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Design Trends of 2015: How Your Blog Can Adapt

This is a guest contribution from Owen Andrew.

Since mobile internet began to overtake desktop internet usage in January 2014, there have been major innovations in website design in light of this trend. In general, websites have been opting for a simpler, mobile-friendly design. Maintaining a blog in such a fast-paced environment can be a huge challenge, but staying on top of trends is required for success. In order to keep your blog interesting and relevant in the upcoming year, there are five design trends to keep in mind when continuing your work in 2015.

Image via shutterstock.com

Emphasis on Mobile

With so many people turning to their mobile devices when going online, it’s no wonder that many blogs have begun creating content that is easy viewable on smaller screens. While mobile used to be a consideration, for web-savvy designers, mobile is now the focus. If a site doesn’t work on mobile, you are now neglecting what is likely the majority of your audience, so start any web design process by focusing on mobile, and adapt that design to work on a desktop screen, rather than vice versa.

 Focus on Typography

Thanks to Google Fonts, a free package of various typefaces, and a recent decrease in typography package prices, there has been renewed interest in creating a unique look through higher-end typography. Typography is not only useful for creating a more beautiful, unified look for your blog or website, it can also have a large impact on the readability of your text– especially on mobile platforms. For example, fonts such as Verdana and Georgia have been shown to have the best readability on screens. Small touches such as typography can lend a lot to a site, and help it stand out among the competition.

 Minimalist Design

Because of the new emphasis on mobile, the web design landscape is expected to be much more minimalist than in previous years. The emphasis on flat designs and stripped-down icons will be more present in 2015. Apple, Microsoft, and Google have all embraced two-dimensional buttons and icons recently, and other websites are beginning to follow suit.

 Large Background Photos

A major web design trend in the upcoming year, large background photos have become popular because of their ability to fill in an otherwise sparse, minimalist site. This trend has been facilitated by an increase in bandwidth across the globe, and allows for scrolling sites filled with large pictures and lots of information. Using large background pictures is great for home pages, and when used with flat-design buttons lends any website or blog an expansive, elegant appearance.

 Expandable Menus

To accommodate the simpler look that is currently prominent in website design, bloggers and blog sites have started utilizing expandable menus in order to keep the blog decluttered and clean-looking. These expandable menus are often integrated with flat designs that use intuitive, minimalist icons rather than three-dimensional ones. These expandable menus are especially well suited for mobile, where they can stay out of the way of the text and media.

Blogging, especially for a living, is an extremely competitive field. Keeping up-to-date on current trends in design will enhance your content by supporting it with a cleaner, more modern look. The internet is estimated to contain more than 152 million blogs! Staying ahead of the curve on advances in technology and design will help your blog keep ahead of the pack.

Owen Andrew is a tech journalist and Apple enthusiast. When he’s not writing or drooling over the latest Apple announcement, he’s usually hanging with his kids and doing family activities. Feel free to give him a shout on G+ or Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Design Trends of 2015: How Your Blog Can Adapt

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9 Copywriting Rules To Create Hypnotic Posts Your Readers Will Love

Image via Flickr user Daniel Lee

This is a guest contribution from Hassan Ud-deen.

Your blog posts have a purpose, right?

You want your readers to take a specific action after reading your post. It could be to: like, share, subscribe, comment or just think about something. Either way, you’re aiming to elicit a response.

And It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a sale letter, a blog post, or an email.

If you aim to evoke any kind of response or action… you’re writing copy.

Funnily enough, most of the content marketing style writing you read now, is heavily influenced by copywriting principles that marketers (who violently squeezed the power out of every word to make their copy super effective or go to bed hungry,) used to sell to complete strangers.

So let’s revisit the raw “old school” copywriting roots of blogging/content marketing and discover the powerful principles used to make millions from the written word, and how they apply to writing popular posts today.

 

1 Put On Your “Blog Detective” Hat

In the marketing world, a hook is the one story, idea or feature that races out the screen and locks the reader’s attention in its jaws.

