“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
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
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
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
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
Confession: I’m a content marketing manager who hates most content. It’s all so boring! It’s true in the consumer world – as Choire Sicha, co-founder of The Awl, just said in an interview for The Atlantic:I opened up my Digg reader the other day, because I was on blogging duty at work, and everything was so duplicative of each other.
I was like, yeah, okay, there’s that piece of news filtering through all these different websites, all the same things … no wonder I don’t go to them.And the same is true in the business-to-business world. Over 90% of B2B companies do content marketing – but 90% of that content marketing is redundant crap, e.g. “5 Ways to Do Blah Blah the Same Way as Everyone Else.” Publishing blog posts like this is basically cargo-cult marketing; it’s t... > Read more
Prospective customers can be a fickle bunch. They rarely do what we want them to, they behave in all sorts of crazy, unexpected ways, and – worst of all – sometimes they don’t even listen to us.However, it’s not hard to see why consumers have become largely indifferent to most marketing techniques.
After all, the average American consumer spends 11 hours per day using or engaging with digital media and is exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of ads every single day. Is it any wonder why many consumers are hard to reach?Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. In our upcoming webinar, “The ‘Happy Juice’ Principle: Marketing that Captures and Converts,” WordStream and renowned marketing expert Perry Marshall will show you how to leverage the “happy juice” principl... > Read more
I recently learned six Google Analytics tips that literally changed the way I use the software. Until just last week, I only used Google Analytics casually. I’d log in, poke around a little bit, then leave with only a vague idea of what was going on with our traffic. In other words, I was barely scratching the surface of what was possible.
We recently did an all-day intensive Google Analytics training session, which showed me a ton of features that I wasn’t using and didn’t even know about.Before the training, I was pretty much just using Google Analytics to check daily and weekly blog traffic trends. However, the features I’m going to share with you allow me to see:Detailed visitor demographic data and how the behavior of certain types of users can be tracked against “typical” ... > Read more
What do WordStream, Google and the White House have in common? We’re all championing small businesses this week, as Small Business Week 2014 is in full swing!In partnership with the Small Business Administration, a series of events, workshops and Q&A sessions are taking place in cities across the country (and at tech companies such as Microsoft and Twitter) to provide proprietors of small businesses with the support, advice and resources they need to thrive.
Small Business StatisticsSmall businesses are a big deal. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up:99.7% of U.S. employer firms64% of net new private sector jobs49.2% of private sector employment46% of private sector output43% of high-tech employment98% of firms exporting goods overseas33% of the co... > Read more
What are on-the-go consumers looking for when they're using mobile devices to perform searches with local intent? Four out of five local searchers want the ads they see to be customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings, for one.They're also looking for information they can act on immediately.
Fifty percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, according to new research by Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, commissioned by Google.Their study took place online in January 2014 and explored consumer behavior across nine different verticals including Auto, CPG, Retail and Finance. Each of the 4,500 study participants completed a vertical-specific online survey. In order to participate, they had to be at least 18 years of age, cond... > Read more
Does the internet marketing industry have a gender bias problem? It’s something that’s been talked about before, but too often, those discussions are based almost entirely on speculation, a general sense that women are getting the short end of the stick. And the problem with speculation is that it’s easy to dismiss.
Moz’s recent industry salary survey provided some interesting data; they found that women in online marketing are paid less than their male counterparts, even at the same levels of education and experience. This sparked some really great discussion, but again, some may assume men just get the better jobs because of greater ability, better performance, or more ambition. But is this really the case?I recently ran across some internal data that really surprised me. I believ... > Read more
When consumers are searching for local business information, it makes sense that so long as your business listing information is correct, your business will show on the map when the search includes your physical location and product/service … right?Not necessarily. Julie Bacchini from Neptune Moon shared an interesting blog post (aptly titled “This is Why People Hate Google”) last week that highlights factors outside of a company's physical address that may influence how and when your business listing will appear in local searches.
