The business world is incredibly competitive. With a multitude of companies in your field, it’s a chore to keep an eye on the competition while managing your business. Some businesses try to cut corners to win because it seems easy and can get them the results they seek. However, the truth is that cheating tactics only work for a short time. At the end of the day, everyone gets found out, and you could get severely penalized for this.
When it comes to growing your business the right way, there’s no escaping the internet. Many people use it, so you can’t do without incorporating it into your growth strategy. With that in mind, it’s essential to also look into effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as part of your growth.
In this guide, we’ll look into how your small or medium business can capitalize on SEO for exponential growth as well as some tips you should consider when implementing it.
Leveling the Playing Field With SEO
Plugging Into Web Traffic the Right Way
When it comes to web performance, only a few things matter as much as organic search. It improves performance over time, can move customers down the purchasing funnel, and eventually gets a user to complete an action, be it a sale, a call, an engagement, etc.
However, it all begins with search, and when it comes to search, organic search is the purest form that can get you results. As many know, Google owns the largest share of the global search engine market. There are several other search engines and browsers out there, but Google’s share dwarfs theirs even when combined.
Of course, you could easily get higher visibility via other search engines. However, Google is the clear-cut leader in this category and is truly where you should focus your energy.
Being the most visited site in the world, Google is also the largest email service provider. Its subsidiary, YouTube, also owns the world’s most extensive catalog of video content and is one of the top search engines as well. At least once a day, a vast majority of people with internet access go on Google to get information.
By having high visibility on Google, you can easily capitalize on it to grow your business. The only way to achieve this, however, is through quality SEO and a standard website.
Good SEO Points to a Seamless User Experience
Many SEO professionals tend to focus more on keyword rankings and more while working. This goal is great, but it’s not the entire picture. When ranking sites, Google also considers things like website user experience and content quality.
In fact, user experience on its own is just as significant a factor in your SEO efforts as are things like keyword and content optimization. Positive user experience is a critical element of your success, and you need to ensure it as you go forward.
Customers know what they want, and they’ll go elsewhere if they can’t find it with you. Soon enough, your site and its performance will suffer. When your site has a high SEO ranking, it shows that the site’s content isn’t just good, but the site also provides enough features to draw users to stay on it.
Local SEO Grows Conversions
One of the most significant search engine trends available today is the rise of mobile traffic. More people are browsing and, by extension, searching for businesses on their phones. This trend has made local search more of a fundamental part of business success, especially for startups and medium businesses that are trying to grow.
Essentially, local SEO looks to optimize your website and online platform for a specific area. This way, people around you can easily find you. Considering that you’re closer to them, it becomes much easier to convert them. Local SEO focuses on towns, regions, cities, and even states to establish a channel for you to grow from the ground up.
A local SEO company can take advantage of this by optimizing your site and its content. This step includes adding local backlinks, citations, and local listings that are relevant to the area you’re looking to rank for, the target audience, and your business sector.
Local SEO can also incorporate services like Google My Business and reviews on sites like Yelp and more. All of these focus on optimizing for a specific vicinity, and they are incredibly effective at doing this.
Sure, SEO costs money. There’s no way you can rank high and grow your business without spending money. However, when you put it in the grand scheme of things, you’ll find that SEO is affordable. The payoff is also much more considerable over time. You can get an estimated cost for local or national SEO services from a national SEO agency.
When thinking of SEO, don’t consider it a marketing cost. Instead, think of it as a business investment. When implemented right, SEO will reap benefits for years to come. The more investment and attention it gets, the more it improves. So, you can get much more with less money.
Tips for Effective SEO Implementation
Take Out Anything That Slows Your Site
Remember that bit about site performance and user experience? Well, nothing contributes to a terrible user experience quite like slow responses on websites. Site speed remains a critical factor in SEO, and you want to ensure that you optimize your site as much as possible. A delay in load time can cost you conversions in real-time. Perform a thorough audit of your site, and if you find anything that delays traffic, take it out.
SEO is not a one size fits all marketing technique. There are many important pieces that can benefit a business. Backlinks are one vital part to a strong SEO plan. Try to link to other sites with similar information in your content. It is recommended that you get sites with data to back up the information you’re trying to convey.
For this, make sure to only link to sites that bounce off yours. Essentially, when someone clicks on that link, they should see it open in a separate tab, not yours. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing that customer and having them go to a separate page entirely.
