Category Archives: SEO

Page Experience Update Algorithm Demystified – What You Need To Know

Page Experience Update June 2021…

Discover everything you need to know about Google’s page experience update right here in this post!

Over the years, Google have developed and released numerous algorithm updates, each geared towards pointing users to the most relevant and useful websites.

Including ranking factor updates on; mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and the Core Web Vital metrics, all designed to measure speed and user experience.

The Google search ranking algorithm update is set to roll out in June 2021 with new factors to be incorporated.

This new Page Experience update is believed to have a meaningful impact on search rankings.

Here, we will closely examine what this update will mean for your business and how best to prepare.

What is the Page Experience update?

The Page Experience update is Google’s new search ranking algorithm set to be released in mid-June of this year and completed by the end of August 2021.

Google suggests that websites displaying valuable information clearly are likely to offer the best page experiences, enabling site visitors to engage more deeply and get more done.

The new algorithm update will incorporate a variety of new and updated metrics known as Core Web Vitals, all focused upon user experience factors.

Google will closely monitor every aspect of how visitors interact with a web page with the new Page Experience algorithm update.

What are the current ranking factors?

The existing ranking factors, which will continue to be key metrics include:

  • Mobile responsiveness – A measure of how well a web page performs when viewed on a mobile device. Click here to check whether your website page is mobile-friendly.
  • HTTPS – A primary authentication protocol for sending data between a web browser and website. Check the secureness of your website’s connection here.
  • Safe browsing – Check the safety of your web page to see if it contains any deceptive or malicious content. To check whether your website has any issues relating to safe browsing click here.
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines – These pop-ups are disruptive to user experience as they make a page difficult to access. Check here whether you are using interstitials in an accessible way.
Google-page-experience-seo

In an ideal world, a website visitor would click on a link from a search engine and be presented with a quick loading website and easy to navigate web pages.

But web pages can often be often complex things however, with many taking seemingly forever to load despite ever increasing internet connection speeds.

Since the new update combines existing metrics together with a new set of signals, any recent improvements that you have made to your page load speed and overall design may unfortunately not be quite enough.

Google’s June page experience update – New Metrics

Google’s June update will involve the roll out of new Core Web Vital components, which will include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – LCP is an accurate measure of the length of time the largest image or text block takes to appear on a web page.

The current LCP load time is set at less than 2.5 seconds so, any page that takes longer than 4 seconds will be considered as having poor LCP by Google.

  • First Input Delay (FID) – FID is the measure of time taken between a first interaction with your web page and the web browser that is processing that interaction.

Google stipulates that the FID should be less than 100 milliseconds. So, anything longer than 300 milliseconds will therefore be classed as poor FID.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – CLS will measure the unexpected layout shifts and visual stability of any web page.

Web page elements should be stable, and not move around when they are clicked on by the user in order to comply with the latest page experience update.

A poor CLS score is classed as anything over 0.25. A web page will need to score between 0.1 to 0.24 to pass the CLS test.

page-experience-ranking-signal

What’s Google really looking to achieve?

Google’s new page experience algorithm is set to focus on the stability of each individual element of a web page together with page upload speed.

The ultimate goal being to point users to websites that deliver the best user experience.

Google is able to create a holistic picture of how a website is likely to perform by combining existing ranking factors with the new metrics update.

New additional metrics will be added to the Page Experience algorithm gradually.

No announcement surrounding a timeline for the release of these new metrics have been made by Google.

The importance of the Google Page Experience update

Did you know that 75% of people searching on Google will never click beyond the first result page?

Ranking well on Google is absolutely critical to boosting your website traffic and staying ahead of your competitors.

In the past, Google has often been accused of not releasing details of core algorithm updates.

With this particular update, website owners, developers and SEO specialists have all been given 6-months advance notice.

As Google very rarely provides advance notice of algorithm changes, this new page experience update is projected to have a significant ranking impact.

Google is currently considering introducing a Page Experience Badge to highlight websites that offer the best user experiences. This has yet to be officially confirmed.

If the Page Experience Badge does come into effect, it will become increasingly vital for your websites to rank well.

Avoid a potentially significant drop in site visitor traffic with this upcoming algorithm update by optimising your website NOW.

page-experience-algo-update

Optimise your website for Page Experience…

Thanks to the early announcement from Google, it is possible to utilise new tools to ensure your website is ready for the new roll out.

Tools to help you measure, monitor and optimise your website ahead of the update are already readily available.

