Goldilocks SEO

Sharing is caring!

Please share :)

Embed code is here.

SEO strategies



search engine marketing sem experts search engine optimization internet marketing online marketing

Giving you more insight into your Google Account activity


social networking social media marketing website development web hosting seo experts

UMass Social Media Update ? Blogging Dead?

The Deep Ripples team has been in the trenches as the marketing world has transcended online.  For our clients, it is critical for us to stay up to speed on new tools, new platforms and new mediums. There were times when certain mediums (not naming names ? cough ? cough ? Digg) were a high priority, but as time goes on, competition increases and algorithms change ? consumer behaviors evolve and marketing strategies have no choice but to adapt. Our advice ? do not abandon mediums, instead ? find the perfect mix.

We are in a marketing age where you must combine traditional marketing with the ever-changing digital and social media environments to help your clients gain attention, stimulate engagement and maintain relationships. There are always new studies to interpret and experts declaring the ?one? way that will attract the most customers.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has recently released its 2011 Social Media Update that reports consumers are using corporate blogs less and social media networking sites more to interact with their favorite brands.  UMass has been tracking the use of social media among Inc. 500 privately-held companies for the past five years.

While this is a pretty graphic showing interesting statistics ? I wouldn?t suggest marketing directors propose the cancellation of the corporate blog any time soon. It is a bit of a stretch to assume that these numbers reflect best practices for what ?profitable? and ?successful? companies do.  I think there are many contributing factors that affect why corporate blogging has plateaued.

Corporate Blogging Requires Planning

I won?t go as far to say that corporations have tried to take the easy way out. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say, they didn?t know what they didn?t know.  Many corporations launch a blog without a plan.

Contributing Factors to the Corporate Blogging Decline

**Disclaimer - True for somecorporations ? not all**


The corporations that participated may not have researched their audience with blogging in mind ? Who are they? Where do they spend their time online? How often are they on social sites? Do they subscribe to blogs?

Project Manager

They may not have had a dedicated person to manage the blog. They may have put a junior level account executive or an intern in the role as blog project manager.


They did not utilize their greatest asset ? their employees. They did not get to know who they are - who enjoys writing? Who keeps a journal? Who is so passionate about their career they are one of your greatest brand ambassadors when they are not at work?

Editorial Calendar

These corporations may not have implemented an editorial calendar/schedule. So, the junior account executive doesn?t have an approved plan to hold contributors accountable for missing deadlines. Nor can a corporation train readers when to expect to receive communication.

SEO & PR Opportunities

They did not understand the SEO opportunities that a blog can provide; the concept of Inbound Marketing and how it is essential to their online marketing success. The blog is an extension of your online (and offline) brand reputation. These corporations may have thought that all they had to do is buy articles and ?have? a blog. Instead ? they should be sincere and use every post as a way to position each author as a thought leader in his or her area of expertise.

Blogging Requires Commitment

Social media is not replacing corporate blogging. Blogging is not dead. You can post a catch phrase on Facebook and Twitter and conjure up a lot of attention. But, then what happens? It should be seen as a hook ? get someone?s attention and then provide them with the meat and potatoes of ?who you are?, ?what you do?, ?how you do it? and most importantly ? ?why you do what you do.?

In honor of Valentine's Day - let me explain the online courtships between a company and its customers in a way we can all undertand.

To put blogging in traditional marketing terms ? it?s NOT similar to a billboard campaign creation. A blog does not just get created and launched only to sit in the same place, with the same message, for six months without being updated. Blogging is more like a guerrilla marketing campaign where your team hits the streets to speak with everyone they can find. You approach each person with your catchy phrase, get their attention and then have a real conversation.

Moving forward ? remember that there just isn?t one medium or tactic where you can spend all your time and receive instant or even long-term results.  Diversify your marketing efforts among the new and old ways of marketing and communications. Blogging takes time and resources to pull off successfully. Before you launch ? have a plan. Before you launch ? make a commitment.

What do you think? What other contributing factors may have added to why more corporations haven?t continued blogging?


*Photo credit (photo used in graphic): bizior photography*


website optimization improve google rankings search engine search marketing web 2.0 experts

PPC Bid Management Guide: The Best Bidding Tips from 18 PPC Experts

PPC bid management is one of the more complicated areas of PPC marketing, so many advertisers choose to automate using either the automated bidding option in Google AdWords or a third-party bid management solution. Both approaches have their upsides and downsides ? Google?s automated bidding feature is free, but requires you to give up complete control, and it?s less than transparent. Third-party bid management software is generally more robust, but (obviously) it comes with a price tag, so it may not be feasible for smaller, budget-strapped advertisers.

I was curious how most AdWords advertisers handle the PPC bid management process, so I asked 18 practicing PPC experts three questions:

  1. Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?
  1. If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?
  1. What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Here?s the all-star lineup:

Read on to learn their answers and get some awesome PPC bid management tips from the pros!

PPC Bid Management Tools

Aaron Levy

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not? If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?  

No-ish. SEER uses a third-party tool for reporting and bid management. The tool can set up specific bid rules (either on a keyword or ad group level) and our software sends us alerts whenever a specific keyword or grouping meets the criteria. 

I prefer this to the AdWords automated bidding, largely because I have to go in and actively approve (or reject) each bid change. With AdWords automated bidding the changes are ... well, automated! While you can go in and revert after the fact, I like to check before things are posted to make sure the changes are in line with goals. 

The main rules I run are checking to make sure top-performing groups are getting the traffic they deserve, and to make sure that we're not paying too much for competitive terms. A few examples:

  • Rough keywords/groups: If CPA is 2x goal and position is less than 3, reduce bids.
  • Strong keywords/groups: If conversion rate is 2x average and position is less than 3, increase bids.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?bid management quote

Don't bid more than you can afford! More often than not, the top position isn't the most profitable. 

Aaron Levy is a PPC associate at SEER Interactive, a Philadelphia-based search agency. He's been involved in digital marketing for the better part of 5 years, and has managed clients as large as Fortune 50 companies and as small as regional plumbers. Follow Aaron Levy.

Bethany Bey

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I do use automated bidding in my accounts. For accounts that with a large amount of conversions, CPA bidding has worked great. I tend to use target instead of max CPA bidding because my accounts all have goal CPAs that we need to meet. I have also had success using optimize for clicks with smaller budget accounts. This type of bidding brought us more clicks within our budget which increased conversions since we had more traffic coming to the site.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Even though I use automated bidding, I still increase/decrease the target or max amounts just to test the effect. For example, how many conversions I will lose if I decrease target CPA by $1? I usually let these tests run for about 2 weeks. 

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Experiment! Test all different types of automated bidding options. Just because you are focused on conversions, doesn't mean optimize for clicks won't drive sales!

Bethany Bey is a PPC account executive at Hanapin Marketing and blog manager of PPC Hero.

