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
Most articles about link building focus on quality, quantity and relevance of links, and they generally draw the same conclusion: that value and relevancy trump volume. But rarely do I see link builders discuss link diversity for creating a "natural" link portfolio. Certainly, link quality and quantity (to a lesser degree) play a big role in keyword rankings, but so too do the variety of links in your portfolio.
Link diversity impacts a number of different factors related to your site: Sphere of influence – more links from a range of websites signals more trust and authority Traffic mix – links from a variety of sites create new, different traffic opportunities for your site Broader visibility - more links across a range of sites exposes your brand to a wider audience Authenticity - ... > Read more
I was playing with Google's new search options today, and I realized that search results for "related searches" was using some pretty goofy matching. Here's a normal SERP for the phrase "keyword tool" (click for full image): So far so normal. Then we click over to search options: Note the inclusion of a strange ad amongst a lot of ads that make sense.
Now let's drill down to "related searches" for this query: Google appears to use a different algorithm for search network partners, is that the case here? I've also seen the new search options be a bit buggy (in IE 8) so maybe this is a part of the perpetual beta phase that's being rolled out? I'm not sure how many people actually make use of search options (the text link seems to blend in), but it seems that... > Read more
The question “are long tail keywords dead for paid search” is fundamentally the wrong question. There are a few things at play here: The long tail of search is alive and well. The long tail of search queries is apparent in both paid and natural search marketing. The tail of keywords in paid search has actually become pretty short.
If you’re confused, it’s probably because the above three points assume a seldom-made distinction: Keywords are not search queries. A keyword is a word or phrase you’ve decided to target in your marketing efforts. A search query is the actual thing a searcher types in before they see your listing or ad and navigate to your site. It’s an important distinction when talking about the long tail and pay-per click marketing, because while the existe... > Read more
It's Friday: The Week in Search Google and Twitter were the big winners (or losers) of this week's search marketing news. Here are the highlights: Twitter Creates More Problems By Eliminating One It all started with a Tuesday blog post titled "Small Settings Update." The post casually mentioned that Twitter was eliminating the option to see replies from a friend sent to someone that you don't follow.
Though they claimed this change was based on "usage patterns and feedback," the outrage that ensued made that statement questionable. Before you knew it, tweets including "#fixreplies" were spreading like wildfire. My favorite post on this topic is by Tech Crunch's MG Siegler as he breaks down Twitter's disastrous 24 Hours. It starts off with the milli... > Read more
The SEO community is buzzing about Google's Searchology. In case you missed it, Google:Announced that they will support microformats and rich snippets in search resultsAnnounced that they will be rolling out search optionsAnnounced Google SquaredAnnounced some other stuffSo what does this all mean?Implications of Microformat & Rich Text IntegrationThis seems to be the most interesting announcement from an SEO perspective, at first blush.
It certainly has some implications for local search, restraunts, and people search, and it will likely eventually extend well beyond that. Michael Gray had a great article on optimizing HCards and microformatting information which is something worth reading up on if this will impact you in the near-term.Implications of Google Search Options The mo... > Read more
Snake oil 2.0 image credit to Hugh MacLeod Another "SEO as Snake Oil" Blog Post I read the umpteenth blog post last week that claimed that SEO was “snake oil”. The thing that struck me is that calling something a scam or snake oil for the sake of attention is the *real* snake oil. I’ll start by saying I think a lot of the rampant hyperbole and apparent misunderstanding here comes from a misconception about the term “SEO”.
I suspect a lot of activities I’d consider “SEO” related would be things the poster would just call “marketing” or use another term for. Regardless I think there are some opinions in this post that aren’t entirely unique to the poster, and so worth calling out. Either way, here are some excerpts from the piece that I found particularly troublesome: ... > Read more
I read a blog recently about "bad keywords." The blogger concluded that some keywords are just no good for search. His advice to readers was to purge your poorly performing PPC campaign of all these nasty keywords and banish them forever because they'll never work, never convert, never love you back no matter what you do.