Your Google Search Console account will have a Core Web Vitals report, which will highlight key areas of your website that needs improving.

Each website page will be given a ranking of a). ‘Good’, b). ‘Needs Improvement’ or c). ‘Poor’.

Your attention must focus therefore on optimising your website to improve user experience, by following the steps listed below:

Your Ranking Checklist For The New Update…

1). Improve Page Load Speed – Page load speed is one of the key factors which contributes to high bounce rates.

Lowering your bounce rates and improving page load speed is an absolute must to rank well in Google.

To rank well for mobile and desktop, site visitors should have improved page load speeds and better site user experience.

3 seconds or less is the optimum page load time set by Google. With pages that take less than 1 second to load, set to receive a ranking boost.

2). Reduce ‘400’ website errors – Broken links and inaccessible web page errors must be reduced to avoid higher bounce rates, poor conversions and lower search rankings.

Audit your website thoroughly and correct any issues that stop it from performing well.

3). Mobile Usability – For a URL to achieve a ‘Good’ status within the Core Web Vitals report it should not have any mobile usability errors.

4). Research Competitors – Research how your competitors are performing, how does their content compare and what are they doing differently?

Make sure that your websites are easy to navigate, with great content and give your visitors quick access to the information that they came looking for.

5). Ensure HTTPS – Your rankings are likely to suffer if your site pages are not served over the HTTPS protocol.

6). Consider Your Advertising – Google is likely to class your website as providing a ‘bad’ user experience, if you utilise advertising techniques that potentially distracts or interrupts the page experience of your site visitor.

Websites that perform best are ones that are designed to be informative, educational and entertaining rather than salesy and promotional.

There are plenty of potential variables that contribute to your websites search engine optimisation performance metrics.

Naturally, the fastest, most relevant websites, which deliver the best user experience will continue to rank well.

A well-designed website, which loads quickly will never rank well if it does not offer visitors quality, relevant content.

Is your website ready for Google’s page experience update and core web vitals?

Is your website ready to meet the new Google page experience algorithm set to launch in just a few weeks?

Improving technical aspects to meet the new Page Experience metrics may well require external support, skills and resources.

To find out which steps you need to take, CLICK HERE for your FREE page experience analysis report.

We can help your business recover from the Page Experience update in June by flagging and correcting potential issues.

We help businesses grow their online brands through data-driven marketing, technical SEO support and ROI focused marketing campaigns.

Find out more about how our digital marketing services can maximise your online performance, by contacting our experienced team today.

3 SEO Terms that you will need to master in 2021…

3 SEO terms that you should become closely familiar with over the course of the next few months are:

1. LCP or Largest Contentful Paint

LCP is the amount of time taken to display your largest content element from when a user first requests your URL.

The content element is most likely to be an image, video or perhaps even a large block of text.

2. FID or First Input Delay

FID, is the amount of time measured from when a user first interacts with your page by clicking on a link or button – to the time taken for the browser to respond.

In order to provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

3. CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift

CLS is a measurement based upon the amount that a page layout shifts while it is loading in the browser.

This is most likely to be caused when using images, iframes or video embeds without specifying their dimensions.

In order to provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.

3-important-SEO-terms

So, why are these 3 SEO terms important?

Because these 3 terms are essentially what ‘Core Web Vitals’ are all about.

And ‘core web vitals’ are a real-time measure of loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of your web pages.

Which are the fundamental building blocks that Google will use to determine the search ranking worthiness of your web pages in the near future.

Latest Developments…

Importantly, Google have just announced that page experience signals will be added to their search ranking algorithm from May 2021.

These signals measure how a site visitor interacts with your pages to ascertain whether the experience is helpful and enjoyable.

The new page experience signals are said to combine Core Web Vitals with existing search ranking signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines too.

Image: courtesy of Google Webmasters blog

Google also intend to highlight pages that have great page experience in search results with a visual indicator.

Crucially, this is bound to influence the choice of users in clicking the search result that they want to visit.

The knock on effect is likely to impact clickthrough rates, bounce rates and inevitably search rankings too!

What to do next…

Start by conducting a thorough website audit to determine where there is room for improvement.

Google’s search console tool provides an overview of how your site is performing, detailing any issues that may need addressing.

Page Speed Insights and Lighthouse are 2 of the tools that are commonly used to iterate any necessary page improvements.

Additionally, these core web vital tools provide further help on improving user page experience.

Incidentally, AMP continues to be touted as the easiest and most cost-effective way to deliver a great page experience.

