learned a tremendous amount from his SEO blog. SEO Book has transition to offering SEO Training rather than the old eBook model. The SEO Book training program grants users access to: A comprehensive set of training modules on Internet marketing An active community forum where Aaron and other seasoned online marketing pros answer questions, offer feedback, etc.
And a set of premium tools and coupons I wrote a review of the SEO Book SEO Training program a while back and would strongly recommend the program to anyone engaging in online marketing (I'm a happy customer myself). Aaron was gracious enough to answer the following questions about SEO... > Read more
The Week in SearchPolitics, Keywords and Monty PythonAre We Missing the Point of Search Marketing?Often as a way to decide what to write about in each week's Follow Friday, I visit Sphinn.com to see what articles are getting people's attention. Even under the category of SEM, you'll see a multitude of topics ranging from brand awareness to conversion attribution to bid management.
Andy Atkins Kruger had a great guest post on Search Coyboys this week entitled "It's the Keywords, Stupid" where he finally asks the question: Shouldn't we just focus on keywords?As in politics, where candidates are tempted to talk about exciting topics like war or scandal, the discussion of keywords has lost its sex appeal and thus keywords have lost much of the attention. He writes, " we know keywords are impor... > Read more
Every marketing 101 class worth its salt will have you walking out the door uttering two time-honored maxims where messaging and copy is concerned: Benefits, Not Features. Unique Value Proposition. No one really wants to hear about what you do, they want to know what you’ll do for them, right? And you want to make sure that you’re showing unique value; that you offer something no one else does.
You want to provide differentiation. The problem here is that because of strict adherence in marketing copy and creative to the first maxim, just talking about benefits is no longer good enough to achieve the second. Every company I come in contact with is going to make me better, faster, cheaper, smarter. These are benefits aimed at the “what’s in it for me”. ... > Read more
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing search behavior expert Jim Jansen. Jansen is an assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State, and an expert on Web searching, sponsored search and personalization for information searching. He's authored more than 150 publications in the area of information technology and systems.
The interview with Jim Jansen covers topics like his recent research on click behavior, his ideas on how Google and other engines can improve user experience, as well as his current Twitter research.Read on for more. In your study on click behavior with integrated paid and organic search results, you cite “negative bias” and “distrust” as the reasons searchers click on sponsored ads (like Google sponsored links) less tha... > Read more
Google recently released a series of videos outlining AdWords customer success stories. The videos are instructive in as much as they outline some best practices, but I thought the most interesting thing about the collection is the fact that although they chopped them up into four videos, they are still intrinsically tied together.
Let's take a look:The Power of Keyword OrganizationA crucial but oft-overlooked component of AdWords success is effective keyword organization:We agree with this so passionately that we went and built a keyword research tool.Keyword Expansion Helps You Find More Traffic and ConversionsThis shouldn't be particularly shocking, but the capacity to discover more keywords leads to an ability to find more traffic, leads, and sales:We believe that continual keyword dis... > Read more
If you’re selling a product or service of any kind, differentiation should be top of mind. Search agencies are no different. Really this could apply to any online marketing agency or consultant, but for the sake of this post we’ll discuss why it's particularly pertinent to paid search: people are starting to spend more on search, there are reports that most of that increased spend is being pushed towards pay per click advertising, and many are frustrated with their results.
This means two things: Increased Opportunity for PPC Agencies – There’s more spend to manage; more and more quality companies who would make great clients will be turning to agencies to manage their paid search accounts. More Competition – With the influx of money to be managed, new firms, lone-wolf consultan... > Read more
If you've had any interaction with Eric Lander, you probably know a few things: He lives outside Boston, he's established way more companies than most people under 30 (or 60, for that matter), he's incredibly kind (don't let him tell you otherwise), and he really knows search and social marketing. We decided to take advantage of the last part by asking him to kick off our Search Marketing Interview Series.
WordStream extends a very sincere thank you to Eric for sharing his insight and expertise with us. What’s your biggest frustration with search marketing? Lack of clarity and cohesion with third party tools. The information you can retrieve through third party services never match up with one another. With keyword research, you're bound to get high degrees of variance from one so... > Read more
The Week in Search Text ads, landing pages, hash tags and Beanie Babies. Going Beyond Keywords: Text Ads and Landing Pages Search marketing consists of many factors that can usually be generalized into three categories: keywords, ads and landing pages. Kate Morris (@katemorris) had a great post this week on Search Cowboys about optimizing your ads.
She starts by quoting David Ogily who said, "on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Sure, Ogily's advertising reign predated search marketing, but the principle still remains: if you have a good headline, you'll probably see good results. Check out the discussions and Kate's responses in the comm... > Read more
At WordStream, we're all pretty avid blog readers. We read a variety of search marketing blogs and subscribe to dozens of different RSS feeds. So I thought it would be interesting to ask everyone at WordStream for a list of their favorite SEO, PPC, Internet marketing and social media blogs, and put together a master compilation of our 50 favorites.
