So You Want a Job in Paid Search? How to Break into PPC

As summer begins, the market is flooded with hordes of recent college graduates eager to join the workforce. Searching for a new job in an increasingly competitive market can be a daunting task, especially for those with limited work experience. I remember back when I was first applying to jobs, this felt like an infuriating Catch 22—how was I supposed to gain experience if no one would give me an opportunity?Welp, the good news for aspiring PPC marketers is, you don’t necessarily need to have a lengthy CV to make an impression on hiring managers.

If you play your cards right, you can get your foot through the door with little to no professional experience.If you’re looking to get your first big break in the PPC industry, here are a few tips:Apply for the right position.Be realistic ... > Read more

June 25, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 9

Track Calls Back to the Keyword: Try WordStream's New Call Tracking Software

WordStream exists for one reason: to help small businesses squeeze as much value out of their paid search campaigns as humanly possible. But so often when we talk about value to our customers, we have conversations about clicks or impressions, when our customers really only care about the end result – leads.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the release of WordStream’s new call tracking software offering. With this new tool inside WordStream Advisor platform, we’re enabling customers to better track and measure the value of the phone calls they receive from paid search. Further, they will be able to tie those calls back to the campaign, ad group, match type, and keyword, so they know what’s driving call traffic and what isn’t. Clients can even listen to a recording of the ca... > Read more

June 24, 2014     |   Written by: Ben Kasdon   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

How Google Hummingbird Changed the Future of Search

In September of last year, when Google Hummingbird was officially announced, Matt Cutts said that it would affect 90% of all searches, albeit in a subtle way. Considering that Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches every day, this means Google Hummingbird affects more than 3.15 billion of them.

Not exactly an inconsequential update.This image has nothing to do with Google Hummingbird. Still, hummingbirds are pretty cool.The Hummingbird update was the most ambitious adjustment of Google’s search algorithm since 2001. In today’s post, we’re going to look at what Google Hummingbird is, what it means for SEO, and what the future of Google’s quest to become the “Star Trek” computer could hold.What is Google Hummingbird?Although it’s technically accurate to call Google Hummin... > Read more

June 23, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 11

Has Google Gone Too Far? Parental Status Demographic Added to AdWords

If you’ve ever read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, you probably didn’t notice a chapter about Google tracking your parental status in AdWords. Well, this is exactly what Google is doing, as Parental Status is now a demographic subset that advertisers can explicitly target.This feature went live within the past 12 hours or so, and Google has yet to make an official announcement.

However, we’ve already seen it in action, as you can see in the following figure:Our resident data scientist Mark Irvine was the first of us at WordStream to notice the new feature. At this point, parental status targeting hasn’t been rolled out across all advertiser accounts – in fact, even some of our largest Managed Services accounts don’t have access to this functionality yet, suggesti... > Read more

June 20, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6

Social Sharing Secrets: 15 Ways to Get More Shares ASAP!

Social media sharing is a big aim for many businesses looking to build their brand, extend their reach, and generally make the most of their online marketing efforts. So how do you rack in the likes, tweets, pins, and +1s? Here are 15 super social sharing secrets to keep you basking in the lime light of adoring online fans.

Image courtesy of kanate of FreeDigitalPhotos.net1. Ask people to share your content. The first step is admitting you need help. It sounds like such an obvious no-brainer, but it really does make a difference. Make a point of asking for social shares, and you’ll be more likely to get them.For example, some sites use a pop-up that says "If you liked this post, share it on Facebook!" It's a gentle reminder to (social) share the love.2. Make great content people want... > Read more

June 19, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 10

Do Paid Search Ads Drive Brand Awareness?

What if search advertising were able to impact not just clicks and conversions, but top-of-mind brand awareness?This was the question Google set out to answer in a just-released study with Ipsos MediaCT. In it, they found that search ads have a positive impact on top-of-mind awareness, but also on unaided brand awareness – even when the searcher doesn't click the ad.

Search ads may be known as a direct response tool, but Google's research points to real value for branding, as well.The study, which consisted of 61 simulated search experiments involving 800 U.S. consumers, identified an 80% lift in top-of-mind brand awareness.In each of the studies, consumers were asked to perform searches for category-specific searches spanning 12 verticals. They then saw either a control page or a simula... > Read more

June 18, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

4 Things You Need to Know About Google's New AdWords Policies

Google is launching a “new and improved” AdWords Policy Center aimed at making policies more user-friendly and accessible to advertisers, according to an announcement buried in their AdWords Policy Help resources.The current AdWords policies will remain in effect until “around September,” when the new center will launch.

