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
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