In June 2021, Google is finally launching the Page Experience Update that is aimed at assessing web pages based on how users perceive the experience when interacting with the web page. The search engine giant has been planning an update built around webpage experience since May 2020, and have presented several other algorithm updates based around the concept of a positive page experience for users. To measure the user experience your webpages give, Google is using a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals, in addition to several other current ranking factors.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core web vitals are presented in a report that shows how your webpages perform, based on real world usage data provided from the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report. The CrUX report gathers specialized status metrics from users visiting your URL. There are 3 scores that the Core Web Vitals report gives your site including:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures how your website loads and if the load time is within a Google’s recommended 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): measures a webpage’s ability for a webpage to respond to a user’s input, with an FID time of less than Google’s recommended 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures your site’s visual stability which should maintain less than Google’s recommended 0.1 score.
Other Ranking Factors
There are a variety of other factors that Google uses to determine the quality of a site’s page experience, including several factors that have already been in place. In addition to your website’s LCP, FID and CLS, Google tracks:
- Mobile-Friendliness: because mobile devices are used more to access the internet, Google is requiring websites to be mobile-friendly in order to continue to improve organically.
- Safe Browsing: Google regularly checks to make sure your site doesn’t contain malicious links or deceptive content. You can also check this with the Security Issues report within your website’s Google Search Console.
- HTTPS: When your website is served under HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), it provides secure communication and ensures users that your website is authenticated for optimal privacy and integrity protection.
- Intrusive Interstitials: webpages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poor experience to users and prevent users from easily accessing content.
- Page Speed Insights: Google’s PageSpeed tool shows in real-time how fast your webpages load, which is based on Fast, Average, and Slow speed levels.
What Does this Mean for Your Site?
Much like Google’s other updates, the Page Experience update is meant to give users the best experience when they visit your website. Over the years, website developers have used a variety of “white hat” and “black hat” techniques to attract users to their website. Google’s Page Experience update is another way that Google is helping developers to establish healthy (white hat) practices to rank better on search engines and give users a positive experience when visiting websites.
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To check your website’s Page Experience score, visit your site’s Google Search Console. If your website’s page experience score is struggling and you would like to set up a time to review your options, contact us today!
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On June 2, 2021, Google started rolling out its June 2021 core update, which is expected to continue until mid-June. Google also plans on delivering a second core update in July 2021, but have provided little details on that update.
Aside from Google’s two core updates in June and July, the search engine giant is also expected to roll out a page experience update in mid-June, which will include a new ranking algorithm designed to judge web pages based on how users perceive the experience when interacting with the web page.
Core Update Responses – SEMrush
According to the SEMrush, the top 5 industries that saw extreme volatility at the beginning of the June update rollout are:
- Pets & Animals
To determine who is affected by the updates, SEMrush utilizes their sensor tracking tool, which follows search results with a fixed selection of keywords on a daily basis and measures how much has changed at the end of the day. A “high” or “very high” score means that your website has a higher chance of moving significantly higher or lower in SERP rankings; on the other hand, a low score means your rankings are unusually stable. As of June 10, 2021, categories with a high score (5/10 or higher) are:
- Arts & Entertainment (6.5)
- Beauty & Fitness (5.0)
- Business & Industrial (5.0)
- Games (6.5)
- Internet & Telecom (5.7)
- Jobs & Education (5.2)
- News (8.5)
- Online Communities (5.7)
- Sports (6.8)
- Shopping (5.4)
It’s very likely that these numbers will change as the June update continues to roll out. You can track your industry’s progress with the sensor tracking tool.
Core Update Responses – Searchmetrics
According to the SEO tool Searchmetrics, one of the biggest targets from the June 2021 Core Update was in the travel industry. To be specific, airport websites have had numerous reports of random webpages being added and deleted on airport sites and directories.
Core Update Responses – Sistrix
Some SEO sources have reported significant movement in Google SERPs in the few weeks before the June 2 Google core update rollout. According to Sistrix, saw a lost of significant visibility with the travel, finance, and news industries.
Was Your Site Impacted By The Update?
Don’t see your industry on any of the above hit lists, but are still seeing a drop in your traffic this month? It’s very likely that your site is experiencing some effects from the core updates. Google has provided some tips on how to work around core updates to benefit your site.
Follow the Intertwine Interactive blog for more information on upcoming search engine updates!
In late June 2020, Google announced their expanding a Business Messaging service in Google Maps and Google Search to support all kinds of businesses. This update is an expansion on the original messaging service launched in Google My Business in 2017, only it is improved and expanded to all businesses rather than just US-based GMB users.
New Business Messaging Features
In addition to the expansion of business messages, Google also recently introduced a variety of other special features in Google My Business including:
- Smart Replies
- Visual Product Carousels
- Unique Welcome Messages
- Customer Service Agent
What This Means for Businesses
This update gives businesses a comprehensive messaging solution for communicating with their customers across both Android and iOS devices. Businesses that use the Business Messages tool on Google My Business will also be able to use it on their mobile website for customers to quickly message the business directly from their site. To cut back on wait time, businesses can provide on Google My Business the expected service wait times and answers to frequently asked questions.
What This Means for Customers
For customers, Google has updated it’s popular Google My Business platform to increase advanced usability. Customers can search for products, check business and service availability, get COVID-19-related updates, and a variety of other useful business solutions. To activate Google s Business Messaging option, simply click on the messaging icon when viewing businesses on Google search.