So what's new? Google has released a preview of the new center alongside their announcement. Here's what you need to know about the changes.1. If you're in compliance now, you won't be a rule-breaker come September… well, most of you, anyway.In their announcement, Google noted, "Almost all advertisers who comply with our current policies will also comply with the new policies."Yes, there will be fundamental policy changes that will affect some advertisers more tha... > Read more

June 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

In-Market Audiences: Target Prospects Who Are Ready to Buy

At the core of every online advertiser’s mission is delivering a perfectly tailored message to a prospect at the moment they are ready to take action. With in-market audiences, released in beta last November, Google claims it can get advertisers closer than ever to this goal.In-market audiences allow advertisers to set up their Display campaigns to reach people who are further down the funnel and ready to make a purchase.

How? By connecting ads to consumers who are actively researching or comparing products and services across the Google Display Network.In-market segments allow you to reach customers when they’re ready to buyHow In-Market Audiences WorkSo what distinguishes in-market audiences from other interest categories? Google says that they can distinguish interest from purchaser... > Read more

June 17, 2014     |   Written by: Zina Kayyali   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 6

Best of the Inbound.org AMAs: SEO Edition

In this latest in our series of the best tips from the Inbound.org AMAs (Ask Me Anythings), we have a collection of awesome insights from top marketers in SEO.Annie Cushing, Ian Lurie, Rand Fishkin, Mike King and many others have participated in the popular Q&A-style threads on Inbound, where you're encouraged to ask them just about anything within their particular areas of expertise.

Here, you'll find the top SEO tips from Inbound’s AMAs, organized into business tips, tools and tactics, and industry buzz. Also check out:Best of the Reddit SEO AMAs 21 Expert Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAsThe Business of SEOOn where to invest $200 in SEO if it just fell out of the skyI probably wouldn't use it at all. For the first 5 years of SEOmoz's marketing efforts, I doubt I... > Read more

June 16, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Search Engines   |   Comments: 3

Google My Business: The New Integrated Local/Social Dashboard for Businesses

Google this week announced the launch of Google My Business, a new program aimed at getting more business owners under the Google umbrella with a one-stop shop for managing their business listings in search, using Google+ and more. Google My Business is an offering for businesses just getting started on the web, but will also become the default dashboard for current users of Places for Business and the Google+ social network.

In fact, as of today, if you navigate to Google Places for Business from the US or Canada, you'll be redirected to Google My Business:This is a little unusual, as Google tends to release new products in the United States first, rolling out changes over a period of weeks or months. The incorporation of Google+ and Places for Business into Google My Business happened as ... > Read more

June 12, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 10

64 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

We’ve all hit it – that wall that seems to sap away all your magical creative marketing juices. Suddenly you feel like Peter Pan without his pixie dust.If you’ve never seen Run Fatboy Run, it’s a great movie!All you need is a bit of help to kick your marketing strategy back on track. And guess what? We’re dishin’ out 64 creative marketing ideas and inspirational tips to help you bust through that brick wall.

Let’s get started with…Social Media Marketing IdeasUrban Marketing IdeasContest Marketing IdeasMarketing Ideas for Contest PromotionContent Marketing IdeasSocial Media Marketing IdeasPush your handles – If you’re really looking to bump up those Twitter followers, you can’t be afraid to be a bit shameless. Speaking at a conference? Put your Twitter handle on the sl... > Read more

June 12, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 15

Will & Larry's Most Excellent, Totally Replicable Keyword Strategy

Keyword research can be a tedious, thankless task – especially if you aren't using the results for maximum impact. Without keyword intelligence, though, you're flying blind. How can a marketer get the greatest ROI from their time spent toiling over keywords?More than keyword research tips, smart marketers need a comprehensive keyword strategy to guide successful SEO, PPC, and content marketing efforts.

