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.

The Technology Behind Autobidding: Q&A With OptiMine’s Dr. Rob Cooley

Autobidders. Every SEM management tool has one. The promise is powerful: simply input the performance you’re trying to achieve and sit back, have a sody-pop, and smile as the little robots make your job easy. Ha! If it was only that easy! Most of you reading this post have used one in the past. Have they worked well for you? Listen to any paid search veteran and you’ll hear stories of autobidders gone wild and delivering varying results. I know that in the past, I’ve recommended in this column to just use auto optimization technology on your tail terms and manually optimize the [...]

Social Media Analytics: 4 Tools You May Have Been Missing

If you're not using these tools to measure social media, you're getting it wrong.  These  tools enable you to measure social media properly, in a way that will lead to building stronger relationships, getting more traffic and converting more. What Social Media Analytics Includes ... And Excludes The purpose of social media is to interact with people, thus building relationships. From a business perspective, there are many reasons to do that, chiefly that people buy from people they know and like and because it opens opportunities - hence social "networking" - you're getting the same benefi [...]

Why Display Is Changing The Value Of Search

A few weeks ago, I was talking shop with Josh Shatkin-Margolis, CEO and founder of search retargeting firm Magnetic, when he stated, "Display is changing the value of search." I balked. But I took the bait. "What’s that even mean, dude?" I said. Josh went on to explain that all signs point to the fact that display is going to become the dominant advertising channel online and that search retargeting will become the dominant tactic for display advertising. Thus, display is changing the value of search as search will become even more valuable for targeting than it has been for the las [...]

Is Your Blog An Asset Or A Liability?

I analyze websites every day, as well as a lot of Facebook pages, and a ton of blogs attached to websites and Facebook pages. I realized something this week. There are a lot of junktastical blogs out there, and I now wonder why people have even added this feature to their site. Here's the don't have to blog to have a successful online business. It might be a good idea, but if you hate it, and it becomes a chore, it's not worth the time, and you could probably find something more profitable to do 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Blogs You're getting organic search traffic th [...]

How To Master Paid Search Bidding

hands-bidding-featured One of the biggest concerns in paid search is how much to bid for each of your keywords. It's certainly a major part of a successful SEM campaign if you can crack this puzzle, you're probably going to do pretty well in this business. It's easier said than done, right? It's almost like trying to beat the stock market - only someone with a crystal ball could really nail it on the head every time.  However, with some historical information and a few calculations you can get fairly close to figuring out the right bid to use for each keyword. Today, let's check out how Google Chief Economist [...]

Uncovering The Best Mobile SEO Resources On The Web

About two weeks ago, I started a new chapter in my professional life as the VP and "Conductor" of Marketing at BlueTrain Mobile, an award-winning technology start up company in Cambridge, MA. This is an exciting career move for me in so many ways, and will push me to ramp up on my "mobile SEO" knowledge very quickly. Of course, overseeing our own SEO program will be a small part of what I do, and I will need to quickly adapt my decade+ of search industry experience to help our customers understand why, and how, the mobile Web is so intricately tied to search and discovery. That's for [...]

My Top 10 Insights From 10 Years In Search

I recently reached my nine year anniversary in the search industry, which means I’m now on my tenth year in SEM. I started buying keywords on Overture with a company I wasn’t even doing marketing for, which got me into some early e-commerce activity, and then to the agency world. It definitely feels like a marriage…there have been some good times, some bad times. Some amazing times, and some really down in the dumps times. I’m nowhere near the person I was when I started and neither is the search biz. We’ve both grown tremendously in the last decade and I don’t think eithe [...]

The 20-Point SEO Account Takeover Checklist

What should you do if you are stepping into a role as the new "SEO Manager" of a website? This is a question you could ask yourself either as an in-house employee at a company, an agency taking over an account from another agency, or moving into the role from one account to another within your agency. Truth be told, I imagine that if you are at an agency, and simply taking over an account from someone else, much of the account transition will go smoothly, so you may not need to do as complete a discovery as I am suggesting below. Think of this checklist as a way to get up to speed as [...]

Definitive Answers On Quality Score: Q&A With ClickEquations’ Craig Danuloff

At one time, quality score (QS) was the new kid on the block—the game changer of paid search marketing. Before Quality Score, the golden rule was in effect: he with the most gold, rules. Those of us with massive budgets during that time were able to achieve top positions with a simple bid increase. In 2005, Google released QS for a variety of stated and unstated reasons. The most obvious one is that it makes them more money. In essence, QS is really Google's attempt at click optimization  to ensure the ads with the highest chance of being clicked make it to the top of the page. It makes [...]

Likes Are Not Loves – How To Waste Time “Marketing” In Facebook

facebook-welcome-featured I heard the other day that if someone "Likes" your Facebook business page, they’re over 90% likely to never look at it again. Wow.  90% is a lot! We could assume that’s exaggerated by ½, but 45% is still a lot. When a website’s conversion rate is a fraction of its actual traffic – a significant loss of engagement is rough, let’s hope you didn’t pay a ton of money to get all of those Likes. This statistic, combined with the disturbing trends in today’s Facebook business strategies worries me – it really worries me. I’m disturbed by the complete lack of understanding wi [...]