Copywriters would dig through sales literature, interview previous customers, and brush up on the history of a product. All in search for the one undiscovered piece of information that made a reader’s eyes jump out of their sockets.

Legendary copywriter John Carlton calls this putting on your “sales detective” hat and getting into a “Bogart-like” gumshoe frame of mind.

The same principle can be used to craft irresistible posts that spread like wildfire.

Jon Morrow is a perfect example of this. The only difference being that he wore a “blog detective” hat instead of a sales one.

Before his posts went viral on Copyblogger, he noted the number of comments on almost every post, analyzed the type of comments being made, and studied the social media statistics for years.

Jon’s thorough detective work allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the heart-warming dreams, worrying problems and crippling fears of the Copyblogger audience, resulting in posts that exploded with comments and shares.

If you want to write posts that go viral, put on your blog detective hat and study popular posts, dig through comments, analyze them, and look out for patterns.

You’ll find exactly what your audience wants to know, and be able to deliver hot content that they will love.

 

2 One Thing Successful Copy and Winning Posts Have in common

Highly converting copy and popular posts have one crucial element in common…

A magnetic, benefit-driven headline.

According to David Ogilvy: “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

That means if you’re headline isn’t up to scratch, your product isn’t going to sell, and you’re going to be bleeding money.

If you’re a blogger, your audience won’t be sold on why they should click on your links and your your post aren’t going to be read.

Take a look at the popular post section to the right here on ProBlogger.

My favourites are:

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program

7 Strategies for Growing Community on Your Blog

Can You REALLY Make Money Blogging? [7 Things I Know About Making Money from Blogging]

Notice Something here?

They all promise an irresistible benefit to the reader.

We could spend hours discussing the anatomy of popular headlines, but there are two must- haves for injecting a hefty amount of stopping power into any headline.

  • Promising a mouth-watering benefit to the reader
  • Arousing the readers burning curiosity

If your headline does the two things above, that’s a good sign.

Looking for more ways to power up your headlines? Jon Morrow’s 52 Headline Hacks report is an indispensable guide

 

3 Strong Copy and Seductive Blog Posts Adhere To The Same Formula

Ever heard of the AIDA formula? It’s a known formula for writing sales pages, but it can also be used to quickly create high-power blog posts.

A- Attention. This is your headline and your opening sentence, where you’re looking to snag your prospects attention and quickly show that what you’re selling is beneficial to them.

If you’re a blogger, the only difference is that your readers aren’t paying you with cash.  They’re paying you with their time and attention, and you’re selling them on how reading your content will benefit them.

I-Interest. This is where you’ll pique the interest of your prospects. Nudging them further down your copy by weaving a relatable story or describing a painful problem that your product solves.

In your posts, this is where you’d seduce readers further down the page by sharing a story or arousing their curiosity and emotions.

D-Desire. Here’s where blogging and copywriting have a slight split.

In a sales page, this would be where you describe the benefits of your product and get your reader warm and runny over what you’re selling.

In your posts, this is where you deliver your content.

A-Action. After being swept off their feet by all the amazing benefits of your product, this is where you invite your prospect to take some kind of action. Usually to make an order, cut out a coupon or fill in a form.

As a blogger, after your readers are charged up and inspired by the content you’ve delivered. This is where you invite them to take action by commenting, subscribing or clicking on a link.

Blog posts and sales pages both have the same goal: To get the reader to take action, and that’s what the AIDA formula is designed to do.

So the next time you find yourself gazing at the ceiling with a blank page on your screen. Give the AIDA formula a try.

 

4 Long Post vs. Short Posts?

What’s more effective, long posts or short posts, long copy or short copy?

Joseph Sugarman answers the question perfectly: “Copy is never too long if the readers takes the action that you request. Therefore, it can’t be dull, it must be compelling, it must relate to the readers and, finally, it’s got to be about something the reader is interested in.”

