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

It's Friday! Small Businesses in Search, The Future of Online Advertising & Google Goes to Court

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

June 10, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Keyword Mapping: Play SEO Matchmaker for Superior Relevance and Intent

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

June 09, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Twitter Tips: Using Twitter for Internal PR

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

June 08, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 6

It's Friday! Bing, Social Media and Democracy

  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

June 04, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Internal Link Building Kit

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

June 02, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 2

How to Outsource to Trusted Link Builders Who Won’t Cost You a Dime

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

June 01, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Keyword Tools and Social Media Ownership

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

May 28, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

How I Got Hundreds of Deep Links from a PR5 Website

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

May 28, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 9

AdWords Accounts Being Limited By Budget?

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

May 26, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

It's Friday! Long Tail Debate and Employee Expertise

  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

May 21, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Link Diversity: The Mark of a Trusted, Relevant, 'Natural' Link Profile

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

May 19, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 7

Screwy Sponsored Results for Google Search Options

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

May 19, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Ding Dong? The Truth About the Life and “Death” of the Long Tail of PPC

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

May 18, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

It's Friday! Twitter and Google Dominate Again

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

May 15, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Microformats, Rich Text, Google Search Options, & What it All Means

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

May 13, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Snake Oil SEO – Who’s Really Selling Something, Here?

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

May 12, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Bad Keywords? It's Not Them. It's You.

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

May 11, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 3

It's Friday! Yahoo, Google and Twitter Search

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

May 07, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

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

May 07, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

Brand Query Management: Make Sure Your Brand Rules the SERPs

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

May 05, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Finding Keywords On the Cheap

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

May 04, 2009     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 0

It's Friday! Has Google Gone Too Far?

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

May 01, 2009     |   Written by: Susannah Richardson   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 0

Aggressive Linking: How to Lower Bounce Rates and Raise Page Views with Inline Links

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

April 28, 2009     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 3
 
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