They're the equivalent of keyword delinquents, rotten to the core. The idea that some keywords (or words for that matter) are intrinsically bad is ridiculous. And frankly, the post sounded like a cop out, one big "not my fault." The blogger blamed the keywords for everything wrong in his life and never once acknowledged that it could be his technique that's flawed. The fact of the matter is, a keyword is only "bad" in a relative sense. Now I'... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search Here's what we read and enjoyed this week in the world of search marketing: The Release of Twitter search In the interest of full disclosure, I was not one of the lucky ones that had "Twitter Search" associated with my twitter account during the beta phase.
Imagine my delight when it popped up on my TweetDeck this week and I could finally experience what everyone had been talking about! The even better news is that the tweeps at Twitter are working hard to improve the feature. Check out this article to read more about the progressions that will include indexing the context of a link's landing pages and a reputation ranking system. Frank Reed addressed this release and his post includes pertinent information and useful observations... > Read more
Cluetrain Plus 10 - Thesis 66. Both of Us Are Sick to Death of Getting Our Information by Remote Control
There is a very interesting project underway over at Cluetrain Plus 10 where bloggers are creating content to speak to the 95 theses enumerated in the book. A bit late, I’ve decided to take a swing and offer something to the project (it’s a very cool idea; if you haven’t yet, hop over and check out some of the people who’ve contributed; lots of great stuff).
Anyway my question is 66: 66. As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other? Newspapers are struggling. Media is becoming more and more “social.” The advertising channels that are most effective are now the ones that answer very specific questions. The barrier... > Read more
Brand Query Management is about seeking to influence and control the first page search results for brand-related queries (a search for your company, product or service). A company's brand is one of its most valuable assets. So brand query management is a means of both enhancing and protecting that asset.
Why is Brand Query Management Important? When searchers run brand queries, it's important that your brand has a strong presence in the SERPs. Having a strong brand query provides the following benefits: Protecting what you've built - the more results you control, the less opportunity there is for potential brand vultures. Perceived value - a strong brand query demonstrates perceived value to a customer, which enhances your brand franchise and brand equity. Brand consistency – an acr... > Read more
I love log files, analytics, and looking in your own backyard for PPC keyword strategies. I think your own site's keyword database is the best and purest (though not the only) place to start your keyword research. Your site's keyword data offers you three things: relevance, accuracy, and relevant accuracy.
Relevance - You know these keywords are relevant to your business and your site's content, because people have already gotten to your site via these keywords. Accuracy - I find that actual traffic data is a much better indicator of actual traffic than playing around with the daily/weekly/monthly estimates from keyword tools. Relevant Accuracy - If I go to a keyword research tool and see that a lot of people are searching for a keyword, that's obviously useful data. But what would be ... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search Some great changes and debates were had in search marketing this week. Here's what we're following: Is Google Just A Big Bully? If you're not actively reading blog posts from the gals at Outspoken Media, I strongly suggest adding them to your list. Their posts are knowledgeable, daring, and well-written.
I admit to have a friend crush on @lisabarone, but I especially loved her talk about the newly released Google Profiles. Under the arguable guise that Google is giving you control over your name, people are rushing to stake claim in something others have worked hard to already own. As Lisa says, "I either act like a good little girl [and make a profile] or I risk creating a reputation management issue for myself down the road. I’ve worked ... > Read more
As a search marketer, one of my goals is to engage visitors and keep them engaged. I want searchers to find my sites, spend time reading content, click around, go deeper in the site, exhibit certain behaviors and convert. Two key performance metrics I rely on to measure visitor engagement are bounce rates and page views.
Having a site with a high bounce rate and a low page views indicates a negative user experience –a sign there’s something wrong with the website. Factors that contribute to high bouncing and low views range from poor content, to slow load times, to confusing site architecture, to a lack of proper visual cues. Bounce rate also correlates closely to dwell time, another important metric. Yet another culprit may be a shortage of inline links: in-sentence or in-paragraph, c... > Read more
Launching a New Website? Query Analysis Can Make the Difference Between Thriving or Diving in the SERPs
One of the best ways to conduct keyword research is to explore your website’s data files. By looking at the search queries your visitors used to find your website, you discover new, proven keywords to optimize for. But what if you're a brand new website with no search data and you want to target a new query space? How do you find the right keywords to build your list around? For new websites, conducting a Competitive Query Analysis is very effective for researching keywords.
