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Google released a Core Algorithm Update last year. It will be available in May 2021. Google’s internal and external research has shown that people prefer websites with great page experiences. Google Core Web Vitals will be ranked higher in search results due to this update.
Google Core Web Vitals: The Basis Of The Update
Google’s algorithm, which will be implemented in May, will alter the way it ranks pages based on their performance. Three things are the foundation of Google Core Web Vitals:
- Loading Experience
- Visual Stability of Page Content
Core Web Vitals will be focusing on the user experience after a user clicks on a webpage from Google SERPs. This includes whether or not a page loads quickly and is stable (meaning it doesn’t have to load twice or three more times before it can be clicked on and navigated).
Businesses should place a greater emphasis on these elements and analyze their engagement metrics such as bounce rate or time on site. These metrics can be found in Google Analytics and tell you if the user has a pleasant experience when they visit your site through organic search results.
This Google Core Web Vitals update focuses more on technical updates than content. We rely on our partners in development for this. We encourage you to optimize your website immediately after Google announced the update in November 2020. You don’t have to wait for the update to take effect; optimizing your website even one month before it takes effect will help you rank higher than those who wait.
What can companies do after the update to ensure high rankings on SERPs?
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Website administrators must also monitor the following four metrics, which measure web usability, such as load speed, interactivity, and stability of content as it loads. These are the foundations of Google Core Web Vitals, discussed earlier.
First Contentful Paint
This measure measures the time between the moment a page loads and the time it takes to render any portion of its content on the screen.
The largest amount of paint
This term is used by Google to measure the speed at which the largest element of a page renders. This is the time when most likely the main content of a page has loaded.
Initial Input Delay
This measure page responsiveness and measures the user experience when they first interact with the page.
Cumulative Layout Shift
This is the number of times a page’s content has changed and caused users to lose their place without warning. This metric measures the unexpected layout shifts of visible page content.
Google Search Console
Google Search console has added a section for Core Web Vitals. This reports on pages’ high, medium, or low priority, and whether they perform well. This tool can be used to help administrators identify which pages should be optimized.
Google Search Console bases its reports on page templates, not URLs. It is believed that web page templates can be used across URLs. This is especially true when it comes code. Website pages are constructed with templates that developers “plug and chug” information into across different pages.
One example is that all product pages on a website will use the same template. However, URLs for different products will differ. Although the templates will remain the same, the pages will differ because of the product information.
It is more valuable to report on the template level than on a URL basis. We have had clients who wanted to know all their URLs. However, they don’t have to. Clients only need to know which templates need to be updated so they can make changes on a larger scale.
Google Developer Tools
Google provides developer tools which can measure these important metrics and generate reports in real-time. Although it is more time-consuming, this is another way to view Google Core Web Vitals. The following are the results of this tool:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
- First Input Delay
- Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS).
- First Contentful Paint (FCP).
- Time To First Byte (TTFB)
You can also use traditional tools like Lighthouse, Page Speed Insights or Chrome DevTools to inspect your website’s vitals.
You won’t be surprised if your website isn’t optimized if you don’t have the right tools and are not aware of how to improve your organic rankings. Your website doesn’t have to be the fastest or most popular on the web. Instead, you should aim to make your website stand out against the rest. Start optimizing your website now if you haven’t already. The algorithm will be in place by May, so this 1-month head start will make all the difference.
If you take no steps to improve your user experience, you will see a drop in rankings, shift in rank allocation, and dips in engagement metrics such as higher bounce rates, lower page views per session, and lower time on site. All of this is relative. Users will choose the sites that provide the best user experience and make purchases.