Massive Internet Changes Are Coming – Google it!

By Edwin Chigumbu

It is no secret that Google updates its algorithm several hundred times per year, but not all algorithm updates are equal. Once in a while, there is an update that drastically changes your website’s ranking. The latest Google page experience update, which will come into effect in just a few weeks, promises to do just that.

What is the page experience update?

Starting in May 2021, Google will start using Core Web Vitals and Page Experience as signals for ranking search results. These signals will, in essence, measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.

Page experience includes:

  • Mobile friendliness – How well a website looks on mobile devices
  • HTTPS – Site security
  • Safe browsing – No malware or malicious content on the website
  • Intrusive content – No pop-up ads that interfere with the user’s experience while reading
  • Core web vitals

Core Web Vitals consist of the following elements:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – How long it takes to load the largest piece of content on a website’s page. According to Google, this has to be less than 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID) – How long it takes for the website to respond to any input by the user e.g., a click or a scroll. According to Google, this has to be 1 tenth of a second.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – How long it takes for elements of content on your page to realign themselves on a screen when you switch to a different screen size. According to Google, this also has to be 1 tenth of a second.

Time To Interactive (TTI) – How long it takes for your website to be completely interactive. For example, how long it takes to click through to another page. Time To Interactive will be measured against other websites worldwide. You can expect this to be a moving target, forcing developers to continuously make their websites faster.

Total Blocking Time (TBT) – This measures the total amount of time that a page is blocked from responding to user input (clicks, keyboard presses, etc) after the page has started to render content. According to Google, the total blocking time should be less than 300 milliseconds.

Speed Index (SI) – Measures how quickly content is visually displayed during page load.

So, how do you measure your site score?

Google has about six different ways to measure Core Web Vitals.

Since the announcement of the algorithm change, Google has reported over 70% increase in the number of users engaging with Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights to evaluate page experience metrics.

Badges

Google is working on visual indicators to identify websites that have met all the page experience ranking criteria. You can expect this rollout to reduce organic traffic for websites that do not meet Google’s Core Web Vitals.

What you should do to ranker higher

There is no doubt that Core Web Vitals will be continuously updated as user expectations change. To rank higher on Google, you will not only need to constantly focus on the above key elements, but to also keep abreast with any new updates relating to the Core Web Vitals.

If you’d like to learn more about Core Web Vitals and what you can do to make your own website rank higher, please don’t hesitate to contact Vetro Media today for a free assessment.

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