While it isn’t hockey season, our founder Larry is from Canada, as you may know, and is a big fan of the sport. In his honor, we’ll use a hockey analogy, as WordStream scored three key goals in the last few weeks. Earlier this week, WordStream was honored to learn we were recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in America (#184 to be exact!) by Inc.
Magazine. Our growth rate over the last three years has been an amazing 2,225%.Our second big milestone this month: We have surpassed the 1,000 customer mark! We are honored so many companies are looking to WordStream to help them drive success with paid search marketing, and we will continue to work tirelessly to earn your business.Our final milestone this month is that our free AdWords Performance Grader... > Read more
This is Part 5 of a 5-part series. Read the rest of the articles here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsWho should use pay-per-click advertising? Does PPC really work?Maybe you have been affected by Google updates, and your website disappeared from the SERP (search engine results page).
Or maybe you simply want to make more money, and you’re looking for all the help you can get to boost sales.There are times when a well-planned PPC campaign proves to be a quick and profitable solution to internet marketing woes. And there are times when it isn’t. But, if you have been with us since the beginn... > Read more
This is Part 1 in a three-part series on the Pareto Principle by Perry Marshall, author of 80/20 Sales & Marketing and The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. Read Part 2 and Part 3.Many people have at least a passing familiarity with Vilfredo Pareto’s famous 80/20 discovery: Regardless of city or country, 20% of the people earned 80% of the income.
All sales people should know 20% of their customers write 80% of the purchase orders; software people know the final 20% of the software features consume 80% of the programming time.The Pareto Principle is true of almost everything in business that you can count: Which products sell and how well, which customers are buying, which employees steal pens and pencils, how many customers open support tickets. Number of emails, ... > Read more
Don’t you just love how we can call almost anything a “hack” these days?Most of the “hacks” I see on the Internet are just tips, but calling them hacks makes it feel like you’re getting away with something. And whatever makes work more fun, I’m all for it.So let’s talk Quality Score. We’ve harped on and on about the importance of Quality Score.
It can save you up to 50% on cost per click (CPC), and those savings at the level of the click translate into savings of up to 80% on CPA, or cost per conversion. In other words, optimizing for Quality Score is basically a way to optimize for costs.So how do you actually increase your Quality Scores? Google’s exact formula for calculating Quality Score is famously mysterious, like the recipe for Coke. But we do know that click-th... > Read more
What is Mobile Marketing? I would tell you that mobile is the future of marketing, but really the era of mobile has already arrived. If you're not implementing some kind of mobile marketing strategy, you're already trailing behind! As you can see from the graph below, more users are spending larger amounts of time engaged with mobile devices than ever before.
We can expect this trend to continue even further in the future, so get ready!How Does Mobile Marketing Work?Mobile marketing consists of ads that appear on mobile smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Mobile marketing ad formats, customization, and styles can vary, as many social media platforms, websites, and mobile apps offer their own unique and tailored mobile ad options.Why You Need a Mobile Marketing StrategyYour busin... > Read more
Writing ad copy for PPC can be a tough feat. The good news is, you don’t have to be a super-creative copywriter to whip up competitive ad text. In fact, following a pragmatic approach can be advantageous.Here are a few simple steps that will help you to assess the competitive landscape and write ad copy that will stand out against your competitors’, regardless of your ad rank.
Do Some Competitive ResearchDo some research to hunt down your real competitors. With paid search, it’s easy to put up your blinders and forget who you’re really up against. Don’t take the easy route and assume that your competitors are parallel companies within your space. With PPC, you may actually be facing a whole new crew of competitors.Take a high-end shoe designer like Christian Louboutin. The typical... > Read more
This is Part 4 of a 5-part series. Read the rest of the articles here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherYou use them to find what you want, to order what you want, and to get what you want.
They can hurt you, infuriate you, or enrich you. And once you let them go, you can never get them back.Words. The internet is based on words, and Google earns billions of dollars per year from Ad “Words.”Ask someone to help you plan a pay-per-click campaign, or for advice on how to get your website ranking higher in organic search results, and one of the first things you will be asked is, “Which ... > Read more
So you've got your AdWords campaign up and running, and your ads and keywords are starting to generate an impressive number of clicks. Great! But unless you've got conversion tracking installed, you won't be able to see how many of those clicks are actually resulting in sales.Conversion tracking is a powerful tool in AdWords that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, sign-ups, and other key actions for your business.
