Gearing Up for the Holidays: Top 6 PPC Areas to Focus On

Happy holidays, everyone! As a follow-up to the recent webinar we hosted on 11/14, “Gearing Up For The Holidays,” we wanted to present you with the material so that you can have it all right at your fingertips. Your faithful holiday webinar presenters, Erin Sagin, Jeff Stevens, Katie Lyons, and I, will each be providing you with a blog post based on the content we shared with you.

Think of it as a mini-series!For my part, I’ll be discussing which elements of your AdWords account you should be thinking about to best prepare for the upcoming season.The beauty of the holidays is that they fall on (roughly) the same days every year, making it very easy for you to plan ahead! It’s good practice to review holiday performance from previous years, so that you can better prepare for this ye... > Read more

November 25, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Small Business Saturday Advertisers: These 5 PPC Goofs Will Ruin Your Holiday Campaigns

Small Business Saturday might feel a bit weightier this year for many, given the shortened shopping period from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Individual retailers and restaurateurs participating in the annual holiday season kickoff plan to offer coupons, discounts and other holiday promotions, according to new research from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

This year, 70% of those participating believe it will help them attract new customers, and 67% plan to offer discounts to drive sales. Offering a free gift with a purchase is an incentive 33% plan to deploy. Notably, the number of small business owners planning to rely primarily on paid advertising to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled since 2012.Now in its fourth year, Small Business Sa... > Read more

November 22, 2013     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

PPC Keyword Research Guide: How to Find the Words for Your Paid Search Campaigns

The cornerstone of any successful PPC campaign is keyword research – choosing the best keywords to bid on that are most likely to result in clicks and conversions. Keyword research is part science and part art. It's about using the myriad tools at your disposal, but also understanding your customers and predicting which terms they're actually typing into the search box.

That’s the best way to ensure that your ads show up at the right time and in the right place: when they’re searching for the kinds of products or services you offer.In this guide, you’ll learn a set of methodologies to help you acquire, refine, and organize your PPC keywords, all in the service of better targeted and more effective pay-per-click campaigns.Getting Started: Brainstorming a PPC Keyword ListThe starting... > Read more

November 21, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Bell   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Google Pushing Holiday Retailers to Use Both Text Ads & PLAs

Text ads and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are more powerful used together, according to Google; in fact, using text ads alone means lower brand recognition, less site engagement and fewer online sales, they say.Google’s recent study, conducted in cooperation with research and consulting firm Millward Brown, shows that:People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.

People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.Their findings pertain mostly... > Read more

November 20, 2013     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Be a Part of WordStream’s Marketing Team. Awesomeness Required.

True or false: SEO is dead.If you said false, keep reading.But wait! That’s not all.You also need to be an excellent writer. Do you love blogging and sharing your knowledge?Then yay! You might be a good fit for our newest marketing role.We’re looking for someone who’s equally strong in search engine optimization techniques and content marketing to help our team out with a bunch of exciting projects in the pipeline.

Here’s what you need to know:You won't be a cog in ye olde machine. We’re a young, venture-backed software company in the search marketing space. We’re growing really fast. We're winning awards. Everyone who joins WordStream has a chance to make a palpable difference in our success.Our marketing team is widely known for performing at a level way beyond our size and ye... > Read more

November 19, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 3

How to Prepare Your PPC for Cyber Monday 2013

The refrain “time is running out” is something we’re all going to hear on a repeated basis for the next 45 days or so. As it applies to the PPC pros, time is running out to prepare for the digital shopping madness known as Cyber Monday, coming on December 2. That's just three short weeks away.Cyber Monday is a term marketing companies created back in 2005 to hype online shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving.

It’s a day of steep discounts and special offers to keep the momentum going after Black Friday, the major difference being you don’t get trampled by people on Cyber Monday like you might on Black Friday, and you don't have to search for parking.What does Cyber Monday mean to you? It means consumers are in “extreme buying mode” on Cyber Monday, so it’s time to take step... > Read more

November 18, 2013     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Should I Help This SEO Spammer or Should He Suffer?

As the owner of a popular internet marketing blog (this one) that gets around a half million unique visitors / month, I’m used to getting all sorts of spam.Every week I get dozens of requests to purchase links on my site (which I ignore), and every month, and we delete hundreds, possibly thousands of spammy blog comments and link drops.

