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MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Shaq on LinkedIn and Siri on Apple TV

April 25, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

SEO: Google launched nine new features for their Keyword Planner Tool, which will now help to break down important information in aesthetically-pleasing ways. These new features include graphical visualizations for geographic data, trends on mobile vs. traditional devices, and more.  Google has made these new features immediately available for its users who have AdWords accounts. In a more commercially popular update, Google also launched a new feature for the Street View images in Google Maps. For some of the Street View images, a clock icon will be visible, and if it is clicked, a slider will appear which allows users to see those same images in previous years or seasons, going back as early as 2007. One suggested use for this feature is for travelers to see what a particular destination may look like during different seasons. Social Media: The numbers are in: mobile ads accounted for 59% of Facebook’s… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Project Ara and Nearby Friends

April 18, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

SEO: The head of Google’s search spam team addressed the biggest myths he sees today in the SEO industry. The most notable myth, apparently, is that people believe Google makes changes to search results solely to make more money for themselves by coercing people into buying ads. On the contrary, choosing or not choosing to buy ads has no impact on a website’s rankings. What’s more, Google doesn’t make changes to their organic algorithms with the intention of selling ads. Google, in the last year, launched the carousel interface, intending to better distribute content from their Knowledge Graph. Now, the company is testing something new: showing ads from paid Google Shopping results in that carousel interface. For example, a search for laptops will bring up a carousel that features different laptops from a variety of vendors. Social Media: Facebook is back in the news, and this time it’s not for… read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Heartbleed and Facebook Mobile Messaging

April 14, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

Around the Web: A massive security flaw, known as the Heartbleed virus, has taken over the Internet, and it very likely could be affecting you. The bug is a flaw in OpenSSL, which is the open-source encryption standard that most websites use to transmit the data that users want to keep secure. It can, for example, make an email unreadable to anybody except for the intended recipient. What is dangerous about the heart bleed bug is that web servers are capable of storing data such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other personal info in their active memories. The vulnerability has been in OpenSSL for about two years, and using it leaves no trace, so the safest assumption to make is that your accounts have been compromised. Once websites begin upgrading to software that is not affected by the bug, it is highly-recommended that all users change their passwords…. read more

MZ Weekly News Round-Up: April Fool’s Day and the Privacy Dinosaur

April 4, 2014 - Posted by Deanna Ayres

SEO: This week, Google’s head of webspam released a video to address a common question: how does Google separate the concept of popularity from that of authority? The answer is that the team is still working on new algorithms to accomplish that. An example given was, although porn sites may be more popular than government sites, government sites are almost always more authoritative. Google’s goal, therefore, is to focus on awarding higher rankings to sites that hold more authority on particular topics. Google recently confirmed that some GoogleBot useragent spiders are not properly passing verification protocol. GoogleBot, crawling over a certain IP range, was not returning the proper reverse DNS verification details. The response given was, “no such host is known.” Acknowledging that the problem is on their end, Google has temporarily stopped GoogleBot activity in the .249.70.0/24 IP range and will fix the issue before continuing to crawl within… read more

Google’s Latest Algorithm Change Infuriates Online Marketers

April 1, 2014 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg

Leave it to Google to make everyone mad, all over again. Every algorithm change brings with it a period of adjustment, for web marketers and online business owners alike. But as people learn to deal with the new rules, the grumbling slowly subsides, and things get back to business as usual. This time, the fallout may be worse. Much worse. This time, Google’s update, called “Goat,” in a clear break with their tradition of choosing animal names beginning with P, such as Panda and Penguin, promises to wreak as much havoc as a real goat loose in your neighbor’s backyard. Goat has forever changed the way online marketing will work. Whereas previous updates were tweaks to the system, this is the Big One. There are three main parts to Goat. We’ve listed them here for easy reference: 1. Any and all links within content will be considered spam. Following the… read more

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, 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

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