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Mark Traphagen
Works at Stone Temple Consulting
Attended Westminster Theological Seminary
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Mark Traphagen

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State of Social Media Q2 2016

These reports from +Christopher Penn are always must-reading for social marketers. Thorough research and beautiful graphs, plus actionable takeaways.

This link takes you to the Twitter report, which then links to the Facebook report.
The 140 character social network released its Q2 2016 earnings. How did everyone’s favorite short attention span social network fare? Let’s check the numbers. Audience Growth After relatively robust growth in Q1, Q2 returned to more modest growth, not even cracking 1% quarter-over-quarter growth. Twitter added only 3 million new users (which, in the scheme…Read More →
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This question comes up a lot. Here's a very balanced presentation by +Rand Fishkin of +Moz 
Is the practice of tracking keywords truly dying? There's been a great deal of industry discussion around the topic of late, and some key points have been made. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand speaks to the biggest challenges keyword rank tracking faces today and how to solve for them.
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Old Content and SEO

There is some really good advice in this +Search Engine Land article by +Tamara Weinberg, but I'm going to disagree with one point.

Does Google Always Prefer "Fresh" Content?
Weinberg says:

Google’s algorithms favor domains with an ongoing flow of fresh content, but they also favor pages that were published recently. To update your content without sacrificing its seniority benefits, make sure that the new version sits on the same URL as the old.

The first sentence is an oversimplification. Google prefers fresher content when it makes sense to prefer fresher content. For example, for queries about news or current events, Google will rank newer content better, for obvious reasons. But for topics where the content is more evergreen, an older page that has really good information and/or high authority and relevancy signals, can rank well too.

Her second sentence seems inexplicably to contradict the first (and affirm what I said) as it references "seniority benefits."

The bottom line: Don't get caught up in a frantic race to constantly churn out new content if you think that's what you have to do to do well in search. Especially if you're turning out a lot of lower quality content to do that, you're likely causing more harm than good.

Yes, there are good reasons to have a steady flow of quality content. It helps build audience loyalty and keeps your site "up to date" looking for visitors. But don't do it just as an SEO strategy.
Looking to get the most SEO value out of your content marketing efforts? Columnist Tamar Weinberg explains how to breathe new life into your content assets.
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I know we've talked about this before, but lastUpdated also can potentially play into that, no? That you have content that has a published date, but by periodically updating you're theoretically boosting its freshness. Then again, this is all why my blog post on content life cycles is one of my favorites :)
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Some have wondered why we did this study. Isn't it obvious that links are still powerful ranking signals?

We did it for two reasons:

1. A growing number of SEO writers have expressed belief that links are shrinking in importance as ranking overall increases in complexity.

2. Our own vast experience in SEO for huge sites convinced us that even favorable studies must be undervaluing the power of back links.

Click below to see the different methodology +Eric Enge used for our study and his results!
Do links still rule when it comes to search ranking?

As ranking factors increase in complexity, some experts doubt they count as much as they used to.

As usual, at Stone Temple we don't guess, we test! Check out our latest study at 
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yes it is..
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So proud of what we're creating at +Stone Temple Consulting. Stone Temple University is a comprehensive employee training program that will enable every team member, even our accounting and other support staff, to attain in depth knowledge of digital marketing, as well as help with productivity, career advancement and more.

For me personally this means I will have a staff who are not just good at marketing as an abstract skill, but who also are well-versed in our industry, a killer combination.

And it sure doesn't hurt when the core of your curriculum springs from the brain of +Eric Enge!
A session of our STU (Stone Temple University) program that keeps our employees on the sharp edge of digital marketing.
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I'm very pumped that I'll be teaching a writing class in September!
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Google has now had two announced updates to its mobile-friendly algorithm. How much effect did each have? As usual, at +Stone Temple Consulting we have the data!
Google's Mobile Ranking Updates: How Big an Impact?

See the results of our studies showing the impact of Google's "Mobilegeddon" updates on over 18,000 mobile search queries.
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Join us on Wednesday for a conversation about content marketing and content marketing tools with +Steve Rayson of +BuzzSumo and +Ronell Smith of +Moz 
@RonellSmith joins the BuzzSumo/Moz CM Tools RoundTable, July 27th at 11 AM PST. Register here:
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Mark Traphagen

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Here's the first contribution by +Stone Temple Consulting CEO +Eric Enge to the revised +Search Engine Journal  #SEO  Guide.

Yet to come: a chapter co-authored by Eric and me on links and authority.
PANIC! You see a sudden traffic drop and you need to fix it fast. What do you do first? Where should you look to find the problem? What are the best ways to fix the problem?

Our founder and CEO, lead author of The Art of SEO, Eric Enge has the answers in this chapter from the forthcoming Search Engine Journal​ #SEO Guide.

Read and share it at
Recovering from a Google penalty should be viewed as the first step. Then you can move past survival, and into a world where your traffic keeps growing.
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+Arthur Morehead in part it's a holdover from the early days of blogging before social networks. It was like your Twitter handle then. And there was an ethic of "you took the time to read my blog, so maybe I should read yours.

