Hey there, digital entrepreneurs, we are back with the latest edition of The Entrepreneur Monthly for May 2020.
I’m sure many of you are still at home, but given that I’ve mentioned staying at home in the past two updates, you might not want another reminder.
In The Entrepreneur Monthly, we’ll break down all the news you need to know from the past month. We’ll cover important news about SEO, social media, WordPress, marketing, product launches, and anything else that might affect your digital business. Then, we’ll share it here on the blog and in our newsletter.
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This month, Google started pushing its Core Web Vitals initiative with a new report in Search Console, as well as plans to make Core Web Vitals a ranking factor next year.
Beyond that, Facebook launched Facebook Shops for Facebook and Instagram, which you’ll definitely want to learn about if you’re running an eCommerce store.
And oh yeah, you can finally schedule Tweets without needing a third-party tool!
This is The Entrepreneur Monthly for May 2020.
Twitter now lets you schedule tweets from its web app
If you’re like most people, you don’t want to sit around all day waiting for the perfect time to publish your Tweets.
That, in part, is why social media scheduling tools such as Buffer are so popular.
However, in late May, Twitter announced two big changes to the way that you Tweet.
First, you can now schedule tweets from the Twitter website! You should see a new schedule icon that appears next to the existing icons that let you add pictures, GIFs, emojis, and more.
Playing around with it, it seems like you can schedule your Tweet to go live at any time in the next two years.
Along with that, you’ll also be able to save your Tweets as drafts. However, your saved drafts will only sync with other instances of the web app. For example, if you write a draft in the official Twitter mobile app, that draft won’t sync with the web app.
This certainly won’t replace the need for heavy-duty social media management tools.
However, for casual users who just want a little more control over when their Tweets go live, this is a very welcome feature.
Google Core Web Vitals: In Search Engine Console and a ranking factor
If you’re not familiar, Google’s Web Vitals project is an initiative to provide “unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.”
Core Web Vitals are a subset that Google believes should apply to all websites and “will be surfaced across all Google tools”.
The Core Web Vitals are comprised of three metrics, all of which have to do with how your website loads:
- Largest Contentful Paint – under 2.5 seconds – how long it takes for your page’s main content to load.
- First Input Delay – under 100 milliseconds – how long it takes your page to become interactive.
- Cumulative Layout Shift – less than 0.1 – the amount your website “shifts” as it loads. For example, if a late-loading image causes text to “jump” down.
Ok, so why the lesson on Google Core Web Vitals? Because, in May, Google amped up Core Web Vitals in two big ways.
First, you can now view metrics for Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console.
If you go to Enhancements → Core Web Vitals, you’ll see the metrics for your website, and which URLs you need to fix:
The Core Web Vitals report replaces the Speed report that previously existed in Google Search Console, and you’ll see a lot of similarities between the two.
Second, and more importantly, Google announced that Core Web Vitals will be a ranking signal in the future.
Google is still in the early stages of developing Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor, and you shouldn’t expect it to be live until at least next year.
With that being said, you probably don’t want to wait until the update hits to get your house in order.
All of the Core Web Vitals involve performance in some way, so one great tactic to get started is to use a WordPress performance plugin.
Of course, page load times have already been a ranking factor for some time. However, with Core Web Vitals, Google seems to be focusing even more on user experience, rather than just the raw number you see in a speed test tool like Pingdom.
If you want to learn more, Search Engine Journal has a great post that digs into the changes.
Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops go live
On May 19th, Facebook officially rolled out Shops for Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Shops is “a mobile-first shopping experience where businesses can easily create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free.”
Facebook Shops will let you highlight specific products for sale and group them into different categories.
On Facebook, visitors can find your shop via your Facebook page, stories, or ads. On Instagram, visitors can find shops via your profile or the Explore feature.
Shoppers can complete transactions via the Facebook website or you can direct them to your own website. In-app checkout is currently only available in the USA.
Facebook also has lots of plans to expand this feature with options to sell products via Facebook Live, create loyalty programs tied to shoppers’ Facebook accounts, and lots more.
If you want to learn more and create your own shop, check out the official announcement post.
Google Top Stories widget will show more than just AMP content
Have you ever noticed the “Top Stories” widget that appears in Google when you search for certain topics or trending news stories on a mobile device?
Since that feature launched in 2016, Google only allowed content from websites that are using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
If you’re not familiar, AMP is basically a way to speed up mobile page load times by coding your content in a certain way and letting Google (or others) cache it. If you want to enable AMP on WordPress, you can use the official AMP plugin.
The Top Stories widget appears at the top of the page, which makes it valuable real estate, and a reason to use AMP all by itself.
In late May, Google announced that, as part of a new Page Experience Update, AMP will no longer be required to rank in the Top Stories section of Google mobile search.
Instead, you’ll just need to make sure that your mobile pages perform well in Page Experience scores (like nailing your Core Web Vitals metrics).
Don’t get too excited yet, though, this change won’t go live until sometime in 2021.
If you want to learn more, check out this post from Search Engine Land.
Here’s why Google rewrites your meta descriptions
If you’ve ever read a post about website SEO, you’re probably familiar with the recommendation that you should always write a unique meta description for every piece of content that you publish.
However, if you’ve ever searched for your site in Google, you’ve probably also noticed that Google doesn’t always use the meta description that you wrote.
So…what’s the deal? Why isn’t Google using that awesome, click-grabbing meta description that you put your valuable brainpower into?
In a May 2020 Webmaster Central hangout, John Mueller of Google gave some answers.
John gave a few reasons why Google might rewrite a unique meta description that you wrote. The two big ones are:
- You tried to abuse the meta description by just stuffing in a bunch of keywords. Google doesn’t think that’s helpful to users so it will try to rewrite it.
- The search query makes your otherwise useful meta description not helpful. Google will try to tailor your meta description to the exact phrase(s) that people are searching for. So even if your meta description is helpful for some queries, it might not be for others, which would trigger Google rewriting it (but just for those queries).
If you want to learn more, Search Engine Journal has an excellent recap that breaks down John’s answers and provides some real-world examples.
And that wraps up all the latest news you need to know from May 2020. Check back next month for more great news about SEO, social media, WordPress, blogging, and more.