Running queries for keywords you're thinking of targeting gives you a very good idea how competitive a particular query space is among marketers. You also find out how high the interest level is for a particular query among searchers. With the results of your query research, you can chart a more informed keyword ... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search As is always the case in search marketing, this week left no shortage of valuable content. Here's what we found most interesting. PPC: Quality Score, Click Through Rate, and Behavior My colleagues sitting next to me can tell you that I'm a big fan of Brian Carter.
What can I say, I like his style. This week, he helps us demystify the issue of Quality Score by focusing on the relationship between click through rate and highly relevant keyword groups. Forget all the other factors that go into calculating Quality Score, he suggests, and focus instead on the one that matters most, CTR! Reduce the number of keywords in your keyword groups to improve relevance, and increased Quality Score and CTR will follow. Do you ... > Read more
In the last installment of this keyword series, we talked about how sharing information between paid and natural search marketing campaigns could leverage shared data to improve the results of both channels. We used the following graphic to illustrate the process of sharing information amongst PPC and SEO campaigns: The graphic above makes a lot of sense in the event that you’re: Launching a new site Launching a new product/product line/offering Attempting to target a new keyword vertical This cross-channel thinking can certainly be applied by anyone engaging in search marketing, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the process surrounding any of the above.
Step 1: Test Your Keywords with PPC First you want to generate a list of keywords. You can do this any number of different ways,... > Read more
The Power of Data Sharing - How Sharing SEO & PPC Information Can Improve the Results Enjoyed By Both
Anyone engaging in search marketing should be analyzing SEO and PPC concurrently. By creating a data-driven Web marketing environment in which you can share insights from multiple channels, you provide yourself with a marked advantage over companies and marketers who segment their information sets. This is particularly true within search marketing itself.
Because of the input required for success in the two disciplines, SEO and PPC search engine marketing are often managed separately by everything from pay-per-click tools to agencies to in-house search teams. The implementation of strategies really can require significantly different skill sets. But the DATA offers a very important commonality that should be exploited by anyone attempting to truly “optimize” for search engines.... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search What happened, what's about to happen, and what you need to know about the world of search engine marketing. Before we get to it, we want to be clear that we did not create the idea of a Friday Roundup, but hey, imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Here are some Friday Roundups that we especially enjoy: The Team at PPC Hero Rebecca from SEOmoz Virginia Nussey Google's New Interface: Wondering what Google AdWords and lollipops have in common? Thanks to AdWords' new ability to track multiple conversions, Dan has named these hyper-responsive customers and keywords "lollipops" as they're deserving, sweet, and warrant special attention.
Search engine marketing and candy? Finally something I can relate to! I'm also a fan of Amber's post from PPC... > Read more
One of the things being shown off at SES New York a few weeks back was Google’s new AdWords interface. It’s currently in beta and is being rolled out to more and more customers. There have been a series of in-depth blog postings and discussions about the interface as a whole. The new is definitely a lot slicker than the old: Versus… The first is definitely prettier, and you can certainly make your way through the interface more swiftly.
But what about new features? The most interesting feature for a manufacturer of PPC management software that focuses on search query data was the new search query report. Basically the interface lets you run a search query report in real time for a specific keyword, then add or set your negative keywords for the search queries related to that keywor... > Read more
NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series entitled Why the Most Efficient Frontier May Be New One: The Value of Keyword Discovery & Keyword Expansion. In the last installment of our keyword discovery and keyword expansion how to, we talked about the value of “discovering new graphs” and explained that, in many cases, it’s better to expand your keyword portfolio to new keyword verticals: The premise here is that ideally, instead of moving “up the ladder” and paying more money for every new conversion (forcing us to choose between volume and controlled costs), we would simply start another graph and find a means of generating more conversions for the same average cost.
