1. Vulnerabilities Discovered In Five WooCommerce WordPress Plugins – The U.S government National Vulnerability Database (NVD) published warnings of vulnerabilities in five WooCommerce WordPress plugins affecting over 135,000 installations. The affected plugins are:

  • Advanced Order Export For WooCommerce
  • Advanced Dynamic Pricing for WooCommerce
  • Advanced Coupons for WooCommerce Coupons plugin
  • WooCommerce Dropshipping by OPMC – Critical
  • Role Based Pricing for WooCommerce

If you are using any of these plugins then you should do an update and move to the latest version. It’s also a best practice to back up the site before making any plugin updates.

2. Schedule Instagram App Now Allows You To Schedule Posts & Reels – Instagram users with professional accounts can schedule posts and reels up to 75 days in advance directly from the mobile app. Until now, it hasn’t been possible to schedule Instagram posts in the app. Users previously had to go through third-party tools or use desktop solutions like Meta Business Suite.

3. TikTok Testing TikTok Shop – This week in the US, TikTok officially began testing TikTok Shop, where users can now make purchases directly through the app. It was previously only available in the UK and seven countries in Southeast Asia. TikTok is currently inviting select U.S. businesses to participate in the testing. In the announcement, they wrote “We’ve seen the positive impact of TikTok Shop, and we’re excited to continue experimenting with this new commerce opportunity to support businesses of all sizes.”

4. YouTube Now Allows You To Control How Many Times Your Video Ad Is Shown – Google has rolled out target frequency for YouTube campaigns, letting advertisers control how many times an ad is shown. This feature is globally available for all advertisers running YouTube campaigns. Previously, controlling ad frequency on YouTube was only possible when running connected TV campaigns in Google Display & Video 360 (the enterprise solution). Here is what Google wrote in their announcement:

This will help advertisers optimize towards more precise reach and frequency, while ensuring that we continue to provide a suitable advertising experience for viewers. Target frequency allows advertisers to select a frequency goal of up to four per week and our systems will optimize towards maximum unique reach at that desired frequency.”

There’s always a risk of diminishing returns when repeatedly showing people the same ad. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where viewers tune out, and the added impressions drive fewer sales. Google acknowledges that seeing the same ad is frustrating for viewers and wasteful for advertisers. A Google-commissioned study finds that TV advertisers’ ROI decreases by 41% when the frequency exceeds 6+ weekly impressions, representing 46% of TV impressions served. That’s nearly half of impressions wasted. 

With target frequency, Google aims to help advertisers increase impressions without negatively impacting ROI. Advertisers can select the frequency target, and Google will optimize toward maximum unique reach at the frequency goal. In testing, Google says over 95% of target frequency campaigns on YouTube achieved their frequency goals when set up following recommended best practices.

5. Use Google Ads Reach Planner To Plan YouTube Video Action Campaigns – The Google Ads Reach Planner makes it easier for advertisers to plan for Conversions, Views, Reach, and Impressions-based metrics. It provides a forecast for how your media plan might perform, based on your desired audience, budget, and other settings such as geographic location and ad formats. Google says that forecasts are modeled on trends in the ad market and the historical performance of similar campaigns run in the past.

Going forward, advertisers will now have the option to select “Action – Online Conversions” as a goal when setting up your plans in Reach Planner and can also add Video Action Campaigns to existing plans.

6. Google Will Not Ding You If You Redirect From Http to Https –Luke Budka asked if Google will pass pagerank from unsecured http pages to https if proper 301s exist? He was asking on behalf of a client who did not bother buying ssl certificate for his old site but did set up redirects when they migrated. 

John Muller responded that Google can pass PageRank and other link signals from an HTTP non-secure URL to HTTPS secure URL through redirects. This is how Google does canonicalization and that there is “no special “security dust” involved.”

P.S: PageRank (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results. 

Canonicalization: Rel=”canonical” is an HTML tag that can be used to tell Google which version of a page to show in search results when multiple versions of the page exist. It’s most commonly used as a way to consolidate duplicate URLs on one’s own site, but the tag can also be used when content is republished or syndicated across multiple domains. Google doesn’t like to show duplicate content in search results, so it will instead choose one URL and omit the others. This is referred to as the canonical URL. Google’s official guide to advanced SEO has a whole chapter about using canonicalization to consolidate duplicate URLs.