But from an SEO standpoint I wouldn't worry about it. Almost all blog and commenting software these days marks links in comments as no-follow, which means search engines disregard them. 
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My first tryout of Prisma turned one of the best photos I've taken recently into a beautiful oil painting. Color me impressed.

Didn't take this app seriously until I just read a recommendation from +Gideon Rosenblatt I guess we can add those people who charge hundreds of dollars to create paintings from your photos to the growing list of jobs that won't exist in a few years.

This is Bass Harbor Light, Maine.
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+Mark Traphagen yea, I'm just waiting for Prisma to begin offering a Printing service-- "Turn your Prisma Creations into full-sized art shipped straight to your door!"
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Content Marketing Tools Roundtable
Moz and Buzzsumo

I had the honor and delight of moderating this live discussion about content marketing tools and content in general with special guests +Steve Rayson of +BuzzSumo and +Ronell Smith of +Moz Content.

You can watch the replay below. Thanks to +Anton Shulke for setting this up!
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The truth is often different from conventional wisdom. A fascinating analysis by +Eli Fennell
Think Trolls Act Better Using Their 'Real Name'? Think Again.

There is a theory of internet trolls that goes as follows: they behave worse because they don't have to use their real names. Force them to do that, and they'll behave better.

Google+ tried the theory, but eventually gave up. Facebook still promotes the theory, much to the chagrin of many people booted for having unusual names that someone thought didn't sound 'real'.

Are they right? A team of researchers from the University of Zurich's Institute of Sociology decided to find out.

They gave participants in their research a simple choice: use your real name, or use a pseudonym. From this data they were able to analyze over 500K comments.

So, were the Real Name users better behaved? In a word: no. In two words: dream on.

Users who chose to use their Real Names were more likely to engage in online 'mass attacks' than pseudonymous users, helping put to bed the idea that Real Name Policies can 'fix' trolling.

Interestingly, and relevantly, Google+'s +Yonatan Zunger​, in explaining their decision to drop the policy, noted that they had similarly failed to find evidence of the policy's effectiveness, noting that if anything such policies tend to exacerbate preexisting power dynamics, as those most vulnerable and marginalized are least able to express themselves freely, while those most privileged are able to behave as they choose.

Trolling is a serious problem on the internet, threatening the power of social networks and other online communities and forums to bring groups and individuals together harmoniously and productively. It is therefore tempting to try to find a simple solution to this complex problem.

If there is one, Real Name Policies aren't it.

#SocialMedia #Trolls
Anonymity, we assume, is the breeding ground for bad behavior on the internet. Not necessarily.
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I agree with most of the tips provided here by +Omi Sido. But as a former English teacher who specialized in teaching composition, I would advise that it is better to vary the length or your sentences and paragraphs (with a slight bias toward shorter).

Varying short and longer sentences and paragraphs makes your writing both more natural and more interesting.
Blog Post Editing: 8 Steps to Take Before You Hit Publish

1. Try and use images preferably every 100-150 words.
- Take screenshots.
- Use free stock photos,,,
- Create a graphic or an infographic on

2.Give each section of your content a subheading - use the tags H2-H3 to do so. A good one makes it so much easier for readers to find your article (SEO benefits), and much more likely that they will read what you have written.

3. Edit yall your sentences so that they are as brief as possible. Very often long sentences are grammatically correct. But long sentences frequently contain several ideas, so they can easily lose the reader’s focus.

4. Paragraphs shouldn’t be more than 3-4 lines long. And remember that one paragraph = one point.

5. Add numbered and bulleted lists. They help structure your information and make the content easier to read and understand at-a-glance. They are also good for #SEO.

6. Highlight the key phrases with tags <strong> (bold text) or <em> (italics). People quickly get the point by skimming these words.

7. Use videos and slideshows as needed. Most people respond to visual content, and they respond strongly. Even highly complex ideas are easy to digest in those formats.

8. Don’t forget to proofread your post and correct all the mistakes and typos.

By +Omi Sido 
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+Susan Miller The best advice I can give you is going to sound cliche, but I believe it: write about what you're passionate about, what you are interested in, what you can't stop thinking and talking about.

Your audience will be most engaged if you are most engaged with your topic.

And don't worry if that audience is small (or even zero!) in the beginning. Write for yourself. Write for the joy of it. Write because if the words don't come forth you might explode.

Finally, while "rules" like these are fine, don't get hung up on them in the beginning. Just write. And write. You must write a lot to begin to find your own style, your own voice. Only then might it be valuable to hone that into more professional writing.