The data recorded by conversion tracking allows you to identify which areas of your campaign are working and not working, so you can optimize your bids, ad text, and keywords accordingly.Depending on your business, a conversion could be counted when a customer makes a purchase through your website, signs up for a newsletter, fills o... > Read more
This is Part 3 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherWhen a visitor knocks on the door of your home, do you chase her away? Invite her inside? Pour her a drink of iced tea?Your response depends on who is knocking, doesn’t it? The same principle applies to landing pages.
Every person searching on a keyword or term related to your business is an individual—why not recognize that individuality and serve up a proper reception?What do summer camp and PPC have in common?This morning, I put my boy on the bus, headed to a 4-day summer camp. Gettin... > Read more
Think you’re ready to take the plunge and start a Google AdWords account? If the next three statements describe you, than you have my blessing!You have a website that is relevant, easy to navigate, and fairly well built out.Your AdWords account will help you to bring qualified searchers to your landing pages.
Once they’ve made it to your site, it’s your job to convince them to convert. To achieve this, you must create landing pages that will compel visitors to take action. If your landing pages are cluttered, lack relevant information or do not facilitate a conversion, you’re throwing money into a black hole and your paid search efforts will be in vain. If you know that your landing pages need a little TLC, check out these tips. (Bonus points if you have mobile optimized land... > Read more
Starting your own AdWords account is like having your first child. It’s pretty darn exciting, but scary at the same time. (“Will it bring joy to my life? Or drain all the money in my bank account?”)After creating an AdWords account, you’ll be sleepless for two reasons:1) You’re brain starts getting super creative right around bed time, and you spend the next 4 hours emailing yourself ideas on what to test out in the morning.
2) Every 20 clicks without a conversion is like your child screaming at night. You get no sleep because you really have no idea what you’re doing.And when your child grows up, you hope they’re either very creative and can do whatever makes them happy, or they’ll be so sharp and analytical that they can get into any school they want.Pay-per-cl... > Read more
Now that July 22 has come and gone, let’s take a moment to look at one of the more promising new Enhanced Campaign features: geographical (location) targeting with bid modifiers.You’re probably thinking, “But we’ve always been able to target a specific location or state, even before Enhanced Campaigns.
” And you are right, location-based targeting did exist before Enhanced Campaigns. But now there is a new function called Bid Modifiers to better enable geographic-based targeting. Before Enhanced Campaigns, if you wanted to target a specific state/city/zip code/region, you would have to create an entirely new campaign unique to that targeted area. This often turned into a lengthy and time-consuming task, especially if more than one location needed to be targeted. Now, with Bid Modi... > Read more
This is Part 2 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5Okay. So, you are hopeful that a pay-per-click marketing campaign, correctly organized, could help jumpstart sales and bring in a sorely needed boost in revenue.
You’ve heard about others who have succeeded with PPC, now you want to know whether the expenditures necessary to get your project on board would provide sufficient return on investment (ROI).Let’s talk about that – starting from the beginning.What are the right goals for a PPC marketing campaign?Everyone needs a goal – a destination. Sure, it can be fun to simply hop in the car and start driving … not knowing o... > Read more
Our #1 post of the month (see below) included a tip about adding a progress bar to long forms on your landing page, so visitors can see how much they’ve completed, similar to what you sometimes see while taking a survey:I visualize this same kind of “progress bar” in my mind as the year goes by – and as of late July, we’re just about 60% done with 2013.
It’s more than half over! But is that a good thing or a bad thing? (I’m glad I don’t see a progress bar for my whole life – I don’t want to know.)In the words of the great Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias: “Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marching across your face.” Before we lose any more of the year to that great black hole of the past, let’s take a moment to revisit our greatest hits fro... > Read more
As advertisers in the pay-per-click industry, we’ve recently been exposed to a lot of new changes. Everyone is aware by now that Google began transitioning all accounts over to Enhanced Campaigns last week, whether you wanted to or not. Despite the overall mixed feelings on Enhanced Campaigns so far, there are a few features we can all be excited about.