Brad Geddes

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

That really depends on the client. We have used third-party bid management, AdWords CPA bidding, Excel spreadsheets, and helped others build their own system. Some of the big questions we look at are:

  • Scale. How many keywords, placements, audiences, etc. need to be adjusted.
  • Conversion volume: How many conversions happen on a daily/monthly basis.
  • Average sale amount & margins: Is the amount/margin static, within a small range, or all over the place? 
  • Sale/lead flow: One-off sales, sales forces, phone calls, affiliate, downloads, etc. How does a sale actually happen and what steps are taken along the way?
  • Technical integration: How many systems need to talk to each other to get the data correct?
  • Technical savvy: Can the client create and maintain their own system?
  • Long-term goals: What should the account look like in 1-3 years?

With all of this information, then you can examine the cost benefits of where and how the accounts are managed and what technology is required.

I don't think there's a one-solution-fits-all approach. A site making $15/lead with 100 leads a month doesn't need to pay for a huge bid management system. A site doing thousands (or tens of thousands) of sales where the prices and margins are variable needs a robust system. A site that is bidding on multiples of email captures, page views, click-outs, sales, installs, downloads, etc. probably needs their own custom system.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

That depends on volume, volatility, CPC ranges, and workflow. The higher any one of those items are, the more often bids need to be examined. A site spending $100/month does not need daily bidding. An account spending $4mm/month needs to change bids multiple times per week. Some companies watch how busy their sales force is and adjust bids or campaign budgets in real time based upon call volume, phone wait times, and their current capacity, which is a workflow bidding environment. 

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Understand the true value of a customer and work to increase the customer's value post sale. If you can raise the customer value and have a true picture of customer worth, then you can make much better bid decisions. I can't count the times I?ve seen a company say ?My competitors must be losing money ? there's no way they can afford to pay that much?; and sometimes I'll know the other side (of course, I can't say that) and that they aren't losing money. In reality, they have great lead nurturing, upsell, and customer retention programs that make their customer worth more.  

Brad Geddes is the founder of Certified Knowledge, a PPC training and toolset platform. He is the author of Advanced Google AdWords, and an official Google AdWords Seminar Leader. You can follow @bgTheory on Twitter to stay up to date with industry news.

Chris Kosteki

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords?

Our agency uses a proprietary system that includes bid management software.

Why or why not?

Too many keywords! We have millions of impressions a week across tens of thousands of keywords. Monitoring, analyzing, and acting on all this data at the keyword level is not practical. Instead, we assess performance by predefined segments that let us know where we need to get more aggressive or passive. This allows us to measure not only the ad placement/delivery, but also the subsequent performance downstream (conversions, revenue, leads, etc.). An added benefit is we can gain insight into the bidding history and either spot cycles or trends which provides an important perspective for future decisions.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Always take into account the position you are getting when you review bids. It?s not a race to the top, and usually the best performance comes from finding the sweet spot between cost and high-quality traffic volume.

Chris Kostecki has been working in search since 2006, and in marketing since 1997. He created a PPC product for small businesses to supplement a Yellow Page directory product, and worked as a PPC manager in an agency serving e-commerce clients before his current role as in-house Search Analyst at  Keurig Inc., the manufacturer of the revolutionary single cup coffee maker, part of the Green Mountain Coffee family. Follow Chris on Twitter to keep up with the latest trends in Search Marketing, especially every Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. EST during #PPCChat. All views he expresses are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of any entities he is associated with. 

Crystal Anderson

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I do not use AdWords automated bidding. At SEER we use Acquisio for our PPC management platform, which has an extremely robust bid management platform. Their platform allows me to customize complex bid rules for my clients, and run them on a specified schedule in a ?suggestion mode.? This allows me to use the tool for ?blocking and tackling? versus relying on it to make the bid changes for me. I prefer to use suggestion mode as it allows me to review the bid changes to ensure that there are not any other outside factors going on that may warrant me to deviate from my initially set bid rules. Automation of bids can certainly have strengths, but is something I prefer not to use in most situations, as it has its weaknesses too. If you do use automated bidding, I think it?s always vital to remember that it?s just a tool and the results will only be as good as the rules you set. Evaluate them often to ensure they are still in line with your overall goals.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Know your ceiling and floor bids. In various accounts I?ve audited, it?s clear there is no understanding of what the bid strategy should be. There are keywords with bids so low they aren?t showing, and keywords with bids so high that goals are blown by. Tip: Use ACE to test bids and positions if you aren?t sure what those thresholds are for you. ACE can be extremely powerful to hone in on what the optimal bids for your terms are to drive conversions at a profitable rate.

Crystal Anderson spearheads the PPC division at SEER Interactive, a Philadelphia-based Search Agency.  She began her PPC career in early 2006 and has managed PPC accounts across multiple platforms, internationally and with monthly budgets from four to six figures. You can follow her on Twitter at @CrystalA.

Elizabeth Marsten

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I use a combination of automated rules bidding and manual bidding. I rarely use tools like Enhanced CPC or CPA. Why: I find that unless the campaign has significant and consistent conversion data, the automated options are more expensive than manual CPC bidding or using an automated rule to control costs.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Depends on the amount of data/spend, but weekly is at minimum when bids see evaluation and adjustment.  

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

For new campaigns, I take the suggested max CPC by the traffic/keyword estimation tools and add another 25-50% to the max CPC for the ad groups. It's better to start high and come down than to try and keep climbing up. Build that Quality Score right out of the gate.

Elizabeth Marsten is the Director of Search Marketing at Portent, Inc., an internet marketing company in Seattle, WA. She oversees the day-to-day workflow of PPC, SEO, Links, Copy and Social at Portent while also managing some PPC clients of her own.

Greg Meyers

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

No, I do not use Google?s automated bid management. The reason is because I feel that bid management can be more effective when it is done manually. There are too many variables (offline and online) that occur during the life of keyword or keyword group (aka ad group) that could actually be more counter-productive. However, I do feel there is value in automated bid management based making predictions from past performance trends (such as weekends and time of day).

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

My best practice for performing bid management is identifying overall trends. These trends consist of Day of the Week, Time of Day, Avg. Position and continually reviewing search query data. If raising or lowering the bid is consistent with the Cost Per Acquisition threshold, then bid management is performed.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

Do not base bid management rules on Google?s Quality Score Rating. It?s not an accurate representation of a success metric. I have seen countless examples of specific head and long-tail terms that had the highest percentage of conversions with the lowest Quality Score rating, even though the text ads, landing page and keyword groupings were highly relevant.

Greg Meyers is an Internet Marketing Expert who has helped companies both large and small achieve success in Search Engine Marketing through proven strategies and effective implementation. Most recently, he founded AfterClicks Interactive, a pay-per-click marketing firm that provides advertisers, as well as digital agencies, with professional PPC marketing services geared to maximizing their return on investment. AfterClicks leverages all search marketing platforms, technologies and industry best practices backed by proven strategies that are based on the client?s goals and objectives. Greg specializes in Pay-Per-Click Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Landing Page Optimization, and Web Analytics.

