Search Engine Marketing

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

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land on SMX West 2014: More Search & Social, New Marketing Land Summit

Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land's founding editor (not that he needs any introduction in search marketing circles) is getting geared up for SMX West, the next in his series of search marketing conferences spanning North America, Europe and Australia. SMX is known as one of the best conferences to marketers to learn the latest trends and tactics to improve their marketing performance.

I had a few questions for Danny Sullivan about the upcoming event and the state of the search industry in general. Here’s what he had to say about the evolution of SMX and what marketers will need to focus on this year:Danny Sullivan on Knowledge Graph, Predictive Search & Social SignalsLarry Kim: You have Google’s Amit Singhal doing a keynote on recent Google updates and the future of search, but wh... > Read more

February 03, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 7

All About AdChoices: What Is AdChoices? How Does it Affect Advertisers & Consumers?

A few years ago, during Thanksgiving supper, one of my relatives asked me to explain what my job entails. Before I could launch into my SEM elevator pitch, one of my aunts jumped in and said something to the effect of “She taps into people’s privacy and harasses them with ads online.” Sure, she made the comment in jest, but I think many people share this misconception.

If you work in the search marketing industry, you’ve probably had a similar experience at one point or another. So it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the privacy issues in online advertising. This post will provide a deep dive into AdChoices, a program designed to protect internet users’ privacy and give them control over their internet usage data.Use this table of contents to skip ahead:How to... > Read more

January 22, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

RIP Syncapse: Syncapse Announces Huge Layoffs

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

July 23, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Confessions of a Reformed Black Hat PPC Marketer: My CPC Arbitrage Story

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

July 23, 2013     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 17

RIP Clickable, Inc.

In case you missed it, Syncapse yesterday announced that it had acquired Clickable, Inc.!! (Go to clickable.com for additional details!)Clickable had been at one point been a direct competitor of WordStream, but much less so in the last year because:Clickable changed their product direction away from PPC /AdWords/Search Engine Marketing and instead focused more on Social Media and Facebook Advertising.

Clickable changed their target market away from small and medium-sized businesses towards larger, up-market companies.I don't know much about the Clickable acquisition -- I'm just as surprised as everyone else! But here’s what I do know:We've seen a growing flow of customers who were ex-Clickable users in the last 6 months. SMBs need help with paid search / AdWords and we are laser-focused ... > Read more

June 15, 2012     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Build Credibility & Increase Conversions with Branded PPC and SEO

 Branded PPC and SEO strategies pay tremendous dividends, but few companies cash in. On the PPC side, marketers often think it’s a waste of money to bid on branded keywords, to essentially pay for what they already own. On the SEO side, firms may not even realize branded strategies exist – let alone why they matter.

But branded PPC and SEO offer three benefits every company in the world loves: control, credibility and conversions. Let’s take a quick look at why branded strategies make these things happen.Gain Control with Branded PPCBy ceding the PPC turf to distributors, affiliates, generic merchandisers and competitors, brand owners suffer on two fronts:First, they don’t even compete for clicks they could probably win.Second, they open the door for a poor brand experience on ... > Read more

May 30, 2012     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Online Marketing News for October 9-12, 2011

Apple’s iOS5 Is On Its Way!People are getting geared up for Apple’s iOS5, expected to launch later today! In anticipation of iOS5, Apple released iTunes 10.5 and its new iCloud service earlier this week in case you couldn’t possibly wait another second to download some Apple updates.Facebook Gets Friend.

lyFacebook recently acquired the social Q&A company Friend.ly, not to be confused with Friendly’s, my New England childhood eatery that is sadly going out of business.Cone head sundaes and waffle fries aside, Friend.ly describes their app as a way to meet new people and foster friendships by answering questions. The app offers you a list of questions which you can choose to answer, or simply compliment other people’s answers by letting them know that you find their answer oh-s... > Read more

October 12, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 1

Blend Your SEO and PPC for Better SEM Results

The recent infographic from WordStream depicting the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords got me thinking about the true ROI of SEM. If Google is making $50 per click, what kind of value is that keyword producing for your company? If your business goes after keywords outside of the top 20 most expensive, how does that impact your ROI? Big brands can afford to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a PPC campaign, not really worrying about the cost per click and how that impacts their bottom line, but what about the rest of us?One of the biggest advantages of running a PPC campaign is that it is relatively quick to launch and easy to test.

If the final cost per conversion is too high, than you simply drop that particular keyword and target a variation that is less competitive. PP... > Read more

July 27, 2011     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Marketing Profs Virtual Conference: This Friday (It's Free!)

Got plans for Friday, May 13? Now you do! Join us for Digital Marketing World: Search Marketing, a FREE virtual conference presented by MarketingProfs. Three Info-Packed Sessions Today's Top 5 SEO Essentials Integrated Search and Social The Future of Search: Top Trends to Watch Check out the complete program and session times here.