7. Google: Fixing Search Console Issues Will Speed Up Recrawling – This week Google’s John Mueller explained why fixing an issue flagged in search console will help to speed up recrawling but that does not mean that the site will rank. 

For ranking, Muller suggests everyone to read the quality raters guidelines. The 167 page Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines is a guide for assessing site quality in an objective manner, free of subjective ideas on what is a good quality site. It may also be helpful to read Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines Overview because it’s shorter and easier to understand.

Google also recently published new documentation for helping publishers understand what Google considers rank-worthy content. The document is called, Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content

8. Google: “Search Is Never Guaranteed” – Google’s John Mueller reminded site owners that getting indexed in search results is not guaranteed.

Google Search Advocate John Mueller said, “Search is never guaranteed,” in response to a site owner asking why their content isn’t indexed. The site owner was dissatisfied that a website re-publishing identical content was getting indexed faster and was asking if he can use the Indexing API to brute force his way into Google’s index.

Mueller shoots that idea down, saying the Indexing API is reserved for specific types of content, such as livestreams and job postings.  Instead, Mueller advices the site owner to think of ways to make their website more valuable, increasing the likelihood that Google indexes pages quickly. Read what Muller shared to increase your likelihood of getting indexed and ranked:

Search is never guaranteed, and there are tons of sites that are trying to push their updates into Google. I think what ultimately works best is that you prove to Google (and users) that the updates you’re providing are valuable: unique, compelling, high-quality, and not something that’s already published elsewhere.

I realize that’s hard when it comes to user-generated content (which I assume some of this will be), but ultimately your site is what you publish, regardless of where it initially comes from. So the more you can do to make sure the indexable content on your site is easily findable and significantly valuable to the web, the more likely Google will be able to pick it up quickly (and that can mean that you block content that you determine is less-valuable from being indexed, for example).

One of the things even smaller, newer sites can do is to mention and link to updates on their homepages. Google usually refreshes homepages more frequently, so if there’s something important & new, make sure you have it there. Many sites do this intuitively, with a sidebar or a section for updates, mentioning the new headlines & linking to the content.

9. Google: Create Good Category Pages – When asked if it is a best practice to noindex the internal search result pages in online shops because of possible thin content or other reasons? Google Search Advocate John Muller said, “If you have good category pages, there’s usually no need to also have search pages indexed.” That means, (1) people won’t have to search your site to find what they are looking for, they can just use your navigation and (2) Google will index your category pages and rank them, if you want Google to rank a search results page, then maybe that should be a category page…

John also added that having your internal search results pages can lead to spam or other issues. 

P.S: A category page is a page that sits above your product pages in your site hierarchy. It is is basically the bridge between your homepage and your product pages. It helps a user navigate to the section of your site they want and find the specific product types they are looking for.

10. Google: On How To Handle Negative SEO Attacks – Negative SEO, also sometimes called “black hat SEO,” involves the use of malicious tactics on your site to tarnish your reputation with Google and steal search engine rankings for important keywords to be used on a competitor’s site. 

This week, a user asked Google Search Advocate John Mueller on how to handle Negative SEO Attacks, such as competitors building spammy links to your domain.? Mueller’s advice is to ignore the problem. That’s it; ignore it. Here’s his full reply:

“I’d just ignore them. Think of it this way, if your competitors are competent, they won’t build links for you. If your competitors are incompetent, the links won’t have any effect.”

FYI: Google ignores many links, such as low-quality links a bad actor might build en masse in an attempt to damage a competitor’s rankings. Therefore, website owners and SEOs should ignore said attacks since Google won’t count the links against a site’s rankings.

In the past, Muller also suggested that you shouldn’t rush to use the disavow tool if you’re concerned about negative SEO. This is because Google ignores the spammy links, so there’s no need to disavow them. The disavow tool is more for recovering from manual action penalties. However, there’s nothing wrong with using the disavow tool if it makes you feel more comfortable.