In this episode we discussed Generation Z being less tech obsessed than Millennials:
WooCommerce 3.1 schelduled to be released on June 28:
- Article from Search Engine Roundtable about the new Google Website Builder
- Blog post from Google about their new “Posts” feature
- Article about Gary Illyes tweet regarding breadcrumbs
- Two more stories from Search Engine Roundtable, one about the possible algorithm update a few weeks ago, and one about Google possibly messing with those tools
- Google’s confirmation of the mobile interstitial penalty already being rolled out
- Google Voice Search Analytics coming soon
Mobile Twitter on your desktop
Today’s youth are completely tech-obsessed, socially disconnected creatures with the attention span of a lizard, right? Actually, a new study has shown that the younger generation is actually less tech-obsessed than the millennials that came before them.
Before we get into that, though, this is A Brighter Web, episode number five, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen, which includes me, Mickey Mellen, and some of my awesome coworkers and friends that you’ll hear in future episodes. Our goal with this podcast is to share news, products, and ideas with you so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips, talking about strategy, WordPress plugins, and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things.
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Today, we’ll be talking more about Gen Z not being as tech-obsessed as millennials, WooCommerce 3.1 coming in a few days, lots of news from Google, and a quick tip on making Twitter work better for you. Let’s dig in.
A great study was just released from Koski Research showing that Generation Z, which is roughly ages 18 to 20 are less obsessed with technology than millennials are, millennials being ages 21 to 35, pretty much across the board. While some aspects are to be expected whereas they don’t see a big future for email, others are more surprising. Taking something like VR, only 9% of Gen Z thinks that VR will play a role in the future of work, while 22% of millennials and 20% of Gen X thinks it will. There are similar numbers for smart cars, where only 11% of Gen Z thinks it will have a role in the future of work, while 22% of millennials and 20% of Gen X think they will. It’s a fascinating study and I encourage you to check it out. We have a link to the full study in our show notes.
It was just a few episodes that we were talking about WooCommerce 3.0, and version 3.1 is scheduled to come out this Wednesday. It’s fairly minor in scope, at least compared to 3.0, and really shouldn’t break anything, but it has some nice new features. Included in WooCommerce 3.1 is finally a built-in import and export feature, it’s been a long time coming for that; a easy to implement terms and conditions check box feature on check out; easier ways to update all your extensions. If you have WooCommerce, you likely have a handful of extensions, if not more. It will be much easier to keep those updated. If you’re on the back end working out of a customer account, there’ll be a button to copy all the information from their billing address, which a lot of websites have in the front end, but this will make it easier for you on the back. Lots of other improvements coming too.
Again, this kind of update shouldn’t cause any problems for your site, but certainly proceed with caution. Look for that to come out hopefully Wednesday. They seem to be on pace to release it in a couple days, so keep an eye out for that and we have a link in our show notes with details on everything you can find in WooCommerce 3.1.
The main focus this week we want to talk about is Google, as they’ve released a ton of different things, and we’ll kind of run through everything they’ve got going and how it affects you.
First, Google’s launched a website builder. It’s pretty slick, pretty simple, lets you build a single page site in just a few minutes, but really can’t go beyond that. This works through the Google My Business account. If you have an account there and you’re the kind of company that does not have a website and really doesn’t want to deal with it too much, it’s an easy way to make a single page site that looks nice, has some information to get you up and running. You can use a custom domain name on it to be very personalized. But again, it’s limited to a single page and fairly limited use, but it certainly could be of value for some smaller companies.
Beyond that, and really separately, Google’s also launched Posts, which is kind of a blogging engine for your Google My Business page. Right now in the U.S., it only works for museums, sports teams, sports leagues, and movies, but it’s expected to roll out to other industries in the near future. The advantage here of course, is when you post something on there, it’s in the Google index instantly so you have a chance to really rank better. I would expect there’ll be some neat ways to tie that into your existing blog, if you already have one, once that rolls out to more industries in the future, and we’ll certainly keep you posted on that.