Jeff Daniel

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I do not. I use a third-party bid management tool (Marin Software) for our SEM efforts for a couple reasons:

  1. Workflow Efficiency.  I, like most search marketers, run campaigns on more platforms than just AdWords.  So I use a third party bid management tool to manage all of my campaigns.   Sure, I could use the AdWords tool, but then I would be using one tool for that and another tool for the rest and that just doesn?t make sense for us to do. 
  2. Objectivity.  Letting Google optimize for me seems little like ?letting the fox in the hen house.?  I?m sure their tool does a great job but I wouldn?t feel comfortable about turning over this much spend control to them.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Bid strategy is completely dependent on the account goals.  For example, if I?m optimizing for conversions and have a CPA goal of $15, bid management tools might automatically slash bids on keywords that are delivering CPAs over $15.  Of course, that?s what they?re supposed to do, but what if there are still keywords delivering at $15.50 and I could be missing out on real sales?  Automated rules don?t usually account for that.  I like to manually monitor situations like this to understand where to raise and lower bids instead of ?setting it and forgetting it? with a tool. I also typically look at a basic 20/80 percent rule (although not fixed to those specific numbers) ? manually monitor and optimize the top 20% performing keywords delivering on my goal and providing the most volume and let the bid management tool optimize the other 80%, assuming I?m 100% comfortable with the tool itself.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

If you?re going to use any PPC bid management tool, learn everything you can about it.  How does it really work? What are its limitations? What are its advantages?  Understand the ins and outs to make sure the tool can and will do what you think it will do to ensure that you won?t end up actually hurting performance. By knowing this information, you can make sure the tool is making the right decisions when you?re not looking. 

Jeff Daniel is an account supervisor at Fuor Digital. He oversees digital media strategy, planning and execution across a variety of vehicles and tactics.

Joe Kerschbaum

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

Yes! We use a couple different automated bidding options provided by Google. We use a third-party tool as well (Acquisio). Depending on the needs of the campaign, we use Cost-per-Acquisition bidding (CPA) or we use AdWords automated bid rules.

As a rule of thumb, we utilize CPA bidding (Conversion Optimizer) to maintain mature, stable campaigns. For those types of campaigns we can focus our optimization efforts on ad testing, negative keywords, ad group break down, etc. We use the automated bid rules when we want to maintain control, and get more specific with our bid adjustments. In general, we use AdWords automated bid rules to improve a campaign that may have fluctuating performance.

We also use automated bid rules to launch new campaigns as we establish ad position, click-through rates and Quality Scores.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

We utilize as much automation as possible. This way we can focus our optimization brainpower elsewhere within our campaigns. However, there are campaigns that aren?t eligible for automation, such as those with low conversion volume (high value but few conversions). When this is the case, we monitor bids, ad rank, CTR and other metrics at least once per week and make changes as needed.

What's your best PPC bid management tip?

I have two bonus tips.

Monitor your automation closely: You can?t set and forget your bid rules. Monitor the trends closely to make sure the rules that you?ve implemented are actually helping your campaign. You may find that your settings are too aggressive or not aggressive enough.

Adjust automation strategy as needed: Throughout the life of a campaign, there will be varying strategies and goals. At some point you may need to focus on increasing volume (impressions, clicks). At other points you may need to focus on improving ROI (lowering CPA, increasing conversion rate). As these needs shift over time your automation should evolve as well. Remember, bid rules can be paused or adjusted to suit your current needs. Of course, don?t adjust your bids too frequently. But don?t be afraid to adjust in order to focus on your current KPIs.

Joseph Kerschbaum is Vice President of Clix Marketing. Joseph?s writing on the SEM industry appears widely in Website Magazine, Search Engine Watch, and other industry blogs and journals. Joseph is also coauthor of the Wiley/Sybex book PPC Advertising: An Hour a Day.

John Lee

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not? 

The short answer is yes. Depending on the account in question, I use Conversion Optimizer (CPA bidding) or Automated rules ? both of which are AdWords features. I also use Acquisio which provides me with a wide variety of rules for my AdWords campaigns. Bid automation should be considered another tool for PPC advertisers to use. I believe that bid automation can help to streamline your processes and free up time to take care of other important tasks like ad writing and conversion optimization. Another reason why I use automated bidding is that it can help me to reach my KPI targets much more efficiently.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Even though I do use bid automation, I can still answer this question. The truth is, I don't use bid automation in every account or even every campaign. In some instances I've even had clients that were fundamentally opposed to bid automation. So there is still plenty of manual bid optimization in my processes. So, when do you adjust bids? Let the data guide you ? just like a bid algorithm! Determine a schedule that is reflective of the performance flow of your account (how many clicks, conversions are generated each day?). Whether it is daily, or weekly, the process is the same. Pull reports and adjust bids according to your KPI targets. The key here is having a schedule, and sticking to that schedule.

Bonus: What's your best bid management tip? 

My best bid management tip is simple: be sure that you are basing your changes on data! Many advertisers adjust bids based on a whim or ill conceived notions of how the PPC game is played. Meaningful bid changes are based on the actual performance of your keywords and ad groups. Determining an appropriate "look back period" (how far back you pull data) will allow you to make intelligent decisions on whether to raise or lower your bids or give you the confidence to turn on an automated bid rule.

John Lee is the Client Services Director for Clix Marketing, an SEM agency specializing in PPC. John is an internet marketing jack-of-all-trades with experience in PPC, SEO, and social media marketing. Working in the search marketing industry since 2006, John has perfected his paid search, social media advertising and analytics skills for his role at Clix Marketing. John is also an avid blogger, and has been featured on the Clix Marketing blog, Search Engine Watch, WordStream Blog, PPC Hero, SEO Boy and Website Magazine. 

Justin Vanning

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I mainly use the Enhanced CPC bidding in AdWords since most of my campaigns are focused on driving conversions. 

Bonus: What's your best bid management tip?

My best bid management tip is if you have enough conversion data, use the Enhanced CPC bidding option. It almost feels like it's cheating a bit to be able to use Google's user behavior to increase bids based on when they believe a user is more likely to convert but I've seen it make a big impact in campaigns that have high traffic and conversion volume. 

Justin Vanning is Paid Media Strategist at SEOmoz. Follow him on Twitter at @justinvanning.

Larry Kim

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

No. I don?t use automated bidding because that?s more of a Google Profit optimizer.  

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Bid management is complicated. We recently built a bid management software application, and the specifications were around a hundred pages of rules and overrides and calculations that would be way too long to describe in this blog post. (If you want to see how it works, sign up for a free trial of WordStream PPC Advisor and check out the bid recommendations for your own AdWords account. Don?t worry ? they?re just recommendations, and you can review before accepting or rejecting the suggestions.)

