SMO Is the New SEO: The Rise of Social Media Optimization

The Week in Search Twitter domination continues, or, it's time to add "Twitter Optimization" to your skill set.  Is old-school social linking dead? Andrew Goodman of Traffick claims that social linking is going the way of the dodo. Taking its place? Sharing (via Facebook, Google Reader, and social bookmarking sites) and "social tweeting": [S]ome people still have remnants of any inclination whatsoever to engage in 1998-era social linking, taking the trouble to wrap a relevant link around anchor text in a post like this.

The vast majority have no such inclination. They prefer something quick and easy, like a tweet or any number of other forms of social behavior across different digital venues. These days, he says, "only old school, super-conscientious sorts of bloggers, and SEO's and s... > Read more

August 07, 2009     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 6

SEO Title Tag Formulas: How to Create High Performance Title Tags

Want Better Keyword Ideas for Your Title Tags? Try our Keyword Tool to Generate Highly Relevant Keyword Suggestion Ideas!One of the most important pieces of copy for SEO is the title tag. Having a strong, relevant, clickable title can have a major impact on rankings, click-through rates and overall traffic numbers.

Table of Contents:Adding KeywordsAdding Action WordsAdding Secondary KeywordsBest Title Tag FormulasTesting Title TagsIn my mind, the title tag is so vital to the success of your SEO that I advocate rigorous testing of tags to find which ones work and which don't. Once you've found a winner, you should implement a title tag formula that everyone who touches SEO on your website can follow.Benefits of an SEO title tag formula:Keeps SERP listings consistent across a siteSimplifies t... > Read more

August 05, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 51

The Long Tail Keyword Optimization Guide - How to Profit from Long Tail Keywords

The following was previously a series of blog posts. We're repurposing the series in a single document here to make the piece easier to link at and reference; additionally our readership is much larger than it was when we first started the blog, and we thought the new readers might find the content valuable.

The original posts can be found here: The Long Tail SEO Keyword Guide Posts: Part One: Heads or Tails? - How to Profit From Long Tail Keywords that Don’t Exist Part Two: Informing the Tail - Mid-Level & Long Tail Information Architecture Part Three: Building Links & Creating Content for Mid-Tail & Longtail Phrases By strategically targeting keywords of varying keyword competition levels you will see more and better qualified streams of traffic. At a high level, sea... > Read more

August 03, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 3

It's Friday: Honesty, Transparency and Lessons From Direct Mail

The Week in Search The importance of honesty and what we can learn from traditional marketing. Agency Transparency and Tech Crunch Says Oops (Again...) A big topic this week has been regarding transparency and openness. Here at WordStream, the marketing team got together to discuss our own policy for disclosure, specifically for blog posts.

If we find something that works in search marketing, should we share it with our audience as a helpful find and newsworthy topic or are we giving away a trade secret? When weighing reward (interesting topics generate more blog visitors and WordStream coverage) against risk (consider what happens if the strategy gets adopted by the masses and suddenly it's no longer such a great tip), how much transparency is too much? Dave Fleet wrote a great post yest... > Read more

July 30, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Torn on Bing/Yahoo Deal

Search Engine Journal was nice enough to post my initial reaction to word of the Bing Yahoo! deal. Take a look and let me know your thoughts regarding the impact of the deal on PPC and SEO. ... > Read more

July 30, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Google PageRank Update: July, 29, 2009

We're seeing a Google Toolbar PageRank update that happened about 20 minutes ago (July 29, 2009). Many of our top level pages have jumped in rank as a result of this latest update. Also, our take is Google has started to update Toolbar PR more and more frequently. By my count, this is the fourth update in 2009.

Note that in all of 2008, there were a total of five PR updates. So if this latest TBPR update is confirmed, Google is clearly updating more frequently and we should reach seven or eight updates by year's end. For reference, Google PageRank is a link analysis algorithm (named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google), which Google uses to assign a numerical weighting to measure the authority, value or importance of a webpage. Nobody outside of Google knows the actual PageRank of a doc... > Read more

July 29, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 16

What are the Top Article Submission Websites for Link Building?

Photo courtesy of House of Sims Article Submission Table of Contents: Best Practices Top Websites Managing Article Submissions Salvaging Article Links Article submission and syndicate services are an effective way to build anchor text links to your deeper pages. Building deep links can be one of the most difficult parts of SEO, especially for product pages.

