Candour

Automating migrations, Wix's new learning hub, Performance Max updates and the Edge Images plugin

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What's in this episode?

In this week's episode, Jack Chambers-Ward is once again joined by his co-host, Mark Williams-Cook and they discuss:

  • How to use automation in website migrations
  • Wix’s new learning hub
  • SISTRIX's TrendWatch May 2022
  • Performance Max updates
  • Edge Images WordPress plugin

Show notes and links

Transcript

Jack: Welcome to episode 20 of season two of the Search With Candour podcast. My name is Jack Chambers-Ward, and I am once again joined by the one, the only, Mark Williams-Cook. We're back together, finally, and this week we'll be discussing automating some migrations, Wix's new Learning Hub, Performance Max updates, and Edge Images plugin.

Jack: Search With Candor is supported by SISTRIX, the SEO's toolbox. Go to sistrix.com/swc if you want to check out some of the fantastic free tools, such as their Instagram hashtag generator, Google update tracker, hfreflang validator, or if you want to track your site's visibility index. That's sistrix.com/swc for free SEO tools, and sistrix.com/trends to sign up for the TrendWatch Newsletter, which we'll actually be talking about later on in the show.

Mark: We're back.

Jack: Welcome back.

Mark: Thank you.

Jack: You've been off for a month, I think.

Mark: Yeah.

Jack: Is that the longest you've ever taken off of the podcast?

Mark: It is. I'm glad you're here. I just want to say, in the intro there, you really build up my name. But I think actually we should be doing the same for you, because our astute listeners may have realised Jack has joined the double barrel-surname club.

Jack: I have. I have.

Mark: So congratulations.

Jack: Thank you very much. I am now officially Jack Chambers-Ward. I am now a married man. Got the ring to prove it.

Mark: Nice. I think it just adds an extra air of sophistication that we are now both double-barreled.

Jack: It did worry me that the listeners might think I'm just copying you, trying to be like, "Oh yeah, I want to be cool and host the podcast as well, with Mark Williams-Cook, Jack Chambers-Ward," and just be like, "Yeah."

Mark: That would be an interesting reason to propose to your girlfriend.

Jack: Considering I proposed to my partner long before I ever met you.

Mark: Ah, so you're saying it's the long game. Gotcha.

Jack: Yeah, it's the long game. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark: Anyway-

Jack: We had that discussion of double-barreling, I was like, "Ah, perfect. I'll be just like Mark."

Mark: "I can apply for a job."

Jack: “That's how I get the job at Candour!”

Mark: We're going to talk about automating migrations. Migrations, which I think they're kind of a love them, hate them thing from SEO point of view. Lots of people love diving in, getting involved in a migration, tends to be kind of the more technical people. Some people, it just fills them with fear and dread. And I can understand why, because sometimes even the most carefully run migrations can go wrong.

Jack: Yeah, we've covered it a couple of times on the show for a variety of reasons, including what we talked about with the Primark updates and stuff like that. And even talking about people migrating from one CMS to another and things like that. There're a variety of different ways you can migrate your site. But yeah, I think even if done incredibly well by very experienced developers and SEOs, something will go wrong at some point and there is always going to be snags along the way.

I think it's interesting, coming up with this topic we're going to talk about, with bringing some automation to that and maybe taking the pressure off a little bit from some of the people actually doing the nitty-gritty work around migrations.

Mark: Yeah. The whole section we end up doing when we look at visibility scores on things like SISTRIX is normally the game of, "Wow, what did they mess up in their migration?"

Jack: Yeah.

Mark: That's what it boils down to.

Jack: It's the winners and loser stuff. It's always like, "Oh, they migrated their site and they've dropped off the face of the planet." "Oh, they updated their directory or migrated their ... They've got a new CDN," or whatever it is. Everything's dropped off the face of the earth.

Mark: As Jack said, automation can be super helpful. As we know from a lot of different aspects of SEO, from time-saving to reducing human error, which is always obviously a risk. And I saw a very cool chap called Daniel Emery, who's the head of SEO at PWD, post on LinkedIn about a Google Colab script. Google Colab being basically an online place that you can execute code so you don't need to worry about having all the packages and everything locally, and it's a tool to help you match up URLs for redirects.