It is understood that, Google will link to a cache-optimized AMP version if you publish an AMP content version.

In Conclusion…

Google’s primary aim is to rank pages with the best information overall.

And even though great page experience does not override great page content.

The two combined, present an extremely powerful ranking signal that Google will find hard to ignore.

The overall message is loud and clear!

Get to grips with this impending algorithm update and begin the process of improving your user page experience.

Make sure that your web pages are mobile friendly and offer safe browsing.

Employ the HTTPS safety protocol and avoid the use of intrusive popups whenever possible.

Or else…risk being shunted down the search rankings pecking order indefinitely.

The good news however, is that we have ample time to address these issues.

As the new changes will only come into effect in May 2021.

So, it’s time to get really comfy with these 3 SEO terms and begin your process of iteration soon.

Do let us know how you get on in the comments section below. Contact our London SEO agency team for further help and advice.

Image Search Rankings – How to rank images in Google…

Image Search Rankings or image SEO what is that all about and why on earth would I want to do that anyway?

Ever heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”?

Now, enter the commercial world…

Where the latest consumer research tells us that images are 1 of the Top 3 most engaging forms of content online!

Therefore, it does make sense to have those images on your website ranking well on Google – Agreed?

So, how to rank your images?

The image search rankings tips listed below should help you to significantly improve your image search rankings.

So, let’s get started with these 6 essential ingredients…

IMAGE SEARCH RANKINGS – HOW TO RANK IMAGES IN GOOGLE

Image search rankings - Google seo
This is the image description

Let’s breakdown each of these elements individually.

1. QUALITY

Using high quality images will naturally produce:

Higher engagement – The better the quality, users will be more likely to save, share with friends and family and return for more.

Better user experience – Research also shows that site visitors tend to stick around for longer.

Higher quality traffic – With site visitors less likely to bounce off your site, length of stay usually means better conversion ratios.

TIP: Make sure to optimise your images so that they load faster as ‘page speed’ is an important ranking factor.

Here are a couple of free tools that you can use to compress your images so that they load faster.

Compressjpg.com & Compressor.io

2. IMAGE PLACEMENT

Relevancy – Images should be relevant for the pages that they are placed on.

Above the fold – Placing your images where users can see them without scrolling does affect bounce rates and ultimately rankings.

Visibility – Images should be placed near relevant text to improve search indexation and visibility.

Image text – Although Google does have optical character recognition (OCR) from a crawl budget standpoint, it is advisable to avoid embedding text in images.

3. IMAGE DESCRIPTION

Titles – When adding images to your pages make sure that the page titles are relevant and include meta tags.

Image alt text – Include your primary keywords here but avoid repeating them over & over again. Instead use LSI driven or contextual keywords.

Context around images – Images should be placed where there is appropriate context surrounding them.

Add structured data – Adding image mark-up data is an important step that will help with better indexation and higher rankings.

4. CAPTIONS

Descriptive – Captions that are well described are better ranked while also being helpful to those that are visually impaired.

Around images – Place your captions above and/or directly below images for better search context.

Use semantic mark-up – Using the (<figcaption>) element to provide more information about the image.
Example =

lions Johannesburg safari
lions Johannesburg safari

5. IMAGE FILE NAMES

Relevancy – Change non-descriptive file names to more relevant descriptive names.

Keywords – Select and use your primary keyword as the file name.

Example = Instead of naming your image [001.jpg] – use something more accurate [NintendoWii.jpg]

Learn more about image search rankings from Google’s very own, John Mueller below:

6. SITEMAPS & HOSTING

Ranking Potency – Boost the ranking potency of your website images by including:

Image sitemap – higher crawlability, higher indexability & higher rankings.

Faster hosting – Install mod_page speed to perform many speed optimizations automatically.

Too many images – Split up large sitemaps with smaller more search engine friendly numbers.

IMAGE SEARCH RANKINGS – RECAP

To rank your images on Google image search follow these guidelines:

  • Use quality images
  • Place them on relevant pages
  • Use appropriate titles, meta tags & mark-up
  • Place descriptive captions around images
  • Select keyword rich file names
  • Create image sitemaps
  • Install Google’s mod_pagespeed

And there you have it…

image seo - how to rank  on image search

All the essential steps and best practices to get your images ranking well on Google, to enjoy higher engagement, better user experience & higher conversions.

Let us know how you get on in the comments below and don’t forget to like & share this post if you found it useful.

And if you get stuck or need any further help with your SEO, please contact our London SEO Agency for help and advice.