Optimize Your Content for Humans
Whatever you put on your site, make sure to optimize it for the people you’re trying to reach. Let your language flow naturally and make the content easy to read. Don’t let your focus on keywords cloud you from trying to form that all-important human connection with your readers.
Google Analytics has become an all-in-one tool that businesses worldwide require to ensure that their online efforts aren’t wasted. Considering that just about every company in today’s world now has an online presence, firms will need a reliable and effective strategy to acquire new customers — one such strategy is to get their businesses online and directly in their target audience’s faces.
However, building a website alone isn’t merely enough. You also need to ensure that it is performing as it should and that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts are bearing fruits. Barring that, you’ll pretty much be spending so much money without getting much in terms of results.
To help with all of this, we have Google Analytics — a tool that provides insights into how your website performs online. They say, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” When it comes to SEO, measurement and insights will go a long way in determining overall success.
It’s easy for you to look into your SEO efforts and believe that keyword ranking alone is the most critical metric. After all, the more keywords you have, the higher the chances of getting traffic. However, solely focusing on your keywords won’t give you a holistic view of your SEO efforts and what it does to the organization.
By going more in-depth, you can understand what truly matters — organic keyword searches and how they lead to business profits. Gaining this understanding is what Google Analytics offers you.
So, how do you know whether you’re doing SEO right? How can you get Google Analytics to help show you the insights you need? What do you have to focus on? We’ll look into these below.
First Things First: Have Goals
You can’t know how well you’re performing in business if you don’t have objectives and goals. So, for your SEO efforts, do the same thing.
What do you want your SEO efforts to achieve? Are you looking to improve site visits alone? Do you want to use SEO for increasing sales? Whatever it is you plan to do, make it explicit and let it be known. It will help in shaping your work and letting you know whether you’re still on track.
Engage the Custom Segment Section
For a long time, the Custom Segment feature has been the primary part of Google Analytics. It is especially popular because it extends your target audience’s details and helps you gain even more insights and information about the people who make up your market.
All you need to do is enable the Google Analytics SEO dashboard and monitor all SEO results. The SEO dashboard will showcase reports that track data from several sources and channels towards your site. Some of the data it provides include:
- When users visit your site and how long they stayed
- The pages the user visited, from the landing page to the moment they left the site
- The device that the user used when logging on to your site
- Which of your goals was achieved
Often the data that this section provides will be instrumental in helping you understand the nature of your traffic and the people who visit your site. You can also gain insights into some of their activities and use those to make better decisions.
Measuring SEO Traffic Quality
Measuring quality isn’t an exact science — especially when it comes to SEO. Some believe it to be subjective, while others don’t. However, even many people who think that you can measure traffic quality tend to stop at the search metric.
In truth, there are better ways to measure your SEO tariff quality. The most common tool is the Assisted Conversions report. With this report, you can set a date range and compare the traffic you got within that range with the previous method. Eventually, you’re left with a periodic comparison of conversions that you get from search directly. In the event of checking multiple visits to your site, you can also see the conversions where search helped out.
With this report, you can easily check for improvements or declines in your search traffic quality. If you find that conversions from search are decreasing, but your overall search traffic is growing steadily, you can easily see that the traffic coming from search isn’t of the highest quality.
Simultaneously, if you start focusing on a more refined set of keywords and see that conversions from search traffic are growing, you can easily see an improvement in SEO traffic.
To use the Assisted Conversions report, simply go to the “Conversions” section. Click on “Multi-Channel Funnels,” and you’ll see “Assisted Conversions.”
Focus on Site Loading Speed
Loading speed is critical when it comes to building a site. In fact, your site shouldn’t load for over five seconds. If loading takes too long, visitors will skip the site entirely.
Considering that it is a critical aspect of SEO, you will need to focus on site speed and optimize it. Monitor the metric across different platforms and keep it at its optimal levels. This way, visitors can engage with your site pages and improve conversion rates.
Google has a Speed Analyzer Tool that you can use to test your site’s speed. You can monitor the metric on Google Analytics to find more details.
Consider Your Best-Performing Pages
One of the best ways to replicate results and know where you stand will be to consider some of your best-performing pages across the board. With this data, you can essentially replicate the same components that these pages have and use them to optimize the views on your least-performing ages.
Essentially, look through your top pages every month and optimize them for the following:
- Readability and user intent
- Freshness (essentially, update their content if the need arises)
The truth is that some pages will perform better than others. So, you can easily get what works for the big hitters and use them to improve the conversions and views of the least-performing pages. It’s that simple.