This means that as long as you’re providing value to your readers, keeping them engaged, and relating to them… the length of your post is almost irrelevant.

 

5 Adopt the Gun to The Head Writing Philosophy

When John Carlton started his copywriting career, he had no source of income, savings for only one more month’s rent, and last a tank of gas in his battered car. (Not a nice place to be right?)

But instead of feeling panicked by his situation, he describes feeling eerily calm.

Why?

Because he had to create successful ads, or starve.

To do this, he treated each ad as if it was a life or death matter. Like their was a cold nozzle of a loaded gun pressed into to his head while he wrote.

So, how does one write when they have no choice but to create something that moves people to act?

  • You don’t take risks.

You rely on proven methods that you know will work. In the world of copywriting this means using proven structures, headlines and devices. Relate this to blogging, and it means using proven headlines, blog post types and topics to create hard hitting posts.

 

  • You be as clear as possible.

If your reader loses interest, you lose the sale. Similarly, if your post is boring; you’ve just lost a reader. Use simple language and aim to be as clear as possible.

 

  • You always provide a juicy benefit to the reader

In a sales letter, you communicate the benefit your readers will gain from your product.  In a blog post you communicate how your content will enrich their lives.

What can they expect to gain from your continuing to read your content?  Be sure to let your reader know or risk losing him.

Give yourself no option but to write stellar content, and you will.

 

6 The Most Powerful Word in Your Writing Arsenal

Is the word “You.”

Your readers doesn’t care about what you want. What your interests are, or what you like. However they care, very deeply, about what they want, like and find interesting.

Constantly relate everything back to your readers by use the word “you” generously in your writing. It’s about your reader, not about you.

 

7 Shock Your Readers Into Paying Attention

Another lesser-known copywriting trick used to craft hypnotic sales letters is to anticipate and answer objections before your reader can voice them.

Read any good sales letter, and you’ll notice every time the reader can ask a question, it’s answered immediately. This helps the copy flow and extinguishes any stress the reader may have.

You can do something equally powerful when writing your blog posts too.

In their book “Made to stick”, Chip and Dan Heath discovered that we all have a little guessing machine running inside our heads. It’s constantly trying to guess what’s going to happen next.

And as long as everything goes according to plan, people stay a little bored and disinterested.

A powerful way to snap people out their guessing trance, is to break their guessing machine by knowing what they expect you to say, and deliberately going against it.

So instead of anticipating objections for a product, anticipate what your readers expect to hear and say the opposite (or something they’re not used to hearing).

Take for example this post here by Carol Tice.

Carol predicts what the reader is thinking, and says the complete opposite. She simultaneously educates and shocks the reader. Instantly jolting their guessing machine and forcing them to pay attention.

If you want your posts to snap your readers into attention, attack their guessing machines with something unexpected. It could be unique advice, a controversial view or something that no-one else talks about.

 

8 Use Stories To Bond With Readers

Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic. They are ideally set up to understand stories- Roger C. Shank.

Stories stir feelings and charge you with emotion. Sometimes making you burst with excitement or flooding your world with sadness. Thanks to their extreme power,  they are a popular tool amongst copywriters.

A recent experiment by journalist Rob Walker set out to test the power of stories and how they can add value to almost anything.

Rob hired a group of writers to create emotionally provocative stories about unwanted, cheap thrift store items.

He then placed the items on ebay with the story in the description.

The results?

They sold $128.74 worth of abandoned thrift items for over $3000 dollars. An overall value increase of over 2,700%.

By using stories in your blog posts, you arouse your readers emotions and create sympathy and make yourself more relatable. You’ll also be able to cement ideas and information into readers brains with much more strength and clarity.

 

9 Electrocute Your Readers With Emotion

There’s a reason why sales letters describe painful problems, amazing dreams, and heart breaking stories to readers before mentioning their products.

Emotion.