It’s long been thought that bread crumbs on your website, it’s a little series of links across the page, it’ll say like ‘Home’, ‘Products’, kind of working you down to where you are, is good for Google. Google likes that kind of navigation, gives them an idea of what’s going on. As with other things, Google’s Gary Illyes has Tweeted to say exactly what we wanted to hear. Someone asked Google, “What’s Google’s stance on breadcrumb navigation? Do those links pass value? If so, should they?” Gary Illyes’ response word for word was, “We likes them. We treat them as normal links in e.g. PageRank computation.” This tells us a couple things.
First, PageRank isn’t dead, we’ve long known that but this is more proof to that. Certainly not as important as it used to be, but it is a factor. And it tells us breadcrumbs are good. So your theme likely has an option to turn them on or off, and plugins like Yoast have that built in to turn them on as well, if your theme doesn’t either.
There are a lot of tools that monitor the fluctuations in Google’s algorithms. They look at many thousands of rankings and chart how many change on any given day. A popular one is MozCast from Moz. It treats it kind of like weather, like a weather forecast with a higher temperature meaning more changes that day from Google. Between all the various tools, it looks like there may have been a fairly decent sized Google algorithm update back around June 14th.
Google on Twitter, jumped in to jokingly say, kind of jokingly, kind of not, that they may do things to intentionally mess with those tracking tools. Seems unlikely that they do and they kind of implied that the don’t, but it’s an interesting consideration to think that Google may do something to kind of throw off those tools to see what’s going on. Regardless, there was an update of some kind a few weeks ago. We have some links to Search Engine Roundtable that talk more about that update and what it may have looked like.
Over the past few months, we’ve talked in the Meetup and other places about the Google mobile interstitial penalty that would be coming out eventually, and Google has revealed that it’s already out. This was a penalty that mobile versions of websites could see if they had intrusive interstitials, the ads that kind of pop up and cover the screen and no one really likes. Many were expecting quite a mess when Google rolled it out, which is probably why no one noticed. There was no big mess and everything went pretty smooth. The thought now is that Google gave webmasters plenty of time to prepare so it didn’t end up being a big deal.
For those of you that remember the old Y2K hype, this seems similar. You could argue about Y2K wasn’t a big mess, but the prevailing wisdom is that companies spent years and millions of dollars to prepare for it so things went smooth. This update certainly wasn’t nearly that big of a deal, but the prep time and the warning that Google gave, gave companies time to clean up their act and make the event, well, a non-event.
The last piece of news from Google that I want to share today is about Voice Search analytics. Google’s talked about it a few times. They began to mention that Voice Search analytics will be coming soon-ish. This will be coming to Google Search Console. You will be able to see the details on Voice Search queries that led people to your site. They’ve simply said though, they’re “working on it” and haven’t released any kind of time table for it, but it’ll certainly be a great addition to you analytics and search console reporting.
Lastly, we have our tip of the week and this one deals with Twitter. I spent years trying to find the perfect Twitter client for desktop, looking at Chrome extensions and Windows programs, and different things, and finally found the perfect one, and it’s actually just the Twitter mobile website. From your desktop computer or laptop, whatever, you can go to m.twitter.com to get to the mobile version of their website on your desktop computer. Then you can shrink that down to a pretty small column and put it at the side of your desktop, and it works really, really well. If you use Chrome on Windows or on a Chromebook, you can actually add it to your desktop as an icon and it’ll run as a stand alone app. Mac, you can sort of do that but not quite to the same extent.
What this means, is you essentially have the web version running like an app, that’s the mobile website for Twitter, and it does a great job. It’s certainly not as full featured as some of the other Twitter apps you can download for Windows and Mac, but it’s simple and easy, and does a great job. Frankly, I wish I discovered it sooner instead of wasting that much time downloading different apps. If you’re looking to get back into Twitter, this has got me tweeting more just because I can leave that open on the side of my desktop, and not interfere with my other windows I have open and not take up a lot of space, but keep Twitter a little more front and center for me. I’m using it a lot more often lately.
That’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter at mickmel, M-I-C-K-M-E-L, or learn lots more at greenmellenmedia.com. You can find more about the podcast, including show notes and links at abrighterweb.com or on Facebook or Twitter at ABrighterWeb. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our Meetup, held three times each month. If you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post recaps on the website soon after each Meetup. Either way, you can learn a lot more about that at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.