With a recent report from Adobe stating that online holiday sales may reach $200 billion, it’s more important than ever for businesses to hone their SEO and bring traffic to their website. SEO Locale is a leader in the eCommerce SEO space, we help businesses grow their online sales and we’re going to break down the reasons why you need to step it up. Here’s why businesses can expect their online stores to be hit harder than their physical stores in 2020.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
While online sales have been steadily rising as the preferred way for consumers to shop, it’s the Coronavirus pandemic that is pushing most consumers into the arms of online stores. It’s simply safer to buy their holiday gifts online than it is going to a store.
Yet the pandemic has also brought into question as to if consumers are going to spend as much this year as they did last year. Many families were hit hard with job furloughs and lay-offs. While many of those families now have their job back, others are still unemployed, and for many, a large gap in their savings is gone.
Another stimulus check may help bolster families and allow them to spend as much as they would like this holiday season. However, as of yet, there hasn’t been any real action on a second stimulus check.
Regardless, any holiday shopping that is going to be done will likely be performed online.
Other big businesses are gearing towards this shift. Some, like Wal-Mart and Target, have even closed their doors for their usual Thanksgiving shopping sales.
With Black Friday quickly approaching, businesses need to be prepared to garner as much online traffic as possible to make up for the losses that the pandemic waged on them.
How to Find Those Holiday Sales
Businesses who haven’t implemented an SEO strategy are missing out. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process in which a website utilizes certain tools and strategies to make Google’s search engine rank their website higher on their search result’s list.
If you’ve ever searched for anything on the internet, then you know that you likely don’t look past the third or fourth page during a Google search. No one has time for that. If your business is on that fourth or fifth page during a Google search, then you’re missing out on tons of traffic.
Implementing an SEO strategy can increase your SEO score and land you more consumers. If you have money to make up for because of the pandemic, then investing in SEO experts and strategies is essential to your survival.
Start Including SEO Today
It’s a race to the first holiday sales and those who hone their SEO score will receive most of the sales. Contact us if you want to learn more about our custom national SEO packages.
A lot has changed since the initial days of SEO. Back then, all developers needed to do to make their website rank well on Google’s search page was keyword stuff. Times have changed. To ensure that spammy or low-quality websites are not clogging up the search page, Google has implemented a number of changes to how their search engine optimization algorithms work. Now, more than ever, the state of your UX determines how well your website does when determining its rank. Find a white hat national SEO agency that can help you achieve your digital marketing goals. Here’s how UX affects your SEO score.
What is UX?
Those who do not continuously dwell in the land in web development and web design may not immediately understand what UX is. UX stands for User Experience. It describes the sort of experience and ease with which your users have when using your website. It has made up of a few key components. They include:
- Bounce rate
- Page dwell time
The bounce rate of a website corresponds to how many times users visit a single page on your website and then leave. This indicates to Google that they either visited your Home Page or a landing page and could not find what they were looking for. Patience is incredibly thin when users visit websites. If your Home Page or landing pages are not giving them the quality information that they seek, then they will exit and move on to the next website. A high SEO score requires a low bounce rate.
Page dwell time refers to how long the user spends on the website. It is a measure of their engagement. Obviously, if they spend a lot of time on a page, then they are reading what the page says because it is informative for them. To rank high in SEO, you need a high page dwell time.
Now that you know the two main metrics that Google uses to analyze your UX score, you can then influence those metrics to better your overall SEO score.
Factors That Influence UX
The key to improving your SEO in terms of your UX is to focus on these key factors:
- Load time
- User-friendly URL structure
- Mobile syncing and optimizing
Let us break these down further.
1. Load Time
Users are not going to wait a long time for a page to load. They have things to do and can’t wait around for your website to get its act together. A few variables may add to the load time. Large pictures, in particular, are to blame. They can also make your page look messy. When it comes to pleasing website design and fast load time, less is more.
2. User-friendly URL Structure
If you look at your search bar at the top of the screen, you should see a URL. A high-quality URL structure is an easy-to-understand list that describes and categorizes which page you are on in a website. Search engines use the structure to index the websites. Using a user-friendly URL structure that includes the website’s name, the category they are searching, and then the specific page, is a great way to help both the search engine and the user.
3. Mobile Syncing and Optimizing
If you do not have an app or a mobile website, then you are not going to do well for your SEO ranking. More users than ever use their phones to search for businesses or ask questions. The interface of your mobile site needs to be compact, easy to understand, and load quickly.