One of the features that excited me the most was the changes to Ad Extensions, specifically Sitelinks. This post looks to explore some of the recent changes to Sitelinks, and how you can better understand your sitelinks’ performance.I performed a couple of case studies to identify if the sitelinks themselves were responsible for improving performance, or if simply taking up more SERP space is all that matters.Topics covered:Recap of chan... > Read more
This is Part 1 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherGetting Return on Investment from PPC“Return on Investment” (ROI).
It is a business school basic and a fact of life. If you get less out your efforts than you put into them, you’re going backwards, not forward – and, eventually, you will be bankrupt.One investor takes a chance on a start-up company and makes millions. Another puts her life savings into a “sure deal” and loses everything. Return on investment can make or break any operation – and it is a primary consider... > Read more
I know y’all are sick of hearing that “content is king.”“Content is king” is one of the major web marketing clichés of our time, right up there with “SEO is dead.”Following close behind, I think, is the recommendation to “create great content.” Want tons of Google traffic, hot leads, record sales? Don’t worry about SEO, conversion rate optimization, any of that, just create great content!But what does that really mean? What makes content great, and what exactly is “content” anyway?Here’s my definition: “Content” is really just information – really, simple as that! When you create content, you’re putting information on your site.
Some of it is intended to teach, some of it is intended to persuade, some of it is intended to entertain. And great content is i... > Read more
Those new to SEO might be wondering what all the hullabaloo is about follow links vs. no follow links. Confused? Not to worry, we’re going to clear it all up.What is a Follow Link?To really understand what is going on with follow vs. no follow links, we need to provide a bit of background about how links work in the realm of SEO.
When a site page gets an inbound link, which is a hyperlink pointing to that page, the page gets a small SEO boost. Think of a link as a point, and the more links you have, the more points. More Points = Winning, like Charlie Sheen.Google takes note of these points, watching how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. Google figures, hey, if a lot of people are linking to a certain page, it must be a really good page! Let’s give preference in our se... > Read more
If you’ve had an eye on the AdWords Blog lately, you may have noticed that Google is on a roll when it comes to new features, particularly in the form of ad extensions—for example, see the new image extensions and enhanced, extra-large Google sitelinks.In the past, these “bells and whistles” were often utilized by only the savviest PPC experts.
Nowadays, ad extensions are a fundamental aspect of paid search accounts. If you’re not using them, hop on the bandwagon before you’re left in its dust. Not only do ad extensions require minimal setup time, they are also displayed at no additional cost—a win-win for most advertisers.Google’s latest brainchild is Review Extensions. As you can see in the example below, these extensions give you the opportunity to share positive reviews... > Read more
It was just about a year ago that we reported Clickable Inc. was acquired by Syncapse. It was a bit of a surprise at the time, since Clickable used to be primarily a provider of SEM software for SMBs (and therefore a direct competitor of WordStream), while Syncapse is a social media management tool company.
I was even more surprised this morning to read the news that Syncapse is restructuring and laying off most of their employees.According to CBC News:In the past five years, the company had been expanding aggressively, employing 110 people at offices in Toronto, New York, London and Gurgaon, India.On Monday, the majority of staff at the company were told they were being laid off."Despite our best efforts, the organization lacks the resources to move forward successfully and as such must en... > Read more
The author's views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of WordStream.I was a typical silicon valley engineer, doing the boring old routine.Wake up after pressing snooze 7 times, fight traffic on 101, sit in a really BORING meeting with a technically inept manager who thinks the programming language Java is a caffeinated product, pretend to "work" (note: surfing on eBay is not a waste of time, but a valuable contribution to eBay's crowdsourced website quality assurance), go to lunch and bitch/complain/moan about our crappy jobs, then take an hour long nap in the conference room underneath the table so no one would see me.
When 3 PM rolled around, I would actually work for about an hour right before my manager showed up to ask how I'm doing, then punch out to my boring suburban... > Read more
Yelp has become the most popular Internet rating and review site since its initial inception in 2004. Yelp founders saw that word-of-mouth was a powerful purveyor of new customers, but with the classic local community structure breaking apart in an online era, how could individuals know which businesses to trust? Yelp was the answer – an online review site in which customers shared their experiences, helping others make informed decisions about restaurants, auto-repair shops, and more.