This is normally the most laborious task when it comes to redirecting, especially large websites migrating them, which is, "Okay. Well, this product or this article is being maybe recategorised and it's going here," because of course, migrations can be a good time to do a content audit and decide if you want to change categorisation over. And that can become then a tricky task where, if the URL change is not uniform, i.e. "Okay. Well, our articles, aren't just changing URL structure slightly, they are being recategorised." Then you have the very laborious task of matching up, "Okay. This article is now here. This one is now here." And of course you can build this into various workflows so you can instruct maybe the client as they move over content to try and keep a record of where things go, but that process is, from experience, very open to human failure.

What this tool is, as I said, it's a Python script. Or as I said, it's on Google Colab. I didn't say it was a Python script, but it is a Python script that uses TF-IDF, which is text frequency-inverse document frequency, to compare the similarity of two sets of URLs in CSV files. You will essentially do a Screaming Frog crawl of your current live website, and then a crawl of your staging version of the site. And what this tool will do when you upload those CSVs, is output a list of matched URLs by their similarity. And it will give you a precision-recall curve that visualises the accuracy of the results.

Now what this is going to essentially do is say, "Well, I've looked at the text on this page and I am 99.9% sure it's the same as this URL." And this will go down and basically save you a lot of time because if you've got this high degree of confidence that they're matched, you can pretty much take it for granted. And you just need to work from the bottom up where the match isn't as close.

Jack: Exactly. I think that's the key part there as well. There is still some manual work in here. This is not automating the entire process. And I think that's a positive, personally, because just leaving everything to, "Oh yeah, it's 60% sure and it just redirects it automatically," is maybe not a great idea.

Mark: It's almost a coin flip.

Jack: Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Having the ability or the option to go in manually and say, "Oh, okay, we're at the ..." Have a cut off of, say, 70% or 80% or whatever it is, wherever that similarity is you want to have, then having a look at that and comparing that yourself is still going to save you so much time to actually match them up properly. Because as you said, Mark, matching up with like a VLOOKUP in Google Sheets or whatever, or in Excel, whatever you're doing, is going to take a very long time.

It takes a lot of that data input, manual stuff out of your hands, automates a lot of it, which is lovely. And then still leaves you the option to change and swap things around if you think, "Oh no, actually, it thought it was correct, but actually no, I want to change that manually," you still have the option there as well. I

Mark: Think it's important to remember that the purpose of a lot of these tools is actually just time-saving.

Jack: Yeah. Yeah, it's true for a lot of ... Not enough people realise that about so many of the tools we use as SEOs, you could go out and do a bunch of this stuff yourself and list all your URLs, but you have something like Screaming Frog or using Semrush or SISTRIX, who sponsor this show. There's so much of that stuff you could do that will take you days and days to gather all the data, or you can just get a tool to do it much, much quicker.

Mark: Exactly. I had this exact conversation with someone yesterday. They were asking me about how AlsoAsked is different from a tool that they were using already. And I was pointing out that actually they're very similar, it's just that AlsoAsked is way quicker at returning the data.

And they were like, "Well, I can already do that." And I was pointing out to them, "Well, you don't even need that tool because you can just go and look manually at all the people who are asking and the reason you're using that tool is just because it saves you time." This one saves you even more.

Jack: Do you want to Google 100 different things, look at each SERP individually, copy and paste each PAA. Exactly. A similar thing I was talking when I had Andy Chadwick on the show last week, talking about how Keywordinsights and how him and his business partner, Suganthan, have talked about how they've built Keywordinsights to specifically be faster than its competitors. You can chuck in 100,000 keywords into Keywordinsights and it will come out in a matter of hours. Whereas some other tools, or if you're doing ... If you're trying to cluster things manually, that could take you days and days of sitting there in a spreadsheet, head down, scribbling about, trying to hope you're getting the clusters right and building them all together.

Yeah, I think that's totally right, and that's the right approach to a lot of tools is thinking about it that way. And, "Oh, it's going to save me a lot of time," but it's not going to give you the final answer necessary. It's not going to give you that 100% guaranteed success rate, but it gets you enough of the way there that you still have that ... Bringing your expertise as an SEO, as a digital marketer, to come in and be like, "Okay, yeah. This is the last bit I need to do to finish things off."

Mark: We'll post a link to that tool on the show notes. As always, they'll be at search.withcandour.co.uk.

Jack: Next up, let's talk about some Wix, shall we. We've talked about Wix a couple of times since I've joined the show in season two. And as has been the discussion of the SEO community, they've done a really amazing job of kind of being the black sheep of the SEO CMS community a few years ago, to now being really groundbreaking and pushing things in a really positive direction.

