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Bing Named NCAA’s Official Bracket Data Partner for March Madness

The search engine will release a data review and a new NCAA bracket-building tool for March Madness.

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Freshen Up Your Spring Emails With These 5 Tips

If you’re as over winter as we are, you’re probably anxious for the arrival of spring. And with so much to love about the season – longer days, warmer weather, blooming flowers (unless you’re allergic) – it’s easy to explain why.

As the world around us comes alive once again, why not bottle up all of that excitement for your email marketing too? Whether you’re in retail, consulting, fitness, etc., subscribers in the northern hemisphere are gearing up for the change of season. And as our data scientists have proved, they love getting emails related to time, seasons or dates – so there’s a big opportunity for you to connect with your customers.

Send Them What They Want

Emails that relate to time tend to have higher open rates than others. Not only is a spring-related email relevant to your subscribers the moment they read your subject line, it also creates a sense of urgency that encourages them to take a specific action.

Pro Tip: Have subscribers from all over the world? Send a targeted email to a segment of subscribers based on their geographical location.

By mentioning sales that are only available on the first weekend of spring, for example, your readers will be more likely to go to your store or website to make a purchase.

So how can you incorporate spring-related topics in your emails? Here are a few angles you can take:

Spring Season

Keep the theme simple by finding a way to include the word “spring” or a specific month in your subject lines. Sending out your monthly newsletter? Throw “April” (or whichever month) into your message. Having a spring sale? Be sure to mention it specifically in your subject line and email message.


 Pro Tip: Keep the spring theme going throughout your email. Best practices say to set clear and accurate expectations for your subscribers, so the content in your message should reflect the subject line.


Spring Shopping

As the flowers bloom and tax returns come rolling in, encourage customers to shop with spring deals and discounts. Here’s a fun example from Expedia:


Pro Tip: Offer exclusive promotions to subscribers on your mailing list, and use this as an incentive to encourage email sign ups. Don’t forget to share it on social media, too!


Spring Cleaning

There’s something about springtime and cleaning – as they say, “Out with the old, and in with the new!” So why not use that angle to promote your products/service?


If you’re not sure this topic relates to your business, the idea of spring cleaning can actually apply to a wide range of businesses.

A nutrition blogger, for example, might focus on the idea of cleansing the body from junk food. Or a marketing agency might encourage subscribers to cleanse underperforming tactics from their marketing strategy. You get the idea.

Pro Tip: Your spring-related email isn’t limited to discounts and promotions — consider creating content that focuses on helping your customers during this time of year.


Spring Holidays

In addition to longer days and warmer weather, spring also brings with it a lot of holidays. From Easter to Memorial Day (US) to Cinco De Mayo, there are plenty from which to choose — so start thinking about what you might want to use for your emails, like the one below.




During spring, many people also experience a sense of renewal as the world around them comes alive. Consider how you can encourage your subscribers to “freshen up” their lives with your products or services.

A consulting firm, for example, might create an email that addresses their customers’ need to re-adjust their business strategy, and how they can help along the way.

Whatever you do, feel free to get creative with your content, images and even video that can tie everything to spring. Check out Mary Kay’s colorful email below to see what this looks like in action:


From the visuals to the copy (“It’s time to refresh, renew, and revitalize…”), this email pairs content and design together in a way that screams spring.

Get Hoppin’

Already brewing up ideas for spring-related emails? Share them with us in the comments below!

And don’t forget to start creating those emails today – Log in to your account or sign up for a free trial!

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How to get Google search engine optimization (SEO) traffic: SEO training tutorial for 2015

How to get Google search engine optimization (SEO) traffic: SEO training tutorial for 2015. Take my full SEO course:…

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Where Is Paul Ceglia?

The case of self-proclaimed Facebook co-owner Paul Ceglia never fails to disappoint when it comes to unusual events.

Reuters reported that Ceglia — who filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Facebook and its co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that he possessed a contract that entitled him to ownership of one-half of Facebook — is nowhere to be found.

