No Plan, No Workflow, No Results: How to Develop a PPC Plan that Aligns with Your Goals

Do you feel like a dainty pony in a world of fierce PPC unicorns?Time and time again you tell yourself to create a PPC plan/workflow, yet you have no idea how to do this. Your palms are consistently sweating due to the persistent pressure from your boss demanding you improve your quality score or finally show the return on the huge chunk of marketing budget he or she has let you use for paid search.

You log in to your WordStream or AdWords account, overwhelmed by all the functionality and unaware of where to start. No plan = no direction = no success. But no goals = no workflow.Goals are a key component to creating your PPC workflow. Just think about it, do you ever drag yourself out of bed and hop on the treadmill just because? Or attend an hour-long, sweat-drenched spinning class after wo... > Read more

March 25, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

3 Ways Google AdWords Is Adapting for Small Business Advertising

There’s no denying that AdWords has been extremely successful in building an enterprise-level customer base. How else would it have achieved the status of the world’s most popular search marketing platform? Given that it is, by far, the most prominent player in the space at this time, I think it’s fair to speculate that the majority of its enterprise-level clients are highly committed to the advertising platform.

Based on what we’ve seen here at WordStream, these big spenders tend to be actively engaged with their accounts, and their AdWords spend levels remain fairly consistent.These small businesses could use some helpNow that Google has full confidence in its enterprise clients’ stability, I suspect that it is shifting its focus to small business advertising. From my own exper... > Read more

March 24, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

How to Use Schema Markup for SEO: Making Your Site Easier to Find for Stupid Machines

Including schema microdata in your web pages is a lot like eating well, exercising or getting a good night’s rest – you know you should be doing it, but actually following through can be harder than it sounds. Unless you’re a health nut, in which case please stop telling us about Crossfit.Although schema and other structured markup formats have been around for several years, relatively few sites bother to include schema microdata, and even fewer people actually know what schema is or what it’s for.

However, there’s no need to be embarrassed – we’re going to answer your questions about schema and why you should make it an integral part of your SEO strategy. Pay attention – there’s a test at the end*.*Not reallyWhat is Schema?Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easi... > Read more

March 20, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 30

Win a 2-Hour PPC Consultation with Paid Search Experts Perry Marshall & Larry Kim

What would it do for your business if you had the chance to pick the brains of two renowned PPC industry experts about your specific AdWords needs? Would you discover budget-saving bidding and creative strategies, tactics to maximize your conversion and ROI, or targeting functions and features to get you in front of the most relevant audience possible?All of the above!This spring, one lucky marketer has the opportunity to supercharge their AdWords strategy with expert insight and guidance from two industry experts.

In just a few days, we'll draw the winner of a two-hour paid search consultation with my good friend, AdWords guru Perry Marshall and me, Larry Kim.Marshall, the world's most quoted Google AdWords consultant, authored The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, the most popular PPC ... > Read more

March 19, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

The Heroes PPC Deserves: WordStream at HeroConf 2014

If you’re in PPC, you’ll undoubtedly have heard about Hanapin Marketing’s HeroConf, the world’s largest PPC conference. If you’re thinking of attending HeroConf 2014, you won’t find people wearing capes, masks or spandex leggings (well, probably not, anyway). However, you will find WordStream and many other PPC experts speaking about the hottest topics in paid search.

HeroConf 2014 will take place at the Hilton Austin Hotel in beautiful Austin, TX, from April 28-30. The Hilton Austin is nestled in one of the city’s trendiest areas, and is located just two blocks away from Austin’s historic 6th Street entertainment district.Why Attend HeroConf 2014?There are already dozens of reasons to attend HeroConf 2014, but here are some of the highlights:4 keynote addresses11 networking... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Do Mobile PPC Ads Even Work?

Ever secretly wonder if mobile PPC ads are really as effective as their desktop counterparts? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. In fact, a lot of advertisers (including some big, impressive brands that claim to be “experts” in paid search) share these doubts – but don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s discuss some questions you might have about mobile PPC advertising. Do people actually click them? Did Google’s new SERP design ruin everything? Can mobile PPC improve your visibility in local search? Let’s find out.[RELATED: How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page]How Effective Are Mobile PPC Ads?Before we go any further, we need to address the fact that, yes, in-app and mobile display advertising are almost universally hated by consumers. However, unlik... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Google Promises Solution to Keyword Not Provided, But How Useful Will It Be?

