For years, Google has guarded its technology like a chaste maiden in King Arthur’s court. The lengths that they will go to safeguard the secrets around their algorithm are a bit comical, even mildly infuriating. So, where does that leave companies that are trying to get the most out of SEO?
In many ways, chasing their tails. Even as some have committed to the win through rigorous SEO practices, Google is preparing to launch Google Page Experience which will now analyze Core Web Vitals as part of the page ranking process. It’s all-new! And it’s game-changing.
The term “Core Web Vitals” conjures images of hypertechnical data that is constantly critiquing your website like a burnt-out math teacher nearing retirement. That is why industry professionals have started referring to this as the Google Page Experience. Set to roll out in May of 2021, the new algorithm will replace the current iteration that launched in 2016. If you are in business, you need to know about it. Read on.
The Google Page Experience: Times are changing
It should come as no surprise that Google’s latest algorithm will prioritize user experience (UX). The recent shift, by users, to get the majority of their web surfing fixes via smart devices has driven Google in this direction. In addition to monitoring keywords and content, Google bots will be looking at how easily a webpage can be navigated through from a smartphone or tablet.
Simply put, your site needs to be mobile-optimized. Any links, images or content needs to be easily accessible and readily available to consumers. Sites that are difficult to navigate or have links that go to Neverland will see their SEO ranking negatively impacted.
Mobile-Friendly and More
So, you double-checked all of your links and images to make sure they are loading properly, meaning all clear, right? As Lee Corso says, “not so fast my friends.” In addition to site navigability, site speed and responsiveness will now be included in the ranking algorithm. The following three key areas will be closely monitored and will have a major impact on rankings.
- Largest contentful paint
- First input delay
- Cumulative layout shift
We know what you are thinking, “can we get that in layman’s terms?” Don’t you just love how Google uses words that look like they should never be included in the same phrase to describe something of importance? As confusing as they sound, the core concepts are pretty easy to understand:
- Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, is simply how fast the content that is most visible on your site will load for a user. Another way to think of it is, does your site move like Usain Bolt or Tom Brady? The sites that take more than a few seconds to load will be docked points in their ranking score.
- First Input Delay, or FID, is the amount of time that it takes your site to be interactive. Ultimately, how quickly can someone scroll, click on a link/image, or otherwise perform an action?
- Cumulative Layout Shift, or CLS, refers to the amount of visual content that your site shifts once the page is loaded. Pop-ups or other items that move or obscure the page will now impact rankings. For a more in-depth look, here is a breakdown.
Site Optimization: Now What?
Companies that are looking to take immediate action are in for some good and bad news. The good news is that there is still time to get your site in tip-top shape before Google Page Experience is fully launched. The bad news is that the window is closing soon. With demand through the roof, webmasters are being called into action like a Seal Team Six.
The Your Business Marketer team is ready to jump into the fray and assist with all of your SEO needs. Covering everything from small tweaks to accommodate the changes with Google Page Experience to a complete site audit, our specialized team is prepared to help. Visit our website to learn more and schedule a consultation.