Want more details on recent Google updates? Read more here.
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Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Google has rolled out a number of features within Google My Business to help local businesses. In March they added the temporarily closed option, which allows businesses to let customers know that they were just temporarily closed and may be offering pickup or delivery. They have also encouraged businesses to provide updates through the posts option in Google My Business. Now, they have integrated support links that enable customers to make donations to businesses and order gift cards through partners without a commission going to Google.
Now that businesses have these new options, which ones are the most important to their Google My Business page?
Hours of Operation
Letting customers know if you are open or not, and what your hours are, is the most important thing that needs to be constantly updated. Once you make the update in your Google My Business dashboard it will show up in organic search and on Google Maps.
Right now, posts are the best way to inform users in a detailed way about things your business is doing. Since there are many questions about how businesses are making adjustments, this is the perfect place to share your changes.
By adding photos of your business to your profile and within posts, you can give customers an inside look at your business without having them step outside of their home. This will add a level of comfort for those who want to see how your business is operating.
Want to enhance your Google My Business profile for your customers? Contact Brad to learn about our
Local Search Engine Optimization service!
Are you a merchant who regularly sells products on the Google Shopping tab? Has the fallout of COVID-19 left your sales diminished and your company struggling? The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has caused challenges to the commerce industry. Physical stores have closed and digital commerce in all industries has become a lifeline for many retailers.
Today Google announced that before the end of April they will be making it free for merchants to sell on Google in the United States. Google plans on expanding this opportunity globally before the end of the year. This change will help merchants better connect with their consumers and provide them with better opportunities to buy from the merchant’s inventory.
What This Means for Advertisers
For advertisers, this update means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings. If you’re an existing user of Google’s Merchant Center and Shopping Ads, you will already be taking advantage of the free listings. For new users of Merchant Center, Google will continue to streamline the onboarding process and address challenges over the coming weeks and months.
Now is an important time for advertisers and retailers to make new customers and keep the current customers coming back to them. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many advertisers and digital marketers questioning how to maintain healthy sales and budgets. Read up on the recent webinar “COVID-19 Response Checklist for Digital Marketers,” where Intertwine’s Jake Renter and Wes MacLaggan of Marin Software answer questions related to the effect COVID-19 has had on the digital marketing industry.
What This Means for Retailers
For retailers, the change to Google’s Shopping tab means free exposure to millions of people who visit Google every day. To make your products more discoverable, you must opt your existing product feeds into the surfaces across Google program, which does not require Google Ads to use. The “surfaces across Google program” is an available program that allows shoppers to see product results from retail stores on various Google surfaces including Google Images, Google Lens, Google Search, and Google Shopping. Google is also kicking off a partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts, which will speed up the onboarding process and help provide shoppers with the highest quality results.
What This Means for Shoppers
For shoppers, this update increases the number of products you can buy from more stores, all discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For companies that in the past have depended on physical store locations as their main business channel, Google’s update will present them better opportunities to offer their products to shoppers for free.
Read Google’s original update article here.
Every year Google comes out with a variety of large and small updates to its algorithm. The search giant’s algorithm includes a complex system of formulas and ranking signals that retrieve data from keyword searches and instantly delivers the best possible results for the keywords searched. In its early years, Google publicly shared their core algorithm updates to those in the SEO community; updates such as Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin.
In recent years, Google has been much more secretive about their updates. Below I’ve outlined the larger and more impactful Google algorithm updates from 2019. One of the most helpful ways to see if your site has or will be affected by an algorithm update is to approach the update with a set of Google-provided questions about performance, quality, and other aspects.
Known among some in the SEO community as the “Valentine’s Day Update,” this update centers a website’s content quality.
- Does the website have Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness?
- How relevant is the website search keywords to the website’s content?
- How good is your website’s content?
- How well does the website’s content answer a visitor’s question or search keyword query?
March 2019 Core Update
While the March core update doesn’t target any specific niches, it does change how Google interprets a user’s search query which can affect how a webpage is ranked on search engine results pages (SERPs). The March update also affects a webpage’s content relevancy of a user’s search query.
June 2019 Core Update
The June core update was one of the first updates in 2019 to turn the search algorithm’s focus to webpage content. The update included four different categories that websites should focus on improving: 1) content and quality, 2) content expertise, 3) presentation and production, and 4) comparative content.
- Content and quality: all content published on your site should be original, insightful and comprehensive. Your site should avoid the use of clickbait headlines that exaggerate the quality of the topic.
- Is your webpage the kind of page you would bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Content expertise: content on your site should be truthful and the content’s author should not be mysterious about providing their credentials related to the content.
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Presentation and production: the content should be visible to all users on any platform or device.
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with main content?
- Does content display well when viewed by mobile devices?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content serve the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
September 2019 Core Update
There was very little information regarding this update by both Google and SEO publications around the web. Speculation and general consensus is that links played a big part in September’s core update; the more “black hat” or bad links a website has in their backlinks the worse their site ranked on Google.
The BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) algorithm is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. This update is a stepping stone to more updates on the journey to better understand the context of keywords in search queries; previously Google’s algorithm focused on processing words one-by-one in order. This is important because different words can have different meanings based on the location of the user searching or the context of the query.