She started looking into the issue on behalf of a client who has had trouble getting their business listing to come up in local, relevant searches. In fact, according to Bacchini, the business appears on page two in Google's search results when people searc... > Read more
Whatever you call it – defection, attrition, turnover – customer churn is a painful reality that all businesses have to deal with. Even the largest and most successful companies suffer from customer churn, and understanding what causes formerly loyal customers to abandon ship is crucial to lasting, sustainable business growth.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at what customer churn is, what constitutes a “good” churn rate, and ways you can stop your customers turning their backs on you forever.Art installation by Tim EtchellsWhat is Customer Churn?Client churn is when existing customers stop doing business with you. This can mean different things depending on the nature of your business. Examples include:Cancelation of a subscriptionClosure of an accountNon-renewal of a cont... > Read more
A few weeks ago, Google announced major changes and updates to the AdWords platform, several of them designed to improve efficiency and scale for enterprise-class search marketers.Google wants to make life easier for companies with massive campaigns – for those who are spending hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars on AdWords.
Enterprise-level PPC marketers face unique challenges, given the complexity and sheer size of their campaigns.These new AdWords features were designed to increase efficiency, help brands scale their campaigns and make insights more accessible and useful. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the new tools available to enterprise AdWords clients.Bulk Actions: Making AdWords Less "Complicated"In the new features announcement a few weeks back, VP of P... > Read more
If you're at all familiar with Reddit, you know about their AMA series, AKA, Ask Me Anything. Superstars from Obama to Rob Delaney have done AMA's, committing to answer questions from anyone and everyone who shows up to submit a question. And in recent months, a number of top SEO's have been doing Ask Me Anything sessions in the SEO subreddit (r/bigSEO).
Today, we’re bringing you the best of the best: hand-picked advice from the top SEO experts who took to Reddit to share their wisdom in the AMA series.Our panel of SEO experts answered myriad questions posted on Reddit, which we’ve sorted into the following categories for your convenience:Social SignalsLocal SEOLink BuildingContent MarketingGuest BloggingGeneral SEOLearning SEO AdviceSEO PredictionsSearch Spam & Black Hat SEOPageRan... > Read more
AdWords scripts for My Client Center (MCC) are now out of beta. Google mentioned this during an AdWords API workshop I attended yesterday but only just made a formal announcement. This is big news for agencies, who have been asking for the ability to run scripts across an entire MCC for a while. Previously, you could only run scripts at the account level.
This is a powerful feature for automating account management.Introduced just a few months ago on March 11, AdWords scripts for MCC allows larger advertisers to manage changes to accounts at scale by hosting all scripts within the account and applying changes to up to 50 accounts simultaneously.Previously, you could set up a script to run on each account in the MCC. Now you can write one script that iterates over all of your clients. Wheth... > Read more
Yahoo's Gemini marketplace for mobile and native ads launched in February and is now the default audience option in the Yahoo self-serve advertising manager. But what is Gemini and how does it work?Yahoo Ad Manager launched in January as a simplified platform for advertisers to buy and manage native ad products like Stream Ads, Image Ads and sponsored Tumblr posts.
Gemini was added to leverage the power of mobile and native advertising together; their native ads are optimized for tablet and mobile devices.Yahoo Gemini powers native ads that put sponsored brand content in front of Yahoo's 400 million monthly users in contextually relevant ways.But First…Why Native Ads?If you're not yet familiar with the format, native advertising is the increasingly popular method of reaching audiences wi... > Read more
In the latest Webmaster video, Matt Cutts answers a question that could have come from me (but actually came from someone named Leah in New York):Google changed the search engine market in the '90s by evaluating a website's backlinks instead of just the content ... Updates like Panda and Penguin show a shift in importance towards content.
