With such a bewildering array of marketing options — digital and otherwise — we like to focus blog posts on actionable intel. Whether it’s a staff-written how-to or a link to somebody else’s smart idea, it’s news you can use in upping your marketing communications game.
September 4, 2020
Google recently announced an update to their algorithm set for 2021 geared towards evaluating web pages based on the user experience they create. Here’s what you need to know.
There’s no two ways about it, 2020 has been a crazy and unpredictable year. And to add to the list of firsts, Google announced an algorithm update set for 2021 - they have never put out this kind of intel before. So it’s obviously a pretty good way to take advantage of a clear path in getting ahead of anyone who isn’t. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google decided to give a heads up on the future algorithm update, as well as provide the tools to prepare our businesses for the algorithm to hit in 2021. The update is geared towards evaluating web pages for the experience they create for users.
So, with 2021 fast approaching, here’s what to know to improve your Google rankings?
According to Google, page experience is defined as “a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.” The whole purpose of this update is to make sure sites that are top ranking aren’t creating experiences that leave users wanting more.
Here are the four main categories taken into consideration, and examples of the questions Google is looking to answer.
Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great start if you want to learn the basics of this new algorithm update. For more information about Page Experience, we recommend checking out Google’s blog.
Google isn’t rolling out this new update until sometime in 2021, which means you have some time to get ahead and prepare your website before it drops. It would be a great disservice to your business to not take advantage of these tools that Google has offered.
So, what tools are available, and what resources do we have to evaluate our sites in a timely manner?
Core Web Vitals
As Google puts it, “Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-friendly metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.” It's user-centered data that provides scores on all the aspects of page experience, including metrics on page load time, interactivity, and stability of content as it loads. Here, you can find data on:
First Input Delay (FID), which measures user interactivity.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures page loading performance.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures visual stability.
When you combine these factors with mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and accessibility considerations, it all comes together to influence Google’s understanding of page experience. Though, these are just some of the factors that influence the algorithm as a whole.
By now, you’re probably wondering if any of this information applies to your website, and the answer is a definite YES.
Though Google has made a clear announcement of the upcoming algorithm update, they are giving users ample time (about six months) to prepare for this change. We can’t stress enough how important it is for your business to get ahead of this, especially when your competitors might not be paying attention to this kind of stuff. You can utilize Google’s diagnostic tools in Google Search Console and get with your SEO-ers and developers to start addressing issues.
It’s important to realize that page experience performance does not outweigh great content, so, don’t pull all the plugs on your content creation. In a statement from Google, it was indicated that none of these technical factors will replace outstanding website content:
“While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
It will be worth your while to make the time to update your website - we highly encourage it. Google is basically spoonfeeding us tools to facilitate our transitions.
This new update from Google is actually reassuring. It basically shows that Google prioritizes legitimate sites with sound information that create a positive experience for users––and that’s what websites should be about. When you put this knowledge with the tools Google is providing, you’re well on your way to ranking high on Google Search.
If you’re interested in ranking high on Google, we have all of the digital marketing tools you need to get to the top. Contact BakerWoodward for more information.