Online Marketing Blog Roundup
Online Marketing Blog Roundup featuring a weekly collection of the best online marketing news and information.
Wired this week published a fascinating profile piece on a company called Demand Media: "The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell." The company's approach to content generation almost sounds like science fiction or satire, but it's real, and it works. It's a purely algorithmic, data-driven method of prioritizing content designed to rank on the first page of the Google SERPs: basically keyword research in hyperdrive.
And like it or not, this may be where we're all headed. Keyword-research-driven content production is nothing new; we practice this ourselves (to an extent). Workflow is based on the keyword groups that are currently driving traffic and conversions. If tons of people are finding our site after searching on "keyword organization tools" an... > Read more
If you've been working in the search marketing industry for long, you know that every so often some scheming troll (or major news corporation) comes along and delivers a rant against SEO, usually including most if not all of the following sentiments: Search engine optimizers are snake oil salesmen (Would that those fighting the war on SEO were also familiar with the war against cliché) SEO is just common sense; it's obvious Most of what SEOs do is smoke and mirrors SEOs are scam artists Information on optimizing a site is freely available on the web, so why pay for it? This week, that troll was a Derek "Powa-jerk" Powezek (hat tip to Ken for the wrestling name), who I guess is a designer (his actual job titles include Creative Director and "Chief of Awesome").
... > Read more
Disagreeing with Seth Godin is basically a cliché now, but I'm going to do it anyway—or quibble with him, at least. I like this chart on Seth's blog (who doesn't like charts?) that plots some broad cultural phenomena against two axes, the sophisticated/tacky axis and the techie/tech-phobic axis.
The challenge, he says, is in designing structures and transparency that will attract the good guys while burying or repelling those that seek the new technology (because they can't find anywhere else to go). In other words, you either need to move the top left to the top right (not easy, but possible*), or educate the bottom left of the grid in how to contribute to the culture (really difficult indeed). The best new media (like blogs and possibly twitter) open doors to people who didn... > Read more
Google this week began sending out invitations for the beta version of Google Wave. Demand for these invites has been pretty high—Matt Cutts tweeted that he's already out of invites (Really Matt Cutts? Can't you like, snap and someone rollerskates up with more invites on a tray?) and one invite sold on eBay for over $150.
Aside from this crazed desperation for invites reminiscent of the search for golden tickets in Willy Wonka (that's right, I compared you to Augustus Gloop), most of the conversation has revolved around the question of success: Will Google Wave be a game changer? Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal lands squarely on the fence: "Could be yes or could be no. It depends on how good it will [be] and how much users will actually use it in their daily online activit... > Read more
This was a big week in the blogo- and Twittersphere for poorly received product launches: Two new products from Google and Squidoo threaten to become reputation management nightmares, if they manage to catch on. Ironically, the products also threaten to (further) tarnish the reputations of their creators.
Brands in Public: A Big Misstep from Seth Godin? Seth Godin this week announced a new product/service from Squidoo called Brands in Public: If your brand has any traction at all, people are talking about you. Of course, they've always talked about you, but now they're doing it in writing, in video and in public. Today, Squidoo (a company I founded) is launching Brands in Public. It's a neat idea and I wanted to give you an overview and a first look. You can't control what people are sayin... > Read more
OK, what happened this week on the World Wide Web? A couple of important things: Kanye West made a jackass of himself, and we launched a new free keyword tool! Larry blogged about the tool on Wednesday, covering why and how we developed it, what it offers that other tools don't, and why, as awesome as it is, you still need keyword management to really get somewhere in SEM.
You can read yet more about the tool in our Free Keyword Tool FAQ. Today I want to point to some of the other conversations going on around the newly launched tool, and thank everyone who took the time to mention us on blogs and on Twitter. First up, Aaron Wall over at SEOBook mentioned the keyword tool ("The coolest feature it offers is that it allows you to download thousands of keywords at once") and ... > Read more
Following in the footsteps of Ken's very popular post on title tag formulas, I've noticed that search marketing and social media marketing gurus (AKA bloggers) love to write linkbait in the form of "X Things You Can Learn About Y from Z." You can do it too—plug some numbers and concepts into the formula and the post practically writes itself! For best results, follow this handy guide: X should be an integer, preferably between 5 and 10.