The alleged contract between Ceglia and Zuckerberg was deemed fraudulent in 2012, and Ceglia was charged with fraud shortly thereafter.

His trial is slated to begin May 4, but Reuters reported that when representatives from the U.S. Marshals Service went to Ceglia’s home in Wellsville, N.Y., this past Sunday to check on him, they found his electronic tracking ankle bracelet, but he was nowhere to be found.

Robert Fogg, Ceglia’s latest lawyer, told Reuters he has not spoken with his client, adding:

He has always been concerned with justice. He has always been concerned about if he’d get a fair trial.

U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick scheduled a hearing Tuesday, according to Reuters, most likely to address Ceglia’s disappearance.

For a timeline of some of the bizarre events associated with Ceglia’s lawsuit against Facebook and Zuckerberg, click here.

Readers: Where do you think Ceglia is, and when (if ever) will he resurface?

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10 SEO Myths that Friggin’ Tick Me Off

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

I love SEO. I love talking about SEO. Most non-SEO folk you talk to are generally very nice people. They may not understand everything you say, but they often nod their head and smile. The open-minded may even ask you to look at their site.

On the other hand, there’s the non-SEO “expert” (loosely defined as someone who has a cousin in marketing) who represents a different beast altogether. Well intentioned but misinformed, they believe SEO is urban legend, no better than a Ponzi scheme.

Here’s what I have to say to a few of the worst offenders.

1. SEO is a scam

What the friggin’ what?

The above screenshot of organic traffic to Moz’s own website shows the kind of success many strive for, but it is neither unusual or nor unattainable for folks that
consistently invest in SEO as a marketing strategy. 

Sadly, many business owners have been approached by less-than-ethical marketing vendors who promise SEO services but basically deliver nothing. If you are paying $49/month to a service that promises you top rankings in Google, it is almost certainly a scam.

That’s not SEO.

Perhaps this most harmful of myths stems from those seeking quick and easy wins with little effort. Indeed, there are cases of SEO wins that meet these criteria, typically when a site has easily correctable technical problems. In other cases, SEO involves real
effort and commitment which often pays additional rewards beyond the increase in traffic.

2. Google will figure it out

No. No they friggin’ won’t.

Here’s what many webmasters see far too often when they trust search engines to do their SEO for them.

The temptation of many website owners and developers is to throw as many URLs as possible—sometimes millions—at Google’s crawlers and pray that their mysterious algorithms will magically deliver these pages to valuable users. Alternatively, even sites with a handful of pages expect search engines to do all the heavy lifting.

Google is smart, but not magic.

What’s forgotten in this equation is that Google and other search engines strive to mimic
human behavior in evaluating content (and no human wants to sort through a million near-duplicate pages) and use human generated signals (such as links and engagement metrics) to crawl and rank results.

Every page delivered in search results should be unique, valuable, and more often than not contain technical clues to help search engines sort them from the billions of possible pages on the web. Without these qualities, search marketing is  a game of chance that almost always loses.

3. We did SEO once

Congratulations. Buy yourself a cookie.

It’s sad to see organic search traffic fall over time, but all too often that’s exactly what happens when no effort is applied. Continually maintaining your SEO efforts is essential because of:

  • Link degradation (a.k.a. link rot)
  • Publishing new pages
  • Evolving search engine algorithms
  • The competition moving ahead of you
  • Outdated content
  • …and more

For a small minority of sites, SEO
doesn’t need continual investment. My father-in-law’s auto shop is a perfect example. He has more business than he needs, and as long as folks find him when searching for “Helfer Auto” he’s happy. In this case, simply monitoring your SEO with the addition of a deeper dive 2-3 times per year may be sufficient.

For the rest of us, one-and-done SEO falls short.

4. Link building is dead (again)


Recently the SEO world got worked up when
Google’s John Mueller stated link building is something he’d “try to avoid.”

Many misinterpreted this to mean that link building is bad, against the rules, and Google will penalize you for it. 