We get it, you don't have time for the same old regurgitated "wisdom" you've been hearing and reading about for years.Together, Will Critchlow, co-founder/CMO of Distilled, and I have devised an all-inclusive, totally replicable keyword strategy for search engine success – one we'll share in an exclusive webinar next Tuesday, June 17.Not your average keyword tipsAttendees will review cas... > Read more

June 11, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Google Merchant Promotions Guide: Get More Sales with Special Offers

This post was co-written with Randi Lucius. Google Shopping Campaigns are a favorite of e-commerce advertisers—they give online retailers the opportunity to present a product image along with relevant purchasing information, like price, directly on the Google results pages. You all know the old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.

” So it’s no surprise that these ads are highly effective, often outperforming standard text ads and even organic results.At this point, many advertisers have been jaded by great performance in their shopping campaigns. Most saw huge spikes in sales upon implementing their feeds, but chances are, your results have flat-lined over time. If you’re frustrated with stagnant trends in your account, Google Merchant Promotions might be exactly what you... > Read more

June 11, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Dwell Time: The Most Important Metric You’re Not Measuring

Dwell time is one of the most important, yet frequently misunderstood, site metrics. Many marketers put too much faith in Time on Page when evaluating traffic, but this metric is unreliable and can be misleading.In today’s post, we’re going to look at what dwell time is, whether search engines use it as a ranking signal, and examine ways in which you can increase the average dwell time on your site.

What is Dwell Time?Three years ago, Duane Forrester at Bing wrote a blog post about how to build quality content. It was in this blog post that the concept of dwell time was first introduced.Simply put, dwell time is the actual length of time that a visitor spends on a page before returning to the SERPs. In theory, the longer the dwell time the better, as this indicates that the visitor has ... > Read more

June 10, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 3

Top 3 Business Blog Mistakes & How to Fix Them

Is your business blog tanking? Have you wasted hours upon hours creating what you thought was out-of-this world content while attempting to attract visitors and maybe even grab conversions via your business blog? Lift your somber spirit out of the rain because you have come to the right place! Blogging is not rocket-science, but many of you are missing small but crucial things that will drastically improve the readership of your business blog.

Image via Evil ErinBack in college my roommates and I attempted to throw a party one Friday night. The turnout was simply pathetic, which we blamed on the competing parties occurring in the same townhouse block as ours. A month later we were determined to prove our past party performance wrong. We spent time creating a compelling Facebook invitation f... > Read more

June 09, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 7

Case Study: Does Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Really Work?

With all the recent advances in targeting offered in Google AdWords, I thought it made sense to take a deeper look at one of the AdWords features that has almost become old hat to PPC marketers at this point. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a tool that is often overlooked in the sea of new features and betas that Google continues to churn out, but this staple feature can make a drastic and immediate improvement to your paid search account performance.

 Google defines Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) as “an advanced AdWords feature that dynamically updates your ad text to include one of your keywords that matches a customer's search terms.” PPC marketers know it as putting those funny little brackets and the word “KeyWord” into the ad copy so that the search term will show up within... > Read more

June 06, 2014     |   Written by: Luke MacLean   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

No SEO, No Paid Search – So What the Heck IS eBay’s Search Strategy?

eBay along with researchers from the Universities of Berkeley and Chicago, have just released the final version of a study claiming that paid search ads have “no measurable benefit.” This is not really new news; we heard about the preliminary results last year, and pretty much everyone in search marketing had a good hearty laugh – because eBay has long been known for its embarrassingly crappy ad strategy.

The study is done now, and while it’s not completely terrible, it’s definitely misleading, as well as confusing in terms of what this says about eBay’s marketing strategy. In this post I’d like to go over a few points worth rebutting, especially when it comes to trying to apply these findings to the average Google advertiser out there.It’s Not the Channel, It’s How You Us... > Read more

June 05, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

Bing Ads Copies Google, Kills Mobile Device Targeting

Bing Ads plans to roll out two changes to its device targeting options: first, they will combine PCs and tablets into a single device, then eliminate mobile device targeting.The upcoming changes were driven by users basically telling Bing, "We want you to be more like AdWords," according to the blog post announcement.

While Bing Ads still offered the flexibility of device targeting, it made it difficult for some to manage cross-channel tools.Yes, this latest announcement is a far cry from Bing's April 2013 assurances, when they said Enhanced Campaigns are a bad idea. At the time, they assured advertisers then that they would not follow Google's lead by bundling desktop and tablet targeting. So much for that.However, their user feedback seems to indicate this change in direction is needed, ... > Read more

June 05, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 1

7 Marketing Clichés that Make You Sound Like a Hack

Do you know the etymology of the word “cliché”? It’s a printer’s term – back when printers had to physically arrange letters together to form words and paragraphs and pages, they would sometimes arrange common strings of letters or words together on a single plate to facilitate printing those sequences more efficiently.

