In May 2021, Google will be putting their new algorithm live which will have a direct impact on your page rankings in their search engine. Unfortunately, no one can hide from this new algorithm change, it will affect everyone who owns a website, especially those that don’t adhere to the new changes that are coming.
Google’s update is to further improve user experience on the web. If your page does not fulfill the new criteria, then it’ll be penalised and undoubtedly ensure you rank lower than all of your competitors. The Core Web Vitals which Google has prioritised since last year will focus mainly on page speed, safe browsing, and an enhanced user experience.
So what do you need to do?
All website hosts need to make sure that they comply with the changes so it doesn’t affect their SEO, customer satisfaction, and organic traffic. Below I’ve put together a list of the big changes that Google will be implementing:
Part of the Core Web Vitals (CWV)
These are a set of metrics that focus on site speed. Here are 3 components of this:
- Longest Contentful Paint – which measures how quickly your longest page element renders
- First Input Delay – the time between discrete user input and when a browser responds to that input
- Cumulative Page Layout – a measure of how much a page element unexpectedly shifts around the page.
Excuse the product plug but this is a genuinely helpful tip for the new Google algorithm update. StatusCake monitors your page speed and will alert you when you need to take action on a page. If you have page speed monitoring in place, it means that you’ll always be in the know if your pages are loading slowly (or not loading at all) so that you can do something about it before Google penalises you!
Mobile web searches are very important to Google with over 60% of all searches coming through mobile usage. Last year Google updated its algorithm with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to help improve the customer experience on mobile devices. They’re now pushing this further in their latest update, hoping companies make mobile optimisation a priority for their website.
Safety online is a priority for all companies and Google is no exception. The tech giant wants their new algorithm to ensure all websites have safe browsing in place for their users. Google will now monitor safe browsing and penalise sites that don’t follow their set protocol.
For example, if your website looks like it’s unresponsive or “choppy”, Google will penalise you, thinking it’s unsafe for users. To eliminate further risks of Google thinking your website is under threat, ensure that you don’t have any Malware, Spyware, or malicious threats in your script running in the background as these will also be flagged.
Luckily for you StatusCake already offers help with this with virus scanning functionality and domain monitoring that can identify anything suspicious lurking behind-the-scenes.
We’ve all been talking about this in the last few years; how important it is to have the “s” at the end of the “HTTP”. Now Google will be rewarding those who have already made the effort but for those who haven’t, you will need to think about implementing the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. This is a safe way for web users and websites to protect the identity and payment details of their users that are exchanged on a daily basis. Google already flags websites that do not have this so it would be advisable to invest in this and improve your customer experience.
StatusCake also offers SSL monitoring to check your SSL certificate is in working order. We’ll alert you if your SSL certificate has expired so you can take steps to ensure it’s valid before Google’s new algorithm comes into play.
I know what you’re thinking, talking about pop-ups isn’t exactly fun but it is going to prove more important than ever with this new algorithm update. Google will require pop-ups to fit certain criteria before being penalised. So for instance, it’s going to affect websites that use pop-ups that cover most of the content or most of the screen so you’ll need to be aware of how this might affect customer behaviour on your site. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and they will be mainly for disclaimers, cookie usage info, login dialogs, and those that are responsibly proportioned (aka do not cover the whole screen or most of the content).
Other things to consider before the Google algorithm update
There are some other things you can do to further improve the customer experience and ensure you are compliant with Google’s new algorithm update. Below is a short list that can help you:
- Upgrading your service host
- Compressing/resizing images
- Redirecting broken links/pages
- Observing user behaviour via a heat-mapping tool for ques on how to improve user flow and navigation.
All in all, Google’s algorithm changes hone in on the things websites should already be doing anyway. Safe browsing isn’t a big ask, especially when we are reliant on users to actively use our websites and add their personal information including payment details onto our sites. Put this alongside mobile friendliness which should already be a high priority on a website owner’s list since such a high proportion of users use mobile to search before a purchase decision.
You can make a big difference on your website by implementing these changes before the Google algorithm change comes in. Make sure you’re not penalised and ensure you keep your SEO rankings high in Google so you don’t lose out on organic traffic and potential conversions. Use StatusCake to help you monitor page speed, domain, and server issues so you’re always in the know.