Starting in June 2021, Google will be rolling out a new ranking system for 2021. So, what does that mean for your business? After this change, it will be crucial to optimize websites to these new standards to rank higher in Google’s search results.
If you’ve been thinking about redesigning and updating your website, consider this your green light to get started.
What Makes a Great Website, According to Google?
If you’ve heard the phrase “content is king,” it still remains true. Having relevant content on your website that describes your services clearly and includes strategic keywords will still play a major factor in the way Google ranks websites. However, user experience will now play an even more important role in where you rank.
Here’s an example: two car dealerships who are competitors both have websites with similar content that’s relevant and includes the right mix of keywords. However, one of the car dealerships’ websites is a lot easier to navigate. Therefore, despite similar content, car dealership 2 will rank higher in search results and get the most page views.
Google’s Page Experience update will prioritize websites that provide a positive user experience for users, as measured through Google’s five key signals. So, remember, when you do take the plunge to redesign your website, content is still very important, but your user experience is crucial for ranking. Here the five signals to keep in mind when redesigning your websites.
- Core Web Vitals: New three performance metrics that focus on how performance connects to user experience. The metrics include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): how long it takes to load content on a website
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): a website needs visual stability, meaning there should be no random movement of content as you’re looking at the page
- First Input Delay (FID): the time it takes when a user first interacts with the page to when the browser starts processing the interaction
- Mobile-friendliness: if there are issues with the mobile version of a website, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool will flag it.
- Safe Browsing: any malware issues, harmful downloads or deceptive (phishing) content will be flagged by the Google Search Console.
- HTTPS: your website should have an SSL certificate and use HTTPS in the URL.
- Intrusive Interstitials on Mobile: your site will be flagged if it features intrusive pop-ups to mobile users clicking through from Google search.
How can you check your website’s current search health?
Instead of waiting for your website’s redesign, it’s not too early to check your search health now and make improvements where you can. To measure how your website compares against Google’s core web vitals metrics, you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights testing tool.
While Google has moved to mobile-first indexing, it’s still important to check both mobile and desktop results as your Core Web Vitals metrics will vary between the two.
Use the checklist below as you audit your own website for these features every website should have.
Search Optimized Website Checklist
- Mobile First Optimized Website
- Fast Page Speeds
- No “spammy” content or pop-ups
- A variety of CTAs (avoid using “Learn More” for everything)
- ALT Text for Images
- Quality Content
If you need an extra hand in optimizing your website for Google’s new ranking system, we’re here to help. Reach out to our team of marketing experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.