More Good Stuff Register now and get access to: Live Q&A time with the speakers Search marketing resources Professional networking opportunities On-demand recordings (available for the next three months) You'll also have the opportunity to meet search marketing experts and participate in virtual roundtable discussions with your peers in the Digital Marketing World exhibit hall. As one of this month's sponsors, we'll be there ... > Read more

May 11, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Seller Star Ratings in AdWords Ads: How Reviews Impact Your AdWords Account

People are writing books about the increasing importance of the way you interact with your customers and the power of social media. There's a different, more democratized sort of voting going on. Social blogging platforms that aren't Twitter are exploding. Google is pushing more and more personalization and socialization into their SERPs.

The first real introduction of social signals outside of click-through rate in AdWords SERPs are contained within rich snippets, and specifically product reviews. What's the Status of Rich Snippets in AdWords? Google updated their data requirements for Google Product Feeds. Product feeds are a great way to get some additional real estate for your ads in many cases: Note the confidence-inspiring five stars: good stuff for the advertiser! If we click throu... > Read more

March 28, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 7

Quality Traffic Sources That Aren't Google or Bing: 2nd Tier Search Engines & Networks

The lead generation space is extremely competitive. Bids are high, CPA’s are low and everyone wants the highest margin possible. To combat this, many lead generation companies will utilize all internet marketing channels available – specifically SEM, SEO, email, social and affiliate marketing. For companies in this space, ROI is what matters.

How many leads you generate is not the deciding factor – it is what those leads are worth and how much profit you are making. Google and Bing are great sources of quality traffic, but they are also very competitive and can get very expensive. This has made SEM managers and lead generators into extremely resourceful traffic generators. By utilizing second-tier search engines and different ad networks, SEM managers are able to generate similar qu... > Read more

March 02, 2011     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Check Out the New SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App

So the crew over at SEO Dojo are at it again and have created a sick, new iPhone app called SEO Dojo Radio.Here's the iPhone App Description:SEO and all forms of internet marketing are our topics. We discuss industry news, SEO techniques and interview the top names in the SEO Game!Here are a couple of screenshots of the SEO Dojo Radio App too:Now, I'm a huge fan of SEO Dojo Radio.

And how can you not be with kick ass guests such as Jill Whalen, Debra Mastaler, Garrett French and former WordStream Director of Marketing and Measured SEM consultant Tom Demers.So if you're a fan of SEO news and insights, you're definitely going to want to download the new SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App.You can download it here: SEO Dojo Radio iPhone App  Hit me up on Twitter: Follow @larrykim... > Read more

October 20, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Malware Hack Attack: When Bad Things Happen to Good Sites

I wanted to share an experience I've been going through after one of my sites was infected with malware. I've been involved in search marketing for the past six years and have been lucky enough to have never had a site hacked. But, alas, all good things must come to an end. About two weeks ago, one of my sites was the target of malevolent hackers.

I became aware of the security breach when I visited the SERPs and saw that Google was displaying the toxic "This site may harm your computer" warning, which looks like this (NOTE: this is NOT my website listing...it's just an example): When users click on "This site may harm your computer" link, it leads them to a Google support page. If you miss the warning and click on the actual site listing, you're redirected to an inte... > Read more

September 23, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 10

Step 4: Analyze and Monitor Your Campaign Results

This is the final excerpt from our free white paper, Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper including the last three steps. You've done your research and organized your keywords. You have a system in place for ongoing keyword management and growth. This provides a strong foundation for your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.

But until you have a good understanding of which keywords really work for your business, you can't learn from your campaigns and improve your results.  The next step is to use keyword analytics to analyze your keywords and monitor results. Keyword analytics allow you to drill down to the level of the keyword group or the single keyword to see which terms drive the most traffic and conversions, as well as... > Read more

August 26, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Step 3: Group and Organize Your Keyword Research

For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. Starting with extensive keyword research allows you to evaluate a number of opportunities and determine which keywords truly have the potential to drive profits for your business.

  However, evaluating and refining your keywords will be a lengthy and tedious process if you don't first impose a meaningful order on your keyword research. So the next step is to segment your keywords into small, tightly related groups. Grouping your keywords will change everything else you do in search for the better. Here are just a few of the benefits of better keyword grouping and organization:  Higher Quality... > Read more

August 25, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Step 2: Build a Smart Keyword Infrastructure

For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. As discussed in Step 1, it's important to start with a broad base of keywords when embarking on a search marketing campaign. But a large number of keywords can quickly become unmanageable.

However, you can do extensive keyword research without losing control of your campaigns. The key is to create a flexible, dynamic keyword structure that makes it easy to manage a large and growing list. This means transforming a keyword list into a keyword database.   A keyword database has a number of advantages over a keyword list or spreadsheet: It's private and proprietary, unlike lists generated by third-party keyword tools, ... > Read more

August 24, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign

For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now. If you've got seven days, you've got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. Whether your focus is organic search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, also known as paid search marketing, these seven simple steps will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic keyword database that will drive traffic and revenue through search.

