Excel These 7 Metrics Of Google’s Core Update 2021 For Higher Rankings!
Google is a 20-years old search engine that handles over two trillion searches annually. This you might know but do you know that it regularly updates its page ranking algorithms at a rate of an average of 9 to 10 algorithm updates per day? Yes, this translates to over 3000 updates every year!
While most of these regular updates have a minute impact on a page’s ranking, there are some core updates that are the most impactful and worth knowing about. These core updates introduce significant and broad changes to your search rankings and user experience. Thus, you need to understand the mechanics behind these Google’s core updates, the latest of which is slated to get rolled out fully by August end after getting postponed in May this year.
The company has named this year’s core update as the “page experience update”. As the name reads out, your page rankings will now be measured based on the user experience on your page. That’s the gist of this update.
Continue reading to get a detailed analysis of this June-August Google core update.
What Is Page Experience?
Google has developed this detailed document on its page experience criteria. However, in short, it is a set of signals or metrics that measures how a user comprehends the experience of interacting with a particular web page. For example, a page’s user experience hugely depends upon the following facets.
- Does it load quickly, say under 2-3 seconds?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Does it run on HTTPS?
- Are there any annoying ads?
And the list is endless. In a nutshell, the better page experience your user will get from now onwards, the better rankings you can attain.
The 7 Key Page Experience Signals To Note In The June-August Core Update
Since this update will primarily focus on the user experience on your page, if you’re an SEO professional, you might need to change your approach, and below are the 7 key signals/metrics of great concern for you in this regard.
In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices have generated over 54.8% of global website traffic. Interestingly, the proportion of mobile traffic is hovering over 50% since 2017!
Thus, it’s now more vital to look into the mobile-friendliness of your website to lend a better page experience to your audience. For this, focus on the responsive design of your website so it fluidly adapts to the user’s device screen without the need for zooming or tapping.
2. Safe browsing
These days, safe browsing is of utmost importance to both Google and the user considering the rise of illegal activities over the web. To keep a check on the potential malware over its platform, Google crawlers crawl every website thoroughly and prioritizes websites that promote safe browsing.
Google also weeds out the sites containing social engineering content that tricks the users to indulge in doing something dangerous, like disclosing their confidential information online or downloading any malicious software. Thus, you’d be more mindful of such things on your website following 2021’s core update.
3. HTTPS/SSL or Encryption
If you’ve been using HTTP on your website, it’s wise to shift to its safer extension HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) according to Google. It encrypts the data transfer between websites and is ideal for sites that require users to provide sensitive data such as by logging into a bank account, email service, or health insurance provider.
If you’ve HTTPS on your site, you’d additionally purchase SSL certificates to lift your search engine rankings following the new Google core update. You can either purchase your SSL certificate from any Cloud and SaaS-based platforms like BigCommerce or Webflow or your domain provider.
In a nutshell, the duo of HTTPS & SSL certificates is a key update in this core update to ensure a safe browsing experience for the user.
4. Intrusive interstitials
While Google counts a multitude of objects as intrusive interstitials, they are primarily those pop-up ads that tend to occupy the entire screen space and make it difficult for the user to access the website content.
Other things that fall under the same roof include paywalls, full-width banners, etc. To improve the user experience over your website, it’s vital to limit or avoid these interstitials which will otherwise implicate your rankings as well.
Google, however, is in favor of certain interstitials such as cookie pop-ups or age verification requests that won’t impact the user experience or rankings.
5. Loading speed that’s measured by the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
It’s a no-brainer that your page’s loading speed has a direct influence on your reader’s actions. According to a study, if a page takes more than 3-4 seconds to load, the higher the chances of the user leaving that page. Statistically, 38% of web users belong to this category. This is the reason why your page’s loading speed is of utmost importance from your user’s POV.
Now, following this year’s page experience update, your page’s loading speed will be measured relative to that page’s largest contentful paint (LCP). In simple words, it’s a metric that measures the time taken by the page to display its largest content on the screen for interaction.
According to Google, every site should strive to have an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less to provide a good user experience.
6. Interactivity that’s measured by the First Input Delay (FID)
This first input delay or FID is another valuable addition to Google’s list of core web vitals. It measures the time between the user’s first interaction with the web page and the response of the browser to that interaction. In simpler words, FID is a measure of responsiveness.
To understand this in a better way, remember that the lower your page’s FID score, the more promptly it acknowledges the users’ clicks and swipes over it.
2021’s core update lists a time of 100ms or less as an ideal FID score for a website.
7. Visual stability that’s measured by Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
The visual stability of your page means the stability of its elements throughout their interaction with the user. In other words, the elements of the page shouldn’t shift to another page as other elements load. This not only interrupts the smooth user experience on your website but also makes the user click anywhere unintentionally.
The two main reasons for such unexpected movements of page content are:
- Asynchronous loading of the page resources, and
- DOM elements are getting dynamically added to the page above existing content.
This is where CLS, another core web vital, comes into play. It’s a measure of the largest burst of layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of a page – Google’s Devs.
Practically, websites must have a low CLS score to have better rankings over the SERPs.
So, these are the certain signals that are both existing and newly added to Google’s page ranking algorithm. Optimizing your website for these factors will smoothen your users’ overall experience on all web browsers and surfaces.
Note: The last three page ranking signals i.e. LCP, FID, and CLS are the new additions to Google’s core web vitals. These will help improve the way Google ranks your pages based on user experience. The following illustration depicts the benchmark every site must hit for better rankings.
The Final Takeaway!
Core web vitals are sort of extensions to Google’s existing page ranking signals like mobile responsiveness, safe browsing, HTTPS, etc. With this year’s core and broad update having a gradual roll out till August end, you can expect certain changes in your page experience. And the better this experience, the higher your SERPs rankings! In a nutshell, keep a close eye on the above 7 page ranking signals, especially the three core web vitals to ensure your page’s better performance in the future.
February 8, 2021