It's fair to say Google's Amit Singhal shocked the audience at SMX West last week when he told Danny Sullivan a solution to the not-provided keywords issue will be announced "in the coming weeks or months."Wow .@theamitsinghal announced that google is working on solution for keyword (not provided) situation #SMXWest #smx pic.

twitter.com/taQEMTYv9m— Larry Kim (@larrykim) March 12, 2014Google hasn't given an inch on the keyword data lost to site owners and marketers when secure search was fully implemented in September 2013. It was a change two years in the making; SEOs and site owners saw keyword data gradually disappearing to the "not provided" dark side from September 2011 on. Throughout, panic ensued as site owners were no longer able to track users by the keywords that brought them to... > Read more

March 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization Is Wrong

Conversion is a key element in your paid search strategy; after all, if you're not actually turning lookers into buyers at a high rate, what are you advertising for? Conversion rate optimization enables you to maximize every cent of your PPC spend by finding that sweet spot that convinces the maximum percentage of your prospects to take action.

But what is a good conversion rate? If you're already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you're going to go?We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry?Through our ... > Read more

March 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 25

The 5 Best Explainer Videos & How to Make Your Own

Today we'll be covering everything there is to know about explainer videos. They're fun to make, will jumpstart conversion rates, and are overall great to have for any startup business. Let's get started!What is an Explainer Video? Types of Explainer Videos5 Best Explainer Video ExamplesHow to Make an Explainer VideoScriptVoice OversVideo ProductionMusic & Sound EffectsMeasuring PerformanceEnjoying the Advantages of an Explainer VideoWhat is an Explainer Video?Explainer videos are short online videos used to explain your company’s product or service.

Explainer videos, often placed on a landing page, your website’s home page, or a prominent product page, have become extremely popular – some sites boast of conversion rates increasing by as much as 144% after including an expla... > Read more

March 13, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 25

Join Me for 2 Sessions at Pubcon New Orleans!

In just a few days, I'll be heading to New Orleans, home to Mardi Gras, the Saints and of course, Pubcon Spring New Orleans 2014! I'm speaking at two sessions, so if you're planning to attend the conference, make sure you stop in and see me!Hacking AdWords – There's Nothing Lucky About Being the Top DogOn Wednesday March 19, join me in Salon B at 10:10 am for Hacking AdWords: Quality Score Insights, where we'll get our PPC hacking game face on and learn how to lower your cost per click and cost per conversion with an advanced understanding of AdWords Quality Score.

The key to AdWords mastery lies in understanding that everything Google offers runs on an algorithm – once you understand the math behind ad ranking and pricing, you can optimize to the algorithm. This isn't black magic or di... > Read more

March 12, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 4

Facebook Organic Reach Rapidly Approaching Zero

The organic reach of brand content on Facebook is rapidly dwindling, to the point you can expect it to peter out to nothing in the coming months.Facebook began restricting the organic reach of Page content in 2012 and has since seemingly given up on telling marketers they aren't going to have to pay to play.

In fact, Ogilvy cites anonymous "Facebook sources" as telling community managers they can expect Facebook organic reach to plunge to absolutely nothing in the foreseeable future.In their analysis of more than 100 brand pages in February 2014, Social@Ogilvy found that Facebook’s organic reach is just 6%, with large pages over 500,000 followers seeing just 2% reach. (Meaning, the bigger your brand, the more you're being pressured toward paid content.) These numbers are rapidly in decli... > Read more

March 12, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 4

How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page

If desktop landing pages are the equivalent of a job interview, mobile landing pages are like elevator pitches on steroids – you have mere seconds for your page to load, grab your users’ attention and persuade them to act. Building the perfect mobile landing page is no easy task, and unless you have a strong mobile strategy in place before you start, you could be missing out on invaluable opportunities for greater conversions.

Ignore Mobile Landing Pages at Your PerilYou already know that you can’t ignore mobile, but in case you need a few choice statistics to drop on the naysayers at your next meeting, these should spur them into action:• According to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly EQ4 2013 report, one in every three visits to leading ecommerce websites came from either a tablet ... > Read more

March 10, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 2

Bad Ads, Worse Ads, and Very, Very Bad Ads: The Worst of PPC

Larry Kim has been sharing a lot of research lately on the traits and features of winning AdWords campaigns, from those with mega-high click-through rates to those with best-of-the-best Quality Scores. In the course of seeking out examples of advertisers doing all the right things, we found many more who are getting it oh-so-wrong.