As soon as next week, your business will start to see: An increase in traffic More qualified leads Lower search marketing costs These are just a few of the benefits you'll experience with more effective keyword research, organization, and... > Read more

August 23, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 1

SEO vs. PPC: When to Use Which Search Marketing Method for Maximum Profit

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Traffic is the lifeblood of any online undertaking. The success of an online business greatly depends on the amount of traffic it can generate for its pages. This is an indubitable fact.What is subject to a lot of debate, however, is the matter of SEO vs.

PPC, two of the most powerful traffic generating approaches. SEO stands for search engine optimization. PPC stands for pay per click. Though their end goal is the same, they are different concepts that require different techniques and methodologies.Both are effective methods of garnering visitors for a website, but one method can work very well for certain circumstances, while with the other, you may encounter difficulties generating traffic in the same situation.To succeed with either method... > Read more

August 19, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 27

Seven Things I've Learned in a Year at a Search Marketing Startup

  Today marks my one-year anniversary at WordStream—happy anniversary to me! When I started, we were in a temporary space with stained carpets and terrifyingly temperamental elevators, and only about 12 full-time employees coming into the office every day. We've come a long way since then, and I'd like to think I've evolved a little too.

After all, at a startup, one year under your belt practically makes you an old veteran. Here are a few things I've learned in the past year about search marketing, business, and—that's right—myself. 1. Everyone at a Company Is Important Working at a very small company—perhaps especially a new company—really throws this fact into relief: Everyone matters, from the CEO down to a lowly copywriter like me. With less noise and... > Read more

April 27, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Survey Results: The Most Annoying Part of Search Marketing

We recently sent a survey about our product suite to a number of prospects in the search marketing industry. The (anonymous) results told us a lot about the profile of a typical search marketer, from job title to PPC spend to favorite tools to size of company. One of the questions was "What are the most annoying, time-consuming and/or challenging aspects of search marketing? (Select all that apply.

)" Here are the results: The winner? (Or loser, as the case may be?) Link building. More than a third of search marketers (37.5%) find link building to be a time-consuming, challenging and altogether aggravating chore. This jibes with advice from link building expert Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures, who told us that 60% to 70% of your SEO time should be spent on link building! From this virtual... > Read more

April 06, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Bora Bora Is Blowing It: Missed Opportunities in Search Marketing

This is a guest post by Kenny Hyder. Kenny Hyder is an Internet marketing consultant based out of Santa Barbara, CA. He has been helping businesses with their SEO and marketing strategies since 2004, and has had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands online including several Fortune 500’s.

You can catch him on his main blog about Marketing, SEO, & Social Media or check out his new Awesome SEO Tools blog. He’s also pretty much always on Twitter. This weekend, my wife and I rented and watched Couples Retreat on Blu-ray. The movie was pretty entertaining, and mildly funny, set on an "exotic island" (aka Bora Bora) at the "Eden Resort." Part of what made the movie entertaining was the great scenery, being shot on location in Bora Bora, and ... > Read more

March 02, 2010     |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 10

Top Search Marketing and Social Media Research Projects of 2009

In 2009, the scientific community treated search and social media marketers to what seemed like a never-ending supply of meaty and game-changing research projects, covering everything from information retrieval, to personalized search, to integrated SERP analysis, to studying user behavior on social networks.

I decided to compile and share a list of my favorite Search and Social Media Marketing Research Projects of 2009. Hopefully, these research papers will inform and inspire your marketing efforts going into 2010.By the way, if after reading all the papers on this list you find that you're jonesing for more, here are two great resources for marketers to find research papers on social media marketing and search engine marketing:Google ScholarYahoo ResearchVideo LecturesSo fire up your neu... > Read more

December 31, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 2

You Know You’re a Search Geek if...

Okay. I admit it. I'm a big ole' search geek. My life pretty much revolves around search. I mainly read search marketing blogs, have a SEO consulting biz on the side, and work full time for WordStream, where I'm surrounded by other search marketers all day, and we sell search marketing tools to members of the search marketing industry.

So my search geekiness should come as no surprise. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to create a list and share some of the truly nerdy search stuff I’ve done that makes me an uber geek. Plus, this should help anyone who's on the fence, wondering if they are or aren't a search geek too. Because if you've ever done any of these things, then well... You Know You’re a Search Geek if... You're impressed by domain names When we moved into our new office last ... > Read more

December 03, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Our 50 Favorite Search Marketing Blogs for SEO, PPC, Social Media and Everything In-Between

At WordStream, we're all pretty avid blog readers. We read a variety of search marketing blogs and subscribe to dozens of different RSS feeds. So I thought it would be interesting to ask everyone at WordStream for a list of their favorite SEO, PPC, Internet marketing and social media blogs, and put together a master compilation of our 50 favorites.

Think of this list as the “recommended” section from the staff at your local Blockbuster. Actually, are there even any Blockbusters left? Anyway, here’s the extensive list I’ve compiled of our 50 favorite search marketing blogs. It's a good mix of industry standards and hopefully some little known, but great blogs you haven't heard of yet that you can add to your own Google reader feed. Internet Marketing & General Marketing Blogs D... > Read more

June 24, 2009     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Search Engine Marketing   |   Comments: 5
 
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