For a long time, search engine optimization has remained a mystery for companies. While experts understand current best practices and the important factors that contribute to SEO, much of the process has been left up to trial and error.
Recently, Google made an announcement that will change the course of SEO. Google announced that website experience will become a ranking factor in Google Search and Top Stories on mobile. They also released the Web Vitals initiative that gives website owners cohesive metrics for creating websites with user experience and performance as priorities. Google will not change any rankings in 2020 and will provide a six months’ notice before doing so.
Google’s Web Vitals
Google’s Web Vitals is meant to help website developers and owners “optimize for quality of user experience” by “quantifying the experience of your site and identify opportunities to improve”. Web Vitals offers quality signals that can help people improve the website experience of their website, and eventually improve their search ranking as well. Site owners do not need to be experts to understand their website’s user experience when they use Web Vitals.
Web Vitals offers Core Web Vitals, which “ represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.” Google will adapt the metrics in Core Web Vitals over time to reflect the user experience. Right now, the vitals for 2020 are:
- Loading. Largest Contentful Pain should happen within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- Interactivity. The pages should have a First Input Delay of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
- Visual stability. The cumulative layout shift should be less than 0.1.
The Core web Vitals will be accessible to all people as one of Google’s tools as a Chrome extension.
How User Experience will Impact Search Ranking
Google compares web pages to journeys and realizes the importance of a visitor’s journey. Flaws in a website’s user experience make the journey difficult, cumbersome, and frustrating. Google wants to eliminate common interruptions and create a better user experience and overall satisfaction.
To promote a better experience for more users, Google will eventually consider Core Web Vitals and its existing search signals when determining search rank. Their overall goal is to provide a better web experience and garner higher engagement. Page experience will not be the only factor that determines rank, but Google will prioritize pages with “the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
While the timeline for a change has not yet been set, Core Web Vitals will directly impact search ranking in the near future. To help owners improve their sites, Google updated its developer tools to reflect Core Web Vitals’ information.
The Importance of Web Hosting for Core Web Vitals
Moving forward, web hosting will be vital for websites looking to achieve optimal core web vitals. To ensure that you provide the best experience and meet all of the key metrics, you need the correct website hosting service. Qualities to look for in a website host include:
- Fast page loading, with the speed of a system’s response comparable to the delays humans experience.
- Stability to load multiple elements progressively. For example, elements that are already visible should not shift as others load.
- Responsiveness. Free of frictions during interactions with your website.
- Reliability, sites that stay up gain more visitors and earn a better user experience.
- Space and capabilities to accommodate your content needs as you grow.
- Bandwidth. You should have enough bandwidth to accommodate your visitors and be able to easily purchase additional bandwidth when you need it.
- Support. In the event that something doesn’t go quite right, you want adequate support to help you quickly resolve it.
- Security. You want your website information to be secure on your servers. This is critical or your visitors and you.
Prepare for Google’s Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals will not immediately impact your search ranking in Google, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait to take action. To prepare, you should start viewing your own Core Web Vitals and understanding the areas you need to improve in. According to the Search Engine Journal, the six ways you can measure your core web vitals include:
- Search Console
- Web Vitals Extension
- PageSpeed Insights
- Chrome DevTools
- Chrome UX Report
Stay ahead of the curve and prepare for the switch by beginning to measure and analyze your Core Web Vitals now. This way, you can anticipate and plan for any major changes you may need to make, including your web host.
The Future of Search Ranking is Near
Recently, Google announced that it was going to be implementing a new change on search ranking. Called Core Web Vitals, these new criteria push website developers to ensure that their websites create a friendly experience for users. Although Google doesn’t intend to implement the changes until 2021 at the earliest, it’s important that web developers take note of the changes that they’re going to need to make soon. Here are some aspects that you should know about Core Web Vitals.
What Makes a Great Page Experience?
More than anything, Google wants its users to have a great page experience. This means, for web developers, that they need to cut down on loading times. A user’s experience can become poor quickly if they have to wait around for a page to load. Fine-tuning the load speed on certain pages–and the website as a whole can improve the site’s ranking on Google.