But more recently I’ve been getting a different tune of spammy emails from SEO spammers, like this one asking for help with link removal:Oh how the worm has turned…I’m guessing their back-link profile is full of anchor-text-rich, no-followed blog comments and that Mr. Penguin doesn’t like that too much.Seriously, what to do here – should I help out this SEO spammer or should he suffer?Reasons to Help This SEO SpammerWe’ve all dropped a link wit... > Read more

November 15, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 47

Complete Guide to AdWords Geotargeting & Local PPC

Unless you have plans for world domination, your pay-per-click ads don't need to be seen by everyone on the planet. It's much more likely that the products and services you’re advertising will be limited to a handful of countries, cities, or even city blocks. This is where geotargeting comes in.Geotargeting, or local PPC, is an AdWords feature that lets you target your ads to only appear to customers in a certain location, or set of locations, that you specify.

For businesses that rely on foot traffic (like restaurants), proximity (like used car dealerships by city), and deliveries (like an e-store that ships to certain countries but not others), geotargeting is an absolute no-brainer.With geotargeting, you won’t squander your ad budget on wasted clicks from people who are outside your... > Read more

November 13, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Bell   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 13

What's Behind the New Google Design? Understanding Google's Search Results Page

With Google constantly rolling out new features and design on the search results page, including personalized and location-based search results, there's no longer such a thing as a standard SERP for everyone. So what’s driving the new Google search results page layout?The team at VirtualHosting.com has put together a new infographic that examines what today's Google SERP looks like and what it means to be at the top of Google’s search results.

 According to VirtualHosting, the new Google search results page is driven and defined by:Click-through rates (CTR) – Which parts of the page get the most clicks? How much does CTR fall off after page 1?Searcher intent and location – Does the Google user have intent to make a purchase? Are they looking for local businesses or trying to co... > Read more

November 12, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 5

AdWords Holiday Planning: How to Use the Automate Feature

As the holidays come barreling in, the last thing you need to worry about is pushing yourself away from turkey and stuffing to turn off your clients’ campaigns. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to schedule your campaigns automatically: the AdWords automated rules feature.I used to eschew this feature, opting instead to set reminders in my calendar, but a recent client request for specific days and hours during the holidays prompted me to learn how Google’s campaign automation works.

You can use Automate for lots of things, such as turning a campaign off when your budget hits a certain amount, or to receive an email when events occur on your website. For our purposes here, though, we’re going to focus on one thing: how to pause and enable campaigns on particular days and at ... > Read more

November 11, 2013     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

The Positives of Removing Negatives

 In politics, the term “going negative” tends to have a, well, negative connotation—typically from the candidate who just placed a negative ad and dares his or her opponent not to do the same.In our case, however, most of the companies we help to optimize their PPC campaigns don’t even realize that going negative—that is, eliminating the useless keywords that bring the wrong people to your site—is even a possibility.

We’ve been preaching the concept for while—including a handful of blog posts and even an e-book – but now is as good a time as any for a quick refresher on the topic.To recap: a negative keyword is, according to Google, “A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyon... > Read more

November 08, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

9 Ways to Steal Your “Not Provided” Keyword Data Back!

Over the past year we’ve watched the ranks of the dreaded term “not provided” rise and rise. In September, Google announced that it had begun its mission to encrypt ALL search data, making 100% “not provided” keyword data a reality.Chart by Not Provided Count shows increase in “not provided.

”What Does Not Provided Mean in Google Analytics?If you log into Google Analytics today, you’ll likely see the term “not provided” eating up the majority of your keyword data.Google is choosing not to show you the keywords that have been driving organic traffic to your site. But why Google, why? The official answer is that it’s done in the name of privacy, to protect the vulnerable users. Some theorize that Google is trying to hinder third-party software that makes use of Google ke... > Read more

November 07, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 29

Do Twitter Ads Work? Comparing the Ad Performance of The World's Largest Social Networks

Twitter vs. Facebook: Comparing the Ad Performance of the World’s Largest Social NetworksTwitter’s initial public offering (IPO) is approaching, and Twitter just raised its price range to $23-$25, suggesting it’s feeling optimistic about the outcome. Investors may be a little more nervous though.