What's your best bid management tip?

The hot trend in bid management seems to be ?write your own automated bid rules.? My tip is to run away from that as fast as you can. I know it sounds like a cool idea at first ? if you?re doing manual bid management, there are a bunch of manual tasks that you would want to automate. But I guarantee that you?ll end up inadvertently blowing up your account performance. The reason is, as I said before, bid management is complicated. It?s very hard to simulate the interaction of dozens of different bid rules running on a live system. It?s hard to fully understand all of the different factors at play. There will most certainly be unintended side effects. So, unless you?re a math PhD and have a big software engineering and QA testing team on your side, use a third-party bid management software tool!

Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007 and currently serves as CTO, contributing to both the product and marketing teams. Larry is the author of four award-winning books on software development and has contributed to publications including Wired, iMedia Connection, Marketing Profs and many other industry sites and magazines.

Marko Kvesic

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I prefer manual bidding because I?m just not comfortable yet giving all the control over to Google, and I love the fact that it gives me the most control over my account.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

I always raise bids on keywords that are most relevant to what I advertise and are performing best ? keywords that bring me results. I lower bids on keywords with low performance.

What's your best bid management tip?

Choose the bidding strategy that fits your advertising goals. Always test and experiment with different bidding options and see what works best. I recommend estimated first-page bid and top page bid metrics, because they give a great insight in how much you should bid. Try the Keyword Traffic Estimator tool to get an idea of the potential click traffic, average CPC, and cost per day for your keywords. Also the good tool I recommend  is Bid Simulator, which enables you to see the advertising results you could get if you used a different maximum CPC bid for your keyword or ad group.

Marko Kvesic is the Internet Marketing Manager at GoTraffic Internet Marketing Agency. He is currently analyzing clicks and conversions for Hotel Zagreb. Follow Marko Kvesic on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.  

Martin Roettgerding

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I believe that there is often a human advantage when it comes to bidding. Algorithms are great to make sense of tons of data, but when it comes to semantics, they?re lost. The most advanced prediction models won?t beat a PPC manager who sees the sun shining and decides to raise bids for sunscreen. However, when an account grows there is a point where manual bidding is no longer feasible. You simply can?t look after thousands of bids manually. So yes, we absolutely use automated bidding. This includes proprietary software as well as Google?s Conversion Optimizer.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Even though we usually rely on automated bid management, we?ve found that there are times when it?s necessary to intervene and correct things manually. A classic example would be the first day in December, when you can no longer ship in time for Christmas. Conversion rates drop like a stone from one day to the next, but most bid management systems will need some time to adapt to the change. Unless you intervene, your bids will be far too high at a time when many people still search and click on your ads.

Another extreme but not uncommon example is a software effectively ?killing? a keyword. This might happen if you advertise for a product that is temporarily out of stock. A corresponding keyword will then perform badly and will consequently be bid down. If the bids get too low, there is little or no new performance data and the keyword can?t redeem itself. An automated system is stuck here. If you want to give the keyword another chance, you have to raise the bid manually.

What's your best bid management tip?

The best bid management tip would of course be to understand how the ad auction works and that improving CTR and therefore Quality Score is often cheaper than increasing bids.

But with so many experts I expect that this one is mentioned more than once. So let me just share a little hands-on tip: Whenever you have to raise or lower all bids in a campaign quickly, consider the ad scheduling settings. Simply adjust all bids to, for example, 80% for all days of the week and you?re done. It?s fast, easy, and quickly reversible.

Martin Roettgerding is the head of SEM at SEO/SEM agency Bloofusion Germany and oversees a small team working on client projects. Bloofusion does a lot of research and lately Martin has started to share some of those findings on his new blog, PPC Epiphany. You can also find Martin on Twitter, where he goes by the name @bloomarty.

Pamela Lund

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

Only for very large accounts that need frequent bid changes. Other than that, I prefer to make manual changes that I control because I am a control freak with PPC changes. In order to use automated bidding you have to be completely sure that you have set up the rules properly, then audit those rules and results regularly. If you don't do that, you run the risk of having poor results. Sometimes that takes as long as manually making the changes. So, given those two choices, I prefer to make the changes myself.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Bids are always changed based on ROAS. If a keyword is exceeding the goals we have set for it and there is room to increase the bid to try to get more clicks (and therefore conversions), a higher bid will be tested. If a keyword is not meeting its performance goals, a lower bid will be tested in conjunction with other optimization techniques.

bid optimization tipsWhat's your best bid management tip?

Schedule your optimization. Don't obsessively look in campaigns every day and make reactionary changes. If you make bid changes every day, you're most likely not gathering enough data for those changes to be warranted. Use your calendar or project management system to task you with regular bid optimization, ad optimization, search query report review, etc. Keeping your optimization on a regular schedule will ensure you are making the right changes at the right time based on the right data.

Pam Lund handles PPC management for BlueGlass Interactive. She has over 10 years of experience in developing and managing online advertising strategies for companies of all sizes. She has an "ROI is king" philosophy with PPC management and loves seeing CPA performance improve month over month for her clients.

Shawn Livengood

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

Not currently, but I have in the past.  I stopped using it because the automated rules got stuck in a negative feedback loop.  The system reduced the bids due to a lack of performance, which in turn resulted in lower visibility and poorer performance, which triggered the system to decrease bids further.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

For an e-commerce retailer like, profitability is key.  We try to find that sweet spot between customer acquisition and total profit.  So we increase and decrease bids to get to a position where we're getting the maximum amount of orders while maintaining a healthy profit margin.  I also like to increase bids on anything that's showing off the first page (generally position 8 or below).  Once a keyword has adequate visibility on the first page, I can make a better decision on whether or not to keep it active.

What's your best bid management tip?

Don't feel like you need to manage bids every day.  A lot of people do daily bid adjustments (or set up automatic systems to do daily adjustments for them).  A keyword needs to gather adequate historical data before you can make a good decision.  The time frame you need in order to gather this data is going to vary depending on your vertical, keyword bids, match type, campaign budget, and many other factors.  However, I have personally found the ideal interval to be around two weeks of data between bid adjustments.

Shawn Livengood writes about pay-per-click marketing on his blog, PPC Without Pity. Follow him on Twitter at @slivengood.

Todd Mintz

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I?ve never used the automated bidding feature before. I either bid at the keyword level or do CPA bidding. 

If you look at the wording next to the choice, it says ?AdWords will set my bids to MAXIMIZE CLICKS within my target budget.? Maximizing clicks is never a goal for PPC ? maximizing conversions is. This choice doesn?t map to my goals. In theory, this choice would appeal to the non-professional marketer who isn?t savvy enough to track conversions and bid to them ? however, that isn?t me.ppc bid management

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

Raising and lowering bids is purely a function of my CPA goals and how the keyword is performing relative to them. How much and how often to adjust the bids is as much an art as a science, and as you get more experience with a particular account, you can make your moves with a much clearer picture as to the predicted outcome.

