Everything you need to know about search marketing. Browse our most recent search marketing news stories covering the latest trends in SEO – Search Engine Optimization, PPC – paid advertising and search marketing strategies. Refer to our library of How To Guides for marketers leveraging paid and organic search channels reach consumers online.

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Reading Keywords’ Future In Interactive Marketing

shutterstock_120330325-crystalball If you think keywords have any place in the next-generation, digital marketing world, you’d be mistaken. If you haven’t taken notice of recent announcements about keyword restrictions, you really should take a minute or two and have a look. Right now, Google is moving away from providing third parties with the depth of data it once did. With the change, advertisers will be more dependent on Google itself for data. The once laughed off “never gonna happen to search ads” comparison to organic Not Provided is suddenly less funny. As is often the case, search marketers focus on wh [...]


Conversion Optimization: Measuring Usability In The User Experience (UX) – Part 1

usability-components Here is the scenario: I am speaking at a conference about the 7 Facets of the User/Searcher Experience. Whenever I can, I try to provide case studies and usability test results to help illustrate each facet. Inevitably, there is somebody in the audience that stereotypes search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. What could an SEO possibly know about the user experience? From my perspective, usability is at the top of my UX list. Findability is intricately intertwined with usability. People can't use what they can't find. Through field studies and multiple usability tests, I learned [...]


Google Imparts “Not Provided” On Ad Clicks, A Day Later The Industry Exhales

not-provided-600 After word had been swirling the change was coming, yesterday Google announced it is expanding secure search to cover clicks on paid ads. The move means Google will treat the search query referrer data in ad clicks via secure search the same way they have been for all organic clicks since last year. The actual words people use in their searches will no longer be passed through the URL referrer string after a user clicks on a paid search ad from Google. Many experts agree, though, that the change will not be as cart-rocking for paid search practitioners and software providers as it was for S [...]


Like Siri, Cortana Can Crack Jokes, If You Ask The Right Questions

jokes and music People quickly discovered when Siri came out that asking her questions like "What's the best computer" or saying "I love you" resulted in humorous answers. Microsoft's new digital assistant Cortana has some wit about her, too -- and there's a serious reason for that. Microsoft's Mike Calcagno, who oversees the Bing search platform that underpins how Cortana answers questions, told me in an interview yesterday that he's noted how people asking seemingly useless questions to Siri actually generates a real value "I discounted those types of interactions at the beginning," he said. But afte [...]


The Fatal Mistake Content Marketers Are Making With Nofollow

shutterstock_182841941-RIPContentMktg RIP, content marketing. Thanks to Google's algorithm updates and quality guidelines that require paid links to include a nofollow tag, there's simply no value any more in online promotions for brands and agencies. After all, if a sponsored link can no longer provide a direct PageRank boost, what's the point? Everyone knows the only reason to bother promoting a brand online is for the improved search engine rankings. Did you detect a hint of sarcasm there? I hope so, because when marketers focus too much of their attention on search engine optimization (SEO), they lose sight of the big pi [...]


Advertisers Keep Spending More On Paid Search In Q1, CTRs Jump 23 Percent YoY

Paid Search Spend Trends Q1 2014 IgnitionOne Paid search in the U.S. saw another quarter of positive growth in Q1, rising 8 percent year-over-year according to IgnitionOne's latest quarterly report, which looks at paid search performance of campaigns across its management platform that's used by major brands and agencies. Paid search clicks rose a modest 5 percent and click-through-rates (CTR) were up 23 percent. Impressions fell again -- dropping 15 percent year-over- year. The drop in impressions, according to the report, is due to the increase in mobile searches where there is less ad real estate per query. However, these mobile se [...]


177 Car Maker Sites Vied For Ad Supremacy On Google In Jan & Feb, Driving 14 Million Clicks To Their Sites

car-ads-adwords Paid search is attractive to luxury and economy car manufacturers alike. Jaguarusa.com and Scion.com were among the 177 automotive manufacturer sites that competed for visibility on Google with paid search ads in January and February. The ads drove 14.4 million clicks -- and that's just on desktops and tablets. The new analysis from search marketing intelligence Adgooroo shows similar levels of competition among car makers on mobile devices. If the pie chart below looks like a data-presentation-gone-wrong mess, that's the point. Adgooroo's chart underscores the fragmented reality of the hig [...]


Mobile Will Be Primary Channel For Paid Search By End Of 2015 [Study]

mobile-devices-featured Looking at current trends, Marin Software predicts more paid search clicks will come from mobile devices than desktops by the end of next year. By December of 2013, mobile accounted for more than a third of all paid search clicks on Google. By the end of 2015, mobile devices will drive 50 percent of Google's paid search clicks, according to the 2014 mobile search advertising report published by Marin Software today. Smartphone paid search ad clicks nearly doubled throughout 2013 and accounted for just over 20 percent of total click share. The Marin study looks at Google performanc [...]


MyBlogGuest.com Confirms It’s Been Hit By Google Penalty

myblogguest-logo-large MyBlogGuest, a well-known service that helps pair writers and blogs for guest blogging, confirmed this morning that it's been hit by a Google penalty. Google has been aggressively going after companies that it believes are violating its SEO guidelines in recent months, particularly link networks. This is first penalty that we know of against what Google considers a "guest blog network." Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, recently warned that Google would target guest blogging, and then confirmed this penalty via Twitter early this morning. Today we took action on a large [...]


