Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Image SEO Part 2 Workshop is this week
- 10 new WebPage Test Tutorials have been released
- New GTMetrix tutorials are underway
- An update on the Video SEO course and Google’s new video SEO guidelines
- When the new Gutenberg Ninja tutorials for WP 5.7 will hit
- Important updates for WP Fastest Cache and why I could just kiss the dev
- When you should manually purge your cache
- Update on the search for better hosting
- A round up of all the goofy stuff we’ve been experiencing online
- Are Reusable Blocks more stable for you since the WP 5.7 release
- 65 new Block Patterns released by Astra
- What’s up with that SharedBufferArray email from Google Search Console
- How to see if your HTTPS security header status meets Core Web Vital requirements
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Wooo!!! Was the first of last week all chaotic for you too? I felt pushed with stuff from the time I got up until I went to bed.
And by Wednesday, so much goofy was happening that disrupted my schedule that I didn’t know if I was coming or going.
But it finally eased up by Thursday, and I’ll tell you more about all the goofy going around in a moment.
Quick reminder for all of my DIY SEO course members that our Part 2 of our live workshops on Image SEO is this Thursday.
Did you know that there are 15 SEO opportunities with images?
Yep, and that’s why we split it up into 2 workshops.
I’m so excited to share that there are 10 new WebPage Test tutorials in the Performance section of the Webmaster Training course!!
Over the past few weeks you’ve heard me talking about the deep speed testing for Core Web Vitals that me and my top 2 webmaster designers have been doing.
And in doing that, we found even more ways to use this tester to help us find those issues. So all those new methods went into these new tutorials too.
And GAH!!!!! Less than 24 hours after I published these new tutorials, damned if WPT didn’t revamp their whole interface!!!!!!!!
It has looked like something from the 90’s and has not been touched in the at least the last 5 years. I wish they had done it a week sooner!!!!
But, it’s just cosmetic, as far as I can tell. All of the settings and tools and such are in the same place, and they said when CatchPoint purchased them that they were going to be super careful about that, as there is so much muscle memory with users of this tester.
So, while the interface on my tutorials suddenly looks super dated, the info is still the same.
GTMetrix Tutorials Underway
This week I’m in the process of writing up the new tutorials on GTMetrix for my webmasters.
I hope to be releasing at least the new tutorials on the paid version this week and will do the free and registered versions after that.
The reason why is because the paid version allows for more testing options and one of them is mobile. It has been so handy in helping us find the Cumulative Layout Shift issues that my webmasters are buying a subscription to it too. So, that’s why that set of tutorials will be first.
And GTMetrix just rebuilt their tester from the ground up, so hopefully no styling revamps are coming, hahahaha.
Video SEO tutorials back on track, sort of
Last week I reported a bit of confusion with the Yoast Video SEO plugin that put a halt to my testing for video embeds and SEO for the soon to be released Video SEO course.
Well, we’re as over that as we’re going to be for the moment and I’m finishing up with writing the last section of tutorials for embedding videos in your posts.
Once that’s done I’ll be calling on my volunteer testers to do more checks and follow up on some of the things we found in our initial SEO tests.
I was just glad to have it back on track again as I’m nearly a month behind where I wanted to be with releasing this course already. So, it’s big time front burner for me.
And then this week Google released new resources for helping get your video SEO up to par and indexed as they are making a big push to promote videos now.
So, I’m digging through that right this minute to ensure I’ve got all these bases covered in the course.
But let this put all of us on notice that video is one of the best ways to make it to Page 1 of Google now.
Gutenberg Tutorial Updates
Due to my time crunch with so many video tutorials to make right now, plus other stuff going on that I’ll tell you about in a moment, I’m going to be making quick tutorials in my Gutenberg Ninja course for the changes in WP 5.7 and adding those as supplemental to any standing tutorials that were affected.
Honestly, most of the changes just don’t warrant making completely new videos, and I’m grateful for that.
So, hopefully I’ll be able to get them out quickly, and soon. Maybe by the end of the week, we’ll see.
Woot!!!!! I could just kiss Emre, the dev of WP Fastest Cache!!
He finds a way to give us everything I ask for in that plugin.
We’ve been working for a while on the way the plugin handles lazy load, which is different from how many other plugins handle it.
They normally sense how many images are in the viewport, according to the screen size the site is being viewed on.
WPFC did it differently, with making a certain number of images available depending on it being desktop or mobile. But that didn’t work well for speed on some sites.
Well, I’m happy to report that WPFC is now auto-sensing the viewport size and lazy loading accordingly!!
Just be sure that you are on the latest free and paid versions to get these benefits. The paid version with these new features is 16.0. And, the very latest versions may not have rolled out to everyone yet, so be patient.
And go see my updated post on WP Fastest Cache Settings for the latest.