Save lists longer than 10 items for your Facebook meme. Y should be a broad, Web 2.0-ish concept like "SEO," "PPC" or "social media." Don't veer too far off course from your job description; that's what Z is for. Z should be a pop culture reference, the geekier the better. Old standbys include Star ... > Read more
This Week in Search: SEO Needs You to Need It I saw a lot of links and tweets this week pointing to Virginia Nussey's excellent post on the SEO hierarchy of needs, based on Maslow's hierarchy, a psychological theory that says physiological and safety needs have to come before stuff like love and belonging (I almost typed "blogging").
I've created a handy (and tall) illustration to show where the SEO hierarchy fits into Maslow's hierarchy. An SEO's basic needs for Diet Dr. Pepper and a paycheck must be met before he/she can move up the hierarchy. It goes without saying that for search marketers, link-building is more basic than "intimacy" or "sense of connection," and self-esteem and self-actualization are impossible without proper website optimization. Co... > Read more
Don't Market for the Sake of Marketing Socialnomics' Erik Qualman is becoming something of a favorite around here for Friday roundups—I can't help it if he posts the most interesting stuff! This week, he offers some free marketing advice to Boeing, whose ongoing advertising campaign as a sponsor for Meet the Press makes it, Qualman says, a poster child for old-school marketing.
He points out some of the mistakes they're making, not the least of which is poor consideration of audience: Is a television or iTunes media buy really the best way to target the airplane buyer? As my wife shouts every time the commercial plays – “Honey can we buy a Boeing Today?” There are only a handful of airplane buyers, why would you spend $100,000 plus on ... > Read more
Elisa’s on vacation today, so you’re stuck with me, which means a much more disjointed Friday Roundup. I promise she'll be back next week. Since we’ve been pretty self-promotional here on the blog all week I won’t bore you with a lot of stuff about interviews Larry’s done, interviews I’ve done, posts Ken’s written that got a lot of attention, presentations from SES, etc.
(See what I did there?) Anyway… First off, Google Insights for Search pushed out an update. Insights is a really slick tool; if you’re looking to glean some insight into seasonality, or if you just want to decide which query space to target, you can get a really nice high-level look at the way certain searches are trending. Aaron Wall added this data to his tool, and D... > Read more
The Week in Search Twitter domination continues, or, it's time to add "Twitter Optimization" to your skill set. Is old-school social linking dead? Andrew Goodman of Traffick claims that social linking is going the way of the dodo. Taking its place? Sharing (via Facebook, Google Reader, and social bookmarking sites) and "social tweeting": [S]ome people still have remnants of any inclination whatsoever to engage in 1998-era social linking, taking the trouble to wrap a relevant link around anchor text in a post like this.
The vast majority have no such inclination. They prefer something quick and easy, like a tweet or any number of other forms of social behavior across different digital venues. These days, he says, "only old school, super-conscientious sorts of bloggers, and SEO's and s... > Read more
The Week in Search The importance of honesty and what we can learn from traditional marketing. Agency Transparency and Tech Crunch Says Oops (Again...) A big topic this week has been regarding transparency and openness. Here at WordStream, the marketing team got together to discuss our own policy for disclosure, specifically for blog posts.
If we find something that works in search marketing, should we share it with our audience as a helpful find and newsworthy topic or are we giving away a trade secret? When weighing reward (interesting topics generate more blog visitors and WordStream coverage) against risk (consider what happens if the strategy gets adopted by the masses and suddenly it's no longer such a great tip), how much transparency is too much? Dave Fleet wrote a great post yest... > Read more
The Week in Search Search campaign relevance and a billion dollars Four Steps Towards Optimizing Your Campaign for Relevance and Results I recently discovered Alan Mitchell's search marketing technique blog (aah, the power of Sphinn and Twitter...) and after Saturday's post entitled "Relevancy: The Holy Grail of PPC," I think I'm hooked.