From dynamic keyword insertion abuse to crappy headlines and nonsensical ad copy, we've seen it all. What follows are a few epic fails I refuse to feel bad about pointing out, because someone really should have caught these by now. Is anyone home on the other end of these campaigns?Come, marvel at the mistakes, the missteps, the wasted opportunities. We're not just here to poke fun, though; there are important PPC lessons to be learned from each of the bad ads be... > Read more

March 06, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 9

Landing Page Examples: Learning from the Best & Worst Landing Pages on the Web

With the release of WordStream’s new landing page grader tool, we can’t get landing pages out of our heads! Surfing the wondrous web, landing pages are everywhere – both good and bad. We’re taking today to show some real-world landing page examples, so get ready for some breathtaking brilliance and miserable monstrosities.

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that landing pages aren’t just about the page itself. Process comes into play as well – what did visitors click to be brought to your landing page? If it was an ad, what did the ad say? If it was a newsletter blast, what links did they click? The “landing” process and movement through the funnel is just as important as the physical page design.In the spirit of competitive analysis, I spent some time Googl... > Read more

March 05, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 23

The Beginner's Guide to Building a Negative Keyword List

When Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” he wasn’t talking about negative keywords. While paid search was not among Edison’s various areas of expertise, his words of wisdom most definitely apply to how to run an effective AdWords campaign.

Whether you’re a newcomer to AdWords or have been running PPC campaigns since Google launched the platform in 2000 (with a grand total of 350 customers), you’ve probably given a great deal of thought to which keywords will result in more clicks and higher conversions – not to mention that vacation home in Lake Tahoe you’ve been dreaming about.However, fewer businesses devote as much time and energy to building a negative keyword list, despite the crucial role tha... > Read more

March 04, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 11

Want to Increase Your Conversion Rates? Here's How to Triple Them

We recently held a massively popular webinar packed with techniques guaranteed to triple your AdWords click-through rates, and we got a lot of people asking for help with the next logical step: boosting conversions. Once you've earned the click and have a visitor on your site, how do you most effectively convince them to sign up for your offer or purchase your product? Raising CTR’s is great, but raising conversions is even better.

Our next free webinar (THIS THURSDAY, March 6) will teach you just that: amazing – yet perfectly achievable – strategies to increase your conversion rates by three times or more. In Unbelievable Discoveries to 3x Your Conversion Rates, we're going to dive deep into tactics and features of the best converting campaigns in the market, with a replicable proces... > Read more

March 03, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 5

When Good Tweets Go Bad: Matt Cutts Burned on Twitter, Hilarity Ensues

When Matt Cutts speaks, people listen. As one of Google’s most influential figures, Cutts has a loyal following that hangs on his every word. Unfortunately for him, this doesn’t always work out so well, as a recent tweet demonstrated. Cutts took to Twitter yesterday to announce the launch of a new reporting tool designed to make it easier for site and content owners to flag instances when scraped material is ranking higher than the content’s source.

For many site owners and content producers, this was welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, for Cutts, the backlash was swift.Dan Barker was quick to point out that Google’s own Knowledge Graph is the biggest content scraper on the web. To add insult to injury, Barker included an image of a Google Knowledge Graph SERP ... > Read more

February 28, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 15

WordStream’s Best of the Month: February’s Greatest Hits

Unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm like southern California or Florida, chances are pretty good that you’ve been suffering through the bitter cold like we have here in Boston. As much as I would have loved to open February’s Best of the Month blog post with some pithy references to the weather, Elisa used them to great effect last month – Posts So Hot They Ended the Polar Vortex? That's a tough act to follow.

