Updated: April 10, 2021
How Has Google Changed The Search Game This Year And What That Means To Your Site
In late May, Google announced that they were changing the way they viewed your websites, and you’re really going to need to make sure you’re up to speed on this or your search rankings will take a massive hit. Google is finally taking live their Page Experience algorithm that prioritizes everything from the speed that your pages load to the readability of the content you’re publishing. In short, the human likability factor of your website is being prioritized.
Google itself doesn’t hide the fact that they’re changing things, nor how that is going to affect you. You can see that for yourself by clicking the link in the box above. The problem is that they’d have to rank that page poorly because it hits you like a CIA communiqué rather than an easy guide to set yourself up for success with their platform. Don’t worry though, as we’ve broken it down below into something that is easy to read while still being informative.
"Core Vitals" are now given the most weight.
(Largest Contentful Paint)
How fast your website loads is now king. If it takes more than 2.5 seconds to load your webpage then Google is going to ding your ranking. Slowly loading webpages consistently rank as one of the most annoying things for someone to encounter and you truly need to focus on optimizing your website accordingly.
(First Input Delay)
You need to score 100 milliseconds or less in this area for your page to be acceptable. When someone clicks a link, a photo or anything else on your website this metric measures how long it takes for the browser to start loading it. It differs from the metric above in that it’s not determining how quickly the content loads on the page but how long it takes the click to do something.
(Cumulative Layout Shift)
In this metric you just need to ensure your website isn’t jerky. If someone is hovering over a link but something just loaded above and knocks the cursor off the link then, once again, Google is going to ding your rating. This is a Core Vital because of the dangers of inadvertent clicks. Everything from malware to accidental purchases have made this metric more important in Google’s eyes.
A great website experience should be your focus.
While Google is upfront about the changes they’re making, they are less clear when it comes to telling you how those work out exactly in the real world. It’s a constantly evolving science that is now heavily dependent on humans, so as web design changes so will the metric. The key to ensuring that your website pleases the Google machine is to ensure that it works well, looks good and the content that you provide is enjoyable to read.
It is also important to note that all the other metrics that Google has used for years will still factor into your website; they’ll just have a lot less sway over the results.
Time to make those adjustments!
You should start looking over your website now and be fully prepared for these changes to take place by the new year. Google has said that these will go live in “early 2021” but no specific date has been given yet. Considering the things they’ll be looking at will improve how people view your website in general, it won’t hurt to get ahead of the curve and provide a better experience to your users.
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