According to polls, just 35% of Americans think buying Twitter stock is a good idea, whereas 51% of Americans thought Facebook stock was a good idea before its IPO last May.As for me, I’m not planning to buy any Twitter stock. I’ve always said that Facebook makes a weak showing when it comes to ad performance for direct response marketing (lead generation), especially compared to comparable offerings from Google. But what about Facebook vs. Twitter? The fact is, Facebook ads have improve... > Read more

November 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 12

Clearing Up Negative Broad Match in AdWords

If there’s one topic in AdWords that seems to confuse all sorts of folks, it’s negative keyword match types, especially negative keywords on broad match.Since regular keywords on broad match can cast a fairly wide net, people are worried about using that match type on their negative keywords. People are scared to use broad match on their negative keywords because they’re worried about potentially filtering out traffic they’d want.

The main thing to remember is that negative keywords set to broad match behave much more like modified broad keywords. Every word that you have in the negative keyword will need to appear in the query for the negative keyword to filter it out.For example, if we used the negative keyword –nike basketball shoes, our keywords could still trigger o... > Read more

November 04, 2013     |   Written by: Phil Kowalski   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Our Top 10 Posts from October are Scary-Good

Happy Halloween!You’re probably too distracted by candy and costumes today to get any real work done – amirite? – so why not kick back with some hot cocoa or what-have-you and catch up on the WordStream Blog’s greatest hits of the month? Here are our top 10 most popular posts from October:1.       Find Your Old Tweets: How to See Your First (Worst?) Tweet – Ever wonder what your first tweet was? Here are two easy ways to find your earliest tweets, plus first tweets from a bunch of celebs and high-profile search marketers.

#fun2.       How to Get Phrase & Broad Match Traffic Data Back from Google Keyword Planner – Victor offers three methods for hacking Keyword Planner to get data beyond exact match.3.  &n... > Read more

October 31, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 4

Meet Bing’s New “Hero Ads”

Bing Ads has today announced a way to potentially one-up Google’s Image Banners in Search Listings.The new ad format, called “Bing Hero Ads,” were shown off at a Bing Ads event at the Microsoft Campus, and are currently visible on a subset of keyword searches conducted within the recently released Windows 8.

1.Hero Ads provide a bold, strongly-branded, task-completion oriented experience for certain branded searches, as you can see by the photos I snapped here for Home Depot, Radio Shack and Disney:The pilot project is currently limited to searches conducted in Windows 8.1 in the US. No word yet on if this will make it to the Web version of Bing Search. The test is being run with a limited number of big brands. If you don’t see them, it’s because they’re only show up on a subset... > Read more

October 30, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 5

Buy Facebook Fans! They’re Worth $174 More than Non-Fans On Average!

According to the internet, a Facebook fan is worth $174.I imagine this was Zuck-dawg’s first response to the news.Every month, 12,100 people search on the keyword [buy Facebook fans], and there are two types of people who search for this query that worry me. The first type is someone who believes that the number of Facebook fans they have is a measure of Facebook marketing success.

Then there are those who make a living off of people who hold those beliefs. These people are necessary in any marketing function, but it becomes a problem when they lose track of the true value behind what a Facebook ”like” is supposed to stand for.In today’s post, I’ll be breaking down the misconceptions we hold about the value of a Facebook fan on your brand page, including three questions to ask ab... > Read more

October 29, 2013     |   Written by: Victor Pan   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 6

AdWords Impression Share: Understanding and Improving Your Impression Share

Many times I have seen instances where clients pause keywords because they aren’t generating click or impression volume. While pausing is certainly one method for acting on low-performing keywords, I typically recommend pausing only as a last resort. There is plenty to consider when it comes to diagnosing why a keyword isn’t generating volume, and one often overlooked, yet informative metric is impression share.

Impression share is the number of impressions you've received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads' targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. You can view impression share data at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.Types of Impression Share in AdWordsThere is more to im... > Read more

October 28, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

What the New AdWords Ad Rank Algorithm Really Means

The PPC world is abuzz with this week’s announcement that AdWords is introducing a new component to its Ad Rank formula. In the past, an ad’s position was dictated by a combination of two factors, the keyword’s Quality Score and its max CPC bid.Google has now thrown Ad Extensions into the mix to serve as a tie-breaker of sorts.

