This week: WordPress has a new Gutenberg, TikTok has Stories, and Google has some good news if your website recently went down.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
WordPress Releases Gutenberg 11.2
This past week, WordPress released the latest version of its text editor: Gutenberg 11.2.
If you’re not familiar with Gutenberg, it’s a really easy way to create web content with a drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) user interface.
One big change in the new release is the addition of a search block. That’s a design element that lives up to its name: users enter a query and search your website for relevant matches.
Also, the latest Gutenberg includes some new pull quote options. You have access to additional text colors, background colors, and border options.
And here’s a nice feature: the new version also fixes problems with layout shift. That’s important now that Core Web Vitals metrics are ranking factors.
WordPress Still Dominates
According to new research by GigaPress, WordPress owns more than 44% of the content management system (CMS) market share.
The runner-up? Drupal, with a distant 9.6% of the market.
According to GigaPress: “This is more than an impressive stat—it’s a testament to the ubiquity of WordPress, as well as its reliability and scalability.”
Just keep in mind that WordPress is loaded up with all kinds of bells and whistles. And even more if you use lots of plugins.
That means it could give you sluggish performance and a poor user experience. As a result, expect a hit to your rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google Updates Search Console Page Experience Report
Google recently dropped the safe browsing and ad experience widgets from its Search Console Page Experience report.
Why? In the case of the safe browsing widget, Google eliminated it from the report because it’s not a ranking signal.
“Safe Browsing systems at Google are designed to keep users safe on the internet,” Google said in a statement. “Sometimes sites fall victim to third-party hijacking, which can cause Safe Browsing warnings to be surfaced. We recognize that these issues aren’t always within the control of site owners, which is why we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and won’t feature in the Page Experience report.”
And Google is taking out the ad experience widget because it’s redundant. A standalone version of that report already exists.
Also, the ad experience report has nothing to do with ranking.
Google: Website Downtime Won’t Impact Rankings (Probably)
Here’s some good news: Google’s John Mueller just said that a website’s downtime won’t affect its rank in search.
He said that in response to a Reddit poster who asked: “Can I recover lost Google rankings after almost 5 days of downtime?”
The answer is yes.
“Sure, that should pop back in a week or two,” Mueller replied. “If it takes longer then the drop wouldn’t be from the downtime.”
He went on to say that Google doesn’t view it as a quality issue if a site goes down once in a while.
That’s because the folks at Google understand that things in high tech frequently can and will go wrong.
Also: Mueller noted that it takes a few days for Google to take any kind of negative action against a site that went down.
So if your site drops off the grid for just a few hours, you should be fine.
TikTok Is Testing TikTok Stories
Everybody else tried Stories. So why not TikTok?
Yep. TikTok is testing Stories.
Just like other Stories, the TikTok version will disappear after 24 hours. That’s great news for everybody who doesn’t already realize that the Internet is forever.
Stories will appear in a collapsible, left-hand sidebar off the main feed. Users can just tap into them from accounts they follow.
TikTok Stories are offered with a dedicated camera and creation workflow as well. That will also appear on the left-hand sidebar.
Keep in mind: this is just an experiment for now. No word yet on when it goes live.
Pinterest Loses 24 Million Users
Pinterest finally took a hit in user growth. And a big one.
The social media company lost 24 million users in the last quarter.
U.S. users dropped 5% year-over-year.
Why? According to Pinterest, it’s because of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thanks to that, people are reopening physical stores and the old economy is kicking into high gear.
So people aren’t shopping on social media as much anymore.
On the plus side: Pinterest still boasts 454 million users. That’s nothing to take lightly.
Put that together with the fact that the company generates $1.32 per user globally, and you can see that it’s still a winner.
Google: If You Remove a Part of Your Site, It Will Rank Differently
Be careful about making major changes to your site if you want to keep your great rank. That’s the advice of Google’s John Mueller.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked Mueller the following question: “If I will move a sub-folder of my domain to a completely new domain using 301 redirects, will it hurt the rankings of our website?”
And here’s how Mueller responded: “So, asked differently, if you remove a part of your website, will that website rank differently? Yes, of course it will. It’s a different website afterwards.”
Yeah. That does kind of make sense.
So, asked differently, if you remove a part of your website, will that website rank differently? Yes, of course it will. It’s a different website afterwards.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) August 2, 2021
Poll: SEOs Split on How to Handle Sponsored Links
Aleyda Solis conducted an online poll this past week to get some insights on how SEOs will handle affiliate or sponsored links in the wake of the Link Spam update.
And there’s no consensus.
Of those surveyed, 38% said their sponsored links are mostly followed while just under 40% said they’re no-followed.
Only 22% said they use the new rel=”sponsored” tag.
Of those who don’t use the rel=”sponsored” tag, 33% said they’ll keep using follow links, 33% said they’ll keep using no-follow links, and 33% said they’ll start using the rel=”sponsored” tag.
… 2) If you’re not yet using rel=“sponsored”: Are you updating your sponsored links configuration after seeing the announcement of Google’s Link Spam Update?
— Aleyda Solis 👩🏻💻 (@aleyda) July 26, 2021
Google Merchant Center Will Enforce Accuracy in MPNs
Google will require Merchant Center merchants to use accurate Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) beginning this month.
You’ll see item-level warnings (“Incorrect product identifier [mpn]”) for inaccurate info.
By next month, Google will start removing approvals of products that don’t include accurate data.
Google advises you to review your Diagnostics page to see which products are affected.
Google: You Might Get A Ranking Boost If People Steal Your Images
One of the downsides of putting original content on the Internet is that some folks might steal your creative work and put it on their own websites.
Ah, but there’s a silver lining to that cloud.
Somebody asked Google’s Gary Illyes about that subject this past week on Reddit.
Here’s how Illyes responded: “Surprisingly hard to answer. In short, you do get some benefit from an image syndicated on other sites if your HTML landing page can become canonical.”
Another great way to make lemonade when life hands you lemons.
A few more things to do before you get started with your weekend:
- If you’re a Google Merchant Center user, make sure you’re using accurate MPNs. Otherwise, you’re going to lose revenue.
- If you’re planning on removing or moving part of your site, think about the SEO consequences. You could lose rank.
- If you’re a WordPress user, take the new Gutenberg for a test drive. Think about how you can use the new features to improve your content marketing.
- Think about how you should handle sponsored links in the wake of the new guidance from Google and the recent rollout of the Link Spam update.