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February 4, 2021

Google’s new algorithm update is all the talk lately: What is it? When will it roll out? How will that affect my site’s traffic? How should I prepare? 

No need to panic because we’ve got all the answers and information you’ll need right here in this blog! We’ve included detailed information to help you prepare for the new update and what the algorithm will be looking for. Plus, we have informative links to help you understand this algorithm further. So, let’s get started!

What is it?

In May 2021, Google is making changes to its ranking algorithm based on user experience. The new algorithm is called the Page Experience Algorithm Update, and it will affect the SEO of your website and how it will be ranked on Google. Your website will need to be as user-friendly as possible, meaning you’ll need to prepare. But first, let’s go further into what this new algorithm is all about. 

Google’s new Page Experience Update is designed to give users a better website experience. This means that Google is looking for the most user-friendly websites and web pages, rolling out this new algorithm to provide the most enjoyable and helpful experiences for people who use the web. The goal is to make sure users are happy and content with their overall experience. 

If you want to hear it from Google, read Google’s explanation of the new update. If you want a simplified version and how to prepare for this big change, then keep reading!

Why Should You Prepare for the New Algorithm?

Google now wants top-ranked sites to be the ones that users love. The more clicks a site gets and the longer people stay on the page, the higher the ranking. This means that SEO affects business recognition and growth, making SEO and ranking extremely crucial for growing your business. Now, and we believe in the future, Google will prioritize the sites that people enjoy the most, focusing on the user’s experience rather than solely on keywords and other SEO qualifiers.

Google has decided to give everyone a heads up on this new algorithm update early due to the coronavirus. Businesses will have the opportunity to prepare their websites for the upcoming update, so the traffic on their site doesn’t tank. Use this time to your advantage and make your website as user-friendly as possible, fixing any issues you may currently have.

New High-Ranking Factors

Google will now combine Core Web Vitals with four pre-existing factors to determine rank, so you’ll want to make sure your website uses all of them. It’s not enough to only have your Core Web Vitals in check, you will need the other pre-existing factors in order for Google to consider you anywhere near the top of their ranking. Here are the ranking factors: 

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals will be the main ranking factor starting in May. It has to do with three main aspects of user experience: page loading, interactivity, and visual stability. If any of these aspects are not working as they should on your site, your user experience will go down, along with your site’s traffic and rank. 

Page loading refers to the speed of a web page and the time it takes for the largest image or content to appear, measured by Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Your LCP should load within 2.5 seconds. Anything above that will need improvement and have less of a chance at ranking on Google.

Interactivity is measured by First Input Delay (FID), the time it takes for the browser to begin processing an action such as a link click or the tap of a button. A good FID is less than 100 milliseconds.

Lastly, visual stability needs to stay low and is measured by Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which tallies the total unexpected layout shifts (every time a visual element of your page changes position). Your CLS should have a score of 0.1 to be considered user-friendly. This way web page elements don’t suddenly move, causing users to accidentally click a section of the page they didn’t want to click – ultimately frustrating the user.

Google demonstrates CLS perfectly with this video:

Mobile Friendliness

Nowadays, your website has to be mobile-friendly. If it’s not, there’s no way your site will rank high on Google anymore. Mobile-friendly sites affect SEO dramatically. With more users interacting with Google and websites on mobile devices, Google has to expand user-friendliness on all devices, so people have the best experience possible. Make sure your mobile site is helping you, not hurting you – it is that simple! This is 2021 – mobile-friendliness will only become more significant as time passes. 

Need tips on how to design your mobile site to improve sales and SEO? Check out our previous blog here!

Safe Browsing

Safe Browsing ensures your site doesn’t have any harmful software or unsafe web resources. Even if your site avoids using anything harmful or unsafe directly, make sure your links don’t either because that could affect your ranking.

HTTPS-Security

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol tool that protects a user’s computer data from the site, giving users privacy and security. This ultimately means that the user experience on a site is comfortable and unthreatening, allowing sites to rank higher on Google. If your site has HTTPS-Security, you’re sure to rank higher than those who don’t and even more so after this new update!

Intrusive Interstitials

Intrusive interstitials started to affect ranking back in 2017 and should be avoided on your site. Intrusive interstitials usually appear on mobile sites and block the user from seeing the main content. This could include popups or a standalone interstitial that has to be dismissed before accessing a site. These are annoying to users and can frustrate them enough to leave your site entirely. Avoid them at all costs as they affect user experience!

Optimize and Adapting Your Website 

There are still three months until this new algorithm takes effect. Using the information and ranking factors we have provided, it’s time to start preparing and optimizing your website for this new algorithm. Google has many tools to help you measure your user experience, so you will know exactly what you need to work on in these next few months. Some of the best include:

  • Chrome DevsTools – a set of Chrome extensions that measure your page’s performance.
  • PageSpeed Insights – an analytical tool that measures your page speed on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Web Vitals – an extension that allows you to view your websites Core Web Vitals on desktop in real-time.
  • Lighthouse – a website audit tool that measures Core Web Vitals along with the other user experience ranking factors.

Contact UV Designs

Informing yourself on Google’s new algorithm updates is essential for your business to continue to strive online. We encourage you to continue to research, analyze, and repeat! Stay tuned for our next blog!

Contact UV Designs today to help with your company’s digital transformation. We will help your business thrive in the digital world!

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