Copywriters rub salt into readers wounds and paint pleasing pictures to charge people with emotion. They know the only way to get anyone to act and to pay attention, is to get their hearts to beat a little faster. To raise their body temperature up a notch. To make them salivate with desire. To make them feel.

In a special report by Jonah Berger and Katy L. Milkman called “what makes online content go viral” one of the biggest revelations was that content that evokes powerful emotions is more viral than content that doesn’t.

This makes sense. For people to take act, they have to feel.

So for people to actively share and promote your content, they have to be exploding with so much inspiration, ambition or hope that they can’t help but spread your message.

While there are a ton of ways to inject more raw emotional power into your writing, the best way is to charge yourself up with the emotions you want readers to absorb.

Get flush with anger. Get extremely hyper. Get insanely happy. Then, discharge your energy into your writing.

 

One Final Thing

All the tips in this post can do wonders when it comes to creating popular posts.

But, if there’s one thing that could render all the above tips combined utterly useless.

It’s value.

If what you’re write doesn’t bring value to your audiences lives in any way, no tip will ever help you create posts that readers bookmark and share.

How do you come up with killer content for your readers? Please tell me in the comments below!

Hassan Ud-deen is a freelance blogger and email copywriter who helps businesses use content to grow. You can find out more about him on his blog www.f-bombmarketing.com or if you need help with your blog posts or copy, shoot him an email or connect with him on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

9 Copywriting Rules To Create Hypnotic Posts Your Readers Will Love

Reblogged 2 years ago from feedproxy.google.com

Google Now Supports Crawling & Indexing Locale-Adaptive Web Pages

Google adds support for web pages that dynamically change their content based on IP origin or language settings.

The post Google Now Supports Crawling & Indexing Locale-Adaptive Web Pages appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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7 Essential Quality Metrics For Evaluating Publishers For Guest Blogging

Guest blogging may not be a great link building strategy anymore, but columnist Jayson DeMers reminds us that it’s still a valuable tactic.

The post 7 Essential Quality Metrics For Evaluating Publishers For Guest Blogging appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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3 Steps To Optimizing Local Paid Search

Columnist Benjamin Vigneron explains how to localize your messaging and optimize your budget across your best performing locations in Google Enhanced Campaigns.

The post 3 Steps To Optimizing Local Paid Search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Adobe Muse CC 2014 | Search Engine Optimization | Muse For You

Join Bluehost now and get a FREE domain name! http://www.bluehost.com/track/velveteenwebdesigngroup Bluehost – Bluehost is one of the largest and most truste…

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Facebook Marketing and Social Media Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

In this 60 minute video, Vincent Cheng, the Principal Consultant and Trainer from JeVince Solutions, speaks about the Social and Human Side of Social media a…

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How Facebook Sped Up Photo Loading in iOS App, News Feed for Android

Facebook users and engineers always feel the need — the need for speed — and the social network detailed how it fulfilled that need for photos on its iOS application and News Feed in its Android app in separate blog posts.

Facebook adopted a technique known as progressive JPEG to speed up photo loading in its iOS app, describing the process in a post on its engineering blog as an image format that stores multiple, individual \”scans\” of a photo, each with an increasing level of detail.

As for News Feed in its Android app, another engineering blog post details how the social network handles the extremely complex ListView behind the process.

Highlights of the post on PJPEG follow:

Our team took a look at how we can make photos faster on iOS and we found a way to reduce the data used by Facebook for iOS by about 10 percent and show a good image 15 percent faster than before.

Progressive JPEG (PJPEG) is an image format that stores multiple, individual \”scans\” of a photo, each with an increasing level of detail. When put together, the scans create a full-quality image. The first scan gives a very low-quality representation of the image, and each following scan further increases the level of detail and quality. When images are downloaded using PJPEG, we can render the image as soon as we have the first scan. As later scans come through, we update the image and re-render it at higher and higher quality.

