Here's what you need to know about Google updates on website ranking metrics

STAFF WRITER | PROSPER ERAVWUVIEKE

Since 2010, Google has been working on measures to improve user experience on their search engine, to include the way sites rank on their platform. Recall that in 2010 Google announced that they will start taking site speed into account while determining site ranks, and in 2018 they followed up with the page speed ranking metrics in Mobile search results.

Sequel to those announcements, Google has rolled out plans to implement the new updates to its site ranking metrics. This new updates will combine with the already existing metrics to determine the way websites rank on the search engine result page (SERP).

Web vitals, as it is called was announced some few weeks back (May 2020), and are a set of new metrics to measure the speed and user experience of websites. What this means is that websites are no longer going to be ranked solely based on speed but on user's overall experience (site speed inclusive). Google will measure user experience with its new web vitals tool and rank sites accordingly, in the search engine result pages.

Google, in the press statement, announced that they will update their core algorithm with these new metrics (Web vitals). The algorithm update will arrive sometime in 2021 and Google will give at least six months notice before implementing the update.

 

If you are looking for a hand in website optimization for the core web vitals, ultimately search engine optimization SEO, you may want to reach out to an expert HERE

 

 

Things you should know about web vitals

As earlier established, Web vitals are thoroughly research metrics to help anyone determine opportunities to improve the experience of their website. There's an important area of web vitals known as core web vitals which every website owner are to key into. But what are they?

According to Google, “Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.” These core web vitals will help you, the site owner and Google to be able to perceive the overall user experience of your website.

Google has listed out three types of core web vitals. They are:

  1. Loading
  2. Interactivity
  3. Visual stability

These CWV are in correspondence with three new metrics

  1. Largest contentful Paint (LCP); being the time it takes it for the largest content element on a webpage to load.
  2. First Input Delay (FID); being metric that measures how long it takes for a browser to respond to an interaction first triggered by the user, e.g clicking a button.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS); being a new metric that measures the percentage of the screen affected by movement — i.e. does stuff jump around on screen?

However, these core metrics were developed to measure the overall user experience beyond how fast a site loads and also to prevent a bad user experience after a Google search user had navigated to a site that ranks high on the Google search engine results page (SERP).

Whereas Google will also use existing experience ranking factors in addition to these new core web vitals to rank sites on their result page. At this point, it is pertinent to note that not all the factors with which Google uses to rank sites on SERP are known, also every factor (the known ones) have a varying degree of impact on site ranking. This new update combined with the existing ones will completely revolutionize website ranking on search engine results.

Meanwhile, the existing page ranking factors include the following:

  1. Mobile-friendliness: is your site optimized for mobile?
  2. HTTPS: is your site using a secure connection?
  3. Interstitial use: does your site stay away from nasty pop-ups?
  4. Safe browsing: is your site harmless for visitors?
  5. Content: Do your website offers quality and unique content that could prove of value and serve the internet community?

 

 

No more AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for top stories ranking

Another major update Google announced is that they will no longer use AMP to rank news pages in the top stories section of their search engine. Instead, page experience will be new measure. With this, any Google validated news site that has been properly optimized to the recent update can maintain the top spot of the stories section. Every site owner is expected to take note of this information and plan on optimizing their websites to suit the incoming update if they hope to rank high/on the top pages of Google search engine.

Remember that the update will not take effect until 2021 and even at that, Google will give a six months notice beforehand. Therefore, there may be no need to panic. What may be required of us now is careful planning and preparation towards the incoming update.

Below are some tools to help site owners evaluate their current page experience so that they can plan for the future.

  1. Lighthouse in DevTool now at version 6.0
  2. PageSpeed Insights incorporates the new metrics
  3. New Chrome User Experience Report API: lets you access up to 28 days of historical data for your URLs
  4. Experience section in DevTools Performance panel.
  5. Search Console’s new Core Web Vitals report for a summary of how your site performs
  6. Web Vitals Chrome Extension for quick access to metrics from the browser.

The bottom line; overall user experience is now a key factor as a whole, in ranking on SERP. If you are looking for how your website(s) can rank high/at the top on Google Search from 2021, you may want to start implementing the scope here, by using the aforementioned tools to test your web page experience and know where to begin from. Remember it is always nice to start early.

 

If you are looking for a hand in website optimization for the core web vitals, ultimately search engine optimization SEO, you may want to reach out to an expert HERE

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