Search Marketing Toolbox was a weekly spotlight for news about the tools search engine marketing professionals use in daily management of SEO and SEM campaigns. This column highlighted new tools, how-to tips and tricks to simplify use of existing tools search marketing tools, in-depth reviews and interviews with tool creators, and general tips to better utilize tool features. This column was discontinued as of May 2013, but you can still access the archived columns below. You may be interested in some of our other columns.

Deep Dive Into Bing Webmaster Tools – Part 3 Wrap Up

In the first and second posts in this series, Vincent Wehren has taken us through an insider’s guided tour of Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT). We’ve learned that BWT was originally an internal SEO toolset that progressed into a very robust external platform and continues to evolve. Users can access very handy dashboards that the everyone, from the smallest and largest search engine optimizers, can use to help them better understand how to improve site visibility. In this final post, Vincent takes us through the supporting features of Bing Webmaster Tools that includes the Bing Webmaster Help [...]


Deep Dive Into Bing Webmaster Tools With Sr. Program Manager Vincent Wehren, Part 2

In the first post of this series, we briefly explored Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT) with Sr. Program Manager Vincent Wehren. In that article, we discovered that BWT is a well-rounded suite of SEO tools that have the added benefit of the massive amount of search engine data provided by Bing. We also learned from Vincent that BWT started as just an internal set of tools that eventually evolved into the external, well-defined platform that it is today. In this second piece, we’ll dive deeper into the history behind BWT, as well present more of the advanced reports and dashboards that BWT offers [...]


Deep Dive Into Bing Webmaster Tools: Part 1

Over the last decade, search engine marketing has become a multi-billion dollar media channel powerhouse. It currently represents half of the $35B digital marketing budgets in the U.S., and it’s even bigger globally. The marriage between search practitioners and the engines has always been, at best, a work in progress. On one hand, search engines need to protect their most valuable assets, such as their SERP algorithms and their paid-platform ecosystem. However, on the other hand, they need to be able to work well with their clients and offer them the tools and the data so the programs [...]


Rediscovering The Google AdWords Editor Keyword Opportunities Tool

Google's Keyword Opportunities (Beta) tool is a gem of a keyword idea tool integrated into AdWords Editor. I recently rediscovered this tool and have been tearing through my clients' accounts, adding keywords. The tool generates suggestions similar to the Web-based tool, but is integrated into Editor quite nicely. Suggested use: Launch AdWords Editor and open your Account Launch the Tool - keyboard: ALT-T-O (menu: Tools | Keyword Opportunities (Beta)) Uncheck the box for "Include Additional Items" Set Match Type to "Exact" Input your seed keyword, and click the "Get Keywords" Bu [...]


Advanced Excel For PPC: How To Work With Match Types Using VBA Code

When working with AdWords Keyword reports downloaded from the Web interface, you may come across Keywords with their Match Types signified by special punctuation, rather than a separate column indicating Match Type. In this post, we will use some Excel VBA code that will help us work back and forth between this format and the regular, two column format recognized by AdWords Editor. As an example, we can add all of our existing broad match keywords as exact match so we can refine our bidding control on them. Let's get started. This posting format originated as a means of uploading keyword [...]


Kenshoo: Filling the Gaps That Search Marketers Desperately Need

I remember the first bid management tool I ever used was GoToast back in 2003. It was absolutely amazing. I could manage bids on multiple engines from one location. SCORE! At the time (I almost started with In my day…, ha), there were many different engines other than Google and Bing that were viable options for search engine marketing such as Overture, Excite, AltaVista, AskJeeves, etc. This single value proposition of being able to perform [even basic] functionality across many different platforms more than justified the cost of the tool. It saved countless hours and tools like GoToa [...]


Crowdsourced SEM: Under The Hood With Trada

In the June 2006 Wired magazine article The Rise of Crowdsourcing, Jeff Howe presented the phrase crowdsourcing as a combination of the words crowd and outsourcing. Although crowdsourcing actually has roots that precede the Internet, certainly the Web has been a powerful activation tool for crowdsourcing to go mainstream. In fact, there are crowd workers in almost two hundred countries. Alone, Amazon’s popular micro-task, crowdsourcing platform, Mechanical Turk, has almost a half million users -- an argument could be made that they are the largest employer in the world! Trada, who bil [...]


Advanced Excel For PPC: Using Regular Expressions To Add Dimensions To Data

Regular expressions are a powerful computing tool, with near-mythical status in some programming circles (here is one of my favorite online comic series' take on the topic: http://xkcd.com/208/). This article demonstrates some useful ways to use regular expressions with PPC, by adding new dimensions to our typical Account/Campaign/AdGroup hierarchy of data. Another use for regular expressions would be manipulating URLs – perhaps in a future article… First, a quick note: Getting up to speed with regular expressions in general can be a daunting adventure. There are a lot of resources o [...]


adCenter Updates Microsoft Advertiser Intelligence With Templates & Mobile Data

Microsoft adCenter recently launched an improved version of Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (MAI). MAI is a keyword research tool that helps Advertisers find related keywords and their historical and projected traffic and performance data from the available adCenter traffic. As an Excel add-in, it offers powerful API-based access to data, right in the familiar Excel environment. Version 8 includes some usability improvements, better Excel integration, improved keyword suggestions and insights, and perhaps most importantly – a new template-based system with community support. My Take [...]