Mark: Well done, Mordy.

Jack: Yeah, well done, Mordy and the SEO team over at Wix. I know you guys have been doing that really consciously, and I think I speak for a lot of SEOs who work on Wix sites, thank you for doing that.

And they've actually expanded their SEO offering even more into the Wix Learning Hub. And I think it's particularly interesting because a lot of these CMSs have like, "Oh, Yoast in WordPress will do a little thing and give you some guides and some tips and stuff like that." But this is really in-depth, really well-written, interesting guidelines and a full knowledge course essentially for using Wix for SEO. And like I said, I own a couple of sites so I use Wix for some of my other podcasts and some of my other projects. And I've been using Wix tools and the SEO elements of Wix for a couple of years now. And this is just expanding that across, that they have really fantastic, really expert people on their side, on their team,s to really give you guys fantastic resources.

So if you are thinking about using Wix for SEO, or maybe you are newer to SEO and want to learn a bit more and are thinking about using Wix for your next project, or you've just started working with a client and it's your first Wix site, this is a fantastic hub, that is all free by the way. You can go to wix.com/seo/learn, of course links for that in the show notes, and find everything you need to know about working on a Wix site. It's really, really good. And it includes general SEO advice as well, even outside of just directly working on Wix sites, which is really fantastic.

Mark: Yeah. One of the things I liked about this, and hopefully they're okay with me sharing this, I haven't checked. We got invited to contribute to this as well because it is just being done through essentially community contributions. And I'm just going to read out a couple of sentences, three sentences from the email about that, which is, they said, "One of the nice things about the hub is we're not using it for acquisition. We're not using it to try and bring in more traffic. So we don't need to write content to, quote-unquote, rank for keywords or whatever. We can write content for the sake of offering a place for folks to find really good content."

And I think that's, firstly, so important and goes along, I kind of, I joke there about Mordy, going back to Wix and stuff, but the interactions I've had with them haven't just been honeyed words to the SEO community, they've made objective changes to make their platform.

Jack: Really conscious efforts. Yeah, absolutely.

Mark: Absolutely, yeah. And the thing I like about this is there is quite a lot of ... Well, there is a lot of content about SEO out there and a lot of it is by-

Jack: And a lot of bad SEO content out there as well.

Mark: There is, yeah. There's a lot of good content, I would say-

Jack: Oh, absolutely.

Mark: ... by SaaS providers and stuff, but most of the time there's always that angle. They're trying to commercialize the content so it's like, "Oh, here's this SEO problem and its well researched background." And then it's like, "And guess what? You can use our tool to fix this." And then they won't mention any other tools or-

Jack: They write a problem that creates the problem, that then fixes the problem with their own thing.

Mark: Yeah. I thought that's such a brilliant open approach where the brief is essentially just write the good content for people. And like you said, it's talking outside of the Wix ecosystem as well. You can check that out, again, link in the podcast. It's at wix.com/seo/learn, if you want to have a look straight away.

Jack: As I mentioned at the top of the show, we have TrendWatch from our friends over at SISTRIX. That is the TrendWatch for May 2022 to talk about this week. And there's some interesting stuff, very interesting trends. Some for perhaps the younger listeners out there, some for some of the older listeners out there. We're covering all bases here on TrendWatch.

Jack: Thanks to Nicole Scott over at SISTRIX who has compiled this fantastic data for us. Mark, there's one close to your heart we're going to kick things off with. As a dad, as a man who makes terrible jokes, dad jokes are on the rise.

Mark: And as someone who you just looked at when you said older people, but obviously nobody can see us. But as Jack said older people, he just looked at me, don't know if it was subconscious or not but I still took offense. Yeah, dad jokes are on the rise. That made me happy because I love a good dad joke.

Jack: It makes sense.

Mark: Yeah.

Jack: You're a dad. It is part of your brand.

Mark: I think I secretly liked them before I was a dad.

Jack: Ah, you've finally embraced the dark side and-

Mark: I mean, our Instagram actually follows an account called Dad Says Jokes. I don't know if you've seen this, and-

Jack: Can you tell Mark runs the Instagram, ladies and gentlemen.

Mark: It's not really on-brand or anything like that, I just like seeing dad jokes. And some of them are really good. Let me read you one. I like this one.

Jack: Oh, thank you so much.

Mark: "Just saw a real idiot on the treadmill at gym, he put a water bottle in the Pringles holder." And my personal favourite. "I met my wife on Tinder. That was awkward."