Good luck and have fun!
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Sr. Director of Marketing: Social Media Marketing - Google+ Marketing - Content Marketing - SEO - Organic Link Building
SEO, social media marketing, link building, content marketing, writing, content production, blogging, speaking
  • Stone Temple Consulting
    Senior Director of Marketing, 2014 - present
    Responsible for strategic planning and implementation of the online branding, promotion, and reputation of Stone Temple Consulting, as well as specialized consulting with selected Stone Temple clients.
  • Virante Inc.
    Director of Digital Outreach, 2011 - 2013
  • Virante Inc.
    Internet Marketing Analyst, 2009 - 2011
  • Westminster Bookstore
    Manager of Online Marketing, present
  • The Covenant School (Charlottesville VA)
    Assistant Administrator of Lower School, present
  • Abbot Laboratories
    IV Products Sales Representative, present
  • Uarco Business Forms
    Account Manager, present
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Durham NC
Youngstown OH - Columbus OH - Dayton OH - Muskego Lake WI - Menomonee Falls WI - Indianapolis IN - San Antonio TX - Cedar Grove NJ - Ramsey NJ - Cortland NY - Lynchburg VA - Hoolehua HI - Charlottesville VA - Glenside PA - Wyncote PA
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Social Media Marketing | Content Marketing | Personal Brand Authority

As Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting, I'm responsible for raising the awareness of STC's renowned services for our many Fortune 500 level clients. 

What can you expect me to talk and engage about? Social Media Consulting + Social Media Marketing + Content Marketing + Inbound MarketingInternet Marketing + Google+ Business Pages + Paid Search Advertising and anything to do with connecting on the web!

My mission is to help you get seen and heard, to get your message out and bring in people who want and need what you have to offer. My special know-how is in the intersection of social and search.

I'm the Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting, one of the leading online marketing agencies in the United States.

On Google+ you'll see me posting and sharing mostly about social media and how we can more effectively use it to collaborate and transform our world.

My Creds: 

Read and subscribe to my Flipboard Magazines. I daily curate there the best online marketing related news, tips, and articles I run across all over the web:

Available to speak at your conference! Also for press, podcast, and webinar interviews. Contact me through this profile or the email address below.

Personal Stuff

Married for over 30+ years to Karyn Louise Murphy Traphagen. Two grown-and-married daughters; six grandchildren. #nerdfighter #DFTBA!

I've competed in The Monti storytelling event (winning a StorySlam and runner-up in a GrandSlam), and joined a New Orleans-style second line band called the Bulltown Strutters.

Cover photo courtesy of Dustin W. Stout & Weal Media. Profile image by Jennifer Rich.

All posts and opinons expressed by me on Google+ are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or any other organization with which I might be connected.


My home blog is at Stone Temple Consulting. I write the Social Media Marketing column for Marketing Land, I also contribute to Moz, Search Engine Land, Maximize Social Business, Social Media Today and many other top digital marketing sites.

I have spoken at numerous industry conferences, including MozCon, Pubcon, SMX (Advanced, East, West & Social Media), and SearchExchange.

I tweet at @marktraphagen

Finally, let me leave you with a benediction, courtesy of my friend Eli Fennell:

In nomine Google, et Long Tail, et spiritus AuthorRank.

Bragging rights
Old enough to have an Early Adopter Badge from Foursquare for Planet Earth | The Monti StorySlam Winner & GrandSlam Runner Up
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  • Westminster Theological Seminary
    M.A.R. in Biblical Studies, 2004 - 2009
  • Liberty University
    B.A. Interdisciplinary.
Basic Information
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July 21
Other names
trappermark, the Foolish Sage, sagethefool
Mark Traphagen's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
5 Science-Backed Reasons Successful CEOs Meditate - Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.

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The Pablo Extension: Easily Create Social Media Images

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At the beginning of the year, Google and Twitter penned a deal that would be mutually beneficial. Google would get access to Twitter’s conte

Antifragile Marketing: How to Grow your business in uncertainty

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Introducing the Social Media Calendar by Buffer: The Natural, Visual Way...

With Buffer's social media calendar, you can plan social media content ahead, reschedule, drag things around, see performance and more, all

5 Reasons to Use Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

As you may have heard by now, Facebook has recently announced its latest feature to its advertising community: the Dynamic Product Ads. This

Branding &amp; Social Strategy Advice You HAVEN&#39;T Heard

Live from Pubcon, experts Mark Traphagen, Matt Craine and Mel Carson share insights you HAVEN'T heard on personal branding and social strate

The SEO Scoop with Enge &amp; Traphagen: Video Interview

Stone Temple Consulting's Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen talk Direct Answers, the future of Google+, fearless content marketing and the art of

SEO by the Sea

How does Google+ decide what to show you when you visit the social network, and look at new content; it depends upon who is sharing, and wha

Introducing Buffer for Video: Upload, Schedule and Analyze, All in One P...

Social media has entered the video era. In 2015 we’ve seen the addition of video on Twitter and a giant push by Facebook to make video a maj

ZEN PENCILS » 52. PHIL PLAIT: Welcome to science

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Juvenile Octopus

Look what we found at Within the Wilderness Adventures' Tutka Bay Lodge during super low tide (-4.7) today! A tiny octopus. We had a great t

How to Combat 5 of the SEO World's Most Infuriating Problems - Whiteboar...

When SEOs with the best of intentions are stymied by things out of their control, it can make us absolutely crazy. In today's Whiteboard Fri

Whittier to Kodiak Island: Rain and Drills | Stay Curious

We arrived in Whittier on Thursday morning at 6am. I walked through the pedestrian underground tunnel over to the Anchor Inn. ferry_25_whitt