Rendering images progressively in the Facebook app has some advantages:

  • Data consumption: PJPEG allows us to skip downloading smaller versions of an image.
  • Network connections: Since we don’t download smaller versions of an image anymore, we now use only one connection per image instead of many.
  • Disk storage: Storing fewer photos on disk decreases the amount of disk space used by the app.
  • One URL: Since we no longer need to download multiple images at different sizes, we can simply use one URL.

There is a downside to PJPEG: Decoding and rendering the image multiple times at varying scan levels uses more CPU (central processing unit). Decoding images can be moved to background threads, but the process is still heavy on CPU. The real challenge for us was to find the right balance between data usage, network latency and CPU utilization. For instance, we considered using WebP, since it is more optimal in file size than JPEG in some cases, but the format does not support progressive rendering.

We render three different scans of each photo:

  • First we render a preview scan: This is pixelated.
  • Then we render a scan that looks good to the naked eye. In fact, it looks almost perfect to the naked eye.
  • Finally we render at full-quality: the best resolution possible.

The result is that people see a good photo sooner!

PJPEG650

And here are highlights of the post on rendering the News Feed in Android:

If you work on an Android app (or any touch-screen-based app, actually), there’s a very good chance you have at least one activity based on a ListView. In many cases, it may be the screen of your app where users interact with the app the most. In the case of Facebook for Android, this ListView is your News Feed. Keeping News Feed working well in Facebook’s Android app presents a variety of engineering challenges, starting with performance considerations for touchscreens.

Facebook’s News Feed, a popular screen in the Facebook for Android app, is an extreme example of a complicated ListView. This makes delivering a smooth scrolling experience especially hard.

First, each story you see in the feed is pretty tall, and contains several pieces of text and photos. This makes the challenge of binding all of the story’s data without skipping frames significantly harder.

Secondly, there are multiple variations of stories in your feed. Aside from a simple story containing some text and a photo, you can see multiple variations of attachments: a preview for a link, an album, a video, etc. The story might be shared, in which case the story contains another story inside it. Hardest of all, we need to render aggregated stories, which means one story can actually be composed of several stories that are related. A good example of this is when many of your friends wish you a happy birthday. These aggregated stories are the most challenging to render, as one of them can easily be twice as tall as the screen of the device.

As an extra challenge, the typical Android phone is not a high-end device. So the amount of computations you can fit in under 16.7 milliseconds is likely less than the amount on the majority of phones you develop on.

About a year ago, we felt it was the time to invest in a new architecture for our rendering code for News Feed. We knew we wanted to avoid the pitfalls of the previous design and try to get rid of our more fragile code. For that purpose we considered a new idea: Splitting each story in the News Feed to several items in the ListView. Using this idea, the header part of a story will be its own item in the ListView. This nice trick results in various advantages right away. First, this makes Android’s recycling effective again. If before, two custom views for a story were too different to have one recycled into the other, now, recycling is happening on a sub-story level.

The other idea we incorporated to the design is decoupling the binding logic from the custom views themselves. For this purpose, we basically split our previous custom view into two classes: a simpler \”dumb\” custom view, and a Binder class.

This rewrite effort has resulted in many benefits:

  • The number of out-of-memory errors experienced by people using Facebook has been reduced by 17 percent, and the number of total errors was reduced by 8 percent. Some errors, such as stack overflows in the view hierarchy, have disappeared.
  • The maximum time it takes to render a frame was reduced by 10 percent, after additional optimizations and removal of custom recycling code that was no longer needed. Additional simplifications are expected to improve by such amounts once more. Big jumps that resulted from loading a tall complicated story have disappeared.
  • We were able to simplify reusing our feed code with different layouts, which helped in the creation of the stand-alone app for Facebook Groups on Android.
  • The new design has lent itself to improving our code quality. More teams can contribute to News Feed while being sandboxed from other teams working on parallel features. We also used this opportunity to make sure our code is testable and well covered. The new feed code has a line coverage with unit tests of 70 percent, compared with 17 percent in the old code.

