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.

How To & When To Use Google Ad Extensions: Phone & Local Extensions

Over the last year or so, Google has been steadily adding features to the AdWords interface that on the surface seem wonderful, unless managing and learning AdWords isn’t your full time job. It seems like just keeping up with what remains and what is gone and how to work the new stuff is a 40+ hour a week endeavor. I answer a lot of questions about Google Ad Extensions – when to use them, when not to use them, and how to use them effectively. I’m sure my clients are not the only ones searching for guidance, so I’m going to share what I’ve learned over the past few months in an eff [...]

Quality Score Tracking Tool: An Interview With TenScores Founder Chris Thunder

Long time readers of this column know that I am fascinated with the technology behind search engine marketing. In recent posts, I’ve highlighted tools that optimize the Google Display Network, help generate winning text ads, and even a platform for developing thousands of tiny ad groups for Quality Score optimization. With SEM representing almost half of the digital advertising industry revenues, this channel is more important than ever and new tools are popping up to help us get the most return on our investment. TenScores is a perfect example of one of these laser-focused tools. Foun [...]

Updating Google Image Results For Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is all about managing "image", sometimes quite literally. In one of my recent engagements, I worked with a model who was concerned about her Google Image Search results. Many of the top pictures of her were unflattering and outdated -- potentially costing her work. We crafted an online reputation management campaign that: Pushed up flattering new images. Suppressed negative images. Actually removed some of the worst offenders from Google's index. Fixed our client's Wikipedia page. Increased our client's site usability. Assessing The Situation [...]

Reputation Crisis: Where To Turn?

Here's a rough paraphrase of a classic business cliche: "In business, at the end of the day, your reputation is all you've got." Let's say that after years of working hard to build a solid reputation, one day, a result surfaces in Google for a search for "your name" and one of the top results is completely damaging to your reputation. In my last article, Reputation Conversations Start With Search Results, I mentioned that an online reputation crisis could result for any number of reasons, including: Past Indiscretions Negative Identity Confusion Sensitive Material The negative [...]

A Day In The Life Of A Paid Search Marketer

Not everyone who deals with search engine marketing is a full-time SEMer. There are vendors, publishers, small business owners who dabble in the art, brand managers who oversee agency teams, etc. So what do full timers do all day? There's plenty to do...such as: Managing delivery (pacing) Testing and Optimizing for performance Building keyword and creative lists Mentoring/training team members Attending internal and client meetings Reoccurring reporting deliverable Brainstorming new ideas Tracking time Billing Implementing tagging & tracking Staying on top of the [...]

SEO For A Good Cause: Supporting Advocacy & Non-Profit Campaigns

Not every SEO campaign starts and ends with a P&L statement. An increasing number of political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofits are using search engine marketing to achieve their goals. It's tempting to apply the same metrics to either kind of campaign: traffic is traffic, and conversions are conversions, after all. But issues-based campaigns often don't work the same way; they typically target conversions of a different kind—actually changing people's minds about issues. That's hard to quantify and hard to track; you can't exactly calculate it down to the penny the way y [...]

Reputation Conversations Start With Search Results

This is the first article in which I will coin the phrase "Reputation Conversations". Expect to hear me use this term further in this column, in future columns for Search Engine Land, and in other intellectual property that I generate. How's that as an opening statement? It's a great way for me to "practice what I preach", as I write an article about online reputation management (a term I did not coin). Online Reputation Management Is Already Thriving Simply Google "online reputation management", and look at how many people are advertising in the Sponsored Results. This tells you right a [...]

How To Grind Out Q&A Content For SEO Success

Every content-driven SEO strategy targets a tiny sliver of a giant Venn Diagram, with content that is either a) valuable enough that someone out there will search for it, and b) unique enough that it can rank. There's one company that has turned that from a guideline to a credo: Demand Media. Demand Media's financials may be raising eyebrows, but anyone who has competed with them knows that they have a handle on SEO. Demand Media's goal is right there in the company website's title tag: "Publishing what the world wants to know." They determine "what the world wants" by crunching pub [...]

Optimization Innovations On The Google Display Network: Q & A With ScienceOp’s Dr. Bryan Minor

I was wondering the other day -- how big of a player is the Google Display Network bought through Adwords with regards to the digital marketing industry? I say bought through AdWords because Google sells their GDN inventory in other ways including direct sales, their DoubleClick ad exchange platform, YouTube, etc. I’m just interested to know how big this channel is because most search engine marketers like myself only buy it via AdWords in the first place. Let’s do some math. I did some digging around eMarketer and found that search engine marketing comes in at around 47% of the ad r [...]

The Google AdWords Ad Marketplace Is Not Rational, But You Should Be

I recently had a conversation with a client where we were looking at an ad campaign in Google AdWords that was, for lack of a better word, struggling. Covering The PPC Basics We'd done all of the basic blocking and tackling: Focusing on phrases that had a higher probability of buying intent (somewhere in between Broad Match and "the tail") It's worth noting that over the years, Google has gone from encouraging advertisers to pursue long-tail keywords in favor of encouraging advertisers to focus on broader terms Adding negative keywords Writing ads to attract buyers-not-browse [...]