In fact, nothing has changed that the fact that search engines use link authority and anchor text signals heavily in their search ranking algorithms. Or that white-hat link building is a completely legitimate and time-tested marketing practice. 

Weighting the Clusters of Ranking Factors in Google’s Algorithm by Rand Fishkin

I’m certain John was referring to the more manipulative type of link building, no doubt encountered frequently at Google. To be fair, this type of non-relevant, scaled approach to links should be avoided at all costs, and search engines have taken great strides to algorithmically detect and punish this behavior.

Marketers build links in a number of natural ways, and attracting links to your website remains darn-near essential for any successful SEO undertaking. If you need help, we
write about it frequently.

5. I want to rank #1 for “magic keyword”

No. No you friggin’ don’t.

Look, here’s a personal example. I really want to rank #1 for “SEO” because Moz offers SEO software. Because of our Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Because SEO is our lifeblood. 

But we don’t, and it doesn’t matter.

Moz typically ranks #2-3 for “SEO”. It sends good traffic, but not nearly as good as the thousands of long-tail keywords with more focused intent. In fact, if you went through our entire keyword set, you would find that “SEO” by itself only sends a tiny fraction of our entire traffic, and we could easily survive without it.

The truth is, when you create solid content
focused around topics, you almost always receive far more (and oftentimes better) traffic from long-tail keywords that you didn’t try to rank for.

The magic happens when visits reach your site because the content matched thier needs, but not necessarily when you matched the right keywords.

6. Google hates SEO

Some days, it feels that way.

In truth, Google’s relationship with SEO is much more nuanced.

  1. Google readily states that SEO can “potentially improve your site and save time” and that many SEO agencies “provide useful services.” Google even advises “If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better.”
  2. Google published their own SEO Starter Guide. While a bit out of date, it certainly encourages people to take advantage of SEO techniques to improve search visibility.
  3. Google Analytics offers a series of SEO Reports. Keep in mind, these are almost laughably unusable due to the handicapped data quality.

While Google seems to encourage search engine optimization, it almost certainly
hates manipulative SEO. The type of SEO meant to trick search engines into believing false popularity and relevancy signals in order to rank content higher.

In fact, many of the myths in the post boil down to some folks’ inability to distinguish between hard-working SEO and search engine spam. Which leads us to:

7. SEO is dead, because Google Answers

It’s scary for SEOs when we ask Google a question and see an actual answer instead of a link, as in the example below. It’s even more frightening when Google takes over entire verticals such as the
weather, mortgage calculators, or song lyrics.

With the flip of a button, it seems Google can wipe out entire business models.

Screenshot hat tip to
Dan Barker

In reality, search growth and traffic continues to grow for most industries. Consider the following:

Anecdotal evidence further suggests that even when presented with answer boxes, a large number of users click through to the cited website.

People want answers, but at least for now they also want their websites.

8. SEO is all tricks

Really? This is plain sad. Somebody make me a sad salad.

“Tricks” is what professionals call bad, manipulative SEO that gets you penalized. The problem, I believe, is the first thing any developer or marketing manager hears about SEO is something close to “put more keywords in the title tag.” 

If that’s all SEO is, it does sound like tricks.

Real SEO makes every part of
content organization and the browsing experience better. This includes:

  1. Creating content that reverse engineers user needs
  2. Making content more discoverable, both for humans and search engine crawlers
  3. Improving accessibility through site architecture and user experience
  4. Structuring data for unambiguous understanding
  5. Optimizing for social sharing standards
  6. Improving search presence by understanding how search engines generate snippets
  7. Technical standards to help search engines categorize and serve content to the right audience
  8. Improving website performance through optimizations such as site speed
  9. Sharing content with the right audiences, increasing exposure and traffic through links and mentions

Each of these actions is valuable by itself. By optimizing your web content from every angle, you may not even realize you’re doing SEO, but you’ll reap many times the rewards.

9. PageRank

Actually, I like PageRank. 

But it’s still a flippin’ myth.