Unimpressed fish: Oh brother, this guy stinks.

Jack: Which is true.

Mark: Which is true.

Jack: You did meet your wife on Tinder.

Mark: So it's got levels for me as well.

Jack: That's deep, man.

Mark: Yeah.

Jack: That's layers right there.

Mark: I love this account.

Jack: Like an onion, like an ogre.

Mark: I love this account. I mean, yeah, more people are searching for dad jokes. Why is that?

Jack: More people are becoming dads?

Mark: Yeah, that's what I was going to say. I was hoping you wouldn't have an answer. And I was going to be like, "Well, population growth."

Jack: I don't know.

Mark: Maybe more people are becoming ... I don't know if they are. That'd be my guess.

Jack: All the pandemic babies finally coming around and-

Mark: Yeah.

Jack: I've noticed that now being a man in my thirties, myself being a married man as well, I've noticed there's been a trend of a lot of my friends having kids and stuff. But yeah.

Mark: I like to think though that, like you say, all these baby pandemic babies are being born and there's all these dads. Like there's a million things you need to know when you have a baby and they're all like, "Ah, better start Googling some dad jokes."

Jack: We actually have a couple of recommendations. If you would like more dad jokes in your life, you can of course find the #DadJoke, which is one of the most consistently popular and trending hashtags on the entirety of Twitter.

Mark: Represent.

Jack: Yeah. And of course, I'm sure there's something very near and dear to your heart, Mark, the subreddit r/DadJokes.

Mark: Never seen it.

Jack: Really?

Mark: Never seen it.

Jack: As a Redditor and a man, connoisseur of dad jokes, I don't believe you.

Mark: Never seen it. Can't give my sources away.

Jack: We'll find out that you created r/DadJokes like 15 years ago.

Mark: That'd be like a magician letting you into the magic circle if I told you I knew about Dad Jokes on Reddit.

Jack: Yeah. Like that TV show from the nineties, it was like, "Learning the magician's secret." I can't imagine-

Mark: They actually kick you out the magic circle, do you know that?

Jack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That guy got, whatever, disbarred the equivalent of that is for magicians.

Mark: Excommunicated. Yeah.

Jack: Yes. But yes, unbelievably dad jokes are on the rise. There was a little bit of a dip, we're back on the rise again. And overall over the last couple of years, there is an upward trend for dad jokes. So yeah, r/DadJokes has nearly six million subscribers on Reddit,

Mark: A rich niche.

Jack: But we actually end with a lovely little dad joke from SISTRIX here as well. What do you call a fish wearing a bow tie?

Mark: I don't know.

Jack: So-fish-ticated. Eh?! We got him, we got him, listeners!

Mark: I love it and hate it at the same time, therefore it's the perfect dad joke.

Jack: And speaking of loving and hating things at the same time, something I actually talked to with Steve from SISTRIX, because Nicole Scott herself brought one into the studio because it's been trending so much recently, is a Squishmallow. And we talked about this, this was on a couple of TrendWatches ago. We talked about this and we had no idea what was going on. But turns out it's a huge thing on to TikTok because Mark and I are in our 30s, we don't know what TikTok is and how that works.

Jack: Yeah, it's a little plushy, squishy thing that looks like an axolotl, one of those little aquatic creatures with the fins and stuff. But now that was the original one and that has branched out to many other animals and characters and all kinds of stuff. It's basically this big, cuddly, plushy kind of chibi style, if you know that kind of artwork, the kind of cutesy, kawaii, Japanese style ... Everything's very round and squishy. And yeah, it's become really, really popular on TikTok. And people were using it to describe their mood and in including it in their videos and dances and stuff. So yeah, Squishmallows are a big thing.

Mark: I just Googled it and looks at images. If you are of the older generation, like me, it essentially just looks like a fluffy version of a Tamagotchi.

Jack: Kind of, yeah.

Mark: Mixed with Kirby.

Jack: Yes, it's very Kirby. If you know the Nintendo character, Kirby. That is yeah, very much a similar kind of thing. Interestingly, we actually touched on ... The guys from SISTRIX also talk about, if anyone is old enough that is reading this, to have lived through the rise and fall of the Beanie Babies, you should find this story familiar. It's kind of TikTok's Beanie Babies.