This was also known as a “stereotype block.”You can see how both “cliché” and “stereotype” evolved into metaphors. In the same way that using clichés made things easier for printers, clichés make things easier for writers. Reaching for a common, familiar phrase is a shortcut to communicating something close to what you mean. It’s harder and it takes longer to express yourself in fresh language that is also clear.We’re all lazy and we’re all g... > Read more

June 04, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 12

Think You Can Throw Up Any Old Thank You Page? Think Again.

Hurrah! A visitor has come to your site and completed a conversion – whether it be a white paper download, a webinar signup, or a purchase order, you should be feeling pretty good.Don’t pat yourself on the back yet though – you need a thank you page, and it can’t just be any hodgepodge mess that’s thrown up by the nearest website lackey.

In order to get the most out of your coveted converted user, you need a stellar thank you page.What is a "thank you page"? Your website's thank you page is where users are taken after completing a desired conversion. Often a website thank you page features – big surprise – a “thank you” message in response to a visitor’s order/download. A great thank you page has more than just that though…Yes, You Need a Thank You Page!Why do you nee... > Read more

June 03, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 8

The Happy Juice Principle: How to Create Marketing That Captures & Converts

How well do you know your audience? If your messaging just isn't connecting, resonating or converting to its full potential, you haven't yet tapped into that elusive marketing sweet spot. Marketers strive to provide the best possible experience to their audience, but reaching that pinnacle of customer connectedness doesn't happen by accident.

Small business guru and Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall joined us recently for a fun and information-packed webinar on what he calls “the Happy Juice Principle.” We often look to Perry for inspiration and copy strategy and were struck by his unique approach to content creation, lead capture and conversion. It all started with our team reading this post on Perry's blog – at first, we laughed (happy juice?!), but the underlying principle quick... > Read more

June 02, 2014     |   Written by: Amber Stevens   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

Best of the Month: WordStream’s Top 10 for May

One word dominated search marketing in May – “panda.” Obviously we’re not talking about the adorable, endangered animal, but rather the fourth update to the Google algorithm that laid waste to crappy sites across the web and struck terror into the hearts of webmasters the world over.These pandas want to rock ‘n roll all night AND party every day.

Of course, the Panda 4 update wasn’t the only thing people were talking about this month. Let’s see what else was going on and take a look at this month’s top posts.1. Panda 4.0: Why EBay Just Lost 80% Of Its Organic Rankings – Even if you’re not familiar with the term “schadenfreude,” eBay’s recent misfortune at the hands of Google is a perfect example. Check out this post to see why Google slapped eBay so hard, courtesy ... > Read more

May 30, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

New Webinar: Test Your Way to More Leads from PPC

If you’ve been attending WordStream’s recent webinars (or reading the blog), you already know some of the secrets to hacking AdWords – like how Quality Score is really calculated, and the secrets behind “unicorn” ads with super-high click-through rates.Now it’s time to learn our best A/B testing hacks – the changes, big and small, that can help you drive way more leads (not just clicks) though PPC, without giving Google more of your sweet, sweet cash.

In our next webinar, “7 Powerful A/B Tests That Drive More Leads from Paid Search,” WordStream will team up with Optimizely to reveal the secrets of A/B testing that will help you drive more leads from paid search.Join WordStream and Optimizely on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 1 p.m. EST (5 p.m. UTC) – register now!WordStream... > Read more

May 29, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 1

21 Expert Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAs

Ask Me Anythings, or AMAs, have long been a popular conversation format on Reddit. More recently, they've really taken off on Inbound.org, giving marketers of all stripes the opportunity to pick the brains of industry influencers and thought leaders.Annie Cushing, Brian Clark, Avinash Kaushik and other thought leaders in our industry have participated in AMAs on Inbound over the last 18 months.

Typically, it's announced a few days ahead of time and participants come back over several days to answer questions from the community. The content tends to be laser-focused and super-high-quality – they don't go as off-track as you might see on Reddit, probably due in large part to the fact it's a niche site and the audience tend to be well-versed in the basics.Not a lot of questions like “Woul... > Read more

May 28, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

Why You NEED Social Media Landing Pages (Not Just a Homepage!)

