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Core Web Vitals Not Really Your Problem? via @martinibuster

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You are not alone if  you’re struggling to improve Core Web Vitals scores and coming up short.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that achieving high Core Web Vitals performance is difficult.  The reason is because publishers and SEO are trying to fix something that technically is not broken.

Paradigm Shift in How Sites are Developed

We are in the beginning stages of a major paradigm shift in how web pages are created. A faster web host is helpful but it won’t fix Core Web Vitals issues.

Core Web Vitals are calculated downstream at the mobile device that is slurping down your web pages on a mobile phone at 3G or 4G speeds. That is where Core Web Vitals data comes from and a fast web server is of little use at that point if the download is being throttled by a poor Internet connection at the phone.

Improving Core Web Vitals is less about web hosting and more about fixing the code.

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Fixing What Isn’t Broken

WP Rocket recently redesigned their website using Gutenberg. That was a brave and almost reckless move considering that Gutenberg didn’t have full site editing capabilities at the time.

They had to customize how WordPress handles CSS and JavaScript  in order to improve Google Page Experience Scores.

In other words, in redesigning their website to score well for Core Web Vitals, WP Rocket had to customize WordPress itself, to make it be something it was not designed to be.

Core Web Vitals-Unfriendly

Core Web Vitals standards are not something that WordPress developers have in mind when creating WordPress. That’s why embedding tweets into a post will trigger Cumulative Layout Shift.

WordPress and themes don’t code for Google. They code for the needs of publishers which until May 2020 was not a publisher need.

It’s not just WordPress, either. Most other content management systems don’t have Core Web Vitals best practices built into them.

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That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with WordPress. There is nothing wrong with WordPress because Google says there’s something wrong.

Core Web Vitals is Not a WordPress Problem

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics independently developed by Google and pushed onto the publisher and SEO community to work with.

WordPress had nothing to do with it. Core Web Vitals appeared in May 2020, apparently without any coordination or consultation with the developer ecosystem.

On the WordPress side, development is moving forward as if Core Web Vitals do not exist.  While on the publisher and SEO side it is the users of WordPress who are burdened with the task of “fixing” WordPress, Drupal, phpBB etc.

In a perfect world, the job of creating a system that addresses the needs of the users lies on the developer side.  But that’s not happening.

WordPress doesn’t even see Core Web Vitals as a WordPress issue.

When someone started a support thread in the WordPress forums about it they were told to ask in Google’s support forum.

“You should ask on a Google forum, as WordPress has nothing to do with this.”

Publisher and SEO Community Burdened with Compliance

WordPress Publishers are stuck trying to make websites conform to a standard that those websites were never designed to comply with.

This is the reason why so many are struggling with Core Web Vitals. Publishers and SEOs are burdened with trying to fix something that ideally should be fixed at the code level.

Improving Core Web Vitals scores can feel like trying to upgrade the performance of a Honda Civic to the standards of a Chevy Corvette.

The developers did not build a Corvette. They built a Honda Civic.

But Google is demanding that drivers (not the manufacturers) improve the performance to a Corvette level. Does that seem fair to you?

Is it reasonable to ask the users of a software to improve it rather than the developers of the software?

The problem of software compliance with Core Web Vitals exists at the code level, not at the user level.

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So why are publishers and the SEO community burdened with fixing something that they are only users of?

Is Google Helpful?

Google provides a lot of tools for diagnosing the problems and offers in depth articles explaining how to fix those coding problems.

But these are coding problems not user problems.

An example of the disconnect between the development community and Google is the the problem of Cumulative Layout Shift, where the web page shifts and rearranges itself as the page elements are downloaded.

A common reason for Cumulative Layout Shift is that images do not have a height and width sizes declared. Google recommends exotic workarounds like using CSS to style the images using aspect ratio boxes.

The average publisher and SEO is probably not going to understand what aspect ratio boxes are and how to calculate the ratios sitewide in a way that doesn’t break the website.

Take a look at this and description of aspect ratio boxes that Google links and see if it makes sense to you:

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“Perfect squares and 16:9 stuff is great, but the values used for those are just simple math. An aspect ratio can be anything, and they commonly are completely arbitrary. A video or image can be cropped to any size.

So how do we figure out the padding-top for our 1127.34 × 591.44 SVG above?

One way is using calc(), like this:

padding-top: calc(591.44 / 1127.34 * 100%);”

Goodness gracious!

Here’s another example. Many web templates routinely set image widths via CSS to be automatic (width: auto;) without setting height and width of images in order to make images like a logo scale in size to fit into a template regardless if it’s viewed on a mobile or a desktop device. That’s a common coding practice that causes Cumulative Layout Shift.

These are the reasons why WP Rocket had to dig in and make changes to the CSS and JavaScript sitewide.

For example, WordPress Gutenberg loads up all the CSS that exists, regardless of whether it is needed or not. So WP Rocket’s developer had to hand code a solution for that.

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This is how WP Rocket explained what they did as part of their redesign:

“…we deprecated several blocks that were not used. We created a custom enqueue system to have CSS & JS loaded block only when needed. It took us just a few minutes to develop this system.

We also decided not to use the Gutenberg CSS file. Instead, we “migrated” the CSS we actually needed into our own style sheet, into a dedicated CSS file. That did the trick.”

A Rethink of How Sites are Created

It’s important to understand the Core Web Vitals problem. Google is demanding that publishers and SEOs bolt on solutions that the CMS development community do not show an interest in addressing.

Here’s an example of the kinds of compromises we are faced with and how Google is changing how we develop websites.

Let’s talk about fonts.

Render blocking third party resources can negatively impact Largest Contentful Paint. A common bottleneck is downloading fonts from a third party site like Google Fonts.

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There are a number of tricks to apply that are combination of using the preload link attribute and maybe some JavaScript, etc. that makes the process of downloading third party fonts Core Web Vitals friendly.

But would it kill your site to leave that fancy font behind?

A simple solution that will help score better is to switch the website font to a sans serif font that Apple, Windows and Android devices already have loaded up in their system.

Switching to an attractive font that is built into the device means that the site no longer has to wait to download a fancy font.

One approach can be something like this:

font-family: Helvetica, Tahoma, sans-serif;

If Android doesn’t have Helvetica or Tahoma already loaded in the browser then the device will display the site using the Roboto font.

Screenshot of Example of Roboto Font

Screenshot of the Roboto font

Screenshot of the Roboto font

For people accustomed to using fancy fonts, using system fonts might seem extreme. But it’s an example of the kinds of compromises a web publisher may need to make, particularly publishers that are in highly competitive niches.

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This kind of decision is a no-brainer for an affiliate site focused on page speed and conversions.

A Moment of Transition

What is happening today is that we are living in a moment of transition. Things are changing from how we did things in the past to how developers are going to do things (out of the box) in the future.

Developers responded to the demand for mobile friendly sites. In time they may begin responding to the demand for sites that score well for Core Web Vitals.

The way CMS systems, templates and plugins are designed have not caught up to the needs of publishers who require consideration of  Core Web Vitals.

For the time being, tech SEOs and the developer community is stuck having to “fix” what isn’t  broken in order to make it abide to Google’s idea of what the web should look like.

Of course, a page that loads fast and doesn’t shift around is a good thing. But requiring the users of a software to improve the software itself is a burden.

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At this point in time the burden of fixing the code falls on the users of the publishing software and not on the developers of that software. Does that feel right?

What may happen is that some may find it useful to fix as much as they can and leave the rest for when WordPress and other CMS software catches up.

Searchenginejournal.com

NEWS

OpenAI Introduces ChatGPT Plus with Monthly Subscription of $20

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Open AI - Chat GPT

OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research laboratory, has launched a new product – ChatGPT Plus. The new product is an advanced version of its previous language model, ChatGPT, and is available for a monthly subscription of $20. The company aims to provide a more sophisticated and efficient conversational AI tool to its users through this new product.

ChatGPT Plus is a state-of-the-art language model that uses advanced deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs. The model has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. The model is designed to handle a wide range of conversational topics and can be integrated into various applications, such as chatbots, customer support systems, and virtual assistants.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT Plus over its predecessor, ChatGPT, is its ability to generate responses in a more human-like manner. The model has been fine-tuned to incorporate more advanced language processing techniques, which enable it to better understand the context and tone of a conversation. This makes it possible for the model to generate more nuanced and appropriate responses, which can greatly improve the user experience.

In addition to its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT Plus also offers improved performance in terms of response generation speed and efficiency. The model has been optimized to run on faster hardware and has been fine-tuned to generate responses more quickly. This makes it possible for the model to handle a larger volume of requests, making it an ideal solution for businesses with high traffic websites or customer support centers.

The monthly subscription fee of $20 for ChatGPT Plus makes it an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. The company has designed the pricing model in such a way that it is accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. This makes it possible for small businesses to take advantage of advanced conversational AI technology, which can greatly improve their customer engagement and support.

OpenAI has also made it easy to integrate ChatGPT Plus into various applications. The company has provided a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the model into their applications. The API supports a wide range of programming languages, making it possible for developers to use the technology regardless of their preferred programming language. This makes it possible for businesses to quickly and easily incorporate conversational AI into their operations.

In conclusion, OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus is a significant development in the field of conversational AI. The new product offers advanced language processing capabilities and improved performance, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. The affordable pricing model and easy integration make it accessible to businesses of all sizes, and the advanced language processing capabilities make it possible for businesses to improve their customer engagement and support. OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus is set to revolutionize the conversational AI industry and bring advanced technology within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Visit OpenAI.com to read more and to get the latest news about ChatGPT.

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]Searchenginejournal.com

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