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Google just announced another change to the way they will be ranking website pages starting in 2021. Based on feedback from users, Google will be incorporating page speed and stability when ranking Google Search results.
Last month, Google unveiled a set of metrics that gauge user experience with a webpage. The new metrics are called Core Web Vitals, and Google is now letting us know that the Core Web Vitals will be included as factors in Search rankings starting next year. Here are the Core Web Vitals, and what they mean:
Image Credit: GoogleUserContent.com
- Time for the page to load (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint is the time that it takes a web page to load. The LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds.
- Interactivity speed (FID)
The First Input Delay is the time lapse between your click on a page feature, and the moment the web page starts responding. The FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Visual stability of the page (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift describes how stable the page is. For example, when you go to click on a button, does the page suddenly shift, and you click the wrong button? Or does the text shift on the page while you’re reading?
These ranking factors will be combined with existing factors related to page experience, which include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. Google says that incorporating the Core Web Vitals will “provide a holistic picture of page experience.”
Image Credit: GoogleBlog.com
This update is good news for web developers who already focus on speed and user experience. These web developers are already ahead of the curve, and the changes could improve the rankings of their web pages. In order to get ready for the change in 2021, website owners will need run to metrics to determine exactly how fast their website is loading and responding. In order to help users prepare for the change, Google has updated the developer tools Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights. They have also added a specific report on Core Web Vitals to the Search Console that includes recommendations for improving page speed.
Google stated in their announcement that the main ranking factor for a web page is still the content. The Core Web Vitals, along with other user experience metrics, will help determine which page is ranked highest between pages that have similar information.
AMP No Longer a Requirement for Featured Story
Additionally, AMP is no longer a requirement in order to be ranked as a featured story at the top of Google Search results. Instead, the Core Web Vitals will be included with all other existing metrics to determine the featured story. However, Google still supports AMP and will select AMP pages when available. AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open source HTML framework that creates fast-loading pages for mobile devices.
Tips for Next Steps
Google acknowledges that right now, most web developers are responding to changes made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will not implement the change until 2021, and will give six months notice before it goes into effect. They are letting web developers know now in response to requests that they give as much notice as possible before making a change.
- Run metrics to determine your website current LCP, FID and CLS. You can use PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse and Search Console to retrieve and analyze this information.
- Make a plan to improve your metrics the next six months in order to be prepared for the new Search ranking rollout.
- If you need help, contact a reputable SEO agency that specializes in correcting technical issues and optimizing websites for user experience.
Orlando SEO Services
M5 Design Studio offers integrated SEO and web development services. Our team powers your website with the keywords, content, and technical optimization you need to rise in Google search results. We are a local SEO company in downtown Orlando, FL, and we care about helping businesses and organizations succeed. Feel free to reach out for a free consultation by filling out our contact form, or call us at (407) 968-6296.