Instead, I’ll cut to the chase and present you with a roundup of February’s most popular blog posts – and a Futurama meme for good measure, since some of our most popular posts this month peered far into The Future™. Enjoy!1. The Future of PageRank: 13 Experts on the Dwindling Value of the Link – Are links still the essential currency of the web, or are... > Read more

February 28, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

A/B Testing Best Practices Can Save You Time, Money and Effort – Here's How

Everybody* knows that A/B testing best practices can help you run faster, jump higher and increase conversions. When it comes to providing users with an engaging and rewarding online experience, good A/B tests are a more effective treatment for embarrassing landing pages than topical ointment. However, approaches to designing multivariate tests that provide accurate and representative results can be uncertain at best and outright divisive at worst.

A/B testing is an invaluable tool for landing page optimization when implemented correctly. To minimize wasting time, money and effort on changes that will yield little to no benefit – or even make things worse – take the following points into consideration during your next project.* Not everybody knows this Prove ItBefore you casually a... > Read more

February 26, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 20

The Future of PageRank: 13 Experts on the Dwindling Value of the Link

In a recent Webmaster video, Matt Cutts confirmed that Google has tried internal versions of its search engine that work entirely without links. The results are low-quality – “for now,” he said. But this suggests that the value of the almighty link has come into question at Google, and they may be working on a version of the PageRank algorithm that doesn't depend so heavily on the link graph – which means PageRank as we know it might be on the chopping block.

But when?Don LaFontaine, Master of the "In a World" Movie Trailer VoiceoverIn light of this, we asked some of our favorite SEO and inbound marketing experts to answer the following three questions:Do you see the link losing value over time? Do you foresee a future where backlinks lose some or all of their weight in the PageRan... > Read more

February 25, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 46

Facebook's News Feed Algorithm Change: What It Means For Your Facebook Marketing Strategy

Facebook turned 10 this month! This seems like a birthday worth celebrating as we have all watched Facebook grow from an exclusive college-only social club to a social platform dominating the internet and connecting the entire world through likes, pokes, and shares. I remember several years back peering over my sister’s shoulders while she used dial-up internet to connect to this mysterious thing called Facebook on the family computer, which resembled an oversized microwave and weighed more than my dog (who was not “health-conscious”).

The Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie recently interviewed Zuckerberg and asked if headlines like “Facebook’s For Your Grandma” bother him, but why should they? As Zuckerberg pointed out, “We pay attention to every demographic in every country.”... > Read more

February 21, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 10

More Ads Coming to Knowledge Graph: Google Testing Ads in Movie Results

Remember how we said wayyy back in 2012 that Google's Knowledge Graph feature was conditioning searchers to look to the right side of the SERP for information, where the ads usually go? Our conspiracy theory gets a little more credence today: According to Search Engine Land, Google is increasing their commercialization of Knowledge Graph and simultaneously promoting their Google Play service by testing movie ads in Knowledge Graph panels.

Back in 2012, this was just a theory and we had to give Google the benefit of the doubt – that Knowledge Graph truly intended to use this space for relevant, informative answers to questions and informational queries. But early on, Elisa theorized that Google had more nefarious intentions. What if Knowledge Graph was really about training the eye to see ... > Read more

February 20, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Matt Cutts Confirms That Google Has Tried Search Without Links

When I suggested last month that someday, search engines could work without links, a lot of people thought it was an interesting gedankenexperiment (they didn’t use that word but hey, it’s one of my favorite words) but didn’t believe Google is really moving in that direction. The future, by definition, remains to be seen, but today in his webmaster video, Matt Cutts revealed that Google has already experimented with a version of Google that doesn’t use links as a signal:A user asked:Does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevancy? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.

And here’s Matt Cutts’ response (emphases mine):We don't have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run e... > Read more

February 19, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 19

The AdWords Landing Page Grader: Try Our New Free Landing Page Tool

We consistently hear from our clients and prospects that PPC landing pages are a struggle. There’s so much at stake on the landing page – that’s where your visitor either converts or doesn’t. But you don’t get much help from Google when it comes to landing page optimization. A poor landing page experience affects your Quality Scores as well as your ROI, but it’s tricky to actually figure out what the problem with your page is in AdWords alone.

