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WordPress Gutenberg 11.5 Achieves a Full Site Editing Milestone via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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WordPress Gutenberg 11.5, introduced a week ago includes a new Widget Group Block that fixes several bugs and substantially improves the widget block editing experience.

The new feature, called the Widget Group Block, brings the true bug-free full site editing experience to the WordPress widget block area.

WordPress Widgets

WordPress Widgets are functionalities that are typically found in the side-bars and footer area of a typical web page.

The widget area can, for example, contain calendars, search bars, site navigation, and links to the latest posts.

WordPress Layout Showing Widget Areas

WordPress Widget Areas

WordPress Widget Areas

Problems with Widget Editing

The WordPress Gutenberg project is in the middle of a four-phase rollout, phase 2 to be specific.

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The goal for phase 2 is:

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“Customization — Full Site editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, Block based themes “

The statement above means that the “blocks” method of creating a website will extend to all areas of a website.

The widget area had problems however that needed solving.

A bug report was filed in June 2021 about problems with the widget editor.

“In the new Widgets Editor, I cannot recreate the structure of .c-widget > .c-widget__title in blocks unless you use “Legacy Widgets” block.

Therefore, it is not possible to place new widgets using this unified design in blocks.”

One of the problems was that it was not possible to add a heading to a widget area using the Gutenberg widget block editor.

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For example, if you have a widget area for an archive, adding the title to it would not display the way it used to.

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Adding a heading title to a widget worked fine under the old way of doing things.

Previous Widget Appearance

Screenshot of legacy WordPress widget layout

Screenshot of legacy WordPress widget layout

Adding a title using the new Gutenberg block editor was sketchy and resulted in an unsatisfactory result.

How Widget Area Behaved in Gutenberg

Screenshot of example showing how the WordPress widget block was broken

Screenshot of example showing how the WordPress widget block was broken

WordPress Improves Widget Block Editing

WordPress fixed these issues and created a new Widget Group block. Now publishers can more easily create blocks and add them to a group and deploy them sitewide.

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According to WordPress:

“This new block replicates the familiar experience of being able to add a title to a group of blocks and allows you to group any block, making it easier to move and layout content however you’d like.

This both helps with compatibility for older themes when migrating over to the new editor and enables a more cohesive experience for building out widget areas.”

New Widget Group Block

The new WordPress widget group block fixes the title problem. Now publishers can add a title just like in the old way of editing but done in a way that’s compatible with older themes.

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The new Widget Group Block addresses two issues:

  1. “Markup of resulting pattern significantly different to that of the classic widget markup.
  2. Inability to control the widget “title” markup and output when using core/heading for the title.”

Gutenberg 11.5 is a Strong Step Forward

The purpose of the WordPress Gutenberg project is to make it easy for publishers to create beautiful websites without having to think about coding.

A benefit of using Gutenberg blocks to create a website is that it results in a very fast website.

The latest version of Gutenberg introduces a host of new updates and represents a solid move forward toward a full site editing experience.

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Citations

Core Editor Improvement: Introducing the Widget Group Block

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Add ‘Widget Group’ Block to Widgets Screens

WordPress Widget Heading Bug Report

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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

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