What's your best bid management tip?

Dayparting can be your best friend. Frequently, the easiest way to slash CPA is just to shut down during the lowest performing hours of the day.

Todd Mintz, who has been with PPC Associates since March 2011, has over 10 years of experience in search marketing and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland?s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog.

Tom Demers

Do you use automated bidding in Google AdWords? Why or why not?

I do occasionally ? basically the decision to use this or not (on campaigns for my own properties or as a recommendation for a client account) is a cost/benefit decision: if I think we or even the client internally can do a better job managing the account by hand and/or using a bidding tool and that it?ll have a major impact on the revenue generated by the campaign, then we?ll do that. If the spend on the account is relatively small and based on the fundamentals of the campaign I just don?t think there is a ton of extra yield over using Google?s free tools, though, I think the Google automation tools or possibly a really quick and simple approach to bid management can be a good option.

If not, when do you raise and lower keyword bids?

At a high level you want to raise bids when you can get more profitable traffic from a keyword, and you want to lower bids when you can generate valuable (i.e. converting) traffic but it?s currently costing you too much. Depending on the account, though, there may be a number of more nuanced factors including:

  • Different margins on different products or offers ? In other words, ?profitable? may mean different things for different offer types and products.
  • Seasonal trends ? If conversion rates are dramatically higher right before Christmas, you don?t want to continue bidding with the same aggressiveness post-Christmas simply because a keyword had been converting well thd previous week/month ? you need to account for historical account data.
  • Competition ? You may be able to increase bids to get more traffic for a keyword, but the jump from your current bid to move up a spot in the SERPs may push you over the line from profitable to unprofitable, in which case you obviously wouldn?t want to blindly push bids up simply because a keyword is converting profitably.

As with the question of whether or not to use free automated bidding tools, how granular you get in managing bids really has more to do with the yield you expect and effort/cost to you to manage bids this way (by way of a service fee, software fee, your own time, etc.).

What's your best bid management tip?

I think a good tip is to look at your bids from a perspective you don?t always consider ? this could be a different date range (i.e. if you?re consistently looking at the last week?s performance, pull back and look at a month and a quarter to see if there are longer-term efficiencies or inefficiencies you?re missing) or it could be looking at a different dimension of your account where you can alter bids such as dayparting, targeting by device, or other reports that could lead to quick wins within your AdWords account by way of altered bids.

Tom Demers is co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM, a boutique Boston SEO and PPC agency offering search marketing consulting services. You can learn more about how Measured SEM can help your business by getting in touch with Tom directly via email at tom at, or by following him on Twitter.

PPC Bid Management Tools

This post originated on the WordStream Blog. WordStream provides keyword tools for pay-per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) aiding in everything from keyword discovery to keyword grouping and organization.


copywriting experts internet business link popularity link exchange pay per click

Crawl Errors: The Next Generation


web 2.0 experts backlink building website promotion email marketing building traffic

So You Think Your Changes Will Help Your Customer? Prove It!

by Mike Fleming

Two posts ago, I talked about the importance of laying a web analytics foundation for your company by measuring, valuing and analyzing the critical few visitor behaviors on your site that have an impact on your bottom line.  In my last post, I talked about the step after that, which is determine why the data you've collected is the way it is (the why?). Once you've listened to why your customers couldn't complete whatever tasks they were trying to accomplish on your site, you should have a bunch of ideas on how to fix it.

Website Under Construction.jpg

Now it's time to take those ideas and figure out which ones will work the best.  This is done through experimentation and testing.  Lucky for us Web geeks, testing on the Web holds a major advantage over all other marketing channels because of very low cost and fewer limitations.  This has made setting up, running and controlling tests - as well as the ability to collect and analyze the data - easier and cheaper than ever. This in turn makes guessing what you should do with your site  an even worse proposition than guessing what you should do in offline channels (which is also bad).  Not doing experimentation and testing isn't an option.  It's mandatory.

With that said, what can you do?  Testing on the Web basically boils down to two options - A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing.

A/B Testing

These tests are the cheapest and quickest.  You test two uniquely different participants for a predetermined outcome. For example, you make two very different versions of your homepage and see which one is best at getting visitors to click through to the product categories. Or, you see if providing a 2-step checkout process versus a 4-step checkout process works better for your e-commerce conversion rate.

Multivariate Testing (MVT)

With these tests, you create multiple variations of multiple elements of a page and have a testing tool (like Google's Website Optimizer) mix and match them to the visitors. In the end, you are able to see not only which elements contributed the most to a lift for your outcome, but also which combinations of elements work the best.

While A/B Testing is much easier and demands less resources, it does not give you data that is as good as MVT.  Why?  Because after your A/B test is complete, you may know that version B of your homepage performed better, but you don't know why. Was it the headline, the images, the navigation layout, the color of the call-to-action button?  Only with MVT can you find out.  So, start with A/B tests to get your feet wet, but jump into MVT as soon as you're ready.

Get Creative

You can use these tests to experiment with just about anything. Of course, you want to test those areas that will most affect your bottom line. But when you've gotten comfortable with testing, that can get very creative. For instance, let's say you have a $100 product that you are offering on sale for $10 off.  How would offering 10% off instead of $10 off affect sales? You're thinking it won't because it's the same amount? You might be surprised :).

How about testing more cheaply and easily on your site what would cost more money to test elsewhere? Like products you're thinking of putting in your store, calls-to-action for paid search ads, or offers in your email newsletter.

If you're tracking what's important and have actively put in place ways to listen to your customers, now it's time to find out the best ways to deliver what they want. So, use what customers give you to start developing hypotheses about how you could improve their experience. Put your ideas on how to accomplish the goal into action! If you do, you will start to have a distinct competitive advantage.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


search marketing web 2.0 experts backlink building website promotion email marketing

We?ve gone mad for college hoops


improve google rankings search engine search marketing web 2.0 experts backlink building

Google Code Jam 2012 registration is open


link exchange pay per click ppc experts social media social networking

Crossing the 50 billion km mark and giving Google Maps for Android a fresh look


seo experts search engine marketing sem experts search engine optimization internet marketing

Guide to Google AdWords' Left Navigation: Using Shared Libraries, Reports, & Custom Alerts

In recent weeks we?ve been working through a series of posts on various components of the AdWords interface that are designed to help advertisers better understand all of the different options and features available to them within Google AdWords. To date we?ve covered:

In the next series of posts, we?ll focus on a somewhat overlooked component of the AdWords interface: the items contained in the AdWords left navigation within the campaign tab.

What?s in the Left Nav within the Campaigns Tab?

