Google is continually making improvements to its algorithm and how its organic search results page ranks websites. This implies that to increase their ranking or continue to rank highly, businesses have to keep up with these changes. The latest Google algorithm update for 2021 has just been announced, so for you and your business, this is what it means.
Google Algorithm Update for 2021 Overview
SEO involves several variables, and based on any of them, you can see improvements in the search engine rankings. This includes basic techniques such as using keywords, ensuring that the material is suitable for the keywords and titles of the page. This will help to provide a fast time for loading. These all play a part in ensuring that relevant information is found by the person who uses Google. This data is for the particular search and incorporates it in a search word. This may be for local programs, information about certain topics, or even for shopping purposes.
As the algorithm alters, the focus on certain parameters also changes. For example, Google launched ‘Panda’ in 2016, an update to the algorithm that prioritized high quality content websites. Such days are long gone for stuffing keywords, redundant content or less content to put on the search results.
What is Page Experience?
Google has a detailed developer document on the criteria for page experience, but in short, these metrics aim to understand how a user will perceive a particular web page experience: considerations such as whether the page loads quickly, mobile-friendly, runs on HTTPS, intrusive advertisements are present, and content jumps around as the page loads.
Several current ranking variables in Google search includes page experience, like the mobile-friendly update, page speed update, HTTPS ranking, intrusive interstitial penalty, stable browsing penalty, while refining metrics around speed and usability. These refinements are what Google describes as Core Web Vitals.
What are all these factors?
Let’s see how Google documents the page experience for each individual factor:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance. Sites should seek to have LCP to take place within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load to provide a good user experience.
First Input Delay (FID) – Measures interactivity. Sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds to provide a good user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability. Sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1 to provide a good user experience.
Mobile-Friendly – With the Mobile-Friendly Test, check if your page is mobile-friendly.
Safe browsing – The page does not contain content that is malicious (malware) or deceptive (social engineering). Check to see if the security issues report has any safe-browsing problems on your site.
HTTPS – The page is served over HTTPS. Check if your site’s connection is secure. If the website is not served over HTTPS, then learn how to use HTTPS to encrypt your site.
No intrusive interstitials – The user can easily access the page content. Learn how content can be made less accessible by interstitials.
Get ready for this update – Recently Google mentioned that it is not going live, as there are no new ranking variables. Google promised to offer a six-month notice before it goes live sometime in 2021. Google is giving us time, it normally gives us a heads up to prepare for these updates, but also because of the unstable environment, we are all living through during this pandemic. We’ll update all of you when Google announces the release date of this update.
How big of an update will this be?
We have heard from Google about previous Google updates, how 11.8 percent of all queries were affected by Panda’s original release, or 10 percent of queries were affected by Google BERT, or that HTTPS affected is a small factor. But with this update, we aren’t really sure yet.
Great content is still supreme – Google made it clear that, despite poor page experience, great content will still rank highly in Google Search results. Quoting Google, “While all the components of page experience are important, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar, we will rank pages with the best overall information. Having great, relevant content is not overridden by a good page experience. In cases where several pages have similar content, however, page experience becomes even more critical for search visibility.”
Over time, the user experience will be more and more important.
Google will eventually want to make sure that the site ranks high if you love a site and everyone else loves that site.
On the flip side, if everyone feels that a website has a terrible user experience, then in the long run, Google will not rank that website as high.
Just like any Google algorithm update, expect multiple revisions to be seen over time. They adapt to make their algorithms more efficient over time, as they learn. But what makes this update special is that you have an advanced warning, which is cool. So, take the risk and fix any problems with usability that you might have.
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