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Google’s Mueller On Self-Hosted WordPress Versus Wix

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Google’s Mueller On Self-Hosted WordPress Versus Wix

Google’s John Mueller answered a question on Reddit about moving an SMB site from Wix to a self-hosted WordPress environment. He offered his opinion on this specific scenario and within this context discussed the relative merits and shortcomings of managed and self-managed WordPress for SMBs.

Small and Medium Businesses (SMB)

SMB means small and medium businesses and what those sizes mean is not anything set in stone, there are multiple definitions.

In general small businesses are those with under 100 employees. Medium size businesses are those with between 100 to 500 employees and some definitions rank medium as high as 1,000 employees.

Managed and Self-hosted WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is a hosting environment where the web host takes care of all the technical maintenance related details of hosting a WordPress site.

Things like security, caching, Content Delivery Networks (CDN), security, updates and backups are all handled by the managed hosting company.

That allows an SMB to focus on their core business without having to hire and in-house web developer to maintain security and updates for the site.

The trade-off for having the web host handle the technical details is that the host limits what plugins can run on their environment in order to preserve security on the host.

Self-hosted environment is where a web host is responsible for backing up their sites and keeping it all up to date.

The trade-off here is that the self-hosted environment allows a business more freedom to use whatever solution is necessary, including using their own custom-developed plugins, which means having to hire or train someone inside the company to handle the maintenance and security chores.

Managed WordPress hosting costs more than self-hosted but it costs less than hiring or training someone to handle the technical issues.

An SMB Is Moving From Wix To Self-hosted WordPress

The person asking the question on Reddit explained that a neighbor was moving away from Wix to a self-hosted WordPress environment.

They explained that the current Wix website performed excellently in terms of page speed and rankings.

The person starting the discussion noted:

“…his current website scores a 98 in SEO on lighthouse, and clients tell him all the time that he is the first local company that pops up in results.”

It may not be unreasonable to assume that the SEO building out the self-hosted WordPress website for the SMB is fixing something that does not need fixing.

It sounds like the business is doing just fine on Wix.

John Mueller Says Wix is Fine For SEO

Google’s John Mueller answered the question by first addressing the issue of Wix and SEO and then to discuss self-hosting a WordPress site, which is what the business moving from Wix to WordPress was in the process of doing.

Mueller said:

“Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO, but they’ve made fantastic progress, and are now a fine platform for businesses. The reputation from back then lingers on, but don’t be swayed by it.

What they’ve done in recent years is really good stuff, including making it trivial to have a really fast site (as you see in the Lighthouse scores — admittedly, speed is only a tiny part of SEO).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch.”

John Mueller Discourages Moving to Self-hosted for SMBs

Mueller next explained that a self-hosted WordPress environment may not be idea for an SMB that does not have a dedicated web support team.

I think it’s important recognize that Mueller’s answer was given within the context of a discussion of a specific SMB with limited web support moving from a well-performing Wix site to an unmanaged WordPress environment.

Mueller responded:

“In particular, do not move to something self-hosted.

Hosting a site yourself comes with a million tiny hassles, and a business without a dedicated support team will struggle doing the right things, and end up getting hacked + have to invest a ton to improve infrastructure over time (speed, security, functionality).

Some people like the challenge, but if your neighbor likes running a non-IT business, then they should not run their own server (eg, host WordPress themselves).

I know running WP yourself is still somewhat popular, but for a SMB that has other things on their mind, it’s absolutely a bad thing to do.

There are hosted & managed WP setups, they cost money, but they do these things for you.

Wix also does all of this for you. Squarespace, etc – similarly.”

Google’s John Mueller Participating On Reddit

Google's John Mueller on SEO Reddit

Managed Hosting or Software As A Service?

Companies like Wix and Squarespace offer a Software As A Service (SaaS) approach, where the platform is completely optimized for businesses, with the goal being to make it easy for businesses to get online and run their business, with the technology part getting out of the way so that the small business can focus on their business.

Managed WordPress hosting accomplishes pretty much the same thing for businesses opting for a WordPress solution, but with some restrictions.

Wix may have an advantage over managed WordPress hosting because of their highly optimized improved SEO and page speed capabilities.

A managed WordPress host has limited influence over SEO and Page Speed since page speed and to a limited extent SEO can be dependent on the WordPress template and plugins used.

One thing is clear, as John Mueller observed, that if Wix is working for the small business then there is no reason to move away to a different platform.

Citations

The original discussion is available here:

My older neighbor is having a company build a new website for his business…

John Mueller’s response can be accessed through his Reddit profile:

https://www.reddit.com/user/johnmu/

Searchenginejournal.com

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GOOGLE

This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

Here’s what happened in the world of Google and search engines this week:

1. Google’s June 2024 Spam Update

Google finished rolling out its June 2024 spam update over a period of seven days. This update aims to reduce spammy content in search results.

2. Changes to Google Search Interface

Google has removed the continuous scroll feature for search results. Instead, it’s back to the old system of pages.

3. New Features and Tests

  • Link Cards: Google is testing link cards at the top of AI-generated overviews.
  • Health Overviews: There are more AI-generated health overviews showing up in search results.
  • Local Panels: Google is testing AI overviews in local information panels.

4. Search Rankings and Quality

  • Improving Rankings: Google said it can improve its search ranking system but will only do so on a large scale.
  • Measuring Quality: Google’s Elizabeth Tucker shared how they measure search quality.

5. Advice for Content Creators

  • Brand Names in Reviews: Google advises not to avoid mentioning brand names in review content.
  • Fixing 404 Pages: Google explained when it’s important to fix 404 error pages.

6. New Search Features in Google Chrome

Google Chrome for mobile devices has added several new search features to enhance user experience.

7. New Tests and Features in Google Search

  • Credit Card Widget: Google is testing a new widget for credit card information in search results.
  • Sliding Search Results: When making a new search query, the results might slide to the right.

8. Bing’s New Feature

Bing is now using AI to write “People Also Ask” questions in search results.

9. Local Search Ranking Factors

Menu items and popular times might be factors that influence local search rankings on Google.

10. Google Ads Updates

  • Query Matching and Brand Controls: Google Ads updated its query matching and brand controls, and advertisers are happy with these changes.
  • Lead Credits: Google will automate lead credits for Local Service Ads. Google says this is a good change, but some advertisers are worried.
  • tROAS Insights Box: Google Ads is testing a new insights box for tROAS (Target Return on Ad Spend) in Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns.
  • WordPress Tag Code: There is a new conversion code for Google Ads on WordPress sites.

These updates highlight how Google and other search engines are continuously evolving to improve user experience and provide better advertising tools.

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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