FYI, if I did your site audit, and you run ads, I did the CSP thing for you that the tutorial mentions.
And purge the plugin’s cache after the update, as well as the Cloudflare cache too, just to be sure.
New WP Fastest Cache integration with Cloudflare
There is also a change to the way WPFC wants us to integrate with Cloudflare.
And this is going to be better for security, but I don’t think it will impact any of the goofy caching issues we have been seeing, or the glitches at Cloudflare last week that I’ll be telling you about in a moment.
I will be updating my tutorial for these changes just as soon as I can and will let you know when they are available. So, please hold off on doing this for now.
When to Purge
FYI, please be in the habit of purging all of your caches after you do any plugin or theme updates to ensure you are seeing the changes they may have made to the front side of your site.
New Hosting Search Update
I’m making real progress on the search for a boutique host that is a tighter fit for my site audit clients and for my webmasters.
Because of the worsening cyber security situation, and what all hosts are having to do about it now, I’ve been on the hunt for a hosting setup that can cater specifically to the needs of me, my clients, my webmasters, and their clients.
Please see recent Tips Tuesdays for more about the security situation, including the first part of last week’s livestream replay, which you can find on the post.
I can’t spill the beans yet, but there is something in the works that looks like it’s going to be a perfect fit.
I don’t have a timeline on when I can make this new setup available to you, though. But, I will keep you posted.
We’re okay at the hosts I’ve recommended for you for now. So, this isn’t a panic thing and nobody has to move this minute or anything. So don’t worry about that.
And I’ll tell you more when we get a few more details worked out.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Goofy Shit Tips
Ha!!! There’s so much goofy stuff happening online now that I decided to make a tips section for it.
We may not be able to narrow down the causes, or have ways to fix these things yet, as so much of it is out of our control.
But, this is a good way for me to report what I’m seeing and what y’all are telling me is happening so we have a place for more folks to leave comments, and maybe we can put the puzzle pieces together.
If nothing else, misery loves company and we don’t feel like we are the only one having the problem.
Cloudflare API Issues
For a couple of weeks, me and my clients have been seeing a red banner with an error message at the bottom of our Cloudflare plugin and account when making changes.
I reported to CF support, but they wanted me keep jumping through hoops to troubleshoot on my site.
And I kept telling them it was everywhere and to check their own stuff.
Well, maybe they did, or maybe it just broke, but they had 2 day’s worth of API connection issues.
Now, our sites were still being delivered, so we weren’t down except for a few seconds randomly here and there, and I don’t think there were any ill effects from it with speed or such for us.
But, maybe whatever they fixed took care of it. We’ll see.
Issues Logging In
A few folks have reported issues, or being security challenged when they logged into their sites.
This was not widespread, though, and I don’t know what the cause was other than perhaps mitigating a brute force attack.
But we do know that the ruleset for ModSecurity and Imunify360 had their security wires tripped.
It seems to have only lasted for part of one day. And we have not seen it return.
Can’t See Changes in Preview
When you’re making a blog post and then checking how it looks when using the Preview button, you are still on your admin pages, which should not be cached by the host, your local caching plugin, or Cloudflare.
However, some folks are reporting that they can only see the first or second change they made, and then it stops showing changes.
This has been going on for some folks for at least a couple of months. And we’re no closer to finding the source of the issue.
We thought we had our local plugin and Cloudflare ruled out.
But, the host’s server-side cache may be involved.
Plus, some browsers have become more aggressive with caching too. Now, they shouldn’t do that when using an incognito window, but I can tell you for sure that they will after viewing a page 2-3 times, and that was before all of this started happening.
Can’t Install WP Fastest Cache if using the SG Optimizer Plugin
If you are on SiteGround, and using their SGO plugin to cheat your HTTPS setup, then you can no longer use the WP Fastest Cache plugin. SGO will give you a conflict warning and not allow you to enable any of the WPFC settings.
And that’s even if you have all of the SGO optimization settings turned off!!
SiteGround’s Super Cacher causing issues
A couple of week’s ago I reported in Tips Tuesday that SiteGround turned on their Super Cacher for all account owners. This is the same sort of action other hosts are taking to conserve resources against the increase in bad bot hits.
And their server-side stuff is directly conflicting with all of the other layers of cache I have setup for my clients.
What’s worse, we can’t find a way to completely turn it off without goofing the caching we have setup that was working perfectly.
Folks, I’ve been telling you since the very first time that I saw the setup at SiteGround that they were a goofy host.
And then I started reporting on how they were increasingly inserting themselves in the middle of your setup to become a pseudo managed host.
And they just keep doing things that make everything worse.
If you are still on this host – why?
Leave! Just leave!
It is not going to do anything but keep getting worse there.
Most of the goofy may all be about the worsening cyber security situation
I was doing a live session with one of my new site audit clients who is on SiteGround and she was in the middle of a chat support session when we met live.