Zenya’s Next Gen Keyword & Categorization Platform

The case could easily be made that keyword list construction is the most vital part of the paid search marketing process. Yes, optimization is clearly a crucial component to profitable SEM, yet without the right keywords (and campaign/ad group structure), the chance for success drops dramatically. So, wouldn’t you think that after more than a decade of search marketing and literally tens of billions of dollars in the U.S. alone in paid search ad revenue, that someone would come along and actually build a powerful keyword generation tool? Yes, there have been attempts in the past, and t [...]


Clickable’s Widget Dashboard: Expansion Into Cross-Channel Intelligence

Along with Google AdWords, it seems like the common denominator in every search marketer’s tool stack is Microsoft Excel. But for years, technology vendors in the search marketing industry have vowed to get us out of workbooks and have built workflow, analytics, and reporting tools aimed at doing just that. But no one’s really solved it. Some folks have come close. Most of the top-tier SEM platforms have very robust reporting tools—but the general consensus with search marketers is that they only go so far. "Sure, the SEM tools sometimes do a great job solving for common problem [...]


Getting Started With Microsoft Advertising Intelligence

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (MAI) is one of the SEM tools most Advertisers don't even know they wish they had. MAI provides API access to keyword extraction and generation, and historical and forecast metrics, all wrapped in a softward add-in that integrates with Excel. It is in some ways better than AdWords' equivalent tools, and the Excel integration and wizard workflow are unlike anything AdWords makes available. The adCenter team invited me to help them announce their recent innovations at Search Engine Strategies New York last week. I was somewhat surprised to learn that [...]


Using Wordstream’s AdWords Performance Grader For An Instant Audit

No matter how good you are at something, you can always use a second opinion. For paid search, getting even a surface level audit of your AdWords account can be fairly expensive. A consultant would have to access your account, pull your reports, check your settings, and evaluate your Quality Scorse, match type usage, etc. Then, putting together their findings in a report (along with links to more information) could easily take hours. Luckily, search marketing software and services provider, WordStream, has a new tool that can not only find issues with your AdWords account, but is also fr [...]


Dictionaries, Grammar & Feeds: A Rules-Based Keyword Generation Approach For PPC

This article presents a rules-based approach for Keyword Generation using Dictionaries, Grammar, and Feeds. Essentially, Dictionaries define the various groups of words that are relevant to an account. Grammar defines how to combine them. Feeds define the data that may be changing regularly, like e-commerce inventory, store locations, etc. Readers may be able to generalize these terms to apply to existing rules-based tool if one is currently in use. First, a word about where this approach fits in to the broader picture. The Broader Landscape of Managing Keywords & Negatives There are [...]


Preview Live Search Engine Results Pages With The LiveSerp Toolbar

Every search practitioner, either paid and organic, has at some point received the same questioning phone call or email from their client or boss:  "I’m was searching on Google for our natural listing (or paid ad) and I don’t see it." Most of the time, this is due to the search engines personalizing their results for each user. We also know that things such as time of day, browser settings, previous searches, and even social network connections can influence the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to individual users—more so when logged in to the engine account but also when a user [...]


How To Use The AdWords Search Term View To Optimize Keywords & Negatives

Optimizing Keywords and Negatives is a task I recommend to my clients that they do regularly. In this How To, I will include some real-world experience along with the basics of how to use the AdWords Search Term View to optimize keywords and negatives. What Is Search Terms View? The AdWords Search Terms View shows us the performance metrics on the Search Terms that matched against our Keywords (more detail on the difference between Search Terms and Keywords is coming up later in this post). Advertisers can use this data to optimize the Keywords and Negatives in their account. Optimization [...]


AdGooroo Trademark Insight Tool Makes Infringement Monitoring A Breeze

Some of you may not have any issues with other advertisers infringing on your trademarked terms via search marketing… count yourselves lucky. For those of us who have been left by the search engines to self-police these problems, AdGooroo’s Trademark Insight tool can turn a laborious challenge into a fairly efficient task. AdGooroo is well known in the SEM industry for their SEM Insights and Natural Search Insights products that help marketers get a very accurate view of paid and organic listings on Search Engine Results Pages. In full disclosure, I’ve been using AdGooroo since 200 [...]


PPC Planning Matrix

PPC Planning Matrix One of the opportunities we have as Paid Search Marketing professionals is to help business people communicate their marketing ideas without burdening them with the details of Paid Search. A few months back, I came across a tool that helped tremendously. We adopted it in-house, and tested it with a few client engagements. It is a great success. The tool helps us generate the core concepts of a PPC Account in an easy-to-understand visual layout, without having to burden business users with all of the details. We call it the PPC Planning Matrix. I'm going to gloss over the absolute basics [...]


PPC Shop Tools: The Permutator

PPC Permutator We use a number of PPC shop tools in our everyday work as PPC campaign managers; today, I'd like to focus on the PPC Permutator. We use the PPC permutator to help us rapidly expand keyword lists from simple ideas. Let’s work with an example. Consider the following keyword ideas related to a hypothetical bicycle shop. Using the tool, we take three simple ideas and generate 48 keywords. Terrain: mountain, road, touring Bike Synonyms: bike, bicycle, cycle Product: tire, tires, tube, tubes We enter them in the tool, like this: Push-Button List Generation The tool built an ext [...]


The Career Path Of The Search Marketer

For those of you who read my columns regularly, you know that I’m fascinated with watching the paid search industry develop. Having been one of the lucky ones who fell into this marketing niche early on, I’ve seen it grow from a little seedling into a giant oak. In fact, one of the major draws for me to SEM was that it was a gold rush to new territory. Appealing to my Gen X trailblazer sensibility was the fact that there weren’t a bunch of stodgy gray-hairs telling us how it was supposed to be as many of my peers were discovering in their established career paths. No hard rules. No [...]


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