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
If you’re like me, you’re checking Gmail constantly. Despite how much time you spend on Gmail, I bet that good old Google Mail is still holding out a few secrets on you! Well we’re blowing its cover and showing you some of the most valuable Gmail tips and tricks to make your email checking a bit easier.
Gmail Keyboard ShortcutsDid you know you can use a number of Gmail keyboard shortcuts from within Google Gmail? Some general Word shortcuts apply so that when you’re composing messages, you can use Gmail shortcut keys like:Ctrl + b | Make your text bold.Ctrl + i | Make your text italicized.Ctrl + u | Make your text underlined.Ctrl + Shift + 7 | Create a numbered list.Ctrl + Shift + 8 | Create a bulleted list.Ctrl + k | Insert a hyperlink for highlighted text. (Note: For Gmail ke... > Read more
Today's the day: Google finally spilled the beans about the new features that are coming to AdWords. (Protip: sign up for our webinar tomorrow for an in-depth look at the changes and how they'll affect you!) Now we can finally tell you what they actually announced. Here’s our take on this exciting news.
New AdWords Features OverviewBefore we get into the specifics of the new AdWords features, I wanted to provide you with an overview of the key points about these planned improvements. I recently spoke with Aaron Stein, Google’s Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager, who told me that:These features will be entirely optional, unlike last year’s mandatory (read: “destructive”) Enhanced Campaigns update.Also, unlike last year’s EC update, no existing features are being ret... > Read more
Google is making a big announcement on Tuesday, April 22 (yep, that's TOMORROW). They will announce 10+ new AdWords products, features, and research studies that they have been working on for the past year.Last year, we were the first to bring you complete coverage of Enhanced Campaigns, the biggest change to the AdWords ecosystem in the last decade.
This Wednesday, we’ll be holding a free, live webinar to clue you in on this new announcement and what it means for your AdWords campaigns.The moment the embargo is lifted, we’ll start bringing live coverage of the announcement plus actionable advice on how it will affect your account and how to take advantage of the changes.There’s been plenty of speculation so far on what those changes might entail. We’ve seen what people are saying,... > Read more
In today’s post, you’ll learn how to build landing pages from the ground up and see which option is right for you. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to start building a landing page that will drive conversions. Unless it looks like the one above, in which case you’ll probably want to rethink your life choices.Building a Landing Page the ‘Hard’ WayBefore we dive into... > Read more
Take a look at your text ads and tell me if they are designed to sell. Do you have a well-written ad description, a strong offer and a compelling call to action? Many PPC managers create their text ads to match the title with the query and bring people to the right landing page. And that’s a great starting point, but is it enough?In many instances when we look at ads, we see the same generic or simple text written in the ad descriptions.
Over the last few years we’ve changed the ad descriptions for hundreds of ads and we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in click-through rates, even when the ads were at the bottom of the search results.When people search for a product or a service, they can see up to three ads at the top and eight ads at the side, together with the organic results and s... > Read more
Like practically every topic of discussion on the internet, net neutrality is a subject that people either a) haven’t heard of and couldn’t care less about, or b) are rabidly passionate about and will die to defend (or so it seems in most site comment sections). But what is net neutrality anyway, and why should marketers care?What is Net Neutrality?Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow all types of traffic to travel across their networks without discrimination; that all sites and applications should be treated equally, and not subjected to traffic shaping, bandwidth throttling and other means of control that serve ISPs' commercial interests.
Here are five facts that marketers need to know about net neutrality and why it’s so important:1. Net... > Read more
Have you ever done a super-specific search for an obscure item on Google and been shocked to see an ad that is offering—to a tee—exactly what you are looking for? If so, there’s a good chance that the advertiser was using a strategy known as Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). DKI allows you to customize your ad to match the user’s search query, thus creating a more specific, highly targeted ad that perfectly matches the searcher’s intent.
To do this, the advertiser can create a generic ad that contains the dynamic keyword insertion formula. When Google serves this ad, it will substitute the keyword that triggered the auction for the formula in the ad.For example, if an advertiser implemented the ad text above and their ad was triggered by the search term “german chocolate cupcake... > Read more
It’s no secret that there’s little love lost between Google and Facebook, even to those outside the Valley. Google proved this once again today by announcing it has expanded access to +Post ads to all advertisers and that these ads will support Google Hangouts on Air.What Are Google +Post Ads?Google first announced +Post ads in December, billing them as a new format of ad that brands can use to drive engagement across multiple platforms.
Simply put, +Post ads are pieces of content from brands’ Google Plus profiles, such as videos and photos, which are repurposed into ads to be served across the Google Display Network.What’s the Big Deal?In the official blog post announcing the rollout, Google highlighted some examples of how advertisers have used +Post ads to drive user engagement.... > Read more
I’m sure by now many of you have at least heard of Google’s Flexible Bid Strategies (or read Larry’s blog post on the Top 10 AdWords Features of 2013), which was announced in May of last year. Google created these strategies to help advertisers make more sense of their bidding and spend less time trying to figure out what to do.