She started having all manner of issues with previewing her blog changes since they rolled in Super Cacher.
We jumped through every hoop they suggested for turning their stuff off and nothing helped.
And then they said there is something they can turn off on their side, which tells me that all of the settings we have access to are not all there is to it.
They also suggested that it may be a network issue with caching at her router or ISP (Internet Service Provider).
And that doesn’t really surprise me.
Folks, it’s not just host servers that are catching on fire due to the increased magnitude of bad bot hits.
The whole internet is on fire.
That includes all of the major internet hubs, your ISP, and your router.
And that is why all of them are rolling in more caching because that’s the first, best way to cut down on multiple requests for the same thing constantly.
Browsers may be more aggressively caching for this reason too, but I don’t know how to tell if that is true or not.
What I am saying is that we may not have any good way to troubleshoot this or ever fix it, as we may be dealing with security settings and caching that are at levels we don’t have access to, and have zero good ways to test.
I’ll keep reporting on what I do hear about, and what I find. But that may be the limit of help that I can offer for this. And we’re all in it together, including me. So, I’m suffering through it with you.
WP Rocket has new IPs
I was helping a site audit client setup WP Rocket. And it has a feature to Regenerate Critical CSS. Now that sends out your CSS info to their service, and they send back an optimized way of combining, minifying, or excluding files.
And that round trip out to their service and back means that you have to whitelist their IPs in Cloudflare and maybe even at your host.
We’ve been using one IP for some time. But with one client, it didn’t work. So she contacted them and got a new IP and we whitelisted both. And that fixed it for her.
Then with this latest client, neither of those worked, and I looked on the WPR tutorial page and they had a totally different IP listed there.
So we tried all 3 and that didn’t work either.
I don’t know if any of this has to do with their data center catching on fire a week or so ago. And maybe they are having to re-route to another data center, or they are still not able to offer that service because of it.
So, if you have WPR, then don’t try to Regenerate Critical CSS right now if you don’t need to. And the only reason you would need to would be a change of plugins or theme that have CSS files.
Are Reusable Blocks better since WP 5.7?
Several of my followers have reported instability issues with Reusable Blocks.
WP 5.7 was supposed to have addressed those issues.
And I’d like to hear from you whether what you were encountering was fixed or not, and/or if you are seeing new issues with them.
Please do leave a comment here or anywhere you see this post online and let us know.
I was thrilled to see the news that Astra has just released 65 new Block Patterns.
The minute these things came out in Gutenberg I immediately saw it as a way for all theme designers to start including fully built pages that were easy to edit and a far better way of doing it than rolling in demo content.
This way you could pick and choose only what you wanted or needed from the Block Patterns.
The only drawback is that these new Block Patterns require that you install Astra’s Starter Templates.
Maybe folks just starting out with Astra for the first time may be interested in those templates, but what about all of the folks who already have their theme design locked in and just want some of these new patterns?
Maybe they’ll split them off some day.
Some of my DIY SEO course members reported getting an email from Google Search Console that they had issues with SharedBufferArray, COOP and COEP on their sites and to get that taken care of.
This is more of a security issue than what you may think of as a typical SEO issue.
But keep in mind that Google’s Core Web Vitals includes HTTPS security now, and this either has to do with one of those security headers or some JS on our sites.
FYI, there are 3 HTTPS security headers that are required by Chrome right now. And I give my clients 5.
And this potential new one that deals with Cross-Origin Isolation will be required by around this time next year.
It’s about going deeper into cross origin issues than we are currently required to do at this time.
So, this is definitely stuff you have to stay current with, and the kind of thing I update for my site audit clients during their annual checkup, as they had their full HTTPS conversion done by me too.
Because all of the folks who reported getting this email had ads running on their sites, I thought it had to do with that alone. But it may not.
In fact, Mediavine put out a post about it and cautioned site owners not to change their current headers for this. And this is another reason why I use the headers that I do, because they don’t harm my clients who run ads.
But because some of my clients have more than just ad agency type ads on their sites, I’m reading up on it and I’ll let you know what I find.
But will also say that since this will not go into effect until mid 2022, it is not a front burner project right now.
Even Mediavine is suggesting that folks do nothing at this time except maybe get a plugin audit to see if that is the source of this JS 3rd party storage issue.
If it is that, by the time this thing actually hits, most plugin devs will have fixed that issue. So again, a good reason not to make this front burner just yet.
It’s also why you should be calm about it for now too.
If you’re wondering if you have all of the HTTPS security headers you need, run your site URL through this handy online tester.
If you are getting any less than 5 of the 6 headers, you don’t have all you need for proper HTTPS.
And it’s very likely that all of the links in your database are not really HTTPS either and you’re using some sort of trickery for redirecting them.
READ: Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS for more on what you’re missing that will bite you in the butt with Google.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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