Jack: And I wonder how quickly it will ... A lot of people doing the whole like, "Oh yeah, I've got this limited edition Squishmallow." Do you remember when Beanie Babies were the hot thing and everybody's like, "Yeah, I'm going make loads of money from my limited edition Beanie Babies." And then-

Mark: Yeah, I think my mum actually had some Beanie Babies. I was never sold on it.

Jack: No, no. I remember them being a big thing for ... Never actually getting into it myself.

Mark: Yeah.

Jack: I assume I'll do the same thing and never actually get into Squishmallows either, but.

Mark: There's still time for NFT Beanie Babies.

Jack: And NFT Squishmallow. We'll have to check out the trend data on that. We'll come back to you next week with the trend data of NFT Squishmallow, because God knows, that's got to be a mess.

And sticking with things trending for the younger generation. I actually mentioned this in the studio earlier and a couple of the younger members of our team here at Candour, their eyes lit up at the thought of us talking about the one and only Doja Cat. Something I assume Mark hadn't heard of until about half an hour ago.

Mark: You are correct.

Jack: She has songs about being a cow. And again, she's incredibly popular on TikTok. Once again, TikTok dominates the trends. Essentially she's an American rapper and has gathered a lot of traction on YouTube and TikTok, even working with other female rappers and American rappers like Nicki Minaj and people like that. And is kind of defining the young female rapper and internet culture kind of thing, and just doing weird stuff to become viral. And it really seems to be working for her.

She even then trended once again when she talked about quitting music on Twitter the other day, a few weeks ago, and then got nominated for a bunch of Grammys and the interest spiked again. She is very popular and driven by TikTok. Once again, TikTok dominates the trends. And I know my wife, and like I said, a few members of the team here at Candour, were very interested and offered to come in and be Doja Cat experts for us. But yeah, I've heard a couple of her songs, but I don't know much about her.

Mark: All I have to say about that is: I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was and now what I'm with isn't it anymore. And what's it seems weird and scary and it'll happen to you too.

Jack: Thanks, Grandpa Simpson. Yeah. So from Squishmallows to Doja Cat and all the way back around to dad jokes, you can find all that and more, there are multiple extra trends to be digging into on the TrendWatch newsletter. You can go to sistrix.com/trends and find the blog posts for the each-monthly TrendWatch there.

Or you can sign up for the newsletter, and I highly recommend you do that, could you get it straight to your inbox as soon as it's released. Yeah, highly recommend you go and check that out. Go to the website, sistrix.com/trends and sign up for the newsletter there to get all these lovely trends delivered straight to you.

Mark: We've got some Performance Max updates to talk about, so we are veering off into PPC land again. I think it is really interesting to me because I used to do both PPC and SEO and I've definitely, over the years, just got more into my SEO lane now.

Jack: Whereas I am very much an SEO purist. I've done tiny little smidges of PPC over the years, but really not much. I'm pretty much only paid social stuff so I am a pretty pure SEO, to say the least.

Mark: That sort of discussion is actually today on Twitter, about some people didn't know that the Google keyword tool gives you different monthly search volume results based on whether you are actively spending money on your Google Ads before.

Jack: Oh yeah, because if you don't it gives you the range, doesn't it? It does like 100 to 10,000, or whatever. It's like, that doesn't ... Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, like a ridiculous range. Or like 10K to 100K per month. And then the actual, if you actually are spending money, it's like, "Yeah, it's 720." And it always feels really cruel to me, because it feels like maybe the people that aren't spending money are the people with the lower budgets who need the most help. And Google's like, "Yeah, yeah. It's between 10,000, 100,000, million or something."

Jack: I mean, we talked about it a lot. Google want you to spend that money so they could make their money.

Mark: And then you spend some money and Google's like, "Yeah, no, mate, it's 720. I knew it all along, I was just being difficult." Anyway, there's a few people who didn't know that who work in SEO, and it just highlighted to me there's fairly big things that happen within PPC that maybe we're not aware of. So I do like to cover the biggest stuff that's happening in PPC as well. I think naturally we mainly talk about SEO.

Jack: Yeah.

Mark: When we had Rob, senior PPC specialist, on in the last episode, quite a lot that we spoke about, that a lot of the PPC updates that happen, happen without fanfare.

Jack: Yeah, we talked about this. I mean, the SEO community is very vocal. You have Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable, all these kind of big publications. And those guys on Twitter, like Barry-

Mark: Cover everything, everything.

Jack: ... cover every possible thing. And every potential Google update, and every possible algorithm shift and anything like that, any SERP updates and all that kind of stuff.