AdWords Left Navigation

Within the left navigation in the campaigns tab you?ll find a series of interesting tools that allow you to report on and create settings around a series of campaign-wide items. Specifically you?ll find:

  • Shared Libraries ? Here you?ll find Google AdWords audiences, campaign negative keywords, and campaign placement exclusions. In all three cases this area is a nice option for making some quick bulk edits to push to multiple areas in your account.
  • Reports ? We outlined how you can use the AdWords dimensions tab to generate reports and get some very granular data, but the reports area in the left navigation also offers a means of generating many of the AdWords reports you may be interested in.
  • Automated Rules ? Automated rules allow you to create rules for various functions within your campaigns so that you can have certain tasks performed based on a given trigger (i.e., if my CPA hits $X, lower bids), and this section within AdWords allows you to manage the automated rules you?ve created.
  • Custom Alerts ? Custom alerts allow you to create an alert so that you?re notified of certain events within your campaign (similar to rules, although rather than allowing AdWords to act on your behalf, the system simply notifies you of the event and allows you to take action yourself).

Clicj on the headings to read a detalied walk-through of each of these features to help you understand how you can leverage them in managing your accounts.

This post originated on the WordStream Blog. WordStream provides keyword tools for pay-per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) aiding in everything from keyword discovery to keyword grouping and organization.


copywriting experts internet business link popularity link exchange pay per click

AdWords For Dummies: Free AdWords Help and Resources

Social buttons: 
Add social buttons (Google +1, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) at the top of the content.

When you're first starting out with pay per click marketing (PPC), Google AdWords can seem confusing and overwhelming.

WordStream, a provider of PPC Management Software and Web Marketing Services, is committed to helping small businesses learn AdWords and better understand the PPC process.

That?s why we?ve organized a free Google AdWords For Dummies Learning Center, providing the ultimate resource library of information that will assist you in understanding AdWords andAdWords for Dummies optimizing your AdWords campaigns.

We have a wide variety of the best free tips, tools, white papers, and ebooks for beginner, intermediate, and advanced Google AdWords users.


Beginner's AdWords for Dummies: PPC Help and EBooks for Newbies

If you?re new to AdWords, our Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies section is the best place to start!

How AdWords Works ? Wondering about what is AdWords and how AdWords works? Our informative infographic explains process of the AdWords bid auction in a visually appealing and easy to understand format.

Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies Book: Improving Quality Score

This Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies eBook offers an in-depth look at Quality Score, how it's calculated, why it's important, and what Google says itself about optimizing Quality Score. You?ll gain a clear understanding of how to obtain the benefits of higher Quality Score, and how high Quality Scores can lower your cost per click. Beat AdWords at its own game with this Improving Quality Score download.

Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies Download: Top 10 Ways Keyword Management Improves Search Marketing

This Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies EBook explains top ten benefits of implementing keyword management best practices. Following these best practices turns your keywords into qualified traffic, leads, and sales. This free download discusses:

  • Keyword Discovery
  • Keyword Grouping and Organization
  • Structuring Campaigns for Maximum Reach and High ROI

Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies: Keyword Research for SEO EBook

Our Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies Keyword Research EBook includes:

  • The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet ? This PDF cheat sheet offers a bird's-eye view of what keyword research is, what it isn?t, and why it?s important.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competition ? Top 35 of the biggest names in SEO weigh in on how to best determine the competitiveness of a keyword.
  • Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media ? In this how to guide we offer tips and tricks for leveraging keyword research in order to bring in more traffic with social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Keyword Monitoring Worksheet ? This tool enables you to plug in keyword data every month and monitor trends in your rankings and traffic from SEO, helping you determine how organic search engine marketing efforts are improving your business.
  • 4 Steps to Better Keyword Grouping ? This white paper outlines a four-step process that will help you organize your keywords into actionable, Google-friendly groups.

Beginner?s AdWords for Dummies Download: How to Choose a PPC Agency

This free white paper will walk you through the process of determining which is the best PPC advertising agency for you. After reading this guide, you'll understand:

  • If you really need to outsource your PPC campaign management
  • What qualities to look for in an online marketing agency
  • What questions to ask potential PPC advertising agencies


Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: PPC Tips for Intermediate Advertisers

Free AdWords Performance Grader ? This free tool grades your Google AdWords account by examining essential AdWords metrics such as Quality Score, CTR, and long-tail keyword optimization. Perfect for the intermediate AdWords user looking to evaluate their current AdWords performance.

Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: PPC Best Practices

This intermediate AdWords for Dummies eBook contains proven methodology, workflow, and tools for maximizing return on investment and simplifying the management of PPC campaigns.

Intermediate AdWords for Dummies Download: How to Choose a PPC Software Platform

This Intermediate AdWords for Dummies PPC buying guide will provide you with the information necessary to choose the best PPC management platform that's right for your business. With this free buying guide download, you?ll be able to answer key questions like:

  • Is PPC software worth the investment?
  • Could the right platform help me increase my ROI?
  • What areas of my campaigns need extra help?
  • What kinds of tools address my specific needs?

Intermediate AdWords for Dummies: Controlling Costs with Negative Keywords

This free intermediate AdWords for Dummies white paper is packed with information to help you understand and implement negative keywords.


Advanced AdWords for Dummies: Tricks for Advanced Marketers

Advanced AdWords for Dummies: AdWords Match Types

The keyword matching options that you use in Google AdWords can have a major impact on the effectiveness and spend level of your PPC campaigns. Read this advanced AdWords for Dummies white paper and gain insight into:

  • Different keyword match types offered in AdWords
  • How, when, and why to use each match type to get the best results
  • Best practices for applying each match type

Advanced AdWords for Dummies PDF: Measuring the Long Term ROI of PPC

This advanced AdWords for Dummies download offers tips to evaluate and improve the long-term value of your campaigns. Download this white paper and learn:

  • Why search engine marketing campaigns are chronically undervalued
  • Questions you should be asking about your SEM campaigns
  • How to measure the long-term ROI of your PPC campaigns
  • How you can improve the profitability of your SEM efforts with superior tools and techniques

Advanced AdWords for Dummies: 7 Ways to Conduct a Better Search Campaign

If you?ve got seven days, you?ve got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. This advanced AdWords for Dummies download will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic campaign. As soon as next week, your business could be seeing:

  • An increase in impressions and traffic
  • More qualified leads
  • Lower costs and higher ROI


Google AdWords for Dummies: Free Resources for All Levels!

These tools and resources are great for all levels of PPC knowledge.

AdWords Help From the Experts ? Read our collection of interviews with top AdWords experts who scored high on our AdWords Performance Grader. Get AdWords for Dummies tips from the experts.

Webinars ? Watch past AdWords help webinars online, download webinar slides, or sign up for our next webinar!