However, most are struggling to see what the benefits are, how and where to use them, and how to measure success. In this post, you'll learn what they are, the different types of flexible bid strategies, and how to make them work for you.What are Flexible Bid Strategies?Flexible bid strategies automatically set bids to optimize for certain goals across set campaigns, ad groups and keywords.Once you have created a strategy, it will be shared in your Share... > Read more
It seems there’s always a digital marketing conference going on somewhere, but few were as eagerly anticipated as SearchLove Boston 2014 was. The thoroughly charming folks at Distilled assembled a truly diverse lineup of speakers for the event – a roster of search and digital marketing talent that certainly didn’t disappoint.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since we gathered at Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center for the event, and perhaps even harder to believe that I failed to get this write-up finished sooner. C’est la vie.Although I’ve no doubt many of you were hanging on my every word on Twitter during the conference, here’s a round-up of some of my favorite sessions.Day OneAlthough Distilled’s Founder and Chief Marketing Office... > Read more
Let’s face it, the internet is full of clowns and jokers.While Amazon is largely a site of purposeful, insightful reviews, under the darkness of night you may find it transformed into a local comedy club, full of amateur stand-ups looking for a laugh. Plenty of folks employ Amazon consumer reviews to poke fun at some of the outrageous products found on the web in a movement dubbed “customer review comedy.
”Today we’re giving you the top 10 funniest Amazon products and their hilarious reviews.1. Three Wolf Moon ShirtArguably the most popular Amazon internet joke is the Three Wolf Moon Shirt. Since its introduction onto Amazon in 2008 it has gone on to earn over 2,790 reviews and has become its own meme. The shirt’s viral explosion increased the shirt’s sales by 2,300%. The r... > Read more
Do Google’s Shopping campaigns (the new version of Product Listing Ads) work? My answer 100 out of 100 times would be yes! The results speak for themselves, but simply, what advertiser wouldn’t want to see metrics and bid at the specific product level??? I’ve worked with accounts that have super-segmented product feeds and accounts that aren’t segmented at all.
The results will vary account to account, industry to industry.For me the biggest asset with Shopping ads is clarity. You can now see everything you need to manage a PLA campaign almost as if it were a regular search campaign. You can see which specific products are accumulating the most spend, you can see which products are converting and for how much. You have the power to manage PLAs like you do keywords (minus match type... > Read more
Why You Need Amazon Customer ReviewsOnline reviews are the modern media world-of-mouth; they’re immensely powerful and can have a huge affect on how your business is perceived. A study last year found that:79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations85% of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business moreWhen you wish upon five stars, it makes no difference who you are – your business dreams come true! OK, in truth you’ll need a lot more than wishing to obtain a great Amazon star count.
In this post we’ll talk about why Amazon customer reviews are important and the various ways you can earn them (both legitimately and not-so-legitimately).What Amazon Custo... > Read more
All sorts of silly rumors were circulating earlier week suggesting that Google is going kill off all search query data from paid search and that third party tools providers like WordStream are going to be slammed. Unfortunately the reporting on this issue has been light on facts and heavy on speculation.
In this article I'll explain exactly what is is changing here -- the short answer is: not a heck of a lot.Are The Rumors True? Is Paid Search Query Dead?No. not even close. If you used paid search query data to do campaign optimizations, you can still access all of that data from within the Search Terms Report in AdWords just as you have done in the past. Not convinced? The easiest way to disprove this rumor is to log into your AdWords account and view your search query data for yourself. ... > Read more
What would it do for your business if you were able to crawl inside my brain and wallow in crazy-effective PPC knowledge, gained over more than ten years working in paid search every single day?The insane insights and experience you would take away would become your ultimate PPC secret weapon, giving you the power to slay the competition and squeeze every last drop of ROI out of your AdWords campaigns.
For one day only, you have the opportunity to do just that. In our next free webinar, I'll share mind-blowing PPC secrets and unconventional wisdom gleaned over my 10+ year career in PPC.Our Ultimate Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Advertising webinar is designed to help you kick-start your PPC campaigns or invigorate your existing ones.There's no denying that AdWords ads are a highly effective... > Read more
Here in Boston, we finally had a day that one could call “Spring-like.” It was warm (a whole 52 degrees!), people were walking around without jackets, and there was a general feeling of “I really hope we are done with the snow” filling the air.Ah, spring!Along with this, a number of my clients are cleaning up their AdWords accounts and getting ready for the spring and summer months ahead.
For some industries, nothing really changes when the temperatures go up, but for a lot of seasonal businesses and merchants, there is plenty of updating to do within their accounts.So here are my top five ways to make sure your AdWords account is ready for spring!Out with the Warm and In With the … Skimpy?A few of my clients sell different types and styles of clothing. In the fall and winter, we... > Read more
Ad text relevancy is important to keeping your audience engaged, and in some cases can dramatically improve key metrics like click-through rate (CTR). Whether it’s advertising your latest promotion, lowest sale price, or resonating with an audience interested in up-to-date stock prices, there are many scenarios when switching up your ad text is not only valuable but imperative.
Constantly updating ad text has its challenges. Keeping up with these updates can be time-consuming, especially for large accounts. Additionally, ad text updates are not always timely as they need to go through the Google review process which can take up to 24 hours. When a last-minute promotion only lasts a day, the update to your ad text can become moot as it may never reach the SERP. A great workaround to update... > Read more
WordStream recently received intel from one of our field agents that Kristi Anderson, VP of marketing for GetOutfitted.com, was attempting to maximize the effectiveness of her PPC campaigns and increase conversions.Despite facing overwhelming odds, Kristi succeeded in her mission by using WordStream’s not-so-super-secret paid search technology.
Over the course of 30 days, Kristi learned precisely where she was going wrong in her paid search efforts, enabling her to take immediate action and get incredible results.In just 30 days, Kristi was able to:Improve her impression-weighted Quality Score by 50%Raise her average CTR from 0.26% to 6.32% - 24 times higher than her original CTRIncrease her account activity score from 39% to 72%Kristi’s mission was ambitious, but far from impossible. ... > Read more