Yeah, with PPC, a lot of it will change. And I only find out because one of our PPC team here will go, "Hey, have you guys seen this on Slack?" And I'll be like, "No, why would I have seen that?" It was like, "Well, that just changed. And it fundamentally changes how all this thing works." It's like, "Oh, okay." You now have to spend three times as much money and you don't have a choice. I'm like, "That sounds illegal." It's like, "No. That is just how Google Ads works now."

Mark: Yeah. And that's the flavour of the updates.

Jack: Pretty much.

Mark: We're going to talk about Performance Max. For those that don't know, Performance Max is a campaign type. It's a goal-based campaign type on Google Ads that allows advertisers to access basically all of the Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. It's designed to complement the keyword-based search campaigns.

But essentially, with this one campaign you can run ads across all Google's channels. So YouTube, Display, Search as well, Discover, Gmail, Maps, everything. It's very unceremoniously veering us towards the, "Hey, just give us some money and we'll do everything. Don't even tell us where you want to advertise, we'll just do it."

**Jack: "We'll decide it for you." Yeah.

Mark: We are running a few Performance Max campaigns now for clients as AB tests against other types of performance campaigns and manual campaigns because it's good to know what does actually work. And what works for some people won't work for another.

Google says, to finish off the intro for Performance Max, Performance Max helps you drive performance based on your specific conversion goals, delivering more conversions and value by optimising performance in real-time and across channels using smart bidding. Performance Max combines Google's automation technologies across bidding, budget optimisation, audiences, creators, attribution, and more. They're all empowered by your specific advertising objective, for example, if you have a cost-per-acquisition or return on ad spend target, and the creative assets, audience signals, and optional data feeds you provide.

So it really is a, "Chuck all the data you've got at us, audience data. Be as specific as you can be with what you want to get out at the end, and we will pull the levers and see what comes out the other end for you."

Jack: Yeah. I mean, we've talked about automation earlier on in the episode, we talk about it so much in SEO. It is a huge thing that is becoming a controversial subject in PPC as well. I know a lot of our PPC guys are bouncing up against it and Google is insisting like, "No, no, no, automate this thing." And Performance Max is a big part of that. They're really driving a lot of the ad spend towards this kind of campaign rather than the manual things.

And you are totally right, Mark, a lot of people, a lot of experienced PPC people are now running them in parallel, comparing the results, running some AB testing. I think that's key at this stage before Google doesn't give you a choice.

Mark: Yeah. And honestly, I think long-term these kind of campaigns will give better results for advertisers. There are all kinds of ethical issues and not having the transparency of where the money's going. And certainly, I can fully understand why, if you've spent a decade driving in manual, flying in manual, and then suddenly someone's like, "Hey, let's switch the autopilot on," you are going to feel out of control.

And we are still in this choppy period of they're trying to get us to use it, but it's not, certainly not in all cases, working well. So it's like, put the autopilot on. Yeah, it crashed last time, but it'll be probably fine this time. And we are responsible to clients at the end of the day.

Jack: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: So it is like, you are accountable, but you're making Google responsible. So it's a difficult position to be in.

Jack: Yeah. Definitely.

Mark: There are a few updates to Performance Max. There's several, and I've just picked out a couple that I've found interesting.

In-store goals, so Performance Max has been focused on online performance. But now Performance Max campaigns will have the ability to optimise towards store sales goals, and so this means driving more in-store sales.

Jack: Actual footfall to your brick and mortar stores.

Mark: Yes, exactly. Visits, local actions. So these are additions that are going to give, if you've got a physical presence, bricks and mortar business, a reason to test out these Performance Max campaigns in your account.

Jack: That's very interesting. Again, Steve and I talked about this when we were talking about the Primark website. I know we always talk about the Primark website because it's still fascinating and weird. And having an online presence that then tries to drive footfall is always interesting to me. I'm always fascinated by how that works for different businesses.

I'm very intrigued to see how successful this can be for the businesses that rely on that in-person, local visitors, all that kind of stuff. And actually being able to harness the power of Google Ads and stuff like that, and bring that into a way to build on your literal foot traffic, rather than website traffic.

Mark: Yeah, right. They're launching at the same time what are called burst campaigns. This burst feature works with the in-store goals in Performance Max campaigns. And it essentially allows you to set a timeframe to hit the goals. And I think it's smart because basically, it's going to be for seasonal traffic. Because I reckon there's definitely a whole bunch of seasonal things where people go to shops way more.

