Latest Google Update – How will this affect SEO for your business?
Last year, Google announced an upcoming update that would emphasize a user’s page experience as a key metric for search engine rankings. Over the years, there have been a number of Google algorithm updates for website owners to watch. This latest update launches in May 2021, and we will break down what this means for SEO for small businesses.
Overview of Changes
This Google update is adding a metric called Core Web Vitals to the existing checklist that websites need to have in order to rank higher.
- No intrusive interstitials
- Core Web Vitals
What are Core Web Vitals?
According to Neil Patel, Core Web Vitals “determine what type of experience visitors get when they land on your page.” This metric is separate from just being responsive and mobile-friendly. Core Web Vitals focus on three things: loading, interactivity and visual stability.
Core Web Vitals focus on three things: loading, interactivity and visual stability.
Note: For more information on the four other requirements for high-performing websites, check out our blog titled “Is Your Website Hurting Your Business?”
Google has unique terms for these metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). But for our purposes here, we are going to keep to the terms: loading, interactivity and visual stability for better understanding.
When you click on a website, do the photos or videos at the top of the page load immediately? Or is there a delay? When Google updates this May, it wants top-performing sites to have a loading time of 2.5 seconds or less for the top header images and content.
Have you ever filled out a form on a website and watched the wheel spin before you finally got a confirmation that the form submitted? If there is a delay in the responsiveness of the website after a user interacts with a link or form, this could hurt your interactivity rating. According to Google, a great website responds to user interaction in less than 100 milliseconds, which is the average time for a blink of an eye.
If you click on a website and immediately begin scrolling, does the website jump around and load images and buttons at varying times? Does a button hop down the page as paragraphs load above it until you are almost playing catch and mouse with the button you want to click? This would be poor visual stability in Google’s eyes. In a nutshell, the fewer times your website skips for a user, the better Google will rank this metric.
How to see how your website is currently performing
Alright! You’re hanging with us. So these Google updates will add page experience metrics to ensure that users have the best experience on your website. Google will reward websites with great Core Web Vitals with a higher page rank. How is your website performing in loading, interactivity and visual stability? You can find out by using Google Search Console.
- Log in to Google Search Console using your Google Account and find the “Core Web Vitals” Tab on the left menu.
- After clicking on this section, the page will contain metrics for both mobile and desktop metrics outlining which URLs on a page are “poor,” “good” or “need improvement.”
Small changes you can make to improve page experience
Now that you know how your website’s page experience is scored under Core Web Vitals, you can implement these small changes to improve a user’s experience on your website.
- Compress images to less than 500kb.
- Limit the amount of information and large files above the fold to ensure your loading speed is fast.
- Watch your third-party codes and limit when you can. This means try not to include a long form with a file transfer with a large image file on the same page. Additionally, if your site carries too many complex plugins, that could affect your speed as well.
- To ensure visual stability, make sure you block out ample space for videos, images and blocks of text in your website builder.
- Limit the number of animations on a page as they tend to slow down page loading speed, which could potentially trigger layout changes.
We understand that Core Web Vitals can seem pretty technical. But if you focus on giving your users the best experience possible when they click on your website, you’ll rank higher on Google. In conclusion, don’t make these changes because Google may rank you higher. Optimize your website to give your website visitors the best experience you can offer.
Are you looking to redesign your company’s website to give your visitors a better experience? Contact our expert web designers today!