All posts by Ryan Underdown

An example of why custom thumbnails are so important

Youtube Video Optimization Guidelines

Believe it or not, YouTube is still in its “wild west” phase.  Promoting content on YouTube is making more and more sense as consumers buy devices like the apple tv, amazon fire, android tvs etc.  We are all anxious to cut the cable cord and guess who benefits from that?  A lot of that traffic is going to YouTube.  Now is a good time to bone up on what factors are under your control for optimizing your video to rank for a keyword search.  Here are my suggestions, I look forward to finding out any I missed in the comments.

Before the video is made:

After the video is made:

Video Title

  • Save the file with the target keyword close to the beginning of the title.


  • target keyword: youtube video optimization best practices (video)
  • file name: youtube-video-optimization-best-practices.mp4

prepare a closed caption file
tools to make this easier:

  • $99
  • DIY methods

Uploading to Youtube:

Custom Thumbnail – VERY IMPORTANT!
most accounts in good standing and that are verified (see link above) have the ability to provide a custom thumbnail. Some details pulled from Google’s Support

  • Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
  • Remain under the 2MB limit.
  • Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews.
An example of why custom thumbnails are so important
An example of why custom thumbnails are so important

Tag your videos
This one is surprisingly important in my experience. Tag at least three tightly relevant topics as well as something close to your main keyword. In our example above we might use tags of: “youtube video optimization”, “youtube seo”, “youtube video seo

 Additional Pointers

Always include the word “video” at the end of the title
Choose the most visually appealing thumbnail you can.
Allow all ratings, embeds, video responses, comments, comment voting etc.

Adwords Tricks With Amazon?

Gaming Adwords With Amazon?

So why is this guy advertising to a strange (not the canonical product page in this case) Amazon page? Could he be getting around trademark restrictions by using an domain? When you file a trademark issue with adwords they tie the trademark authorizations back to the client id – so this seems unlikely. They have a recently granted trademark – so maybe Google just hasn’t caught this one yet.

Perhaps he/she’s is gaming the reviews of the domain to appear as for his product? Could be. Either way his url doesn’t seem to have an affiliate ID – so there’s probably not much Amazon is going to do about this – as PPC’ing is definitely against the terms of service for amazon affiliates.

Do you have a better idea? Leave it in the comments.

Internet Marketing News 2/10

I sift through the day’s internet marketing news so you don’t have to

Writing better headlines:

Facebook Marketing:

Facebook fraud? Its a problem, it has been ever since the launch of fb ads


  • First Time UX – a collection of first time users’ experience on a site, app, with a product etc. I’d wager first timer UX is more closely correlated to overall success than overall UX.

Internet Marketing News 2/5

I sift through the days internet marketing news so you don’t have to.

  • The Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience – this is from Neil Patel who I used to be friends with on Digg. He’s pretty sharp. I am considering using this as a guide to build my readership here. Nothing ground breaking but provides a good starting point to get off the ground. Check out chapter 10. It’s what I’m doing here to some degree – just repurposing other people’s content.
  • Google Targeting Rich Snippet Spam – Schema markup has been decreasingly visible in SERPs in my experience anyway.
  • Making The Most of Custom Audiences on Facebook – I don’t know about you – but I much prefer the interface and feature set of Adwords. That being said, custom audiences ARE a killer feature – and I see more advertising dollars going to facebook until adwords copies their lead. A couple of tips worth checking out in the linked blog post. I would add – if you’re sending out a newsletter with an offer – you might as well be targeting the same audience via facebook. There’s great value in repetition and its a good way to get started with custom audiences.
  • The 3 Types of Search Queries Everyone that works in an agency has probably had to explain to clients why bidding on the keywords they suggest won’t work. I could have written this article 30 times by now but hadn’t thought of it. Now I’ll just point people here.

Internet Marketing News 2/4

I read all the day’s internet marketing news and post the best here – so you don’t have to waste your time sifting through garbage.

Today’s Interesting Internet Marketing News

I read a ton of internet marketing news and post the best here – so you don’t have to waste your time reading crap. Enjoy.

Example Product Listing Ad

Getting Started With Product Listing Ads

Do you sell direct to consumers online? Product listing ads may boost return on ad spend.

In October of 2012 Google Shopping transitioned from being a free service for online retailers to a paid model incorporated into Adwords. So what does this mean for adwords advertisers? In a nutshell product listing ads allow you to get images of your product directly on Google’s search results pages. Even better, these ads typically don’t cost more than traditional text ads and often cost LESS!

How well do they work?

We currently have three advertisers with us that have lower CPA’s on product listing ads than on their brand search! Every product is different so this may not translate to your site/product but its definitely worth a look.

Example Product Listing Ads

Example Product Listing Ad

Getting Product Listings Live

First off, getting PLA’s live is NOT easy. Google requires advertisers to jump through hoops to integrate with their system. To get going you will need:

  1. an Adwords Account in good standing
  2. a Google Merchant Center account
  3. a Shopping Cart
  4. an SSL Certificate
  5. terms of service
  6. A privacy policy
  7. And the tricky part – An XML, TSV or CSV product datafeed that conforms to Google’s guidelines

One note of caution: If you sell hundreds or thousands of products on your online store – chances are one of these products will be forbidden from advertising on Adwords. Take great care to exclude controversial items for sale from your datafeed or you could see your account banned.

Google Shares Jump on Earnings

A Note On Why CPC’s Are Down

Google reported earnings that beat the street yesterday, yet some are are pointing to lower CPC’s with a cautionary tone. As it turns out CPC’s are down about 8% year over year. I expect that to fall further – yet im still bullish on Google and so is everyone else apparently:

Google Shares Jump on Earnings

So Why Are CPC’s Down?

  • Mobile web traffic is up considerably at the expense of desktop traffic. Some research shows a combined 20% market share for mobile/desktop in Q3 of 2013. Web-Op manages several sites where 30% or more of organic traffic is coming from mobile devices and tablets. Most small web marketers (adwords‘ bread and butter) still haven’t adapted to this shift. Its not just small advertisers either.
  • Two thirds of Fortune 100 websites don’t serve mobile friendly versions[1]

    As Google applies more and more pressure (in the form of threatened penalties[2]) on companies to produce mobile friendly formats – mobile traffic should perform better and better.

Google Analytics Announces “Adjusted Bounce Rate”

In a recent post on the Google Analytics blog, Google announced support for getting an “adjusted bounce rate”. Google Analytics has consistently over reported bounce rate due to the nature of their tracking. Recently they added support for “events” – a way to store additional user behavior data – such as clicks on a facebook like or playing of a video. This new “adjusted bounce rate” feature looks like they’ve packaged up a significant use-case for event tracking into a standard feature. It’s about time. If you would like to take advantage of the new – better bounce rate stats you simply need to add one line to your analytics embed code:

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXXX-1']);
setTimeout("_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', '15_seconds', 'read'])",15000);

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);

This looks extremely similar to my bounce rate workaround I posted a while back.