Given this common pain point, I’m excited to announce the release of WordStream’s brand new free landing page tool, the AdWords Landing Page Grader. This tool, now in beta, is the newest addition to the family of free tools WordStream offers small businesses to help them assess and improve PPC performance. And today, I’d like to tell... > Read more

February 19, 2014     |   Written by: Ben Kasdon   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Case Study: How a Small Business on a Tiny Budget Doubled Their Quality Score in 30 Days

Folks, we have a winner. The results are in from our Grade and Get Paid contest, and the big winner is GetOutfitted, a small startup based in Colorado. If you missed the announcements surrounding the contest, here’s how it worked:We invited marketers and businesses owners to use the AdWords Performance Grader twice – once to get an initial report on their AdWords account performance, and then again after 30 days, to show much they could improve.

We then asked them to tell us what they learned about their account.The business that was able to show the most improvement in 30 days won a tricked-out prize package: $25,000 in free AdWords spend for 2014, plus a year-long subscription to our WordStream Advisor platform to help them make the most of that spend. (They also got a subscription to... > Read more

February 18, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Paid Ads Drive a Third of Traffic But Almost Half of Search Revenues – Here’s Why

As online shopping continues to grow as the commerce method of choice for US consumers, so too does the efficacy of paid search for internet retailers. MarketLive Performance Index data shows that as paid search drove 37.6% of all search traffic in Q3 2013, the channel produced a disproportionate 45.8% of all search revenues. That suggests, as we’ve said in the past, that paid search ads get the clicks with the most intent to buy.This was a 4.5% gain over the same period a year prior, when paid search accounted for 40.3% of search revenues. Online retailers are increasingly finding greater value in their paid search marketing campaigns.Image credit: MarketingCharts.comMobile traffic to the sites analyzed increased 56% YoY, with revenue from mobile visitors growing 65%. Tablet traffic was... > Read more

February 14, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Why Tracking Conversions for Your PPC Efforts Is a No-Brainer!

Does your business have marketing goals?If the answer is no I hope you have an alternative source of income.If your answer is yes then your business should be tracking conversions.But what is a conversion?One of the most common misconceptions about conversion tracking is that it only works for purchases made online.

In reality, a conversion is any meaningful action completed by a visitor on your website. Something as simple as subscribing to your company blog, downloading a whitepaper, or even viewing an important webpage on your site can be tracked as a conversion.So first, define what actions are meaningful to your business. Perhaps you own a sports camp and visitors who explore your interactive activities map on one of your web page’s tend to be valuable to the growth of your business... > Read more

February 13, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 6

How to Make Great Landing Pages (With Crazy High Conversions)

What are landing pages? A landing page is the page a visitor arrives at on your website after clicking an ad (for example, a Google text ad or display ad). Inexperienced marketers often direct all of their PPC traffic to their homepage, but this can be a big mistake. Specific landing pages tailored to different offers are essential for providing a quality experience for visitors and driving conversions with a targeted message that matches each user’s need.

But don’t just check off received landing page best practices. What makes a great landing page? How can you make awesome landing pages that boast off-the-chart conversion rates? We’ll walk you through what you need to know to make it happen.New! Try WordStream's FREE AdWords Landing Page ToolBefore You Build a Landing PageBefore cre... > Read more

February 12, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 34

Going Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Ads with 3x the Average CTR

What’s the average click-through rate for a Google AdWords ad? When people ask this question, it’s often because they want to benchmark their own ad CTR’s. Unfortunately, way too many advertisers are content to reach an average click-through rate and leave it at that.We recently held a well-attended webinar packed with crazy techniques you can use to triple your AdWords click-through rate.

Sounds unbelievable, right? It’s not at all – in fact, we walked step-by-step through a process that helps marketers improve their ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.We’ve had a number of requests for more information on this webinar, so here we go! This post is a monster – use this handy guide to help you get around:What Is a Good CTR?Why Uni... > Read more

February 11, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 16

How to Pass the AdWords Advanced Display Exam & Earn Google Partner Status

We’ve already delved into surviving the AdWords Advanced Search exam, thanks to Margot da Cunha’s post last December, so now let’s take a look at the other advanced exam, Advanced Display. Display seems to be a bit of a great unknown, the dividing line between the hardcore search geeks and the creative, right-brained people who cringe at all the spreadsheets and analysis that accompany search.

It bears mentioning here that 95 percent of people’s online time is spent consuming content, so learning about display (and video) can be a nice upsell to your clients, or it could be a career path you carve for yourself. Here’s an interesting fact: YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine – and it’s a major component of the Advanced Display exam.Let’s assume you’v... > Read more

February 10, 2014     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17
 
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