Will backlinks lose their importance?There have been some arguments – notably from Russ Jones in the comments on this post (extrapolated on by Rand Fishkin in a recent Whiteboard Friday) – that links will actually increase in value over time.In the below video, Matt Cutts says the opposite is true. It’s not around the corner, but Google will eventually put less emphasis on links – not, however, purely because of link spam, but because links to a s... > Read more
Ask two content marketers about long-form content and you’ll likely get two completely different responses. The first might say that long-form content is a gamble, given audiences’ supposedly miniscule attention spans. The other might say that producing longer articles is an excellent way to engage with readers and offer them genuine value and a rewarding experience.
Which of these content marketers is right? Yep, you guessed it – the long-form content evangelist. Why? Let’s find out.Table of contentsWhat is Long-Form Content?Why Does Long-Form Content Work?5 Long-Form Content ExamplesWhat Is Long-Form Content?It might seem obvious, but there are many different definitions of what long-form content truly is. Some people consider articles longer than 700 words to be long-form, wherea... > Read more
I don’t know about you, but after six years of headlines telling us how badly the economy is doing, I’ve just about had enough of the doom and gloom. How about some good news for a change?According to Cook Associates, Inc., an executive search firm with offices in Boston, Chicago and New York City, the job markets here in the Hub and the Big Apple are on the mend after enduring a nasty slump during the second half of last year.
Even better news is that WordStream was named one of Boston’s “up-and-coming” employers after enjoying one of our strongest quarters ever in Q1 2014 and bringing more than 20 new staff members on board – myself included!In its Q1 Digital Jobs Index, Cook revealed that hiring was up 2.2% during the first quarter of 2014 in Boston and 4.6% in New York City.... > Read more
By now, nearly everyone in the paid search industry has heard about Google’s decision to stop passing query data in its referring ad URLs. After an initial panic, many of us were brought back to our senses by some well-reasoned posts from industry experts. Among them was WordStream’s own Larry Kim, who explained very clearly that search query data isn’t dead.
Advertisers will still be able to pull this information from the Search Terms Report and through third-party platforms that use the AdWords API.Figuring Out Who Was Impacted by Google’s Policy ChangeSo if the impact is pretty minimal for most advertisers, where are the effects being felt? After asking ourselves this question, we developed some criteria to evaluate whether an advertiser’s campaigns would be significantly hamp... > Read more
Rand Fishkin just published the results of a test he did to see if query and click-through data might affect search rankings. To run the test, he asked his Twitter followers to search the term “imec lab” and click on the Moz result. He did not link to the post in his tweet:Care to help with a Google theory/test? Could you search for "IMEC Lab" in Google & click the link from my blog? I have a hunch.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) May 1, 2014Rand writes:A blog post I’d published last week ranked number 7 in Google US results (incognito/logged-out, without regional geographic bias), the same as it had a week prior just after I wrote it (sadly, I forgot to take a screenshot last week when I first looked at the ranking). After noting the position and taking a screenshot, I sent&nbs... > Read more
It’s been almost a month since my colleague Tony Testaverde and I made the short trip to New York City for the ClickZ Live conference. For those unfamiliar with the event, ClickZ Live was formerly known as SES Conference and Expo and is one of the preeminent gatherings for online marketers with big-name keynote speakers and industry thought leaders in virtually every panel.
I haven’t had the chance to attend many conferences before, so I was really looking forward to meeting other search practitioners and learning from the great lineup of speakers. Plus, the venue totally rocked and the NIT champion Minnesota Golden Gophers were staying there as well (the championship game was held at Madison Square Garden on the last day of the conference).Because we’re more interested in the search ... > Read more
I need to be in position 1! I need to be ahead of my competitors! I need to show up all the time for this keyword! I need to be in the top 3 or I won’t be seen! Wrong, wrong, wrong, and, yes, wrong.Too many marketers and business owners react emotionally to AdWords. Oddly enough, they have the data available to make accurate decisions, but they let their egos get in the way.