Many review sites have come and gone, but Yelp has continued to be the most trusted source for local business reviews and ratings. Why? Yelp noticed that other review sites are far too cluttered with spam and ads, so they’ve kept theirs to a minimum. Yelp also focuses on long-form reviews rather than... > Read more
There’s been a ton of grumbling and conspiracy theories in the search engine marketing community about how new enhanced campaigns - the biggest and most disruptive upgrade to the AdWords advertising platform in the last 10 years - are just a ploy to raise CPCs. Various vendors including Adobe, Kenshoo, Covario and others have recently released studies claiming that CPCs are already rising by 6% this quarter.
So I was surprised to hear that the exact opposite happened in Thursday evening’s Google Earnings conference call. AdWords CPC was down. Here’s an excerpt from the call:Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased... > Read more
Quick: What do ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic tie-rod cylinders, and third-party PPC software platforms have in common? Not much, really—but all three are examples of B2B (business-to-business) products that B2B companies can sell via PPC advertising.PPC is a system that offers B2B companies the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently.
Your target market is basically raising its hand and saying it’s interested in your product or service, and it does so by typing in search keywords on Google or Bing. The beauty of it is, they’re looking for you – instead of you standing around a trade-show booth for ten hours at a time asking people what their biggest business challenges are and hoping their needs match up with what you offer. That’s what makes PPC a form of inbou... > Read more
Many advertisers we work with at WordStream have already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns. I’ve been bullish on the changes since they were announced in February – though Enhanced Campaigns do come with some loss of control, I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the costs for most advertisers. Namely, those benefits include:Easier management of mobile campaigns and better measurement of mobile ROIMore powerful bidding tools for local ads and display banner adsFewer campaigns to manage overall – a big timesaverIf you’ve been happily chugging along with your legacy campaigns, I’ve got bad news for you.
On July 22, this coming Monday, upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns will no longer be an option. Basically, in about five days it’s sink or swim. Any campaigns that you have not alread... > Read more
Quality Score: Is it the be-all-end-all of AdWords metrics, or no big deal? You’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Proponents believe Quality Score is a good measure of the health of your account – high scores tend to correlate with lower costs and better results across the board.
Detractors will say QS is a distraction and all that really matters is your cost per conversion, because that’s how you determine your ROI.So who’s right? What should you focus on in your PPC reporting?What Is Quality Score?As a quick refresher, Quality Score is a metric Google uses to determine where advertisers rank on the SERP and how much they pay. Although AdWords functions as a kind of auction, if the system was purely determined by bids, spammy companies with lousy, irrelevant ads ... > Read more
Promoting products and services while trying to compete with mega-giants like Amazon and Walmart is often a daunting task for small business owners. The good news is that Google AdWords has created a way for advertisers to do just that. Bigger brands may have an advantage when it comes to PPC, but they don’t hold all the cards.
Even with a small budget, you can get impressions and clicks on Google with a smart account structure and the right targeting options.Having consulted hundreds of small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners and marketing managers, my eyes have been opened to the struggles they face every day.The ProblemLet me take a second to set the stage. Anyone who tells you that AdWords is easy or that they can guarantee you numbers is lying to you. AdWords is complica... > Read more
Recently, we did our best to put the lie to the myth that PPC is outbound marketing. There’s a persistent idea that cost is the determining factor that separates inbound and outbound marketing. But we believe that all marketing has costs – since no channel is free, what matters is ROI. So inbound marketing isn't free marketing, but rather is defined by context and intention.
Like organic content marketing, PPC ads are driven by context and user intent – in other words, the ads are only triggered when they’re relevant to what people are already searching for. And with increasingly more effective and blinged out ad types, PPC is more and more likely to meet a searcher’s needs just as well, if not better, than an organic result. (We believe that for commercial searches, PPC is better... > Read more
Your bids are competitive, your ads are laser targeted, and you've tested and tweaked your landing page to get the highest possible conversion rate. Ever.You feel like Leonardo DiCaprio stand-spooning Kate Winslet on the Titanic, breathing in that fresh scent of saltwater greenbacks while your sales and leads keep pouring in.
You're a marketing genius (and you've earned the right to call yourself that).But then you wake up. Realizing that your 1997 GeoCities hosted landing page hasn't seen an improvement since, well, 1997. And your potential profits are like a leaking ship. Slowly. Dripping. Away. While you’re staying profitable (for now), your competitors are figuring out ways to improve, enhance, and build trust and relationships with clients that could have been yours. All b... > Read more