The effectiveness of article submission for inbound link building and ranking is often debated in the SEO community, but I’ve seen plenty of instances of ranking changes that I can attribute directly to syndicated article submission links. But as with everything in SEO, it's best to test the theory yourself. One of the other benefits of article submission is the articles themselves can rank on the first page on Google, often for mi... > Read more

July 29, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 5

Interview With The Experts: Amanda Watlington

This Interview With the Experts series highlights Amanda Watlington, an incredible resource with over 10 years of web marketing experience. Amanda runs her own consulting business, Searching for Profit. We'd like to sincerely thank Amanda for her time and support throughout WordStream's brief history.

You’ve been involved in web marketing for 10 years now.  What would you say is the biggest change the industry has seen over the last decade? The biggest change has been its growth from after thought to mainstream within marketing. Web marketing has always seemed to me an artificial construct at least as it was construed in the early days.Some of the other big changes have really been related to the growth. Search has grown into a huge marketing force and who knew that we would be tal... > Read more

July 27, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday: Campaign Relevance, Amazon and Zappos

The Week in Search Search campaign relevance and a billion dollars Four Steps Towards Optimizing Your Campaign for Relevance and Results I recently discovered Alan Mitchell's search marketing technique blog (aah, the power of Sphinn and Twitter...) and after Saturday's post entitled "Relevancy: The Holy Grail of PPC," I think I'm hooked.

I've been involved in search engine marketing for less than a year, which means that a big frustration of mine is when a SEM strategy is presented as over-simplified and easy. But we all know that search marketing isn't easy--if it was, anyone could do it and most of us would be out of a job. Then again, it's hardly enjoyable to read about this difficulty and complication without any light at the end of the tunnel. Campaign relevance is one of the most int... > Read more

July 23, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

SEMGeek Interview with Larry Kim

One of the coolest things about starting a company is that from time to time, you get to show up in blogs, online radio shows or other articles as an "expert guest". Today, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Greg Meyers of the SEMGeek Blog. I'm listing out the questions that Greg asked me here, and you can read the full interview here.

What's the driving force behind the creation of WordStream? What makes WordStream more valuable than AdWords Editor? What are some of the key differences between Google AdWords Editor and WordStream? Can you give us some insights into the level of experience of WordStream's main target market? Is it targeted to seasoned professionals or novices wanting to start a new career in PPC? During this economic downturn, is Word... > Read more

July 22, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

The Google Local Yocal Scam: Suckering Local Businesses with Guaranteed First Page Listings

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

July 22, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 9

Interview with Gab Goldenberg

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

July 20, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 4

It's Friday: Questions You Shouldn't be Asking and This Week's Name Calling

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

July 16, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Google Introduces Site Links for Deeper SERP Listings: More Evidence of Big Brand Promotion

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

July 16, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Will I Still Be Shamelessly Googling Myself in 2060?

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

July 16, 2009     |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

WordStream Founder Interviewed on Online Marketing With RSS Ray

RSS Ray hosts a weekly radio program to discuss all things online marketing, including search engine strategies, analytics and social media. Last week, WordStream's own Larry Kim had the pleasure of being interviewed on Ray's program. We'd like to sincerely thank the entire team for this opportunity and invite you to listen to the program here:In the interview, Larry answers the following questions:What areas of web marketing does keywords impact…it’s more than just natural organic search, right?Now when a business is in the process of deciding the search terms around which they optimize their marketing, what are the most common factors they should consider?What ways can a company use to discover search terms and which approach is best?Does the discovery process for search terms ever e... > Read more

July 14, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 1

Interview with Aaron Wall of SEO Book

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

July 13, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 8

It's Friday: Have We Forgotten The Basics of Search and The Genius of Monty Python

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

July 09, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Features, Not Just Benefits – Why Differentiation Requires More Than Vague Maxims

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

July 08, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 2

Interview with Penn State Professor and 'Search Behaviorist' Jim Jansen

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

July 06, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 3

Why these Four AdWords Success Stories are Really Just One

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

July 03, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

The PPC Agency Differentiation Checklist – The 5 Questions That Will Gain You Market Share

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

July 01, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Interview With The Experts: Eric Lander

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

June 26, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 5

It's Friday: Writing for Web Conversions and The Final Verdict on Twitter Hash Tags

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

June 24, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Our 50 Favorite Search Marketing Blogs for SEO, PPC, Social Media and Everything In-Between

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

June 24, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Confessions of an SEO Logger

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

June 22, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 2

It's Friday: The Future of Keywords and Marketing

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

June 18, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Is Paying Per Click an Addiction, or a Lifestyle Choice?

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

June 18, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

How to Create PPC Landing Pages that Work for SEO

  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

June 17, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

WordStream June '09 Highlights

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

June 15, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0
 
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