Subscribe to the WordStream Blog ? Our blog is updated every day with new help topics for PPC and AdWords. The WordStream Marketing Blog provides the best tips for all levels of PPC knowledge, from beginners to advanced users.

Free Keyword Tools ? Our AdWords keyword selector tool provides the AdWords keywords help you need. Our free tools include:

Try WordStream PPC Advisor Free! - WordStream offers powerful PPC software that can help revitalize your Google AdWords account. Our advanced software makes it easy to create and craft successful AdWords campaigns.


link exchange pay per click ppc experts social media social networking

Update to Top Search Queries data


list building article marketing affiliate marketing clickbank experts copywriting experts

Building Awesome Relationships For Links, Likes, and Love

Posted by Fryed7

Link building isn't really link building. It's relationship building. Links are just the proof of the relationship, as are the tweets, likes, sales… relationship building is link building. Your social graph is your linkerati.

Tom Critchlow encapsulates this with one of these Distilled Pro Tips:

Here's a few tactics and strategies to build and leverage relationships that lead to links, likes, sales and more. Outreach is for tomorrow. Relationships are for life. Let's go!

First, Work Out Why You Do What You Do

The single most important concept in SEO, marketing, business and life can be summed up with Simon Sinek's talk here. His theory of 'The Golden Circle' is central to everything you and I do, and yet is remarkably simple to understand.

Watch the following TED talk, if not now then today at lunch.... (I promise, it's worth it!)

Read more at Start With Why.

Everyone knows what they do. Some people know how they do it, whdther that be a unique selling point, proprietary process or secret tactic. But very few people know why they do what they do. Very few people know why they get out of bed in the morning (it's not to make money or profit: that's a result). People who know why they do what they do prove their belief in what they do.

  • Rand and the folks at SEOmoz believe in making the internet, and internet marketing better. They firmly believe this is possible by advocating inbound marketing. They so happen to make and promote SEOmoz PRO software
  • Apple was built around the idea of challenging the status quo. They do this by creating products that are beautifully designed, easy-to-use and user friendly. They so happen to make computers.
  • 37signals believe in simplicity. They do this by creating software that anyone can use and understand "out of the box". They so happen to make productivity software.

What do you believe in?

It's incredibly frustrating working with people, doing SEO or anything, who don't know why they do what they do. It's also incredibly frustrating working with link prospects who don't know what they do!

This is your big action point before you move forward. Find your why. Use your why to identify other people and organisations who share your why. Find people who share your beliefs, and if you clearly understand your why, you don't necessarily need Followerwonk, Buzzstream or any of these link prospecting tools to find people who share your belief. Connect with people who share your why, who share your mission.

You need a reason to get in touch that isn't totally selfish ("gimme a link" just doesn't cut it). Find something they believe in and orchestrate a message, event or project around that. An interview for a blog post or guide, product review or maybe just some advice on a project? Of course, you could get your in by pointing out broken links to a webmaster. Ask yourself, if they knew what you were doing and knew you didn't reach out to them, would they be upset?

So, how to get in touch with these people...?

First Touch Contact Methods That Work A Charm

First touch methods

Your first touch needn't be as weird as this...

First touch methods should never interrupt or inconvenience your prospect, so I'd avoid cold calling (no matter how successful folks say it is, it ain't long haul!). Don't pin your prospects to the spot when you barely know them. Become respected by respecting your link prospects. Remember, you're building the relationship now. The links all come later :)


Don&"39;t use email. Not for your first touch. Your inbox is bomb-proof fortress, as is your link prospects. Email from relatively unknown senders is just as bad as anonymous email (why should they care?). With email, it's too easy to be lazy and become less authentic.

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, it's as if we're all 19-year old dudes in a bar. We try to close on the first encounter. Don't. You've got to put a ring on it. You've got to get in the long haul game. Get their respect as well as their attention.

That was an extract from Gary Vee's Q&A at Inc500 Seminar 2011. You should *totally* watch the full thing here :)

Of course, events are a great way to acceptably meet your link prospects, without appearing as an unknown contact. To casually introduce oneself over a drink is not just acceptable, but welcomed. Of course, this is even better is to have already had your first touch.

In the SEO world, attending events like LinkLove London has been incredible for building relationships. It's not too often you get to casually talk SEO with a guy like Wil Reynolds (and all the speakers really loosen up at the after parties! :D). But that's where relationships were formed...

LinkLove 2011 was in March. September 1st 2011, the Distilled Linkbait Guide went live and I called back upon those relationships to help get the word out. That's the not-so-amazing secret to getting links from places like Seth Godin's blog!

Pssst! If you're coming to LinkLove London and want to build deep and meaningful relationships with dozens of other smart SEOs showing up there (seriously, that's half the reason for going) then do what I do and try hovering around the registration desk where Distilled SEOs tend to gravitate to, and the nearest door to the main congress hall where speakers tend to stand between sessions. The Distilled guys will really thank me for that... :p

Oh, and at the after party, just make sure you're the first guy to get a drink into the hands of whoever you want to talk to, and you're away. You really can get one-on-one time with a speaker... you just have to be the one in front of them. See you there! ;)

There are plenty of opportunities where people are reaching out publicly for a response; there's a goldmine of relationship building opportunities at (You've read the awesome diet coke story on SEOmoz? And the response?) As a link building professional, you need to get as familiar with Twitter advanced search as you are with Google advanced search. There's a goldmine of relationship building opportunities on Twitter, and you don't have to be huge to make it work. Anyone can do this!

Alternatively, you can try an "inside job". Scour your Facebook friends, LinkedIn Contacts and Twitter followers for useful names and organizations to be introduced to. Names that share the same beliefs you do, then politely ask for the brief introduction. Again, make sure you have a reason, be it an interview, business deal or some way you can help them out.

When was the last time you checked where all your Facebook friends worked (oh, and your non-facebook "real life" friends too)...? I discovered a cousin of mine had ended up at Google. Through various Facebook messages, phone calls and emails I managed to fix a lunch in their London Victoria office with the Head of University Programmes there. Eating deliciously seasoned steak and ice cream whilst talking with folks at Google.

As an SEO, you're conditioned to spotting all sorts of link building opportunities... now you need focus yourself on relationship building opportunities. Think long haul :)

You can do this!

But if you really are out of ideas to get a 'strangers' attention..., if I put a gun to your head and asked you if you had ANY other way of contacting this person...

Then try some of these tricks....

Invariably, you've got to initiate the conversation and the relationship. And for that you've got to send something physical.

Send a box. Yes, a box. A package in the mail. Spend your link building budget with FedEx. You can ignore emails… You can hang up the phone… You can shred letters… But it's really, really hard to ignore a box. People simply can't ignore a mysterious package marked "express delivery" sitting on their desk. *ooooh* shiny package!