I've been involved in search engine marketing for less than a year, which means that a big frustration of mine is when a SEM strategy is presented as over-simplified and easy. But we all know that search marketing isn't easy--if it was, anyone could do it and most of us would be out of a job. Then again, it's hardly enjoyable to read about this difficulty and complication without any light at the end of the tunnel. Campaign relevance is one of th... > Read more
The Week in Search Silly search marketing questions and more stupidity. Things a Search Marketer Should Never Say The Search Agents' Ted Ives reminds me a lot of Brian Carter: his posts are a perfect combination of humor and education, and this week was no exception. Top 10 Coconut Headphones Moments in SEM reminds us that search engine marketing should be based on proper analytics and real data.
If you aren't familiar with coconut headphones, they were created by Pacific Islanders trying to mimic the actions of the U.S. military when Americans received equipment and supplies. The natives thought the rituals would bring goods from the gods (think The Gods Must be Crazy)--they created their own headphones to flag down nonexistent planes. Sure, it's easy to judge these cultures for thei... > Read more
The Week in Search Politics, Keywords and Monty Python Are We Missing the Point of Search Marketing? Often as a way to decide what to write about in each week's Follow Friday, I visit Sphinn.com to see what articles are getting people's attention. Even under the category of SEM, you'll see a multitude of topics ranging from brand awareness to conversion attribution to bid management.
Andy Atkins Kruger had a great guest post on Search Coyboys this week entitled "It's the Keywords, Stupid" where he finally asks the question: Shouldn't we just focus on keywords? As in politics, where candidates are tempted to talk about exciting topics like war or scandal, the discussion of keywords has lost its sex appeal and thus keywords have lost much of the attention. He writes, " we know... > Read more
The Week in Search Text ads, landing pages, hash tags and Beanie Babies. Going Beyond Keywords: Text Ads and Landing Pages Search marketing consists of many factors that can usually be generalized into three categories: keywords, ads and landing pages. Kate Morris (@katemorris) had a great post this week on Search Cowboys about optimizing your ads.
She starts by quoting David Ogily who said, "on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Sure, Ogily's advertising reign predated search marketing, but the principle still remains: if you have a good headline, you'll probably see good results. Check out the discussions and Kate's responses in... > Read more
The Week in Search This week, we ask how marketers should optimize tweets and if Google is the latest unhealthy addiction. Is Twitter Search the Future of Keywords? It wasn't long ago that many search marketers were questioning if Twitter search would overtake Google as the Internet's preferred search engine.
With the introduction of Microsoft's Bing, Twitter search recently got a bit lost in the shuffle. However, the debate is far from over and some great conversations about this topic continued this week. Check out Michael Boland's May article from Search Engine Watch in which he states, "If there is one thing that points to Twitter's staying power, it's that Google is showing signs that it feels legitimately threatened." He's probably right that the answer to true search ecsta... > Read more
It's Friday: The Week in Search Big stories this week included the fate of small business owners and the future of online advertising. And of course, are you eligible for any of Google's $20 million payout? Most Small Business Owners Try Then Quit Paid Search A study conducted by Borell Associates found that 90% of small business owners quit their paid search campaign within 6 months citing poor performance and not enough ROI.
According to the study, 50% of small business owners will end their campaign after only 3 months, with the following 40% following suit up to three months later. This odd part about this is that CNN Money just posted an article about the importance of small businesses to Google. Fred Vallaeys, Google's AdWords evangelist says, "[small businesses] built us. We wa... > Read more
Friday: The Week in Search Microsoft releases its new search engine and Chinese residents may have to say goodbye to Twitter. Microsoft Receives Compliments and Criticisms for Bing I'll admit it, I'm skeptical about Bing's future, but Microsoft's new search service has been receiving a lot of buzz since its release.