Bidding to a specific position in AdWords is B.S. There, I said it (AdWords gurus freak out…now). But…I have data to back it up.Your average position is a dependent variable. Here’s why – your conversion rate is not influenced by any of AdWords’ metrics. Your click-through rate, average position, impression share, quality score etc. have no influence on your conversion rate. None. So what does this tell us?... > Read more
Over at Moz, Simon Penson just wrote an interesting post about a “Panda Patent” which may shed light on how Google will rank sites in the future, “using a ratio of links and mentions, or ‘implied links.’” With penalties flying and the value of the almighty link coming into question, could Google be looking for new signals of authority? We think so, but are brand mentions the answer?The relevant part of the patent is this:The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302).
A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source r... > Read more
This past Sunday marked my five-year work anniversary at WordStream. I know that sounds like a long time, but young ones, five years goes by really fast when you’re on the wrong side of 30. I’ve now been working remotely (from the Mile High City) for longer than I worked in the Boston office, which, due to the telescopic nature of time, seems impossible.
The math checks out though. (See also “reminiscence bump.”)Via WikipediaBut enough math – let’s talk search marketing! (Which might possibly involve some math.) Here are our top 10 11 most popular blog posts of the month:1. The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates – This post from the last day of March is going strong! Check out Meg’s tips for crafting must-open emails – should you personalize? How... > Read more
I recently had the opportunity to be the subject of an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at Inbound.org and was blown away by the response. Not only were there a ton of questions, but they were really, really good!These questions led to a lot of great discussion and advice on PPC and AdWords, in particular. But in case you don’t want to dig through the whole thing, here are my top 10 best PPC tips from the Q&A.
1. What's the greatest, but most underused, opportunity in AdWords?Q. Kyle Petzinger asked, "What would you say is the single largest, mostly unused opportunity that AdWords advertisers can take advantage of? I realize this is pretty open-ended, but feel free to just spit out the first 'OMG DO THIS. WHY IS NO ONE DOING THIS' thought that comes to mind. Thanks a ton in advance! Love your wo... > Read more
What is the fabulous and extraordinary thing that is UGC? No, it’s not the latest clog variation of UGG boots - it’s none other than user-generated content!Today we’re looking at different kinds of user generated content, examples of user-generated content, where to find it, how to use it, and more!What is User Generated Content?A user generated content definition: UGC is anything on the web that users have a hand in making.
Most of the photos, videos, and posts you see on the web are pieces of user generated content. Basically, UGC is anything not made by a brand, though brands do leverage user-generated content for ranking.Different Kinds of User Generated ContentThe variations of UGC are endless. Some major kinds include:Blog commentsFacebook comments or postsReviewsUser generated... > Read more
Keyword research is a critical component in every successful paid search strategy. In fact, our internal data shows that search marketers spend nearly 25% of their time on keyword research.Google has quietly rolled out a number of significant changes and updates to Keyword Planner that should not only reduce the amount of time spent in the tool, but make it exponentially more useful, as well.
The updates rolled out this week make it highly visual and more powerful, with a definite mobile focus. It's the first major refresh since the tool was introduced about a year ago.(Warning: the new version is way more fun – you might actually spend MORE time in Keyword Planner. Try not to get distracted by the pretty shiny things.)So what's new? Check out the new Keyword Planner features:Visualize S... > Read more
For those of you not keeping up with the WordStream blog (shame on you!), you might have missed the awesome Grade and Get Paid contest we ran in late 2013. I won’t bore you with all the details, but as a quick summary, marketers were invited to use the AdWords Performance Grader twice to see how their PPC performance improved over a 30-day time period.
I’m proud to brag that my fabulous client GetOutfitted stole the prize and took home the Olympic gold! When I say gold I’m referring to a rainbow-wrapped PPC gift basket of $25K to spend in Google AdWords for 2014, plus a one-year subscription for the WordStream Advisor software to help Kristi Anderson, VP of Marketing at Get Outfitted, spend this budget to maximize sales.Even though this was not included in the prize details (big mista... > Read more