For everyone that is seeing drops, it seems that many aren't getting that not only is Google's algorithm getting better in terms of finding spam links (PBNs, etc.), but that web performance and time spent on page is a more heavily weighted factor I've seen in conjunction with links. This is a big deal, especially with most websites I have found SEOs using are WordPress sites that don't perform as well as websites built with React that are optimized for performance. I currently don't share a lot of what I'm doing, but I wanted to share as I mainly don't spend a lot of my time on Facebook, but I have been able to actually get my rankings boosted after the updates, mainly due to the fact that all my websites are built with modern frontends (React/Next, etc.) and do really well on Lighthouse metrics (this is all in conjunction with white hat link building, and actually good content that users read), but I wanted to emphasize the point that frontend performance matters a lot! I worked as a software engineer before (still do a bit as a marketer) so I can't say everyone will be able to easily transition to modern frontend sites with a headless CMS, but I've found that investment to really be big. Just wanted to put this out there as I think a lot of SEOs aren't keeping tabs on some of the cutting edge web trends happening on frontend development, and how Google is really taking that stuff into account. Getting my FCP, LCP, FID has been a big huge advantage for me to rank my clients, and get my affiliate properties to perform well.
FCP = first contentful paint, LCP = largest contentful paint, FID = first input delay.
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I'm not sure it matters. Seen big gains on WordPress sites.
I've found my well performing WP sites to do well, but my suspicion is that long term Google will further give more importance to performant sites with modern frontends and those that can serve as Progressive Web Apps PWAs. I def. have seen more of a boost with my modern frontend sites (run WP on the backend)
I have a few WP sites not overly optimized, average at best. Each of these are branded, have decent traffic (200k+ pageviews) and all 3 sites gained. Tho no Private Blog Network (PBN) on any of them.
Glad you are up but this, "mainly due to the fact that all my websites are built with modern frontends (React/Next, etc.) and do really well on Lighthouse metrics," is just speculation. And "white hat link building," all link building is something other than white hat. But hard to argue with, "actually good content that users read" … congrats
Yes I agree, that's why I prefaced it, I will say definitely review some of Google's developer conferences and the buzz going around with this tech, it will take time for mainstream adoption, but the directional trend is going here from my speculation of course.
Things get very context dependent when it comes to SEO, but I did want to put this out on people's radar one what is most likely to come in the future for the web. I currently am an ex-engineer in silicon valley, and have many peers working at Google (not in search specifically), but across engineering organizations around many of the companies I've seen here in the bay area, performant web and modern frontends have been a huge boost in user engagement due to performance and speed. I've also happen to find my rankings do better and wanted to put out some directional speculation on things that many SEOs might not be thinking of long term as the web evolves.
It's a topic I find under-talked about, or only visited from a surface level from a WP specific point of view of optimizing websites, and anything beyond that I don't see discussed that much, all while there is a lot of work being done in this space of modern frontend.
Mark » Mike
But you are an engineer, most site operators are marketers. There are issues for mortals using headless WordPress … no Wysiwyg editing or previews, maintain 2 environments etc. WordPress let's marketers manage their content without expensive technical resources. My load times are < 1 sec. on WordPress how much better does one need to be?
that's pretty solid, in that case you're good! I should've clarified that its bloated themes and plugins over WP. Thanks Wist for clarifying this point better, and I shouldn't have used WP, but bloated themes/plugins on top of WP.
I think performance is key, yet most just think they need 90+ in lighthouse. When in reality you need to optimize for your peak traffic (which almost no one does).
You can easily have a site that has 200k pageviews, score 90+ in lighthouse, but absolutely shits the bed performance when 80% of the sites traffic hits between 5 pm – 7 pm and your Virtual Private Server (VPS) or worse, tanks. All user metrics tank.
Mike ✍️ » Mughal
I have used Gatsby, I personally would recommend avoiding it with my experience over using NextJS. This would get a bit long, but Next gives a lot of flexibility with the framework, and I found it a lot more easier to setup as I can make a static site without any issues, and if I need app functionality, Next has that as well for some dynamic content I've added to some digital properties I own.
Appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this and it's great that you're having success with the modern frameworks but, in my opinion, the problem isn't WordPress, it's bloated themes and plugins. Someone who knows what they're doing can easily put together a WordPress site that loads just as quickly as one that uses React. React for content sites just seems like overkill to me…happy to listen to other opinions though.