Another aspect that gives a website a great page experience is its mobile friendliness. Google has taken a lot of interest in the mobile experience users have when browsing the internet on their phones. It promotes businesses that create mobile-friendly sites. This is a trend that will continue with the Core Web Vitals update.
One important part of a great page experience is safety. With hacking becoming more frequent, users want to know that the information they put into a website is safe. Businesses and websites need to have protection. This includes implementing HTTPS, which is far safer than the mere HTTP.
Finally, Core Web Vitals also measures how interactive a web page is and how well that interactivity functions. For example, a website that causes a page shift to occur and messes up what the user was attempting to do will rank poorly on Google. An example of this might be if a user was attempting to cancel an order, but the page shifts and they suddenly click on a submit order button instead.
This is poor user experience. The website would receive a poor ranking in return.
Web developers have some time to fine-tune their designs and ensure that each aspect of their website pushes for better user experience.
Preparing for Core Web Vitals Update
Google told us it can be 6+ months before this update rolls out. For all of our current clients at SEO Locale we’re fixing all of the issues that Core Web Vitals update may look for. We’re being pro-active in the SEO industry because we’ve seen in the past how a ranking factor that may only have 5% weight to it can make an impact on traffic and rankings.
Start Your Coding Engines
Although developers have until 2021 to start showcasing their new websites, it’s important to get a head start. Contact SEO Locale for help. We offer a free digital marketing analysis for anyone interested.
How BERT Can Impact Your SEO Score
Google regularly unleashes new pieces of software that impact how its search engine performs. One of the most exciting, for many software engineers, is BERT. Short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, it encompasses many different functions. Primarily, it helps search engines understand complex word searches that rely heavily on word context. For those who write SEO or have SEO involved with their website, you might wonder how BERT is going to impact your SEO score. Here’s what you need to know.
How BERT Helps Searches
Because BERT can read a search query in two different directions – as opposed to other search algorithms – it is more capable of reading and comprehending what the sentence actually reads. For example, there are many words in the English language that have two meanings. Those words can even adopt different meanings when used with other certain words.
Machines have a difficult time understanding this because they don’t always have the full context. Unidirectional search engine algorithms are only capable of reading a search query in one direction. This doesn’t allow them to comprehend context because they’re unable to refer to an earlier part of the sentence after completing the entire sentence.
BERT can. While BERT is still learning context and ambiguous words, it stands at a much greater chance of being able to accumulate answers for sentences that use natural conversational speech.
Transformers is another crucial part of BERT’s design. Transformers deal with keeping track of the ‘who’s somebody’ in conversation. When having a normal conversation with someone, you may refer to a friend of a friend. That ‘who’s somebody’ can be difficult for humans to keep track of throughout the flow of conversation. For a machine, it’s even more complex.
However, because BERT’s software revolves around keeping track of transformers, it’s better at understanding exactly what the conversation is about.
It May Impact International SEO
One benefit of BERT is that it can actually correlate certain words in a different language while compiling a search for another language. Even though BERT may not understand the foreign language, per se, its system and deep-learning allow it to make those connections.
This is great for websites that use international SEO. They can use certain keywords that will help them rank higher on sites in different countries.
SEO Overall Impact
Is BERT going to impact SEO as a whole? Yes and no. While your overall SEO score may not change drastically, the more that BERT learns, the more you’ll have to pay attention to your SEO. This is because BERT may be able to better tell if a source that you link to is relevant or not.
Because it understands context better, it may start to realize that the sites you’re using for your links are actually not relevant at all. This may mean that you just need to hone your skills in nuance SEO writing or just make sure that you’re always linking to credible sources that Google enjoys the most.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t expect BERT to impact your score too much. As the software becomes more intelligent, however, it may eventually have a larger impact on SEO scores. As such, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how BERT develops.
Contact SEO Locale for expert SEO services today. Having issues with the BERT update? Need a white label SEO partner, we can help!
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