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.