Trust the Experts
Clearly, there are a lot of variables involved with creating a great UX for your website. To make sure your website is ranking as high as it can, trust the experts at SEO Locale.
There are many metrics which must be observed when maintaining a website. Keeping track of all the different ways in which a site is found, visited, and viewed can be an exhausting process, especially if companies aren’t using good quality software to compile their data. Not every metric provides suggestions for improving organic traffic, either. That is why it’s so important companies use keyword tracking software. As a premier digital marketing agency, we track keywords for all of our clients that have SEO in their packages. It is important even if you are tracking keywords on a national SEO versus local SEO level to have the data to expand the campaign or track the success.
SEO Keywords & Tracking
Keyword tracking, also known as keyword rank tracking, is a means of monitoring your site’s visibility through keyword searches. By using a keyword tracker you can see where the keywords, and subsequently your page, are in the search engine results page (SERP). Knowing a site’s ranking provides a business with some insight into the effectiveness of their current SEO strategies, while also allowing them to anticipate what sort of search optimization strategies they may need to implement in the future.
Why Does it Matter to Track Your SEO Keywords?
It will highlight changes in organic traffic. A fluctuation in ranking can be a sign that a site’s traffic is starting to suffer. Keyword tracking makes it possible to see which keywords aren’t performing as well, and which pages on a website are being affected by the drop.
When a company is tracking its position it will also be able to see the position of its competition. In the list of keywords each company will have some core words exclusive to their specific market, industry, field, or brand. Competitors will be using the same keywords. While it’s best to rank ahead of competitors, ranking behind them has its advantages. All it requires is research into their latest SEO strategy, and doing it better.
Sites that have multiple locations will need to perform keyword tracking with geography-specific terms. If one is excelling or another is rapidly falling behind, there is a problem with that location which needs to be identified. Many keyword trackers offer the option to change the search engine country which brands with international locations will benefit from most.
What Software Tracks SEO Keywords?
There are many keyword tracking softwares available, all with a variety of useful features. SEOlium, for example, is unique in that they generate, own, and completely control all of their raw data. This gives them absolute oversight over it, making it easier to reduce inaccuracies by implementing an algorithm that combines technology and human observation.
Companies who aren’t tracking their keywords can’t reasonably expect measurable success. Companies who are using it can measure their success, and identify ways to increase it.
SEO Locale is ranked 342nd out of over 13,000 agencies. To some this may look like something an agency should not be proud of, but as a small start-up in the Philadelphia area, we’re beating agencies with 50+ employees. Our team is small, but our product works and this is definitely exciting to see us be in the top 500 by SEOlium. You can search any local agencies on SEOlium to see where they stack up against SEO Locale with Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a metric created by Moz, a great software for anyone who is trying to learn SEO or track certain information on their digital marketing. Let’s dive into some of the information.
SEO Locale and the Domain Authority Ranking
With so many SEO companies out there it can be difficult for businesses to determine which one is the best choice. They have different histories, different visions, different specialties, and so on. Fortunately there are many websites that can simplify the process through weighing facts and figures or pros and cons. One company in particular, Moz, has made the decision for customers by uniquely quantifying it instead.
Moz and DA
Moz is an SEO software company who has created their own ranking system to determine what they call ‘Domain Authority’, or ‘DA’. Domain Authority is a search engine ranking used to predict success on search engine results pages and is calculated on a scale of 1-100. However it’s not affiliated with Google and it doesn’t influence SERPs directly. Rather it creates a comparative metric by considering multiple factors and aggregate data, as opposed to being a firm score. A bigger DA indicates a better ranking ability. Moz gets this data from its Link Explorer web index, and the rank itself is calculated by a machine learning model.
Where We Stand
Using this metric, SEO Locale’s Domain Authority has ranked 342 out of over 13,000 agencies. This is no small feat, and it serves as both a testament to both our success as a company and our visibility online. This also comes as little surprise, as we’re a premiere digital marketing agency and we have a clear understanding of how we were able to achieve that impressive number, as well as how we know we can improve it in the near future. And we want to share that knowledge with you.
Get In Touch with a True SEO Company in Philadelphia
If you’re in the market for a reliable and trustworthy SEO company, we at SEO Locale have exactly what you need. We can tell you about the awards and accolades we have for our work in the Philadelphia region, but we would rather show you why we earned them. If you’re still not convinced simply Google ‘SEO Philadelphia’ and see for yourself that we’re proof our product works.
