January 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

Jan 22, 2021 by
January 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

We’re just two short weeks into 2021 and it’s already looking like it’s going to give 2020 a run for its money.

We’ve already had another national lockdown at home but across the pond, it would appear as if the United States is getting ready for social media-induced civil war.

Thankfully, however, the online marketing world remains comparatively predictable. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what the first days of this unpredictable new year had in store for us humble SEO specialists.

Google employees unionise 

Kicking off 2021 with aplomb, employees at Google crowned a tumultuous year by officially forming a union.

The union, called the “Alphabet Workers Union,” is focused on justice issues related to sexual harassment, discrimination, and ending retaliation against employees for speaking up.

Membership is open to all workers at the Alphabet subsidiaries, which of course means Google but is not limited to Google.

Membership is open to technology and non-tech workers. The cost of membership is just 1% of your wages, which is pretty standard union practices in the US.

Whether or not it proves to be worth the investment, only time will tell. So far the union is at 700 members and counting.

WordPress has an interesting start to the year

Publishers have been venting their frustration at WordPress recently as the All in One SEO plugin decided unilaterally to turn on all automatic updates.

Automatic update is a feature that allows plugins to update automatically without any action from the publisher. The common expectation is that this is something that a publisher opts into it.

Some publishers backup their WordPress installations before updating. That way if something goes wrong they can easily roll it back to the previous state.

With automatic updates, it’s no longer possible to save a backup before the update happens. A bad update can be a major problem that becomes harder without a proper backup.

Despite All in One’s blunder, however (which was no fault of WordPress itself), it was also revealed this month that WordPress powers a pretty staggering 39.5% of all websites.

Of the sites that use a CMS, meanwhile, WordPress boasts a 64.1% market share. It’s not a monopoly but it’s pretty close.

Of course, WordPress is generally understood to be the best CMS for SEO, which is why it’s easy to forgive when mistakes are made.

Pirate traffic down after the latest Google algorithm update

Google’s recent algorithm updates are reportedly reducing traffic to piracy websites, according to an analysis of year-over-year data.

TorrentFreak, with help from piracy tracking company MUSO, published a report which shares insights into pirate site traffic from search engines in 2020. From December 2019 to November 2020, pirate sites lost nearly a third of their search traffic.

Search traffic to pirate sites hit a downward trend in January of last year and went into free-fall in May 2020 after a brief spike when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

Google’s core algorithm updates are designed to have a widespread impact on global search results, though certain categories of sites will invariably be hit harder than others.

As it relates to the core updates of 2020, it appears torrent sites felt the brunt of the impact. Though it’s worth noting overall traffic to pirate sites dropped in 2020.

More than 80,000 domains suspended because of Brexit

I really wanted to avoid the ‘B’ word this month but lo and behold, here we are. As of last week, all .eu domains owned by UK registrants were suspended as a direct result of Brexit finally kicking in.

This left over 80,000 domains out in the lurch. Domains suspended on January 1, 2021, can no longer be used for websites or email addresses.

Registrants of suspended domains have until April to prove they’re eligible to hold the domain. However, it would appear that many UK registrants of .eu domains saw this day coming. The number of UK-based domains ending in .eu reportedly shrunk from over 300,000 in 2017 to 81,000 at the beginning of this year.

The great Trump ban of 2021

Let’s close with some good (or at least amusing) news, shall we? Due to the shameful events in Washington DC last week, Facebook has blocked President Donald Trump from posting on its platform for the remainder of his term as President of the United States.

Twitter initially set a 12-hour temporary action of blocking Trump from posting on its platform with a warning that the company may permanently disable his account.

On Friday, they updated their statement to ban Trump’s account permanently. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke!