WordStream Interview; Larry Kim Shares Highlights
I’ve been fortunate to share a few moments with one of the creator of one of the leading marketing wordsmith tools. For this I’m very grateful. The gems Larry Kim from WordStream has shared for the public domain is a rewarding read.
Thanks again Larry and congratulations on the rewards and may the highs continue.
Can you describe Wordstream as if I knew nothing about it?
WordStream is the provider of the 20 Minute PPC Work Week.
Our software-as-a-service application, PPC Advisor, helps small and medium sized businesses get on a path to success with their Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns on Google, Bing and Yahoo, in a way that is easy, fast, and cost effective.
Every week, our software does a man-year of analysis on your PPC account performance, and recommends low hanging fruit to address, for example, what keyword bid changes to make, or what negative keywords to add, top ideas for new keywords to add, keywords to pause, ads to fix, etc. It’s super powerful, yet also quite easy to use.
What was your inspiration for creating Wordstream?
It was the realization that paid Search Engine Marketing (PPC) is potentially an incredibly effective way for many types of companies to grow their business. However, many small businesses don’t have the time or expertise or budget to succeed at Paid Search. Our mission is to address this need in the marketplace.
Since the commencement of your SaaS product, what have been the highs and lows for WordStream?
The high is pretty much now. We’re signing up more and more clients every month for the last year and our product, services and marketing and customer retention metrics get better and better every month. We’ve even won some awards recently, and so there is a lot of positive momentum in the business.
The low is probably the first day of every month – wiping away the last month’s sales and marketing board and doing it all over again :)
Which top 3 features of Wordstream would you say outshine the competition?
If I had to pick just three areas, I would say:
- PPC Grader– It gives you an instant audit of your AdWords account in 20 seconds.
- 20 Minute PPC Work Week – Weekly recommendations for account optimizations that get your paid search accounts on a path to success over time. There’s nothing else like it!
- Keyword Research Tools – We have tremendous depth and breadth in keyword research including our free keyword tool, keyword niche finder, negative keyword tool, keyword grouper, etc.
A bonus feature would be our value added service offerings – now this isn’t an actual software feature, but nevertheless, our Premier Consulting offering gives businesses additional help at a very low cost, and I have found that it’s always great to get extra help.
Do you have time to read the SEO blogs while developing Wordstream, if so, which blogs/twitter accounts do you follow?
There are really too many to sites to list out, but here are a few at the top of my list:
- The Google AdWords Blog
- Miranda Miller at Search Engine Watch
- Pamela Parker at Search Engine Land
- Melissa Fach at Search Engine Journal
- Rand Fishkin at SEO Moz
- Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable
- Aaron Wall at SEO Book
- Matt Cutts at Google
- Marketing Profs, WebProNews, Website Magazine, TopRankBlog, Marketing Pilgrim, (etc.)
Last Week You Released a Study on Google’s War on Free Clicks. What do you think the impact of the Google’s Changes will be on the search marketing industry?
Our study showed that for keyword searches with high commercial intent (i.e. keywords that trigger the google product/shopping paid search listings) that the majority of these most valuable clicks end up going to the paid search results, as opposed to the organic listings.
We also showed that while Paid search results are gaining in size and effectiveness, organic search results are getting more difficult and costly to rank on, harder to measure, and yielding increasingly unpredictable ROI.
My 3 takeaways are that:
- PPC can no longer be considered optional for small businesses – SEO on the other hand is looking more like a ‘nice to have’ for companies with much larger marketing budgets.
- The SEO community is still in denial as to what is happening here – My study talked about changes over the last 12 months that have the effect of benefiting PPC at the expense of SEO. This trend is accelerating at a pace never seen before.
- It’s not such a bad thing – SEO is becoming a complete headache these days. If Google is giving marketers more powerful and easier ways to engage with better quality leads without all of the SEO nightmare tasks (which are becoming increasingly difficult, time consuming and is most certainly not free), why fight it? Isn’t this a good thing for Marketers?
Without giving too much away, what juicy features are on your roadmap for the next 12 months?
We’ll be rolling out support for Microsoft Bing (for advertising on Bing and Yahoo) as well as powerful new Text Ad Authoring tools in the near future.
What third party tools do you wish you could implement but don’t currently have an API?
One tool that I find myself using regularly that doesn’t have an API is Google Webmaster Tools. They have valuable link data and search query data – data that’s not available anywhere else – in there but it’s not easy to get the data out of there. You have to do a manual export to CSV files.
Who inspires you in life and how is this transposed into your work life?
Every day, I am inspired by my co-workers here at WordStream, by all of brilliant work they do to make us the successful company that we are today. I am very thankful for having met such fantastic and dedicated people, and for the opportunity to work with them. They inspire me to do more.
Larry is the Founder/CTO of WordStream, an industry leading provider of Search Engine Marketing software solutions for small & medium sized businesses. Larry has a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.