As Google describes it, “if two competing ads have the same bid and quality, then the ad with the more positive expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher position than the other.” This is, by far, the biggest change to Google’s ad rank algorithm since AdWords’ inception over a decade ago. So let's take a look at what it means.Why did Google adjust the ad rank algorithm?For all intents and purposes, the old ad rank formula seemed... > Read more

October 24, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 29

Facebook Graph Search & Privacy Concerns: Should You Be Worried?

What is Facebook Graph Search?Facebook Graph Search first launched in March 2013, allowing users to search for people, photos, places, and interests within the Facebook search engine. Facebook Graph Search provides custom search results based on your own personal data, including information in the profiles of your friends.

As you type a search query, Facebook Graph Search auto-completes the query, suggesting friendships through existing connections, Facebook pages, and apps, before finally providing web results.New Facebook Graph Search: Now With More Stalking Power!In recent months, Facebook developers have made Graph Search even more powerful, now capable of providing results on searches for:status updatesphoto captionscommentscheck-insThe updated Facebook Graph Search can also search fo... > Read more

October 24, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 14

Google’s New Ad Rank Formula: Is the Change to Ad Rank Good or Bad for Small Businesses?

Yesterday, Google announced that it was releasing a major change to its Ad Rank algorithm, which determines the order of the paid search ads on each SERP as well as how much advertisers pay in the ad auction.  In a nutshell, Google is now using the presence and performance of ad extensions in determining Ad Rank.

Previously, Ad Rank had just two components: your Max CPC Bid (the most you were willing to pay per click) and your Quality Score (Google’s assessment of the quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages). Now, the formula has three components: your Max CPC Bid, your Quality Score, and, as Google puts it, “the expected impact from your ad extensions and formats.”I was chatting with our founder, Larry Kim, about the change, and he noted that this change is bad for sma... > Read more

October 23, 2013     |   Written by: Adam Shain   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Top 5 Ways You're Leaking Money in AdWords

The typical small business wastes 25% or more of their total paid search spend. It’s obviously a big problem, but tackling wasted spend in Google AdWords can be challenging for account managers. Instead of focusing on the latest PPC fads or shiny new tools, I encourage advertisers to head back to the basics and focus on the core components of their campaigns.

Oftentimes, just by tweaking your settings or adjusting your structure, you can patch up your biggest account leakages.Here are the top five culprits that I recommend taking a second look at when assessing your wasted AdWords spend.Overuse of Broad Match TypeSetting all of your keywords to broad match can have a devastating impact on your PPC account. Remember, by setting a keyword to a broad match type, you are opening the doo... > Read more

October 23, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Blog SEO Tips for Non-SEOs: 3 Things Bloggers that Aren’t Search Nerds Forget to Do

Here’s your “duh” of the day: You don’t have to be an SEO to be a good blogger. I bet 90% of search marketers read a blog or five that has nothing to do with search marketing, whether it’s a cooking blog, nail art porn or Andrew Sullivan.Some of the best and most popular blogs in any given niche get high rankings and lots of links without thinking too hard about SEO.

Instead, they focus on:Great content: Popular blogs develop huge readerships primarily because the content is awesome; it’s that simple. (Here’s a reminder of the eight qualities that make great content great.)Great design: Almost as important as great content is great design – your business blog needs to be both attractive and usable. High-quality photographs or illustrations are a big plus.Community building:... > Read more

October 22, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 127

Google Stock History Shows Shares Trending Up, CPC Trending Down – Here’s Why

The Q3 2013 earnings call revealed that Google shares are at an all-time high – and yet, average cost per click (CPC) continues to fall.With Google stock up, you’d expect CPC to be up as well. After all, something has to be driving the growth. So what gives?Attention Shoppers: AdWords PPC Ads Are On Sale (Again!)The trend is clear – cost per click on Google’s paid search ads continues to fall.

The average CPC in Q3 was down 4% since last quarter and down 8% versus the same quarter last year. This is the 8th consecutive quarterly decline in average CPC since Q4 2011.Our own internal customer data aligns nearly perfectly with the official earnings reports – we found average CPC to be down by 9% this year. And as you can see by the trend line, we don’t see things bottoming out any... > Read more

October 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 7

Will You Really Need a Higher SEO Budget in 2014?