We understand that we are only as successful as our clients, which is why we promise to go above and beyond to meet your company’s needs. Contact a team member today to learn more about our high-ranking, award winning services and how you too can utilize SEO to grow both your traffic and your business.
As a premier digital marketing agency in Philadelphia region, we see all different types of small businesses that need SEO. You can create a hyper local SEO strategy that will work for your business. Using the data from Google Search Console can be key to success. Today we break down the Google Search Console for you.
How do I drive traffic to my website? It is a question posed by thousands of business owners out there. And to be honest, driving traffic is not as easy as it sounds. Pulling traffic, especially organic, is more of a dream than a reality for many businesses. However, this should not be the case. There are free tools that assist you to rank better for your intended keywords. Google Search Console (GSC) is free, and one of the most powerful tools for SEO. You need to create the correct foundation when you are starting with an SEO strategy. Google Search Console will have the data for you to get started. Let’s learn about the Google Search Console and how it could benefit you.
What is Google Search Console? GSC, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is one of the robust tools owned by Google. It is not as popular as Google Analytics, but boy, it packs a punch. GSC monitors the performance of your website. It is also proficient in pointing out areas where to optimize your organic traffic.
How to use GSC to optimize SEO
SEO is vital for most businesses and especially online businesses. Not only leads to a surge in traffic, but leads to an increase in conversions if you leverage the data correctly with your user experience. If you are wondering how to improve your ranking for your site, then you are reading the right article. Below, we shall point out how to use one of Google’s gems, Google Search Console, to improve your SEO.
To boost rankings of underwhelming keywords
You have heard people emphasizing the importance of appearing on page one of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Well, it is indeed essential to appear on page one of search results. In most cases, users do not look for search results beyond page one. Lower rank means you are losing out on tons of traffic. Therefore, GSC becomes a vital tool in identifying keywords of your website that rank beyond page two. You then work on these keywords to rank better.
Establish what users do with the results
GSC performance report enables you to determine the interaction of users with your website. It helps track the number of clicks, impressions, and click-through rates. These metrics guide on the corrective action you should take to improve SEO for your online business.
Fix indexing issues
At times, developers put tags on pages that prevent search engines from crawling them. Fortunately, GSC identifies such problems for you. GSC provides a report of such issues with the exact pages not indexed and the reason for not indexing.
Other ways GSC can help online businesses improve SEO include:
- Establishing sites linking to your website
- Help determine that your site is mobile-friendly
- Assist in optimizing pages whose organic traffic is dropping
To wrap it up, GSC is underrated yet a robust tool that gives a lot of insights about your website. There are lots of pros to using Google Search Console, and just one con: you can’t see competitive data there. An easy fix is to use a professional Google rank tracker 3rd party tool. Make it your SEO strategy. It is free but super powerful when leveraging data to grow your business online.
What many business owners don’t know is that almost half of all transactions happen on mobile phones. Entrepreneurs and business owners who want customers to engage with their company website have to take the time to invest in mobile search engine optimization.
Mobile SEO acts as the optimization of your website to rank a lot better in search results and keep the leads that you get from mobile on your page.
You will learn about mobile SEO, why it’s important to your bottom line, and why you should consider creating a mobile SEO strategy for your business.
What Exactly is Mobile SEO?
It’s the optimization process of your website to make sure that your website looks great and works well on mobile devices. When you or a staff member performs mobile SEO, you’ll give your users a great user experience. The positive user experience comes from the fact that your site looks great on any device.
In the past few years, the use of mobile devices have increased exponentially. Over 70 percent of people shop on their mobile devices. As more and more people gain access to these devices, these numbers will only increase in the future.
A lot of business owners don’t realize the importance of having a website that’s mobile friendly. But if you don’t have a mobile friendly website, your website SEO will suffer. So will the way that potential customers perceive your business. One study even showed that over half of all customers will not visit a business again if they had a bad mobile experience. To prevent negative mobile experiences, optimize your business website so that it works well on mobile devices.
Why Is Mobile SEO Important?
- Your Customers Spend Most of Their Internet Time on Smartphones
Users spend over 70 percent of their online time on their mobile devices. If your customers are spending most of their internet time on their smartphones, your business website will need to be ready. A poor mobile experience could mean losing lots of valuable leads.