Think of this list as the “recommended” section from the staff at your local Blockbuster. Actually, are there even any Blockbusters left? Anyway, here’s the extensive list I’ve compiled of our 50 favorite search marketing blogs. It's a good mix of industry standards and hopefully some little known, but great blogs you haven't heard of yet that you can add to your own Google reader feed. Internet Marketing & General Marketing Blogs D... > Read more
In This Post Why Keep an SEO Log? What's in My SEO Log? Keyword 100 Link Profiler SEO Sandbox Do You Keep an SEO Log? As an SEO, I like to keep pretty detailed records of all my search optimization efforts. I document everything I do and each action I take for optimization and note it in a series of spreadsheets I call my "SEO Log.
" There are a number of reasons why I keep an SEO Log, which I'll discuss in detail. Plus, I'll talk about the three documents I consider critical to my SEO Logging, and describe the components of each. My goal in writing about this information is to share some of the methods I use for recording my optimization research and analysis efforts, which I hope may be interesting or helpful to other SEOs or anyone looking to become a SEO. Why Keep an S... > Read more
The Week in Search This week, we ask how marketers should optimize tweets and if Google is the latest unhealthy addiction. Is Twitter Search the Future of Keywords? It wasn't long ago that many search marketers were questioning if Twitter search would overtake Google as the Internet's preferred search engine.
With the introduction of Microsoft's Bing, Twitter search recently got a bit lost in the shuffle. However, the debate is far from over and some great conversations about this topic continued this week. Check out Michael Boland's May article from Search Engine Watch in which he states, "If there is one thing that points to Twitter's staying power, it's that Google is showing signs that it feels legitimately threatened." He's probably right that the answer to true search ecstasy lies so... > Read more
Mike Volpe, VP of marketing at Hubspot recently wrote a blog post in which he describes PPC as a “marketing addiction”. Incidentally if you haven't read the Hubspot blog you should check it out; they post a lot of interesting and informative stuff, and even craft some pretty good link-baits (as evidenced by the first sentence of this post).
In the post Mike makes the argument that SEO and social media are asset-based marketing channels that offer greater leverage than perpetually paying for clicks. I don't think this is a ridiculous point to make. SEO efforts often offer streams of “passive traffic income” and when done right SEO and social media activities provide compounding benefits. SEO and social media are excellent marketing mediums. We love them. We use them. We sell softwar... > Read more
The conventional thinking on pay-per click landing pages is that they should be “dedicated landing pages”, should be “de-indexed”, and that you need to create individual pages for PPC versus organic search. There are a number of very good resources on landing pages that will tell you this.
There’s validity here; it’s most likely the case that you’ll optimize conversions by creating a separate landing page for PPC traffic. However, this post will tell you why in some cases it can be a poor use of resources. We’ll talk about why this is, and about when it makes sense to allow SEO and PPC to share landing pages. The Roots of Conventional Landing Page Wisdom So how did conventional wisdom become so conventional? The argument for creating dedicated landing pages for paid ... > Read more
Hey, All. I thought I'd take this opportunity to update everyone on a number of opportunities to hear our founder and VP of Product Development, Larry Kim, speak. Larry Kim LIVE! Larry was a featured guest on Bruce Clay's SEM Synergy last week. Larry was interviewed by @VirginiaNussey on the subject of Inbound Marketing.
For anyone who missed it, you can catch the interview in full here: SEM Synergy interview with Larry Kim on Inbound Marketing SEM Synergy airs on Webmaster Radio every Wednesday at 3 p.m. (EDT), and the show always books great guests while offering commentary from search marketing legend Bruce Clay and his team on the latest goings on in the world of search. Boston SEO Meetup Also, if you're in the Boston area, come check out Boston SEO Meetup event in Arlington, startin... > Read more
It's Friday: The Week in Search Big stories this week included the fate of small business owners and the future of online advertising. And of course, are you eligible for any of Google's $20 million payout? Most Small Business Owners Try Then Quit Paid Search A study conducted by Borell Associates found that 90% of small business owners quit their paid search campaign within 6 months citing poor performance and not enough ROI.
According to the study, 50% of small business owners will end their campaign after only 3 months, with the following 40% following suit up to three months later. This odd part about this is that CNN Money just posted an article about the importance of small businesses to advertise on Google. Fred Vallaeys, Google's AdWords evangelist says, "[small businesses] bu... > Read more
In This Post Benefits of Creating a Keyword Map Chart Before You Start How to Create a Structured Keyword Map Next Step Keyword Mapping You've Got Your Keywords Mapped Behold! the power of Keyword Mapping In a previous post I talked about the importance of keyword mapping for aggressive linking. But keyword mapping is also critical for SEO.