Are You Ready? Why Today’s SERP Will Be Unrecognizable In 5 Years

google-serps-broken-featured I hate to admit it, but honestly, I've been pretty down on search lately. After almost a decade as a search engine marketing guy, I've seen this industry grow, mature, and now, plateau. Do I still think it's a great marketing channel? Of course! It might be the second best form of advertising in the history of marketing behind word of mouth in terms of effectiveness. Its highly trackable ROI and bottom-of-the-funnel net ability to close all other types of advertising is unchallenged. There are strong reasons why SEM is now 51% of all online ad revenue in this country. But a lot of the mi [...]

Image Is Everything: How To Get Your Non-Product Images To Show In Search Results

Here's the first question: what is the business value of having one of your images come up at the top of Google's search results? I don't mean Google Image Search, I mean the first organic results (aka SERPs) seen on for a particular keyword? If you have an e-commerce site, the value is pretty obvious. And, there are multiple ways to get your product image to appear in the top results - primarily through feeds into Google Shopping or via paying for product images in Google AdWords (using ad extensions). Non e-Commerce Images? But what if you don't sell a traditional product and [...]

How To Use Automated Rules In Google AdWords

When I first started down this 6-lane highway called Online Marketing over six years ago, we used an absolutely archaic bid management software whose name escapes me. I want to say it was a Yahoo! (or precursor to Yahoo!) product, and basically it automated our bids so they would go up and down based on search volume. It worked about 10% of the time and was always down or broken….we quit using it pretty quickly. Fast forward to today – and remember the leaps and bounds PPC advertising has taken in just the last 12 months - take a look at Google  AdWord’s "Automated Rules" and prepare [...]

My Single Best Paid Search Tip: Optimize At Every Step

On occasion, I get asked what my single best tip is for successful paid search marketing. Usually, I try to better understand the context of the query to provide the most relevant answer. For example, is the person asking me looking for a general approach tip? If so, I may tell them to always be testing or to keep a very granular focus. Sometimes it's more execution focused, such as a single thing they can do to improve results. If that's the case, I may talk about quality score, match types, or even query mining. But certainly, the best advice I can give in almost any situation is what [...]

3 White Hat Ideas To Optimize Google Suggest Results

One of the funniest moments at SMX West last month was the exchange between Avi Wilenksi (owner of Promediacorp, an SEO company) and Othar Hansson (Google Engineer). Avi had just discussed a case study of how he was able to alter Google Suggest results by "crowdsourcing" people to manually input queries—i.e. by somehow convincing them to type in queries. Avi's case study hinged on white-hat online reputation management: his client had a few negative search results, and Google Suggest somehow picked them up. Once "[Client] + scam" or "[Client] + complaints" became an option, it was by far [...]

Acquisition Marketers And The SEO ROI Dilemma

After over 12 years practicing the art of SEO, and selling SEO services to clients, I thought the industry had reached a stage of "acceptance". But there is still a very smart group of people out there that are doubters - The Acquisition Marketers. SEO Personality Types Company executives and owners have varying degrees of sophistication when it comes to understanding why SEO is important, or why it should be an important part of the marketing mix. I would break down the most common personality types as follows: Me Too - My competitors are doing it, I will too. The Rank Hound - I wa [...]

How To & When To Use Product And Sitelink Ad Extensions

A few weeks ago, we went over the pros and cons of using Phone Extensions and Location Extensions in your AdWords campaigns. This week, I’d like to finish up our AdWords Extension feature by running through the best practices for using Site Extensions and Product Extensions. Using Product Extensions In Adwords Being in the travel niche, product extensions are not available to us because vacation rentals or hotel rooms are not allowed in Google Products. I’ve done a few tests with various other non-travel products and think they work very well for a business that sells and ships merchandi [...]

Billions Of Years Of Free SEM Insight Through Biomimicry

I've attended a lot of conferences in my day. I find them to be a great source for inspiration for new ways of thinking and new ways to tap into the industry community to grow my own knowledge. I had no idea, however, when I walked into the South-by-Southwest session, "It's Nature's Way: Innovative Tech Design Through Biomimicry", that I would be attending one of the most inspiration conference programs I've seen in recent memory. Led by Chris Allen, CEO of The Biomimcry Group, the presentation focused on the science of biomimicry, which is is the examination of nature, its models, syst [...]

The New Age Of Article Marketing

I'll admit it: my SEO strategies leaned a little too heavily on article marketing in the past. It was tempting, it was easy, and it was pure SEO. The old trick was pretty simple: there were dozens of "article directories" online, which would pay somewhere between "A pittance" and "$0" for 300 words or so of content, which could include a link. They took care of the hard part:  building a trusted site that could rank for the long-tail terms that showed up in the articles, and would pass link-juice along with traffic. Google's "Farmer" update didn't end that process, but it definitely cha [...]

10 Quick & Dirty SEO Success Metrics

When your job is to drive organic search engine traffic to a website (SEO Director/Manager/Ninja), you will inevitably need to prove your worth. There's nothing like cold-hard-facts to paint a picture of success (or expose "The Man Behind The Curtain"). In an ideal world, all digital marketing efforts are managed under one bucket, and the collective measurements highlight the success of the team, or highlight the success of the complete bundle of digital efforts. But, in the end, ROI needs to be justified in order to keep the flow of budget and resources moving to each individual marketing [...]

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