- Your Customers Will Return If They Have a Good Mobile Experience
It’s an intuitive leap to figure that your customers are more likely to return if they have a positive mobile experience the first time. When customers return again and again, these leads turn into valuable sales.
- Your Customers Will Hold Your Business in Higher Regard
A large part of creating a mobile friendly website is giving your customers the best experience possible. When your customers have a positive mobile experience, that makes it more likely that they will experience what you have to offer in a way that’s fruitful for both parties.
Mobile SEO is a vital part of growing your business in the online space. To help your company grow through SEO, account for customers that access your website through their mobile devices. A thorough and creative mobile SEO plan helps you reach potential customers.
SEO Locale offers full digital marketing packages that include mobile SEO naturally. Ranking you on Google is our priority, but seeing your return on investment is just as important, give us a call today!
Showing up on Google’s Top Stories is a huge advantage for gaining exposure. When you show up in Top Stories, your articles gain more visibility than the standard search results. Formerly, you had to have Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to even have the chance to show up on Top Stories. Since many saw the value in Top Stories and AMPs were a requirement, a lot of people embraced AMPs. However, there is a big change coming.
Google recently announced that they will start using Core Web Vitals as a factor in search rankings and Top Stories. The announcement also detailed that Google will lift the AMP requirement around the start of 2021. This announcement makes the future of AMP unclear. Will it be easier for developers to optimize the mobile experience without AMP or to continue using AMP versions of their pages?
AMP is Google’s open-source, HTML framework that developers can use to create faster-loading mobile web pages. You can use AMP to build websites, stories, ads, and emails in a straightforward way. The content you create with AMP “prioritizes the user experience above all else”. The top benefits of AMP include:
- Faster web page speed, which equates to better user experience.
- Apply AMP across numerous web touchpoints.
- SEO benefits (for now).
- Performance increase.
Downfalls of AMP
While AMP has some key benefits, it also has its fair share of downfalls. If AMP is not a requirement for Top Stories, will people just stop using it? Potentially. Here are some of AMP’s major cons, and the reasons people may abandon it.
- There are alternatives. Previously AMP was a requirement for Top Stories, however, it soon won’t be. Once AMP ceases to be a requirement, people may opt for alternatives. There are other solutions for optimizing user experience and site performance, and some businesses may have just been using AMPs to remain eligible for Top Stories.
- AMP doubles your site maintenance work. With AMPs, you must essentially maintain a second version of your site. This process is not only time consuming, but it is also expensive.
- It will no longer provide a competitive advantage. Formerly, you could not appear on Top Stories without AMP. When that changes, will it make sense to continue using it?
Testing the Waters
After the official update, people can “opt to prioritize page experience factors to get their content into the Top Stories section, instead of maintaining AMP versions of their pages.” Google’s new algorithm intends to rank web pages and Top Stories based on user experience from the signals of Core Web Vitals.
However, not all of Googe’s algorithm updates have had much of an impact before. While it would be a good thing to update rankings and Top Stories based on positive user experience, the actual impact is unclear. Before making any major changes to get rid of AMP, people should wait and see how the updates play out and how the competition fairs.
The big decision for publishers currently running on AMP will be the time they must majorly change their site. When it comes time for a redesign or CMS adjustment, then they should look closely at the costs of updating to AMP vs opting for another method to optimize the user experience.
After the update, publishers and site owners need to compare the Top Stories. Are the majority of Top Stories from AMP sites or non-AMP sites? Without strong evidence that non-AMP sites are ranking in Top Stories, it doesn’t make sense to drop AMP. Additionally, “the requirements for non-AMP pages to appear in the Top Stories section may turn out to be more stringent than maintaining AMP.” In that case, it would actually be easier to maintain AMP than to meet the incredibly strict requirements for non-AMP sites.
AMP: Should it Stay or Should it Go?
As of right now, the future of AMP is not too clear. There are some challenges associated with AMP that sit producers may be eager to get rid of once Google officially renounces it as a requirement for Top Stories. When it is no longer a requirement, site owners will be able to experiment with other methods for optimizing user-experience without creating a second version of their site. However, there may still be advantages to keeping AMP, especially if you are already using it.
Companies should not make the choice right now on whether or not to continue using AMP in the long-term. The first thing to do is to see the impact of Google’s Core Web Vitals update and how AMP fairs when it is not a requirement. It is important to monitor your competition closely, and assess if AMP is still fairing better than other options. Currently, it is not clear if AMP will have a future once it disappears as a requirement for Top Stories.
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.