Marketing News – S2E3 – Y2K is back? Out of stock affecting SEO? Shopify Killing it at Core Web Vitals, Yoast has an announcement, Ecommerce in the metaverse, more bug fixes for GSC – January 5th, 2022

Today there were a few news pieces and a couple ecommerce related items that I wanted to cover. Y2K 22? How does an out of stock product page affect SEO? What platform is winning the Core Web Vital Game? A new app to improve SEO with Shopify, the metaverse and ecommerce, and a Search Console bug fixed.

Y2K strikes again. This time for 2022, but it’s actually the exact same issue we had 22 years ago with dates being stores as 2 digit numbers. This one affects email, and if you work within an enterprise environment with Exchange servers, you may see disruption and no emails sent. So if you are active in email marketing, especially B2B, this may have affected you.

This backstory here actually happened on New Years day, Microsoft Exchange servers 2016 and 2019 were affected. The anti-malware component is converting the date/time into “YYMMDDHHMM” format and storing it as a signed 32-bit number (max value 2,147,483,648). So, in Dec 2021, the number would start with “21” which is below the threshold. For Jan 2022, the number would start with “22.” which then puts it above the threshold.

With so much of the supply chain being affected recently, how are you handling out of stock or low stock items, and does this affect SEO? The low stock question was asked on Twitter to John Mueller about a product page that was ranking #1 for 8 months, but they’re out of stock for a few weeks and they’ve since dropped to #9. John responded that it shouldn’t affect regular search results, but he couldn’t answer on product or shopping feed related.

There’s a few things to look at, as mentioned by a few responders:

  1. Is there out of stock schema on the page?
  2. Is the CTR dropping – bounce backs?
  3. Does Search Console see the page as a soft 404?
  4. Has anything else changed on the page?

There is a great article from Dr. Peter Meyers from Moz about how to handle temporary out of stock items. To summarize, don’t 404, 301, or 302. Instead come up with some ways for your user to purchase or find a similar product that you can direct them to via a callout (not a redirect).

Shopify and Core Web Vitals: 

Shopify is doing a great job in the core web vitals area. Using data from HTTPArchive, Barry Adams noted that Shopify is performing better than AMP pages. Continuing the thread, Duda is added which performs exceptionally well, and when filtered by just US sites, Duda, AMP, and Shopify are in the top, while Wix is in the middle and WordPress and SquareSpace bring up the bottom. This is a representation of the sites built on these technologies, so any of these can score high, this gives an idea of how they average out from actual usage out there.

What’s impressive to me is that Shopify is an ecommerce system, which always adds another level of complexity to the mix and it does an excellent job. I’ve been really impressed with the Shopify system from both a development standpoint as well as being able to actually do SEO for the sites.

Yoast is coming to Shopify:

Yoast is best known for being an SEO plugin for WordPress with over 12 million users. They just announced their Shopify App which goes live on January 18th 2022.

I think this is really big news and I’m excited to see more ability to implement SEO into Shopify.  The app can output all the needed SEO meta data and a complete Schema graph for a Shopify site as well as things like readability analysis. Shopify is a great system for small businesses and I think this will help not only those businesses compete in SEO for ecommerce, but also makes it a lot easier for those who are really good at Yoast SEO with WordPress add Shopify to their toolbox.

There was a user issue in Google Search Console where full users may have seen their status as delegated users and not have the full ability to do things like add new users. This was announced on the search console help page back in November 2021 and is now resolved.

Ecommerce and the metaverse:

The Harvard Business Review wrote an article about brands entering the metaverse. As it seems ecommerce has been a bit of the word of the day, I wanted to see if there was anything on the social side and this article caught my attention. The metaverse is really the web 3.0, and brands will be embracing it sooner than later. With social commerce – that is purchases directly through a social platform growth to 37.9% growth in 2020 alone according to emarketer insider intelligence. The metaverse is poised to push that even higher in the coming years. 

Some brands to note:

Nike filed several trademark applications directly related to downloadable digital goods specifically for the metaverse. 

To see some real world implementations, the Perfect Corp scaled back its CES 2022 presence and created a full interactive AR booth. You can visit it on your browser in the links below. Perfect Corp has been offering Virtual Try-On solutions for Makeup, Hair Color, Nail Polish, and more, Eyewear, Earrings, Accessories, Watches, Bracelets, and Rings for immersive shopping experiences. It’s very much a try before you buy virtual experience. I think this is going to become a new standard in ecommerce. With everything from apparel to furniture.


Perfect Corp. virtual booth experience @ CES 2022: 

And since it seems we can’t go a day without talking about TikTok, an article from the Verge suggests that TikTok is testing a new feature that is similar to the Twitter retweet function. This should allow for reposting a video to your followers instead of having to DM them. It’s not clear if this is something that will be released to all users.