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WordPress.com Parent Company Acquires Headless CMS Frontity via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Today it was announced that Automattic, parent company of WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Akismet and more has acquired Frontity, a headless WordPress framework. The announcement stated that the acquisition will directly benefit the open source WordPress CMS and will further the goal of realizing full site editing with Gutenberg blocks.

Headless CMS

A headless content management system (CMS) is an approach to publishing that uses a CMS like WordPress for handling the creation and management of the content (this is the back end) and a React front end for the part that users see (this is the front end, the head).

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When you separate the front end functions from WordPress in order to exclusively use WordPress for managing the content and not the front part of the site (the head) that users see, this is called a headless CMS.

The CMS, in this case WordPress, is just used as the back end for the content creation and the management of that content.

There are speed and SEO benefits to using a headless CMS.

A headless CMS also allows publishers to more easily publish content across different channels like social media, Internet of Things, etc.

Frontity

Frontity is an open source framework for making it easy to use WordPress as a headless CMS.

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What Frontity does is to make it easy to bring the headless site architecture to the WordPress environment so that publishers can enjoy the speed advantages without having to worry about coding issues.

Automattic invested in Frontity in 2020 and began a close working relationship with the Frontity team at that point, with Automattic sponsoring Frontity’s work on the WordPress core.

With this acquisition the Frontity team will focus on the WordPress core and on Gutenberg.

This move does not mean that that the React framework is going to be pushed to the WordPress core.

Frontity will continue as an open source project.

What’s Exciting About Frontity and Automattic

what’s really of interest about this announcement is that the JavaScript engineering resources devoted to creating Frontity will now be focused on the WordPress core, specifically to helping finalize the Full Site Editing Experience via Gutenberg blocks.

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Gutenberg is the WordPress project for modernizing the creation of websites with the goal of making it easy for anyone to create websites.

Gutenberg replaces the coding-centric traditional WordPress interface with the an easy to use visual editor that utilizes the visual paradigm of blocks for creating websites.

According to Frontity:

“As part of Automattic, our team will contribute to the WordPress open source project and work closely with its community to help improve the full site editing developer experience.

…The impact our team could make working directly on WordPress is much more significant than continuing on our own, so we decided to go for it!”

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Big Score for WordPress

The reaction in the private Advanced WordPress Facebook group has been positive.

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This announcement is huge news for the entire WordPress publishing community. It means that more top engineering talent will be devoted to developing the WordPress core CMS and helping speed up the development of the Gutenberg content editor.

Citation

Read the official announcement from Frontity:
Frontity is joining Automattic

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NEWS

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.

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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.

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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]

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