So long as they don't think it's a bomb (!!), it's brilliantly effective for getting positive attention. Put something in the box that proves your belief, and don't ever be afraid to go bold with your budget here. You're making friends for life, remember? I tested this with Distilled last year, by shipping a 3D-printed model of their logo with messages in the package. Here's a (bad!) picture of it still in production...

Distilled 3D logo

This was produced via a 3D-printer before the final lacquer was added.

The great thing with couriering goods is you know whether or not they've received it (tracked delivery for the win!). The big bonus of a box is you get the *WOW!* effect. Naturally, surrounding people will come and have a look for themselves. Suddenly, you've sparked a conversation which will only lead to them reading your message with that degree of fascination.

Letters I've found to be less effective, since they can quite literally be mistaken for spam and you don't get the "WOW! Gather Round!" factor of a box. You'll have to make your letter stand out such that it doesn't look like a commercial too.

Take a leaf out of direct marketers books and try handwriting your addresses rather than mass-mailing, mass-printed stickers. Try varying the size, colour and shape of your envelopes. And please try my personal favourite - origami envelopes - just make sure you print onto good thick paper!

Don't mislead your prospects. "Traditional" outreach etiquette that Mike King talks about here still applies. Make sure you indulge in sharing your beliefs - prove your why - and show some enthusiasm for what you do. And since you share something in common, talk about something related, but off-topic to what you're mentioning.

Heck, you're an SEO consultant so maybe something to help them out with their marketing. That's a really easy win to show you care about them, what they do and are kind and human enough to offer help. You care about them, remember?

And of course, always make sure you personalise each method of outreach and give a very, very clear call-to-action with ideally just a yes/no decision needed from them. Something like "if you're interested in meeting on 1st April at 9am at The Epic Sandwich Shop, drop me an email at ... or call me at ...". Do the thinking for them, and people love it.

Next, use these relationship building tools.

Once you've established a relationship with someone, its kinda rude to use form letters. You don't form letter your mum, so don't form letter your link prospects. We live in a world where authenticity rules. It cuts through the noise and clutter. Caring about people and relationships really does build links! So throw out your f-ing form letters and start writing some real messages and building a real relationship.

Nothing… nothing beats a real face-to-face meeting. Meet someone for lunch or a coffee. They'll relax and you'll be able to have a casual conversation about whatever. Don't call it a meeting if you don't have to.

Why not ask if you can spend some time in their offices or with them actually working? Ask to help them out some day… you share the same beliefs and mission, and you have the rest of your working life to seal these kinds of relationships, don't you? Besides, it's fun!

Go out of the way for your new friends. My favourite link building tools aren't Google Docs or Buzzstream, but train tickets and a telephone. I travel the length of the country, and these days you can still get work done whilst travelling (gotta love midday off-peak first class fares!). Yes, this can be practical too!

Link building with trains

This is how I build links (and yes, those trains are supposed to tilt!).

For busier people, this may be difficult, but assuming you've identified people who share your why and your beliefs, the only resistance should be the logistics of where and when. If you run out of options, there are always relevant industry events to take people to.

Even better, if you've got many link prospects in one location, then run an event and meet them face to face. Spend budget on hosting an awesome party, and your link prospects will never, ever forget you. I think this was one of Tom Critchlow's tips again, but for $5k (about the budget of a decent infographic project?) you could put on a really, *really* awesome party!!

Keep in touch. Write (short!) emails now and again. Banter over Twitter. Share interesting links. Keep people in mind, like you do your friends.

Writing for Likes is Writing for Links

Remember, your social graph is your linkerati. Keep them happy by writing content they'll read and love sharing over time. Don't count on them "just reading it" either... ask them what they thought. Solicit comments from them. Get them involved, in a follow-up or response post or something. How can you provoke regular, positive responses?

The big point to building relationships is the benefits over time. You're not just shooting for one link like you might in your previously outreach emails, but hundreds over several years to the day you retire… and invitations to countless events. And sales. And referrals, Christmas cards, bottles of wine... you're not changing the status of a contact in a spreadsheet - you're making genuine friends!

Seth Godin sums it up...

Would your link prospects be happy putting you up for a night? And vice versa?

One of my favourite ways to create intrinsically social pages is to create pages about individual people. It's egobait, and it works. Write detailed, flattering content about people and they'll pick it up and be over the moon. They'll share it, their social graph will see it and share it and you'll begin to build momentum.

Pssst… you don't have to target the page around a person. You can still target it around a keyword, but make it about a person. Case studies like "How Barry Learnt Ruby in 4 Weeks" work well! You gain the social shares as well as the keyword focused page. Double-win :)

It's slightly more difficult to do with brands, since few brands are treated like people. Make pages about individuals. If you're targeting a bigger brand, then pick a big name from that brand. You don't know how a brand might react (there may be protocols to control tweeting etc.) but a person is much more likely to react in the way you want. It's easier to flatter a human than a brand.

Comb through your keyword lists and work out how you can make a page about a person. This can work with product pages, case studies, blog posts, landing pages, sales pages... pretty much anything :)

"Hmmmm... I'm Not Convinced..."

Maybe you can't be bothered to commit to such long term results. Maybe you've got to deliver by tomorrow to get your next paycheck, or renew your SEO contract or win budget or whatever...?

Or maybe it just sounds too much like hard work...?

Maybe, just maybe you're one of those guys who still uses comment spam, article spinning and other grey or "black hat" tactics day to day that make Rand sad. And maybe they even work! That's kinda cool, right? Covertly breaking the system?

I'll tell you what's cool. Being undisputed king of a SERP for years and years to come. Links are just one part of the signal, the signal of a relationship and approval. Google's algorithm is changing and Google's algorithm is all around us. Making friends is such a central part of what we SEOs do (and arguably, the most fun part!), but we don't pay nearly enough attention to it.

You're In It For The Long-Haul, Aren't You?

You've got to have the relationships around you that will last for years and years on end. The internet is still incredibly young (Google's just hitting puberty). And don't worry... you've got plenty of money to do this, because your marketing budget stretches for many years to come, as will your future relationships.

How long is your endgame? You've got to start thinking how you can build a system that build links. If you want to dominate in 5, 10, 20 years time then you need to set out the signals now.

You've got to start thinking long haul. If you're not "in bed", so to speak, with all folks in your industry, someone else is going to take your cake and eat it. You know your industry, so imagine your fiercest competitors cosying up with key industry figures over some joint venture, collaborative linkbait or something else.

Google+, Pinterest, Twitter...

The rise of all these social networks isn't the point. The point is you can now connect easier with these tools to people who share your why and your beliefs. You can build and maintain these incredible relationships that will make you win in the long run. Aim for where the game is going to be, not where the game is now.

This is how I build links, get jobs and make sales. These tactics and strategies will only become more effective over time, not less. Use them to chase your dream links...

...then let me know how it goes in the comments. :)

Thanks for reading!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!


list building article marketing affiliate marketing clickbank experts copywriting experts