Coming up in the UK we've got Father's Day soon, and I'm sure there's going to be a whole bunch of people, who probably like me, leave things to the last minute. And then you're like, "Oh, well I just have to go in somewhere and pick something up." Certainly, things like shopping around holidays like Christmas, lots of people enjoy that experience of being highly visible at that time is going to be good for people. And if we can get that measurement it's certainly going to help.

Jack: The classic, picking a present on the garage on the way there. "Oh God, I need to frantically write the card in the back of my car." Speaking not from experience.

Mark: And lastly I wanted to talk about Performance Max for hotels. This is another Performance Max campaign update that's scheduled in for the second half of 2022, so a bit later. And it's the addition of hotel advertising specifically. This expansion's going to allow hotels to leverage Performance Max to promote properties across Google channels, including property specific queries on Search. The hotel implementation in Performance Max will feature prepopulated asset groups for all hotel properties, and the images, descriptions and videos will be auto-generated. Advertisers will have the ability though to review and edit these as well. So again, more automation.

That bit about Performance Max for hotels came from a Search Engine Land article that we'll link to, that they've covered seven updates that are coming to Performance Max. These were the three that interested me the most. I think it's super interesting that they're now refocusing on the whole offline bricks and mortar side of things. Of course, one of the updates that they'll cover is more automated suggestions that they want you to apply. Which again, always a little bit sceptical going in, but yeah, some important updates coming to P Max. You can check it out on the notes at search.withcandour.co.uk.

I want to round off the podcast with had a very nice plugin I discovered for WordPress, which is the Edge Images plugin by Jono Alderson.

Jack: Good old Jono Alderson, shout out to Jono Alderson.

Mark: He seems more quiet nowadays. I used to see him a lot in my feeds. I see him less in my feed now, but he's obviously doing some decent work. So Jono has shared this link on GitHub, which is his Edit Images, Edge, sorry, Images, plugin, which is a WordPress plugin, which automatically uses an Edge transformation service, such as Cloudflare or Accelerated Domains, to apply performance optimisations to image markup. Which is in itself a little bit of a mouthful, but we haven't even started yet.

He's done a little write up, which I'll read to you, about what problem does this solve. Let me go through this with you. WordPress ships with a concept of image sizes, each of which has a height, width and crop option. It provides some defaults like large, medium and thumbnail, and provides ways for developers to customise or extend these options. When a user adds images to content or includes them in templates, they must select the most optimal size from the options available.

Jack: If you've used a WordPress site before, this all seems pretty straightforward so far. That makes sense to me, being a person who has added images to WordPress sites before.

Mark: Brilliant. The issue is, this is often imprecise images are often loaded at roughly the right size, then they're shrunk or stretched by the browser by varying degrees of inaccuracy based on the user's context, such as viewport size, screen density or content preferences. This is inefficient and, quote unquote, expensive from a performance perspective.

WordPress attempts to mitigate this by generating source set and sizes values in image markup. However, this isn't sophisticated enough to consider the context of where an image is output, and how the optimal sizes should be calculated based on theme layout, slash behaviour, and user conditions.

Jack: I think we've all seen images stretched and deformed going from desktop to mobile and vice versa. Yeah, okay, so far makes sense.

Mark: In an ideal world, the user would always receive an appropriately sized image based on a combination of the template context and the user's context. That's far more flexibility than WordPress currently supports.

This plugin solves these problems by, one, allowing users, slash developers, to specify more sophisticated sizes and source set logic for each image based on its optimal template behaviour. And two, providing a large number of, quote-unquote, interstitial source set values that are generated via an Edge provider in order to avoid storage and generation overheads.

Jack: Nice. Okay.

Mark: But essentially it's giving you the options to make your image sizing more precise, and giving you lots of fallbacks that are generated on the Edge, to essentially, as Jono's so eloquently written up, fixed that issue with WordPress.

Jono has obviously worked with Youst, it's supported, works with Yoast as a plugin. You obviously do need an Edge provider like Cloudflare to use this, which I imagine most people hopefully do now, that are interested in SEO and optimisation. But I discovered this today. I've got a WordPress blog, so I'm going to check it out. Again, you can find it at the show notes, of course, which is search.withcandour.co.uk.

Jack: That's all we've got time for this week. We'll be back next week, Monday the 6th of June. But until then, thank you for listening and have a lovely, lovely week.

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