New Wave Of Paid Search Tools Coming: Q&A With BoostCTR’s David Greenbaum

Astoundingly, eMarketer projects U.S. online search spending to reach over twelve billion dollars this year which is almost half of all advertising dollars spent online (most of that is in paid search). So forget the advancements made in mobile, social, email, and display! In 2011 and beyond, search marketers will surely be able to continue with their steady diet of high-return, bottom of the funnel keywords and ads that generate many more times that twelve billion dollars investment and deliver advertisers incredible ROI. And success breeds opportunity. As SEM starts its second decade, [...]

AdWords Trademark Policy Q&A With Terri Chen, Chief Trademark Counsel

As great as it must be to be Google, there are probably a zillion issues that probably bog them down just like any other big company. Take for example the logistics behind the legalities they deal with regarding trademark issues on their AdWords platform. Every brand has their own ideas on how their trademarked terms should or shouldn’t be used within search engine marketing. With so much potential dollars at play, it’s important for brands to be diligent and protect themselves from misuse by competitors and counterfeiters. Most SEMers can quote the AdWords quality score formula or bid [...]

International SEM Goes Beyond Simple Translation: Q&A With Latin3′s Matias Perel

Because only a fraction of the world’s population resides here in the United States, the idea of global reach is a tempting one. There are some obvious business issues for anyone attempting to market to international consumers, and those challenges certainly extend to the realm of search engine marketing. Regardless of the complications of doing business abroad, the immediately obvious barrier to SEM is language. Translation is one thing, but the actual meaning of the words and phrases are sometimes more important. When I talk to experts in search translation (such as Matias in the Q& [...]

Remarketing For Everyone With Google AdWords

It seems every few months a new feature of Google AdWords rolls out destined to make it easier for the do-it-yourselfer to compete with the big-wigs in Google Sponsored Results. Earlier this year, Google made it easier for small-to-medium size business owners to compete with larger international competitors within the display advertising arena. What changed? The availability of Remarketing to advertisers small and large. Actually, Remarketing and Retargeting have been around for quite a long time – but until now, it required running a separate campaign on yet another website, and usually [...]

11 Inventory Sources For Keyword Marketers

It’s been a decade of paid search, and once broadband usage hit critical mass, search volume has pretty much climbed at a steady, predictable rate. Last month’s U.S. searches (on search engines) totaled almost sixteen billion and we have a good idea of when it will hit seventeen. Sure, individual keyword volume will always be in flux, but I would suspect that most search marketers out there have a pretty good understanding of how many search impressions are available for them each month. For as great as paid search is as an ROI marketing channel, most large advertisers will always have the [...]

Using PPC Ads To Fine Tune Your Organic Ad Copy

I’m a huge fan of treating Page Titles and Meta Descriptions as ad copy. Using language that speaks to a person’s motivation for shopping and buying will encourage the click through when your listing appears organically, as well as in a paid position. The problem Having a "testing" environment for organic ad copy has, until recently, been a bit tricky. It can take some time for updated Page Titles and Meta Descriptions to show up on Google, especially with small sites that aren’t crawled and updated on a regular basis. Getting around this time delay meant writing your Page Titles a [...]

Thanks, Coach! What John Wooden Taught Me About SEM

As I was searching for a topic for this article, the news has come in that legendary UCLA coach John Wooden has passed away. Not only was he a coaching legend, he was an extraordinary mentor and a damn fine human being. From what I'm seeing on Twitter, I probably won't be the only Search Marketer who found inspiration in Coach Wooden's words. It seems many of us have drawn inspiration from his words and his actions. I decided to share a few of my favorite Wooden quotes, and draw some parallels to what we do every day, and what we should be doing every day to be the best we can be for oursel [...]

SpeedPPC Attacks Quality Score Head On

Anyone who has read my posts in this column knows how much I like shiny, new objects.  This doesn’t just apply to the search marketing space—I love kitchen gadgets, desktop apps, Firefox extensions, etc. Basically, if someone comes along and solves a problem with a tool, and I have the same problem, then I’m willing to give it a shot. However, it also means I’m doing a handful of demos a week, and having even more conversations! Sometimes I find an interesting tool that I like to share. In SpeedPPC’s case, I want to be upfront and say that I’ve never tried their tool before, bu [...]

Secret Sauce: Leverage Outside Listings To Help Local Rankings

Google Maps (or Local, or Places, or whatever it is calling itself this month) is the bane of my existence. Well, maybe 3rd place behind Bing and Yahoo PPC platforms…but you catch my meaning. Inevitably, I can expect at least one phone call or email a week from a client asking why they're not showing up better on "the map thing" aka - the 7-box, 3-box, or 10-box in Google search results. All of my clients are lodging related in the travel sector - so they think that reviews alone pulled from Tripadvisor, FlipKey or other resources are enough to get them great rankings. Alas, this is not a [...]

How To Save 5% To 40% On PPC Using Negative Terms

We are just so busy, busy, busy as search engine marketers on behalf of our advertisers!  There are the mission critical tasks such as managing budgets, getting tracking implemented, hitting CPA goals, and uploading new keywords/ads to the account. Then there are the things we definitely need to get to every week such as pacing, performance reports, testing, managing bids, etc. And then there's everything else. All of the other hundreds (if not thousands) of things we could be doing to help our accounts accomplish their goals like match type testing, landing page optimizing, keyword expans [...]

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