To do this we need to unearth new, relevant keyword verticals. There are a few means of doing that:... > Read more
Why the Most Efficient Frontier May Be a New One - The Value of Keyword Discovery & Keyword Expansion
Continual keyword discovery in PPC search marketing is immensely important. There are actually a number of instances where strategically expanding your keyword portfolio offers more ROI than bid manipulation. The concept of "diminishing returns" and modern portfolio theory is applicable to more than just economics.
In a keyword portfolio, not unlike in a stock portfolio, there is a point in the optimization of a vertical when the work you put in and/or increased bidding will cease to yield the same (and often any) sort of return. This principle can be effectively applied to pay-per click management and marketing (Efficient Frontier has an excellent white paper on this concept as it regards paid search bidding here). Basically, the premise here is that there is a certain amount of “low-ha... > Read more
SEO Book offers an SEO training program for 100 dollars a month that gets users access to: A series of Training Modules A Community Forum Various Coupons A Competitive Research Tool (a white-labeled version of SEM Rush). I’ve been a member there for the last few months, and thought I’d share my thoughts about/experiences with the program.
Why I Like These Types of Programs Two things you’ll find frustrating about trying to learn and gather information in any space are: Noise – For every intelligent blogger/writer willing to sell or give away advice and ideas, there are legions who are some combination of lazy, under or misinformed, and/or sleazy. If you are new to a space or even just looking for information on a specific subject you’re unfamiliar ... > Read more
This is the third in a three part series on strategically targeting mid-level keywords. In the first installment, we discussed the value of the long tail and that you can reach the long tail by targeting the middle. In the second section, we discussed site navigation and information archtecture that will help you to rank for the middle and the long tail.
In the final article in the series, we'll show you how to build links and create content that will rank on mid-tier and long tail keywords. On and Off Page SEO for Mid-Level & Long Tail Keywords In the previous two posts in this series, we’ve discussed the value of long tail keywords, and we’ve covered how you can develop a long-tail-friendly navigation structure. In this installment, we’ll show you how to build links and create ... > Read more
This is the second section in a three-part series titled "Heads or Tails? - How to Profit from Keywords that Don't Exist". In the first post of our series we talked about the value of targeting mid-level keywords (keywords that bring a medium amount of traffic and are moderately difficult to rank for).
In this edition, we'll discuss how you can structure your site and link within your pages so that you can effectively target "mid-tail" or mid-level keywords. The final installment will be published tomorrow, so stay tuned! Optimize Your Site’s Navigation & Information Architecture for Mid-Level and Long Tail Keywords In attempting to rank for the middle of the long tail keyword graph down, step one is to create an intelligent navigation structure, or information architecture. There’... > Read more
This is the first in a three-part series on the types of keywords you should be targeting. Section two will follow tomorrow, and the final installment will be published on Monday, so stay tuned! Special thanks to Virginia Nussey, Lisa Barone, and Adam Viener for editorial contributions.
By strategically targeting keywords of varying competition levels you will see more and better qualified streams of traffic.At a high level, search engine keywords will fit into three core traffic profiles:“Head” – Popular, highly competitive, and broad keywords. These are typically one or two term keywords, such as “search marketing.”Mid-Tier or “Torso” – These are basically what they sound like: slightly longer keyw... > Read more
Fundamentally, we at WordStream believe in 10 critically important best practices that are the key for both paid and organic search success: (Drum roll, please...) 1. Your Keywords are a Valuable, Proprietary Asset Understanding the search queries that people actually use to find the products & services that are relevant to your business, and the way that you categorize, organize, and prioritize the keyword data represents a crucial piece of competitive intelligence.
Building a proprietary, comprehensive, up-to-date and well-researched keyword taxonomy is the foundation of any successful SEO and/or PPC effort. 2. Keyword Research Should be Personalized and Based on Real Data The problem with a typical keyword suggestion tool is it provides suggestions of keywords that might be rel... > Read more