Lately there have been a lot of rumors circling the web saying that small businesses will need to have a higher SEO budget in 2014. It’s clear that SEO efforts have become more popular, therefore more competitive, and therefore more expensive, but just how much needs to change in 2014? And what has changed in the SEO industry that is giving experts reason to say, “Yes, a higher budget is the answer to success”? Is this just a ploy by the industry experts, or will a higher SEO budget really be necessary this upcoming year – and if so, how much of an increase are we looking at here?4 Reasons Why You Need a Higher SEO Budget in 2014Unfortunately for many small businesses, your SEO budget in 2014 is going to need to increase if you hope to stay in line with your competition.

It’s not... > Read more

October 18, 2013     |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 6

How to Get Phrase & Broad Match Traffic Data Back from Google Keyword Planner

One of the biggest complaints about Google’s Keyword Planner – the new keyword tool that replaced the old Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator – is the lack of broad and phrase match traffic support. Contrary to what’s being suggested when you use the Google Keyword Planner, Google will only return exact match traffic.

Today I’ll be showing a few tricks to help you get your phrase and broad match traffic data back.What Google Says About Search Volume in Keyword PlannerGoogle suggests entering your keywords with standard match type formatting to get volume based on keyword match type:Naturally, an SEO would try all three formats for the same keyword, to compare the traffic volume data:Here are the results you see on Google Keyword Planner for the three match type variations:An... > Read more

October 17, 2013     |   Written by: Victor Pan   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 22

Google Shared Endorsements: Who Are the Real Winners and Losers?

Shared Endorsements are the latest in a line of updates that bring user reviews and ratings into the Google results. Announced earlier this week and coming to the SERPs in November, the newly expanded shared endorsements will allow reviews and +1’s from Google+ profiles to appear in the paid search results (not just organic).

For example, if someone searches for “hot springs in Colorado” and you reviewed a hot springs resort that has an ad on the first page for that keyword, your review (along with your name and Google profile image) might show up as part of the ad. Shared endorsements look like this (the one on the far right is an example of a shared endorsement appearing in a Google ad):Shared Endorsements: The Latest in a String of Ratings-Related FeaturesAs I mentioned, this isn... > Read more

October 16, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Multi-Channel Marketing 101: Why Does Cross-Channel Marketing Matter?

Today we’re talking about multi-channel marketing – what it is, why it matters, and how to use it in order to better your business.Image from Get More Engagement.Multi-Channel Marketing DefinitionMulti-channel marketing is the practice of using multiple channels to reach customers. In addition to allowing businesses to reach customers through different mediums, multi-channel marketing also makes it easy for customers to complete desired conversions on whatever medium they are most comfortable with.

Multi-channel marketing lets the user decide, giving them a choice.In today’s modern marketing era, there are many channels a business can take advantage of in order to reach potential customers. These channels include:Retail storePPCWebsiteDirect mailEmailMail order catalogMobileWhy is Mu... > Read more

October 15, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 14

Find Your Old Tweets: How to See Your First (Worst?) Tweet

Can’t remember what your first tweet was? It was probably “Hello world!” or “Is this thing on?” or “I finally joined Twitter, am I doing it right” or “Twitter sucks,” but if you want to know for sure, you’ll need to dig back into your archives.Unfortunately, Twitter only displays your last 3200 tweets in your timeline, so if you’re anything like me (I’ve been on Twitter since May 2009 and have well over 40,000 tweets), that won’t cut it.

Here are the two easiest ways to find your oldest tweets, including your first tweet. (I promise these work – a lot of the methods and tools you’ll find in the Google results don’t.)How to Find Your Old Tweets Using Twitter SearchOpen up Twitter.com and go to the search bar:Type in the following string but with your username ... > Read more

October 10, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 26

Want a Free AdWords Budget for 2014? Grade and Get Paid!

Are you a small business using Google AdWords to market your offerings? That’s great!The bad news is, you’re probably wasting about a fourth of your budget.We recently did a survey of 500 small business AdWords accounts, and found that the average account owner is wasting over 25% of his or her AdWords budget.

Since the typical small business spends $1200 per month on PPC, that means $300 is going in the trash every month – adding up to $3600 a year. And that’s just the average – many companies are wasting closer to half their total spend.That’s not all we found. There is plenty of room for improvement in the typical SMB AdWords account.We identified the top five areas where small business marketers need to renovate their accounts. Learn about the opportunities you’... > Read more

October 09, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4
 
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