Advertisers Brace As Google Revisits “Not Provided” Policy To Show Keywords For Ad But Not Organic Clicks

google-security-lock-featured Google managed to stoke the rumor mill twice in the one day this past week with somewhat cryptic announcements, putting search marketers -- many of whom are still weary from last year's roll out of enhanced campaigns -- on edge. First, the company released a statement on Wednesday saying many new updates to AdWords will be announced on April 22 without providing any specifics. Then later that evening, marketers were hit with news of yet another potential change on the horizon. In a keynote discussion at Search Marketing Expo West with Marketing Land's founding editor, Danny Sullivan, Goo [...]


Google Calls It Quits On Brand Banner Ad Test In Search Results

Google Brand Banner Ads test ended Google has ended last fall's test involving large brand banner ads on Google.com. Amit Singhal, Google's head of search, confirmed the experiment was over in his keynote at SMX West in San Jose, California yesterday. Google started the test in October 2013 with roughly 30 brands. The banners ads appeared at the top of brand search results in the U.S. only and for just a small subset of searches. Singhal did not go into detail about what constituted failure in this test, but its possible the click-through rates on the banners were lower than desired. Additionally, when the branded banners di [...]


Google Got Called Out For Being A “Scraper Site” & You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

On Thursday, Google made a call for publishers to report if sites have copied or "scraped" their content and are outranking the publishers themselves. But a tweet from a marketer pointing out that Google might be doing what it's against got far more attention that Google's own request. The head of Google's web spam team issued a call for reports about scraper sites If you see a scraper URL outranking the original source of content in Google, please tell us about it: http://t.co/WohXQmI45X — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 27, 2014 Marketer Dan Barker came up with an example of Google [...]


The Slipperiest Search Campaign Ever

ky date night ad There are a lot slick opportunities out there in search marketing. The wheels of progress have never been greasier. Yep, since people first started paying to be included in search results, a lot of smooth transactions have taken place. Yet, for a whole lot of good reasons, search lacks certain criteria for brand building. Over the years, more than a few studies have measured engagement, and many brands have attempted to overcome the very simple transactional relationship search advertising has with its pay-for-clickers. Paid search does not exist in a creative void. The process of entici [...]


4 Things Online Marketers Should Know About User Experience (UX)

browse-ask-search Many people like to use the term user experience as a reason to justify their website design, development, search engine optimization (SEO) and content decisions. Why are we migrating to a responsive design? Because it's good for the user experience. Why are we implementing structured data? Because it's good for the searcher experience. Why do we have to create a blog and write new posts every day? Because it's good for the user experience. Why are we decreasing the download time of our web documents? Because it's good for the user experience... and it's good for search engine rankings, too [...]


Mozilla’s Firefox To Show Sponsored Content “Tiles” To New Users

firefox-logo-wordmark-vertical Mozilla will soon begin to show sponsored content on Firefox when new users open up the New Tab page in the browser. When users begin to use Firefox, their "Directory Tiles" -- the nine boxes that appear on the New Tab page -- are mostly empty before populating over time with the most frequent and recent websites users visit. With this move, Directory Tiles will populate with pre-packaged content for first-time users. [caption id="attachment_73903" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The current Directory Tiles view for new Firefox users. Firefox plans to auto-populate all nine tiles with a [...]


10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google, From Rap Genius To The BBC

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 It's been a busy year already with big brands getting hit by Google penalties. First came Rap Genius, slammed so hard that you couldn't find it for its own name. Then came Expedia's suspected penalty that may have hurt its traffic. But these are also a familiar tune. Big brand violates Google's rules, gets in trouble but ultimately returns to Google's good graces with what may seem a virtual wrist-slap. Below, in reverse chronological order, is a list of major brands that have been hit by Google penalties over the years for various reasons. Some violations weren't even intentional. 10 [...]


7 Ways Google Glass Will Change Search, And How It Should Change Your Marketing

google-glass-model-featured It's official. Google Glass will be openly available for purchase later this year. That means two things: Expect to see a lot of new Glassers soon, and it's time to start thinking about how such technology will change the way consumers search. Below, we’ll take a look at seven areas likely to be affected and how you can prepare: 1. Death To 10 Blue Links A search on Glass won't return a page with 10 blue links, rather it'll use info cards: As you can see from the screenshot above, you can only view one info card at a time. To move to the next card, you need to s [...]


Super Bowl 2014 Commercials: How Did Advertisers Perform in Search Engines?

tv-video-featured It's year number six of tracking how Super Bowl ads compelled us to search and just how well advertisers take advantage of all that searching. How did advertisers fare this year? Better than in earlier years, mostly because they are learning to keep it simple. But they're not necessarily doing better in search on purpose. Last year, advertisers started paying attention to social media in a big way, which they extended this year. But it's clear advertisers don't realize we're multi-taskers. Not only can we watch the game and tweet at the same time, but we can search, too. And while I get [...]


Surprise, Bud Light Is Not The Top Super Bowl Advertiser On Google And Bing

goal posts flickr wisecontrarian Despite appearances, Bud Light is not the number one advertiser on Super Bowl related queries on either Google or Bing. According to new data from search monitoring service BrandVerity, Bud Light, which is advertising all four of its Game Day ads, has been beat out by different advertisers on each of the search engines. The competition is heating up as well, many more advertisers are turning to PPC in these final days to promote their Super Bowl ads than were earlier in the week. To see who's joined the ranks and which advertisers currently claim the top spots in PPC, check out Who’ [...]


Growth Hacking Is Bull, Part 2

Internet Marketing "Accounting is a department. Marketing isn't. Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365." Fried, Jason, and David Heinemeier. Hansson. Rework. New York: Crown Business, 2010. 193. Print. Unadulterated Growth Hacking In response to my article Growth Hacking is Bull, Sean Ellis provided some background on how he came about the term back in 2010. Anyone claiming to be a growth hacker today must read Sean's definition of the term because it strips much of the bull away from how the term is abused today. If you understand the message, what he really means by "hire a [...]


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