RenderingAndroidNewsFeed650

Readers: Have you noticed any performance differences in your Facebook iOS or Android apps?

Speed image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Learn From Dana Lookadoo, Support Her Medical Fund

Posted by jennita

One aspect of the Moz Community that doesn’t get mentioned enough is the individual community members who were here in the early days of SEOmoz. The folks who stuck around when our tools were brand new, when Rand was “just another SEO guy,” and when our community was really just a bunch of folks talking about SEO.

One of those early members was Dana Lookadoo. She joined Moz in April 2007, and has been a supporter, trainer, and mentor to many others ever since. Whether it’s the blog posts she’s written, the thoughtful comments she’s left, or the presentations she’s given at MozCon and in webinars, she’s provided for this community like few others have.

Last year, Dana took a
horrible fall when she was on a bike ride (she’s an avid cyclist), and broke her neck and back. She’s had many ups and downs since the accident, and hasn’t been able to work full-time. Dana now suffers intense burning from neuropathy and muscle spacicity that has spread from head to toe, and she has burning and spasms covering approximately 75% of her body. Her mobility and function is greatly limited and she suffers a lot of pain each day.

She splits her time between the wheelchair, the bed, and some in the walker. Unfortunately, over the last few days she’s had so much pain and spasms that she isn’t walking as much. It is also quite difficult for Dana to deal with bright lights, and she can’t spend much time on her phone or computer.

Dana has given so much to the Moz community, and to our industry as a whole. Her knowledge and generosity has helped marketers for many years, and now it’s our turn to return the favor. She’s in need of part-time caregivers, which cost $4,125 per month. That’s almost
$50k for a year (…and that’s only part-time!). This doesn’t include paying for the multiple hospital stays, visits to the ER, physical therapy, occupational therapy, neuropathy treatment, and so on.

I’m asking you to help one of our amazing community members by donating to her medical fund. Every little bit helps, and you can even set up a monthly payment (I’m doing $25 per month). If you don’t have the means, please help us spread the word. It’s our turn to give back to Dana.

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of Dana’s amazing work she’s done for the Moz Community, as so much of it remains great advice to marketers.


Stress-free Website Redesign for Search and Social

Download a PDF of the presentation

In September 2013, just two months before her accident, Dana presented an excellent webinar with us about how to make sure your search and social efforts don’t go to waste when you redesign a website. The full webinar is a little over an hour, but believe me, it’s worth the watch.


Rock Your SEO with Structured Social Sharing

At MozCon 2012, Dana was one of our very first Community Speakers to rock the stage. After seeing how well these presentations were received, we decided to continue the program each year. We’ve always been grateful to Dana for helping to make this so successful. In her presentation she discusses how to make your SEO even better by ensuring your social sharing is set up correctly. Give it a watch!

And if you’d like to just check out the slide deck, you can view that below:


I could honestly go on and on, as she’s been such an integral piece of the greater online marketing community. 

Donations needed

Please take a few moments and donate what you can. Every little bit helps! If you don’t have the means, we understand that as well, and hope you’ll share the post and fund using the methods below.

Please help share

Let’s get the word out! Here are some easy ways to help make a difference for Dana:

Lazy RT: https://twitter.com/Moz/status/560516906675736578

Embed a widget on your site:

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="258" height="338" title="Click Here to donate!" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="flashvars" value="page=danalookadoo&template=11" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed allowScriptAccess="always" src="http://funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf" quality="high" flashVars="page=danalookadoo&template=11" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="258" height="338"></embed></object>

Share this image on Twitter

If you have other ideas on how to get the word out and help our fellow community member, let’s hear it. Thank you all for your support and assistance.

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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Quality Content Factors: A List That’s Actually Helpful

We’re all chasing “quality content,” but what does that actually look like? Columnist Nate Dame explores 20 concrete characteristics of great content.

The post Quality Content Factors: A List That’s Actually Helpful appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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