Is SEO Changing in 2021?


Google Page Experience Update

SEO is always changing. So is it any different in 2021? You bet. Google has recently announced a series of changes to its ranking algorithm that could mean big changes for SEO strategies. While Google makes algorithm updates quite often, here is everything you need to know about the more impactful update taking effect in May of 2021.

Page Experience

Core Web Vitals 

As predicted in a previous blog, Google has been gathering data on user engagement when someone visits a website. Google has confirmed that Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor in May of 2021. What is included in Core Web Vitals?

Largest Contentful Paint

Site speed has always been a topic of discussion for SEO experts. Many studies have shown that slow loading speeds affect how users interact (or don’t interact) with a website. The first impression users have of how fast your site loads can be measured with the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric. LCP reports the loading time of the largest image or text block visible on the screen. Ideally, visitors shouldn’t have to wait more than 2.5 seconds from the time it starts loading. 

First Input Delay (FID)

Once Google has noted the first piece of content has loaded on a page, it will then measure the amount of time it takes for a user to interact with the page, called First Input Delay (FID). This can be when they click a link, button, or use JavaScript controls. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a First Input Delay of less than 1/10th of a second. 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Have you ever tried to click a link or button while a page is still loading, but just before you do the rest of the page shifts causing you to misclick? This is commonly caused by an image or embed that does not have specified dimensions. The browser doesn’t know how to display the object on a page until it has been downloaded and causes the page to shift once that finally happens. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. Layout shifts are frustrating and create a poor user experience. That is why Google is now incorporating CLS as a ranking factor. 

Mobile-Friendly Experience

Mobile users now encompass more than 50% of all internet browsing sessions. It comes as no shock that Google will be officially using a Mobile-Friendly Test to rank websites on a SERP. Especially considering the implementation of Mobile-First Indexing in July of 2019.

Safe-Browsing & HTTPS

Google is now going to be taking a closer look at the safety of websites to users. If a site contains potentially harmful downloads or malware, it will be flagged. Sites not using HTTPS with a valid SSL certificate will also be impacted by this update. It’s not clear yet how much these safe browsing guidelines will affect page ranking.

Preparing for the Google Page Experience Update

This update is unique in the fact that it forces website owners and SEO companies to consider how users are engaging with a site, rather than only focusing on how Google is directing those users to the site. Firestarter SEO provides blazing fast web hosting to render your content fast enough to be in compliance with this new update. We aim to fix all technical errors and remove any malicious content that has found its way onto your site. Our developers create clean, mobile-friendly sites that will keep business owners focused on business while we bring in the traffic. Get your free website audit!

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