If you’re building a new website or taking on a new SEO project, it’s imperative that you clearly map out a highly organized and structured keyword map. Let’s explore why keyword mapping is so important. Benefits of Creating a Keyword Map One of the most daunting challenges of SEO can be trying to manage a site with hundreds (or even thousands) of web pages and trying to determine which keywords to associate with which pages. The way to solve ... > Read more
I see a lot written about Twitter tips and how Twitter is great for public relations, like branding, building relationships and trust, awareness, etc. And the fact of the matter is it's true: Twitter is a great platform for external communications efforts. But I’ve also discovered that Twitter is a great tool for internal PR, and can be used to communicate and promote positive, in-house relations.
And given the tough economic climate we’re in, I bet everyone at your office could use a morale boost. Internal Public Relations is Often Ignored Before I talk about using Twitter for internal messaging, I first want to take a quick look at internal PR in general, and at what I see as a lack of attention on internal communications. Internal PR often fails to match the intensity of external ef... > Read more
Friday: The Week in Search Microsoft releases its new search engine and Chinese residents may have to say goodbye to Twitter. Microsoft Receives Compliments and Criticisms for Bing I'll admit it, I'm skeptical about Bing's future, but Microsoft's new search service has been receiving a lot of buzz since its release.
They even have their own You Tube channel that's received almost 7,000 views to date. And as long as we're being honest, their commercials aren't so bad. Check it out: Microsoft is presenting its new search service as a "decision engine." According to their press release, "Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience wi... > Read more
The MadeUpCompany Link Building Kit This is an “internal link building template.” One best practice for companies hoping to attain high search rankings is to get company employees to link to your site. This document attempts to give a brief run-down as to how to go about requesting that your employees link to you.
The main things to note here are that: It’s too long – This could be considerably shorter. One reason it’s too long is that, personally, I would rather have one link from someone who had been properly instructed than ten from people who have a vague idea of what they should be doing. The potential for seeing four pages and not reading a word is definitely there, though, so keep that in mind. It’s not terribly specific – You could tailor this more to your industry, ... > Read more
Link building is often boring, time-consuming, and can be expensive. Not only that, but your website is usually ripe with low-hanging link fruit that you should be picking before you run around contacting every blogger who makes the mistake of offering up a bit of contact information. BUT that doesn’t mean you get out of it entirely.
Unfortunately, link building is one of these eat-your-veggies sort of search marketing activities: healthy but annoying. Luckily, there are ways of outsourcing your link building that don’t cost a dime. Outsourcing Link Building: Free of Charge There are a lot of great resources that will tell you how to build links, but we’ll focus on an easy one you may be overlooking: Let everyone else in the company do it for you! Getting Free Links The Easy Way So h... > Read more
It's Friday: The Week in Search This week, we're focused on the truth about keyword tools and the ongoing debate regarding social media ownership. Keyword Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly We’ve talked a lot about keyword generators and free keyword tools, namely pointing out the disadvantages of basing your keyword selection on broad data that’s not specific to your website.
Combined with lack of negative keyword suggestions, inherited disorganization and stagnant data, what’s the point of using them? Others have started asking themselves that same question. Search Engine Roundtable is encouraging users to share their thoughts on the Google Tool specifically. As of 9am on Friday morning, the results looked like this: I'm not quite sure wh... > Read more
It’s the Holy Grail of link building: deep links from authority websites. And link builders far and wide know that getting these links is difficult. The belief espoused by most SEOs is that if you create remarkable content people will naturally link to it, which is both true and untrue. If you've got a blog and you're publishing topical, informational or solutions pages, then having great content is a natural link magnet.
But what if you're publishing content around product pages on an e-commerce site? Forget about it. No matter how good the content, product pages simply don't attract external links. Heck, I could author this great page about window shades, with in-depth, insightful content and beautiful photos of my product. Trouble is, there's nothing notable or link-worthy about wind... > Read more
I looked in my account this morning and noticed for the first time that Google is exposing something new in the new AdWords interface: This is interesting for a few reasons: It seems the impressions share report data (IS lost budget in your AdWords report) that many PPC marketing managers make use of in their daily work is now being exposed in the home dashboard.
It helps make Google money (notice there's not warning for budgets that are set too high...you're either eligble or you're missing out). It will lead to irrational bidding behaviour. The impact may be slight but advertisers will log into their AdWords accounts, see that their campaigns are "limited", and change the way they allocate money, upping their bids on AdWords keywords. It's important to point out that sometim... > Read more
Friday: The Week in Search More debate regarding the Long Tail and WordStream employees share their expertise through various publications. The Long Tail of Search: Is it Dead? We Don't Think SO! At the beginning of May, experienced search engine marketer Andrew Goodman published a post entitled "PPC-Man Drowning.
.. Too... Many... Keywords." In it, he contends that the time to include long tail keywords in your SEM campaign as an effective keyword strategy has come and gone, and more than that, it's been gone for a long time. To back up this statement, he explains that in a single campaign of his, 104 out of 116 conversions came from the top 15 keyphrases, so cutting down his keyword list to include only the most popular keywords wouldn... > Read more