Recent Posts

Marketing Stars Series: An Interview With Ann Smarty

March 28, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

In our Marketing Stars Series, we bring you insights from some of the top influencers in the world of online marketing. We’ve asked the best of the best to share their insider knowledge with you, our readers, so that you can harness the power of their expert advice, tips, and tricks in your own marketing efforts. Today, we are excited to have the opportunity to bring you our interview with Ann Smarty.  Ann is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann’s expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing tutorials and her guest blogging project, My Blog Guest. We are thrilled that she agreed to answer a few questions for us.  Ann, you are a little infamous right now after Google made My Blog Guest a “chosen” or “target”, but for the readers who don’t know you, could you tell us a little bit about… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: The Science of Rankings and Instagram’s Milestone

March 28, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

SEO: Earlier this week, Google’s head of search spam tweeted a surprising tip about SEO: “no need to delete your old disavow links file before uploading a new one. You can just upload the new one.” The reason, apparently, is because when an old disavow file is deleted and a new one is uploaded, two emails are generated to the Google team, which may be confusing when they review manual actions. In light of Google’s recent announcements about search engine penalties, it would be wise to heed this new advice. Related to the penalty news, Google took the time to answer questions regarding the consequences for SEO spam. First, the team clarified that webmasters who are targeted manually by the Google webspam team will be notified in Webmaster Tools. Additionally, a fall in the rankings is not necessarily indicative of a penalty: there may be an implementation of algorithmic tweakings… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Google Penalties and 8 Years of Twitter

March 21, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

SEO: Google is beginning to take action against sites that host spammy guest blog posts, and the results are quite tangible. Earlier this week, the owner of MyBlogGuest.com, a large network for guest blog posting, confirmed that she received a penalty from the search engine. Initially there was confusion over whether publishers who participated in the MyBlogGuest network would also be penalized, and it appears that the answer is ‘yes.’ Google’s head of search spam tweeted, “when we take action on a spammy link network, it can include blogs hosting guest posts, site benefiting from the links, etc.” Site owners who have used MyBlogGuest to publish posts are reporting drops in the rankings, as well. While on the topic of rankings, research from comScore is indicating that Google’s share of US search query volume has stayed stagnant over the last year, while Bing’s has grown. In February 2013, Google had… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Redesigns and Revamps Galore

March 14, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

Social Media: Following last week’s announcement about the long-awaited changes to the layout of Facebook’s News Feed feature, the company announced this week that their redesigns won’t stop there. Individual business Pages will soon be affected by change, as well. After describing the new look for Pages as “streamlined,” Facebook released an image of what users can expect to see as soon as this upcoming week. The left-side column of Pages will contain most of the general information about businesses, and the right-side column will reflect a Timeline that is more accurate and less buggy. Additionally, for Page administrators, information about the ads they’re running and the “likes” they’re accumulating will be visible no matter where they look on the Page. According to surprising new data published by eMarketer, Google+ may be set to overtake Facebook’s popularity by 2016. G+ is currently the second-most popular social network, with 26 percent… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Facebook’s Newest Redesign and Amtrak at SXSW

March 7, 2014 - Posted by Shama

What has been happening in the marketing world this week? Let The Marketing Zen Group fill you in on the latest and greatest of online marketing news in our MZ Weekly News Round-Up, published every Friday! Social Media About a year after Facebook initially announced plans for a redesign of its News Feed feature, implementation of an overhaul is set to begin this week. The updated look includes font changes, prominent photos that span the entire News Feed, and other subtle stylistic improvements, such as larger buttons in certain spots. Important to note, too, is that the update will not affect ad specs, ads performance, or optimization, which a company spokesperson was quick to clarify. For Amtrak, the interface design updates to Facebook are coming just in time for their latest social media marketing campaign. It may seem odd at first, but Amtrak has a fairly prominent presence across the… read more

But My Website Is Already Optimized: The Importance Of Ongoing SEO

March 4, 2014 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg

When you had your business’s very first website built – or even when you recently had it redesigned – you probably made sure that all your SEO ducks were in a row, ensuring that the designers were carefully optimizing every aspect of your site to be easily found and ranked well by search engines. Right? So when someone starts talking about ongoing search engine optimization, you think, What for? My site is already optimized! And you wouldn’t be wrong. Yes, your site was optimized for search engines at the time it was designed and built. But effective SEO is actually much, much more than a one-time fix. SEO is not simply a matter of putting certain keywords in the right places on a website, or even setting up the coding of a site correctly. Those are important aspects of it, of course, but definitely not the whole picture. In order… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Scrapers, Semantics, and Snapchat: Oh, My!

February 28, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

Social Media: Brand names are about to inherit some serious power on Facebook, thanks to the social media platform’s update to their News Feed algorithm. Now, when a brand’s Page tags another brand, or even a celebrity in a post, followers of either the publishing Page or the tagged Page may see that content appear on their News Feeds. As a consequence, brands will be able to reach out to wider audiences. Facebook’s algorithm will be able to consider which users are engaging with brand content, which then will determine if the content is relevant for followers of both the posting Page and the tagged Page. Why just stop at Facebook, though? According to new data at Sumpto, Snapchat may be the way to go when marketing to college-aged consumers. Not only do over 77 percent of college students use Snapchat at least once every day, but 45 percent of… read more

Best Super Bowl Commercial – Based On Google SERP!

January 30, 2014 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg

Well, folks, it’s here. The only time of year when people across America actually want to watch commercials. So much so, in fact, that they’ll search for them online, share them with their friends, and talk about them endlessly. It’s Super Bowl time. The Super Bowl commercial craze isn’t limited to football fans, either – even people who couldn’t care less about the game will still tune in just to watch the commercials…or at the very least, they’ll watch a few online. And for those who don’t actively seek Super Bowl commercials out on their own, most nightly news broadcasts will spend a few minutes recapping the most memorable ones. Of course, with all the buzz surrounding Super Bowl commercials, the companies paying for them would be crazy not to wrap entire online campaigns around these ads, as well. And most do, releasing them early on YouTube, posting teasers about… read more

Is Guest Blogging Still Worth It?

January 21, 2014 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg

In spite of the fact that Google’s Matt Cutts is such an esteemed figure as to have been immortalized in verse by online marketers (or maybe because of it?), yesterday he threw yet another SEO curveball our way. In his blog post, entitled, “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO,”  he makes the case for abandoning guest blogging for SEO purposes, calling the practice “spammy” and one with only “the barest trace of legitimate behavior.” Wow. That’s harsh, Matt. But what’s even harsher are these statements of his: “Given how spammy it’s become, I’d expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward,” and “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.” So is that it, then?… read more

An Online Marketing Firm’s Night Before Christmas

December 23, 2013 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg

  ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the biz Not an SEO was stirring – not even that new girl, Liz. The keywords were placed in clients’ websites with care, In hopes that tons of web traffic soon would be there;   The interns were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of guest blogging opps danced in their heads; And the SMMs in excitement, and the bloggers in elation Were all looking forward to a few days of vacation.   When on Google Analytics there arose such a clatter, All sprang to their laptops to see what was the matter. Away to Windows they flew in a dash, Tore open their browsers and prayed they wouldn’t crash.   The glow of their screens in the darkness of night Made it clear that nearby, something just wasn’t right. For who to their wondering eyes had shown up… read more

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