This week: a new report highlights threats to WordPress websites, Google makes an important announcement about Core Web Vitals, and Instagram makes it easier for you to recover from a mistake.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Updates WordPress Stories Plugin
Google updated its Web Stories WordPress plugin to make it easier for you to make money and promote your brand.
The new version (1.3.0) integrates more easily with AdSense and the Beta Programmatic Demand.
“The Web Story ad ecosystem is still emerging, but AdSense and even programmatic demand via Ad Manager are already supported,” Google said in a statement. “You can now enable these integrations for your stories in the plugin’s settings without any coding necessary.”
The new plugin also includes a layouts section that will enable you to add different templates to your Stories.
Also, Google rolled out more eye-candy. The new plugin features complex animations that will draw attention to your content.
The Big G also included a checklist that tells you all the things you need to do to make your Story eligible for Google Discover.
YouTube Rolls out Clips for Live Streams
Soon, you might be able to create YouTube clips from live streams.
Even other people’s live streams.
Here’s how it works: the feature allows you to grab a 5-60 second bit of footage from a live stream and make your own video clip from it.
Then you can share it with others on the platform.
And I think you’ll find that viewers are much more receptive to a 30-second clip than a 4-hour live stream.
As I mentioned above, YouTube is currently testing the new feature. Your channel might not yet be part of the testing group.
Google Adds New Requirement to Event Structured Data
If you use Event structured data to promote your event in Google Search and Google Maps, you’ll want to pay attention to this news.
You now need to include the offers.priceCurrency property in your markup if you charge money for the event.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, the priceCurrency property sets the three-letter ISO 4217 currency code. If you live in the U.S., that code is “USD” (for “U.S. Dollars”).
A valid example looks like this:
It’s pretty likely that you already have that in place if you use the Event markup. But now it’s mandatory.
Twitter Publishes 2021 Marketing Events Calendar
This might be nice to have.
Twitter recently published a downloadable calendar of events for the year 2021.
Last year, the calendar was largely pointless thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year will hopefully tell a different tale.
Twitter also published regional events calendars for several countries, including Japan, Brazil, Canada, Spain, and the UK.
You can download the calendar here.
Google: Upload and Embedded Videos Give Same SEO Benefit
If your website is hosted by a provider that allows for high-throughput bandwidth, you might think that you can get some SEO benefits by uploading your videos rather than embedding them from YouTube. But that’s not true.
The question came up this week during a Google Search Central SEO office hours hangout. One of the participants asked Google’s John Mueller: “Is there any difference between embedding and uploading a video from an SEO point of view?”
In a nutshell: no, there isn’t any.
“It’s essentially the same,” Mueller said. “It’s very common that you have a separate CDN (content delivery network) for videos, for example, and technically that’s a separate website. From our point of view if that works for your users, if your content is properly accessible for indexing then that’s perfectly fine.”
There’s a caveat, though. If you upload a video to YouTube and embed it, then Google might rank the video ahead of your own web page.
Google: All Core Web Vitals Necessary for Ranking Boost
If you want a ranking boost when Google makes Core Web Vitals a ranking signal later this year, then you’ll need to have all your ducks in a row.
In other words, make sure that your site meets the benchmarks on all three signals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures the length of time it takes to load a page’s main content. It’s got to be within 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Measures the amount of time it takes before users can interact with a page. Needs to be within 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures shifts in screen elements. This should be under 0.1.
If your website isn’t making the cut, you still have some time to get things right. Google says that Core Web Vitals won’t become a ranking signal until May.
New Report Identifies Top Threats to WordPress Sites
If your website is powered by WordPress, then you’ll want to pay attention to this new report by Wordfence.
(By the way, Wordfence is a great plugin to use if you’re serious about securing your WordPress site.)
The report identifies three major threats to websites:
- Malware from pirated themes – Yes, I know it’s tempting to get those free themes that you see advertised on the black hat sites. But resist that temptation. They’re loaded with malware.
- Malicious login attempts – Hackers try to brute-force their way into websites by guessing the admin password. According to Wordfence, WordPress sites suffer 2,800 attacks every second.
- Vulnerability exploits – Bad guys exploit known vulnerabilities like directory traversal and SQL injection to cause damage.
Wordfence tracked 4 million sites to produce the report.
Google: Duplicate Content Isn’t a Negative Ranking Factor
I didn’t expect to see this one.
According to Google’s John Mueller, your site won’t take a ranking hit if it includes duplicate content.
Mueller says that it’s normal for sites to have some duplicate content. And he says that the Google algorithm can handle it.
According to Mueller, when Googlebot discovers copied text, “it’s not so much that there’s a negative score associated with it. It’s more that, if we find exactly the same information on multiple pages on the web and someone searches specifically for that piece of information, then we’ll try to find the best matching page.”
So your website might still rank, but all the web pages with duplicate content might not rank. That’s how it works.
Still, it’s a good idea to avoid duplicate content or use canonicals.
Google Will Suspend Merchant Sites That Show Higher Prices at Checkout
Bad news for bad marketers: Google will suspend the Google Merchant accounts of websites that jack up the price of an item at checkout.
It’s actually a policy that Google announced a long time ago. However, it’s not been enforced.
It will be enforced on April 6.
Google will give the bad marketers 28 days to get their discrepancies fixed. If they don’t, they’re out.
Anyway, if you’re going to show a different price at checkout than the advertised price, why not show a lower price? Make your customers happy and increase the chances of closing the sale at the same time.
Instagram Rolls out ‘Recently Deleted’ Folder
Here’s a new user-friendly feature from Instagram: a “Recently Deleted” folder.
It’s like the Recycle Bin or Trash folder on your PC.
Why is it helpful? Because if you accidentally delete a post, you can restore it.
Here’s what Instagram has to say about the new feature: “Now, for the first time, you can review and restore deleted content in the Instagram app… Photos, videos, reels, IGTV videos and stories you choose to delete are removed from your account immediately and moved to the Recently Deleted folder.”
Instagram will also ask people to prove that they’re the rightful account holders when they attempt to permanently delete content from Recently Deleted.
Google Analytics Stops Collecting Data From YouTube Channels
Confirmed: Google Analytics and YouTube are officially divorced.
That means if you want analytics about your YouTube channel, you’ll have to get that info from YouTube Studio going forward.
Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of data in YouTube Studio.
Google Analytics stopped collecting the data on YouTube pages on February 1. Before that, it removed the ability to establish a link between YouTube and GA in November of last year.
A new month. Some new tasks.
- Start using YouTube Analytics to get insights about your channel. You won’t be able to use Google Analytics for that purpose any longer.
- Get that marketing events calendar published by Twitter and look for ways to promote your brand with upcoming happenings.
- If you’re using Google Merchant, make sure you don’t show a higher price at checkout than is advertised on the landing page.
- Think about how you can use YouTube clips from live streams to promote your own business.
- If your website isn’t up to speed (literally) with Core Web Vitals, get that fixed yesterday.
- If you’re using WordPress with Stories to promote your brand, get that new plugin and look for ways to monetize your content. Also, use the new design templates to make your content more engaging.