Google’s algorithms are constantly being improved. The organisation frequently updates and changes them. The latest one is the Google ‘Core Web Vitals’ new ranking factor, due to hit in 2021. If you have a website and want it to rank highly in Google, you or your web designer have to keep abreast of these algorithms.
Measuring the quality of the User Experience (UX)
Google’s ‘Core Web Vitals’ will comprise real-time metrics that measure the quality of the user experience (UX); web speed, seamless interaction between the web pages and how stable the pages are at a certain speed. If your website does not measure up, it will slide down to the bottom of Google search results, never to be seen again (unless you improve it).
Forget new page visitors, leads and sales; these will end up with your competitors with high-ranking sites.
Some may say that because Google already has so many ways of ranking websites, then adding a few new ones makes little difference. This is a fatal mistake to make. If you have a new website or one with little traffic, these core web vital ranking factors are going to make the difference between success and failure of your website.
Competitors taking heed of the new Core Web Vitals will watch as they climb to the top, leaving others behind. You need to take note of what Google is doing and get your web designer to evaluate your website in line with the new Google Core Web Vitals.
Failure to do this is erring on being remiss as far as your business success is concerned.
Google analysis using core signals
Google assess your website by using core signals. For example, they have a signal called LCP that assesses your page loading time. Another signal, the CLS, looks at the stability of each page.
Instability can occur when smartphone web viewers try to get to the next page and the website moves out of sync.
A third signal is the FID, which looks at the interactive speed of the web page – if users click on a link on your page and nothing happens, this signal will mark you down.
However, if your website has problems in any of these areas, you don’t need to panic. Google had web designers in mind when they created these algorithms, making it simple for them to measure and fix problems with any of the areas shown.
Google’s three core web vitals
Let’s look at Google’s new Core Web Vitals in more detail:
1. Page loading speed: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Up until now, it has not been easy for web developers to ascertain how fast a page loads. The previous Google metric (First Contentful Paint – FCP) only gauged how long it took initial elements to load on the screen. This resulted in page speeds being perceived as faster than they were, skewing the results.
Google is providing a fix by using the improved Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric to measure the time it takes the ‘largest’ page element to load – this gives a far more accurate calculation of the user’s experience. You can find out how quickly your content is loading via the Google Search Console. If it takes more than 2.5 seconds for a page to begin to load, you need to get it fixed.
2. Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
If the content on your page is ‘jumpy’, may be causing users to click on the wrong button/link, you get a bad score. At its worst, this annoying problem can result in customers buying the wrong item by clicking inaccurately due to the jumping of the page.
This problem will make the user experience very poor, so is an important metric for Google. This CLS score looks out for unexpected shifts in the page layout whilst it is open. The calculation is made by looking at the severity of the instability. The best sites will have a score of less than 0.1.
3. User’s first impression – Interactivity: First Input Delay (FID)
As far as your website users are concerned, the first impression they gain of your site is most important. Get it wrong and off they go. This second core web vital analyses the user’s first impression, looking at how long it takes the site to respond to their initial reaction, which may be the click of a button or link.
Google Search Console can measure this for you. If your score is higher than 100 milliseconds, it needs attention.
These new algorithms will work in conjunction with previous Google releases, such as your site being mobile-friendly (responsive) and with full HTTPS security. Google’s overall tactic is to provide website users with the best possible experience from the first point of contact with your website. If they have issues with your site, then so will Google.
How will the new Google algorithms affect your ranking?
If any of the three Core Web Vital scores shown above score badly on your site, you have until early 2021 to get them fixed by your web developer. Failure to improve a user’s page experience will affect your Google ranking badly. This doesn’t mean that you should focus on these things to the detriment of everything else.
Good content is still extremely valuable. However, always remember that as far as your website is concerned, the experience of the user is of vital importance. The goal is to provide them with a seamlessly smooth encounter.
Google had this statement to make about its algorithm ranking update in early 2021:
“The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.
Optimising for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.”
The new Google page insights aren’t as technically complex as they sound. All of these three things are centred on user experience. If you have a feeling that your users may be experiencing problems on your website, then you need to talk to a web developer and SEO expert.
They will be able to assess the current scores of your site according to the new Google Core Web Vitals and improve them as required.
This way, once 2021 hits, your website will not miss out when the new Google algorithms come into play. Get in touch with https://www.altagency.co.uk/ for further information.