Google’s 2021 Update brings Core Web Vitals to the Forefront

The team at SEO Premier stay on top of digital marketing trends, strategies and above all, Google Updates. We often see a Google Core Update (one of their largest annual updates) come in the month of May, with another often coming at the end of each year. With this in mind, we decided to share across our channels a few ways your business can push through another Google Core Update.

So, let’s talk about what’s coming up. Google have announced that the “page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021”. The update will include Core Web Vitals including loading, interactivity and visual stability. All of these will be combined with existing search signals.

In simple terms, this means websites that load quickly and are visually stable, will benefit by seeing better credibility and rankings in organic search results.

The “page experience” signal combines Core Web Vitals with other signals such as:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

If you missed this, these Core Web Vitals were introduced early 2020 and were implemented to measure how each user experiences speed, responsible and visual stability of a page.

From understanding these signals, and the changes that Google will soon implement, we can evaluate what things you can change before the month of May comes around. Here are a few of the improvements that should be made to benefit from the update.

Preload key resources to speed up visual load times

Have you ever heard of the term ‘above the fold content’? you may not have heard of it, but you definitely have seen it. In fact, it’s actually one of the first indicators for a user that the page is loading! Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) the first Core Web Vitals metric works to measure how fast the main on page factors load.

Optimise main thread activity by minimising long tasks

The second Core Web Vitals metric is First Input Delay (FID). Essentially, there are things that we can do on our end to resolve the issue of user waiting times for loading a browser. Sometimes, this is as simple as long tasks. They are pieces of JavaScript code that block the main thread for a long period of time.

Reserve space for images and embeds to load into

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the third Core Web Vitals metric that assess the amount of visual layout moving around on a page as it loads. You most definitely have experienced this as an online user, and it just proves how carefully Google is considering UX front of mind. You know when you click a section of a page, but you realise the page actually hasn’t loaded and you’ve accidentally clicked something completely different. Yeah, this is frustrating not only for Google, but most of all for the user! Ensure you have reserved space for your images!

Make sure key page templates are mobile-friendly

This one is a no-brainer! If your website isn’t visually appealing or user friendly on a mobile, it’s time to step up your game! Make sure you make the correct changes to ensure your website is mobile friendly for users. A great way to test this is by using Google’s very own mobile friendly test.

Audit site for security issues

This is one suggestion we try and remind all of our clients with each Google Core Update. Please check your website security frequently. Google is eager to make sure users are entering a website without the risk of security issues. The main ones to look out for are malware, unwanted software, phishing and deceptive content.

Make sure forms and embedded resources are served over HTTPS (ensuring site has valid SSL certificate)

If you haven’t already, you should already have your forms and resources served through HTTPs. This has always been one of our reoccurring suggestions after completing a new client website audit. Including HTTPS as a page experience signal is just way Google ensures the safety of their users. A non-secure HTTP connection is a huge risk for users as their data can become more vulnerable.

Ensure interstitials (pop-ups) don’t obstruct crucial content

Another one you have definitely seen before! Some websites often have pop ups that take up a lot of space, and block crucial content for the user to see. This one is a tricky one! When done correctly, this method of gaining leads is successful. However, the risk is a user seeing a pop up obstruct content, and they immediately bounce off your site and move onto the next. This definitely creates a frustrated experience for users, and Google knows when this is happening too.

There’s a reason why we prepare our clients well before the month Google rolls out and update. We want you to have your website 100% optimised so that your website doesn’t experience a shift in rank, and continues to see successful results.

If you are still extremely confused, feel free to reach out to our professional team to help you with any of your enquiries.

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