PageRank was an
incredibly innovative solution allowing Google to gauge the popularity of a webpage to the point that they could build the world’s best search engine on the concept. 

Despite what people say, PageRank is very likely still a part of Google’s algorithm (although with severely reduced influence). More than that, PageRank gave Google the ability to build more advanced algorithms on top of the basic system. 

Consider concepts like
Topic Sensitive Page Rank or even this recent paper on entity salience from Google Research which highlights the use of a PageRank-like system.

source of many bad myths

So why is PageRank such a bad myth?

  1. Toolbar PageRank, the PageRank most SEOs talk about, will likely
    never be updated again
  2. PageRank correlates poorly with search engine rankings, to the point that we quit studying it long ago.
  3. PageRank is easy to manipulate.

Fortunately, Google has moved away from talking about PageRank or supporting it in a public-facing way. This will hopefully lead to an end of people using PageRank for manipulative purposes, such as selling links and shady services.

If you’re interested, several companies have developed far more useful link metrics including Majestic’s
Citation Flow, Ahrefs Rank, and Moz’s Page and Domain Authority.

10. Social activity doesn’t affect SEO

At this point, I barely have strength left to argue. 

Explaining this myth could take an entire post, so I’ll boil it down the bare facts. The basic argument goes like this:

“Google says they don’t use Facebook likes or Tweet counts to rank websites. Therefore, social activity doesn’t matter to SEO.”

This statement is half right, but can you guess which half?

It’s true that Google does not use metrics such as
Facebook shares or Twitter Followers directly in search rankings

On the other hand, successful social activity can have significant secondary effects on your SEO efforts. Social activity helps address two of the major tasks facing SEOs:

  1. Search engine discovery and indexation
  2. Content distribution, which leads to links and shares

Perhaps no one explains it better than AJ Kohn, in his excellent
Social Signals and SEO.

Stolen with permission from AJ Kohn

Successful social activity puts your content in front of the right group of users, increasing visits, engagement, and brand signals like the number of users searching for your site. Finally, the simple act of more influencers visiting your content can lead to more links and further sharing, and the cycle repeats itself. All of these secondary effects can significantly boost your SEO efforts.

More myths from SEOs

We asked several folks on Twitter about thier least favorite SEO myths. Here are a few favorite replies.

What SEO myth drives you nuts? Let us know in the comments below!

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!

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Mobile-Only Shoppers Nearing or Above 50 Percent for Top Retailers

There’s fresh evidence that traditional retailers and e-commerce sites need to invest much more in mobile. In January, comScore documented that among top US retailers the percentage of mobile-only shoppers is approaching or crossing the 50 percent threshold. This follows holiday 2014 data…

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Facebook Opens “Topic Data” Firehose To Select Marketers

Facebook is working with DataSift to give businesses insight into what people are talking about on the social network.

The post Facebook Opens “Topic Data” Firehose To Select Marketers appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Google Analysis Shows Over 80% Of HTTPS URLs Not Displaying In Google’s Search Results

Despite many sites already supporting HTTPS, 80% of those URLs do not show in the Google search results because the webmaster is communicating to Google to display the HTTP version.

The post Google Analysis Shows Over 80% Of HTTPS URLs Not Displaying In Google’s Search Results appeared first…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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The Next Generation Of Structured Data: Taking Markup To The Next Level

Contributor Janet Driscoll Miller recaps an SMX West 2015 session covering the latest in structured data.

The post The Next Generation Of Structured Data: Taking Markup To The Next Level appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Curt Keller: The Spark Behind Benchmark

Curt Keller is the CEO and co-founder of Benchmark Email. For a podcast all about pursuing passions through business and the heart behind your job … we dropped the ball by not having Curt on sooner. He’s a big driving force behind the company culture we have at Benchmark and the man we all call boss.Related Articles

  1. Denise Keller on Blog Talk Radio This Wednesday the 22nd!
  2. Podcast Embed for Denise Keller on Inspiration at Work
  3. The Most Interesting Benchmark Mobile App User in the World
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