Hearing that a Google update is coming soon has many online blogs and companies feeling panicked and worried. While a Google update can be an uncertain time, there are steps that you can take now to be prepared for when it happens.
Since this Google Core Update has been pushed off a few times already, it appears that mid-summer of 2021 will be the official timeframe that this Google Core Web Vital update is happening. Here are the top ways that you can start preparing now so that this Google update has a minimal interruption in your online business and services.
Why does Google keep updating its metrics?
It’s important to understand that this is what Google does. They’re a search engine and a smart one at that. This means that they’re constantly trying to figure out the best way to create the best user experience for people who are searching online. This also means that Google will change and update quite frequently to try and find that perfect balance.
The Google Core Web Vital update is a big one that needs to be recognized and adopted. Below are the three main focuses that you should start on now so that your site stays in good standing with Google.
Google will be looking at how long it takes your page to load as a ranking factor. (It’s not the only ranking factor and there are hundreds.) Google measures your core site speed based on a scale of poor to good, and depending on how your pages scores can determine where you rank.
The faster your site loads, the better the user experience. This means that big files and large images that aren’t compressed will cause quite a drag on the site. Google recommends that for a site to rank well, the page should be loaded in a minimum of 2.5 seconds. For most of us, unless you want to have a bare-bones website this goal may not be possible, but you can make your website as fast as it can be. Compressing images, getting rid of large plugins, or even checking with an outside source or developer can be ways to get your site speed to where it needs to be.
Google uses the same ranking of poor to good for interactivity as well. The recommendation for “good” is that the page that is loaded should be active and able to be used in less than 100ms. This metric again comes down to giving the users a great experience while they’re on your page.
The third major component to this Google Core Update is that the pages should be stable and pleasing to the eye. Busy pages or pages that aren’t aligned in a positive visual manner should address this immediately. We’ve all been on a website and tried to click a button or link to only have the page jump away from us as more content loads. This isn’t a good user experience and Google knows it!
The three core web vitals listed above are in addition to the other important aspects that Google has implemented as well. Below are the other big-ticket items to have done on your site in addition to the three significant upcoming changes listed above.
Since most readers are on their mobile, be sure that your page fits the screens and is pleasing to the eyes. Big pop-ups and huge ads are going to “ding” you in this category with Google.
Having a safe and secure website is extremely important for Google rankings as well. One of the biggest reasons people don’t visit certain URLs is that they aren’t secured and worried about their information being taken or stolen.
If you haven’t made the change to HTTPS, do so. This is also part of making your website safe and secure as well. If you’re unsure of how to do this, talk to your hosting company for further assistance.
No Annoying pop-ups
Google doesn’t care for pop-ups because users don’t care for them. If it’s something that turns away a user or makes them have a negative on-page experience, your page isn’t going to do well in the eyes of Google.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have pop-ups, but it does mean that you should be careful about your timing and placement of the pop-ups that you use. Examples of harmful pop-ups would be ones that immediately pop up before the user has had a chance to look at your site or pop-ups that make your users sign up in order to exit out of it or pop-ups that make it hard to find the “x” to close the window.
No matter what type of online presence you have, it’s essential to make your website user-friendly. The biggest way to keep Google happy and come out on the positive side after the latest updates are to make the necessary changes. The items listed above are a great guide on what to do so that you’ll rank high in the eyes of Google.