Content Aware media news: August 25, 2022

Published: 26 August 2022

Substack says it is the friend of writers

'Cuddly' SubStack bares its teeth, Google's Panda 2.0 mega update, WordPress woes - all in this week's Content Aware media highlights.

A Panda by any other name
Sites globally (but in English for now...) are waiting with bated breath for Google's ongoing Helpful Content search engine algorithm update to make itself apparent, so the great re-ranking can begin. It's reckoned to be one of the most comprehensive updates since the Panda update of 2011. The site-wide "helpful content" signal is taking aim at content written purely for search engine rankings, to instead favour content that is helpful to people. There will inevitably be mighty winners and mighty losers.

Corbidge comments... on being helpful (according) to Google
A huge Google search ranking logic update is dropping from today, and it could be disastrous for some publishers and heaven-sent for others. GPP's resident puller of content levers has a look at what it could mean.

Facebook's hosepipe leak
Facebook users expecting news of granny's petunias and next door's rescue kitten got a rude shock this week, after being spammed with celebrity fashion tips and memes when a system config change accidentally made its way into the 'real' world of Facebook-curated content. So was it an actual error, or just sent before the announcement - and is this what we should all brace ourselves to be seeing more of soon?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
'Niceguy' SubStack's bright, sunlit, unsullied uplands are a little in shadow, as it turns out they behave rather vengefully when a valuable content producer leaves for a rival. Plus ca change.

A new kind of browser wars
While plucky (!) Edge has gained some interesting new features to try and provide an alternative to Chrome and Safari (80% share between them), there is more going on in browserland than that Godzilla vs King Kong tech giant battle. It does seem ironic to call them "browsers" when the choice is so limited, but lots of startups continue to try and change that - as are the Feds.

Deep down in the SEO content mine
Speaking of Google's new dance steps for SEOd content, this article is very timely. Producing content is hard, even in our automated age - the brain is your main tool for creating anything. Here's a piece in praise of those who sweat hard deep down in the harshest of content mines.

Virtual inspiration to use on LinkedIn
It seems to us at GPP that LinkedIn doesn't really know what it wants to be any more. Aside from its obvious uses between contacts and colleagues in industry, you sometimes can't avoid vast tracts of glib advice or gushing sentimentality from random LinkedIn-fluencers which make it a scrolling minefield. If you can't beat them, join them - and this little site makes that possible.

Is TikTok a Trojan Horse?
Plenty within the US body politic believe so, and the issue of TikTok and what it does with its data remains a live one. The Chinese government, of course, now has oversight of how social media algorithms actually work and it seems likely the principle of - at the very least - legislative insight will spread westward too.

Publishers still bogged down by WordPress drudgery
Even the basic drudgery of WordPress maintenance remains problematic for a broad multinational sample of publishers, according to the latest data collected by GPP. A scan of 111 WP-based media sites reveals that more than 75% have still not been able to update to the latest version 6.0.1, let alone tackle a wide range of existing known vulnerabilities. It's not laziness - keeping sites secure is a permanent labour and cost, and if they have modified and bespoked parts of their setup then even the critical security updates might now be bathed in the pain of knock-on issues which break things elsewhere. Of the 26 who updated, 8 still carry some of those known vulnerabilities. With a real fear of being targeted through WP's ubiquity alone proved by this latest unpleasantness it's a raw truth that the stress of maintenance of a WP install sits in bulk on the side of the owner/operator.

Thanks to all for the tips and recommendations!