They even have their own You Tube channel that's received almost 7,000 views to date. And as long as we're being honest, their commercials aren't so bad. Check it out: Microsoft is presenting its new search service as a "decision engine." According to their press release, "Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience wi... > Read more
It's Friday: The Week in Search This week, we're focused on the truth about keyword tools and the ongoing debate regarding social media ownership. Keyword Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly We’ve talked a lot about keyword generators and free keyword tools, namely pointing out the disadvantages of basing your keyword selection on broad data that’s not specific to your website.
Combined with lack of negative keyword suggestions, inherited disorganization and stagnant data, what’s the point of using them? Others have started asking themselves that same question. Search Engine Roundtable is encouraging users to share their thoughts on the Google Tool specifically. As of 9am on Friday morning, the results looked like this: I'm not quite sure wh... > Read more
Friday: The Week in Search More debate regarding the Long Tail and WordStream employees share their expertise through various publications. The Long Tail of Search: Is it Dead? We Don't Think SO! At the beginning of May, experienced search engine marketer Andrew Goodman published a post entitled "PPC-Man Drowning.
.. Too... Many... Keywords." In it, he contends that the time to include long tail keywords in your SEM campaign as an effective keyword strategy has come and gone, and more than that, it's been gone for a long time. To back up this statement, he explains that in a single campaign of his, 104 out of 116 conversions came from the top 15 keyphrases, so cutting down his keyword list to include only the most popular keywords wouldn... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search Here's what we read and enjoyed this week in the world of search marketing: The Release of Twitter search In the interest of full disclosure, I was not one of the lucky ones that had "Twitter Search" associated with my twitter account during the beta phase.
Imagine my delight when it popped up on my TweetDeck this week and I could finally experience what everyone had been talking about! The even better news is that the tweeps at Twitter are working hard to improve the feature. Check out this article to read more about the progressions that will include indexing the context of a link's landing pages and a reputation ranking system. Frank Reed addressed this release and his post includes pertinent information and useful ob... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search Some great changes and debates were had in search marketing this week. Here's what we're following: Is Google Just A Big Bully? If you're not actively reading blog posts from the gals at Outspoken Media, I strongly suggest adding them to your list. Their posts are knowledgeable, daring, and well-written.
I admit to have a friend crush on @lisabarone, but I especially loved her talk about the newly released Google Profiles. Under the arguable guise that Google is giving you control over your name, people are rushing to stake claim in something others have worked hard to already own. As Lisa says, "I either act like a good little girl [and make a profile] or I risk creating a reputation management issue for myself down the road. I’v... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search As is always the case in search marketing, this week left no shortage of valuable content. Here's what we found most interesting. PPC: Quality Score, Click Through Rate, and Behavior My colleagues sitting next to me can tell you that I'm a big fan of Brian Carter.
What can I say, I like his style. This week, he helps us demystify the issue of Quality Score by focusing on the relationship between click through rate and highly relevant keyword groups. Forget all the other factors that go into calculating Quality Score, he suggests, and focus instead on the one that matters most, CTR! Reduce the number of keywords in your keyword groups to improve relevance, and increased Quality Score and CTR will follow. Do you ... > Read more
Follow Friday: The Week in Search What happened, what's about to happen, and what you need to know about the world of search engine marketing. Before we get to it, we want to be clear that we did not create the idea of a Friday Roundup, but hey, imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Here are some Friday Roundups that we especially enjoy: The Team at PPC Hero Rebecca from SEOmoz Virginia Nussey Google's New Interface: Wondering what Google AdWords and lollipops have in common? Thanks to AdWords' new ability to track multiple conversions, Dan has named these hyper-responsive customers and keywords "lollipops" as they're deserving, sweet, and warrant special attention.
Search engine marketing and candy? Finally something I can relate to! I'm also a fan of Amber... > Read more