With so much traffic being driven these days via social media, it’s important to implement designated social media landing pages as part of your marketing strategy. Remember, folks who click your ads and links from social media sites are valuable visitors – they’ve actively engaged with your brand on a social network.

In fact, J. Crew found that:“customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer”Twice as much is a pretty big deal! So roll out the red carpet, and don’t you dare just send your social fans to the homepage.Many of the same rules that are used with PPC landing pages apply to social media landing pages as well, the core essentials being:Landing ... > Read more

May 27, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 8

The Attention Economy: Why Some of Your Content Will Always Fail

“The attention auction” is a phrase that has stuck in my head since I first read it earlier this year, on AJ Kohn’s blog Blind Five-Year-Old. The idea is that we’re all competing for a finite amount of attention, and it’s a zero-sum game. If people are paying attention to your competitor, they can’t pay attention to you at the same time.

Another term for the same basic idea is “attention economics” – in an attention economy, attention is treated as a scarce commodity. We’ve got access to more information than ever before, but no more time or attention to give.The concept is pretty key for us content marketers. When you publish new content, you’re putting a bid into the attention auction. And not everybody can win.Here at WordStream, we put a lot of thought and planning... > Read more

May 23, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

5 Cognitive Biases & How to Overcome Them On Your Landing Pages

You already know that highly optimized landing pages are crucial to the success of any paid search campaign. However, even the best landing pages don’t have conversion rates of 100%. Why? Well, because people are unpredictable, and sometimes, consumer behavior defies all logic – frequently due to cognitive biases.

In today’s post, we’re going to examine what cognitive bias is, look at several examples of these behaviors in action, and outline how you can overcome (or at least account for) them with your landing pages.What is Cognitive Bias?Cognitive biases are ways of thinking about and perceiving the world that may not necessarily reflect reality. We may think we experience the world around us with perfect objectivity, but this is rarely (if ever) the case. Each and every one of us... > Read more

May 22, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 7

Panda 4.0: Why eBay Just Lost 80% of its Organic Rankings

Poor eBay – they're having a pretty bad day. Thanks to Google’s roll-out of Panda 4.0 and the Payday Loan 2.0 update, eBay is suffering a massive loss in organic traffic and rankings. Adding insult to injury, they had to ask all users to change their passwords after a database hack.Matt Cutts kicked off the SEO hysteria yesterday as he often does, with a tweet:First released in 2011, Panda is a component of the organic search ranking algorithm designed to weed out low-quality sites, or those with "thin content.

" In its initial release, Panda affected approximately 12% of all search queries – by March 2013, Google had refreshed Panda 25 times, making it a constant source of aggravation in SEO circles.This update is particularly worrisome for webmasters, given that Google had stopped a... > Read more

May 21, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 72

5 Creative Ways to Use Google Glass (and How to Win Your Own!)

Google Glass: What began as an experiment in the notoriously secretive Google X research and development lab soon became the future of wearable technology. Google recently opened up its Glass Explorer pilot program to the general public, meaning yes, anyone (with $1500 to spare) can buy one! But many people remain unaware of what Google Glass can really do.

First, for all you hardware nerds out there, let’s take a look at Glass’ “tech specs” (sorry, couldn’t resist):12GB of usable memory (16GB Flash total)802. 11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity5 megapixel camera720p video resolutionIn this post, we’re going to explore five creative ways you can use Google Glass – and tell you how you can win your very own Google Glass headset (for free!) in WordStream’s new Grade and Get... > Read more

May 21, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6

Search vs. Display: Which AdWords Network Should You Use?

Here at WordStream, our team of consultants analyzes thousands of PPC accounts. While our customers’ pain points tend to vary, many of their issues can be tracked back to one major misstep—their campaigns are set to run on both the Search and Display Networks simultaneously.99% of the time, this practice will wreak havoc on a PPC account.

The main problem is, these networks target users in two completely different scenarios. Not to mention, since metrics across each network are combined, it is challenging to assess how each is performing, and it eliminates the option to segment one’s budget by network.Quite frankly, applying the same strategy to both networks is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole…it just doesn’t work. If you have any campaigns opted into both network... > Read more

May 20, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 6
 
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