What fresh hell is this, you ask?
Google is back with a new round of updates on how and to whom it sends searchers.
New algorithms rarely bring good news. Take Facebook’s ever changing secretive system for sharing your news or banishing you to social Siberia, for example.
Google, by contrast, wants businesses large and small to succeed—and spend money on Adwords—so they make it clear what’s happening when and what to do about it.
I will make this as easy to understand as possible.
Let’s do this. Techie stuff first.
This update is called a Page Experience Update or PEU.
Curvearro, digital marketing experts, in their blog post about this update said,
“Simply put, a Page Experience Update is a set of ranking signals by Google that inform Google Search algorithm about website performance. The set of ranking signals includes: optimal website speed, its performance, usability, the website should run on HTTPS, should be user friendly.”
Google determines if your site is providing a good user experience with the following metrics called Core Web Vitals.
According to SearchEngineLand.com,“Core Web Vitals, or just Web Vitals, are a new set of performance metrics that help highlight aspects of web page development that affect User Experience (UX): page loading, interactivity, and visual stability.”
What the metrics are called:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)Really, who names these things?
Basically the LCP refers to how long it takes for the largest piece of visual imagery to load fully. It measures the loading time of each page. A page’s LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID)This measures how long a page’s interactive features take to do that thing they intend. Like a button on a quiz page, “Dog or cat?” or a video to start after you click “play.”
According to Joshua Lyons Marketing, “A pages FID should be lower than 100 milliseconds for best results.”
To put that number into perspective, “The blink of an eye lasts 300 to 400 milliseconds and light takes 134 milliseconds to travel around Earth’s equator.”
In the blink of an eye, someone might bounce if they can’t get what they came for.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)Shift will tip you off here. Ever land on a page that you think has fully loaded so you hit a link or button and the page moves so you end up clicking something you didn’t want?
Google surveyed their kingdom and saw a sea of exploding heads. Not cool for them or for us; a frustrated buyer never buys.
Google has created a whole software product designed to help site owners monitor how they are doing on Google search called Google Search Console.
Here’s how they describe it. “GSC is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.”
You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.
Search Console offers tools and reports for the following actions:
- Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
- Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
- View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
- Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
- Show you which sites link to your website.
At the bottom left side of that page there is an “About Console” section. Click on the little “i” and you’ll get a pop-up with information and a short video explaining it for each level of website owner, simple, complex and for SEO pros.
Even small business owners can benefit from submitting their site to Google Console and following the instructions to get verified. It’s not necessary to show up in search results, but it can help you get more traffic and fix problems that are causing Google to put you at the bottom of the list. Problems like the 3 metrics listed above, not being mobile optimized, aggressive pop-up ads and offers to subscribe, error pages, and crappy content.
Happy joy-joy, more work to pile on to your already busy to-do list — why bother?
Because your website is the gateway to new customers and clients. It’s also the welcoming committee who points out all the cool and pertinent options a visitor can experience.
Google’s new algorithm wants that experience to be exceptional and seamless. Like the toe section on a Bombas sock.
If you aren’t up to doing the work to use the Google Console, here are two free tools to give you insight into your site’s performance.
Google’s free tool is Page Speed Insights. Enter your site’s url and in about 15 seconds it will spit out a comprehensive report and score on each of the metrics listed above. You can toggle between mobile and desktop and for each you’ll get a score. Below that you’ll find sections on load times and other metrics.
Another free tool, for at least one site test, is Pingdom. They offer packages by the month to monitor page speeds and other important data, but you can get a free report.
Page experience will play a big part in a site’s visibility in search results.
And will likely become the determining factor between two similar websites.
If your site needs its own update before letting Google loose on it or if your traffic isn’t biting on any of your offers — free or paid — I might be able to help. I offer website copy reviews. Click that link and see what all is included. It’s more affordable than you might think.
Organic traffic is free. Google is making it easy for us to see what is keeping us out of search results and how to move up the ranks. When you know that what you offer is needed — and I’ll bet it is — doesn’t it make sense to do all you can to get in front of as many of your ideal people as possible?