Where would you recommend someone who doesn't do dev, but hires devs and needs to understand/be able to tinker, starts learning about headless content management system (CMS)?
Upwork, but I mainly recommend specifically NextJS for this case, otherwise the ROI isn't really there and it would be better to invest in WP lighter weight sites
There's a lot of WP plug-ins people can use too
18 WordPress Plugins That Will Speed Up Your Site
I haven't found a lot of great plugins regarding speeding up WP sites, the ones I have that perform well use light themes and I stay thin on images, Wist has pointed something out that I should've originally said which is ya its mainly the bloated themes/plugins that really crush a site even with "make faster WP plugins". I will also say that its been extremely easy for me to build these sites using NextJS (a React framework, not just plain React), and that's been a game changer to get really strong performance out of the box for content sites.
React is based on full JS framework right?
Google hates JS. So I really doubt that such websites perform so well as you claim. And if this happens, it's not because of React. It's for other reasons.
Oh, and anyone can claim anything.
Can you post any specific data that support your success?
I have full sites in JS that rank very well. 1 of them was built 4 years ago. Google handles JS just fine. It's sounds like you don't have any personal experience with them.
Thomas » Tandy
oh really? It happens to have personal experience from a new business React website that Google keeps tagging most of its pages as 404 and also the DA cannot get higher from DA 1 for over 1 month now.
Does this look normal for you?
Tandy » Thomas
What does DA have to do with Google? It's a Moz metric, not Google's. I also have sites with bloated JS and everything is fine.
I have hundreds of JS generated pages. They index and they rank. Wish you well with the problematic project. Just wanted to let you know that when done right, JS has no problem ranking.
Ya React sucks for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) out of the box Thomas I agree, that's where just like anything, you have to still optimize the tool for it to SEO properly on Google. But when optimized, not only is it great for Google, but the user experience (UX) is a lot better with the faster performance on client side, and even for international I've found it to perform well (when optimized of course (ofc).) on lower end devices.
Thomas » Mike
well this is the thing. It needs a lot of effort to make it work. And ti doesn't mean that all developers (devs) can handle this kind of optimization. So the results can be really bad for a company.
I was a senior React developer, now SEO. In many cases React makes sites slower and more laggy, as first the page loads, and then the data is fetched asynchronously and rendered in the DOM. You'd have to be doing isomorphic server-side rendering of React components to get fast performance. I think React is overkill for most content sites. It's good for complex UIs like interactive map/geo search pages, or Facebook's ad management interface. Purely static HTML/CSS pages sitting behind a content delivery network (CDN) are the most ideal for SEO.
Agree, static HTML + CSS via CF all the way for my content sites. Costs $0 to handle huge traffic spikes also
What is the source for your claim that WordPress sites are doing badly and JS sites are doing well?
I don't think any of this makes any sense, I'm seeing insane gains on my WP sites that are using super bloated themes and score 10-20 on the nonsense PSI metrics (yet still load in ~1.5s in real-life scenarios not throttled 3G speeds on a simulated 10 years old phone). This update is more content related in my opinion, not technical
Why does everyone automatically think a google core update is anything to do with anti-spam? It's nothing to do with PBNs or spam, it's an entire core update
I don't think the update has anything to do with links. Lol
Why not? Google has been deprecating them in their algo for years. People that build PBNs are saying they have been hit.
Talal » Gary
I think this update has more to do with search intent, and actually the type of site/page that should be ranking for a search query. I could be wrong though, but several sites with PBNs are still ranking, even ones with shared PBN links.
Its the same every time. Google goes crazy for a bit then it settles down and makes more sense. Not being callous. I lost my business almost completely from an update a couple of years ago. Still not sure why. I think it was what people call Expertise, authority and Trust (E-A-T). Too long. Didn't read (tldr): It is far too soon to be objective about the update.
WordPress ranking was way too high in the past. We do react but needed recently to add some WP sites because they are truly over-evaluated by Google.
Lieven » Srinath
we also see weebly performs better than bigcommerce. Any logic behind this?
Srinath » Lieven
Check website structure. That is key to many success or failure.
We are on WordPress for one brand, but performing very well out of this update so far. For me, a well built, well structured site with original content will always perform regardless of platform (to a point of course). Great post.
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