WordPress, Facebook & Google Updates Affecting Health & Wellness Businesses

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We’re tackling these WordPress, Google and Facebook developments for our clients right now. Your marketing and web development folks should be, too.

1. MAJOR WordPress release

WordPress 5.0 release with “Gutenberg” editor (originally set to launch in late November  – delayed but still imminent) will have a far-reaching impact.

This release implements a completely new approach to creating posts and pages. It’s based on a block editor, in addition to many other useful new features.

Before the release date (now), make sure that your digital marketing agency or web team has tested your current site with the Gutenberg plugin. They should ideally test a copy of your site installed on a sub-domain, not your live site.

Testing is especially important for this WordPress release. The code underneath the editor has been completely overhauled. Numerous plugins will likely no longer work consistently.

On the release date, most digital marketing and webhosting companies will implement WordPress 5.0 with the Classic Editor plugin activated by default.

Your webhost has probably notified you about their rollout strategy. If not, check in with them now.

Do you use a freelance developer? They’re often less prepared for big changes like this release. Make sure they know it’s coming. They should proactively install the Classic Editor plugin at the same time they update your WordPress installation.

Plan now to switch to the new interface fairly soon. Sure, give it a month or two to shake out. But then, go ahead and make the jump. The Classic Editor won’t be available forever. You’ll be missing out on lots of goodies if you drag your feet on switching.

More resources

Beginner’s Guides to Gutenberg

The Secret Manual: Hidden Features & Gotchas in WordPress  Gutenberg

2. Facebook Pixel changes

Starting October 24, 2019, Facebook began making first-party cookies available for Facebook Pixel. Current advertisers need to explicitly enable first-party cookies. Newly created Facebook Pixels will automatically include first-party cookies.

A first-party cookie is one that’s generated directly by your website. A third-party cookie is generated by another website — in this case Facebook, via Facebook Pixel — but stored on your site.

These cookies are essential. For one thing, that’s how you can actually report and analyze how effective your Facebook ad really is:

  • Did your New Year, New You ad actually send traffic to your fitness center’s website?
  • What did your weight loss prospects do once they clicked through from Facebook to your women’s health center?
  • Do you want to understand how a single prospect moves back and forth between Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and your website? Facebook Pixel makes that possible.

However, Safari and Mozilla browsers, plus some ad blocking extensions, have been putting the kibosh on the Facebook Pixel third-party cookies.

If you want to understand ROI on your Facebook Ads, make sure that you start using both types of cookies. If you continue to use only third-party cookies, you’ll be missing out on a TON of information about the productivity of your ad spend.

3. Google PageSpeed Insights update

Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that we use every day to help optimize client websites.

This week, Google rolled out big changes. PageSpeed now uses Google’s LightHouse speed analysis tool. It’s incorporated vast amounts of data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). And it now gives you both Mobile and Desktop analytics, diagnostics and recommendations.

What you should do: Go run your site through the tool right this minute. Then fix the problems PageSpeed identifies.

4. Google Ads exact match is less exact than ever

Yep, you read that right. “Exact match” keywords can now trigger ads in response to search intent as perceived by Google, even if the actual search term doesn’t match your keyword…exactly.

Now, exact match has never been as pure as many advertisers thought. For example, a couple years ago Google began triggering ads in response to close keyword variants, like common misspellings and plurals.

This might be a non-event for your medical practice. It might improve your results — or it might chew through your yoga studio’s Google Ads budget in a hurry, with no additional conversions to show for it.

The only way to find out is to do the analysis of your specific Google Ads campaigns.

For our clients, we start by comparing search terms to the keywords they triggered, with close attention to the actual match type of the keyword. We analyze click rate, post-click website engagement, and conversions. Then we compare them to their historical experience prior to this latest change.

(Note: despite the name, you cannot use the Match Type column to do this analysis. It refers to a different type of match.)

5. Bing is still breathing. Occasionally.

The folks at Microsoft’s Bing search engine say they’re going to put a ton of bucks into Webmaster Tools going forward. Now, our take on Bing is that it should almost never be your top priority. the traffic just doesn’t justify it.

And Google’s Webmaster Tools, like Search Console, are already very good and getting better all the time — whereas Bing resources clearly aren’t a Microsoft priority. They’ve had key SEO tools down for over a month with no communication, for example.

But, once your digital marketing team has taken care of all the Priority 1 and 2 items on the Google side of things, have them check in on Bing periodically.

If and when those promised webmaster tools appear, it’ll make sense to try them out at least once.