GOOGLE SEO NEW UPDATE

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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PORTFOLIO

The Core Web Vitals report shows how your pages perform for each of the three metrics based on real-world usage data. URLs are grouped together by performance status (“poor”, “needs improvement”, and “good”) for Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift on mobile and desktop. After reviewing this report, you can make changes to your pages. Once those have been made you can “validate these fixes” in the report. This starts a new 28-day monitoring session. Until then, you will see a “pending” status in your report for the particular fixes. After the 28-day session, you will either see a “passing” or “failing” status. Learn more about this report here.

The new Core Web Vitals include largest contentful paint (LCP), first input delay (FID), and cumulative layout shift (CLS). In addition to serving as lightweight ranking signals, these new metrics will help website owners monitor and improve the loading speed, responsiveness, and stability of their websites to ultimately build a better user experience (UX).

For the relationship between first contentful paint and reveue:

CORE WEB VITALS REPORT.

The cumulative layout shift metric has changed⁶ since the Core Web Vitals were first announced back in May 2020. Google has a complicated process for calculating the best way to measure CLS, and their initial research was based on a large-scale analysis of several websites. Even so, when webmasters and developers began to make adjustments to improve their CLS scores, the positive changes they were making were either negatively impacting in some cases. Google adjusted the CLS metric to account for this problem by changing the way they collect the data to determine the CLS measurement.

Google and industry research⁷ ⁸ indicate that there is a strong correlation between good user experience and conversions. For example:

“We believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit. On results, the snippet or image preview helps provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide. Visual indicators on the results are another way to do the same, and we are working on one that identifies pages that have met all of the page experience criteria. We plan to test this soon and if the testing is successful, it will launch in June 2021 and we’ll share more details on the progress of this in the coming months.” Google Search Central.

A core algorithm update is one that is so significant to the algorithm, that Google is compelled to publicly announce the pending changes, usually well ahead of time to give webmasters sufficient time and opportunity to adjust. The June 2021 “Page Experience” update is an example of a “core” algorithm update.

When testing a URL, you may see the alert that “The Chrome User Experience Report does not have sufficient real-world speed data for this page.” This is because Google collects anonymized data for the report and there must be enough page loads to report for sufficient data collection.

Core Web Vitals are important primarily because they are set to become a new ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm in 2021. They are also important because they measure the quality of a site’s user experience, which is important for all marketing channels and has a big impact on key metrics like bounce rates, conversions rate, and revenue.

Lab data comes from tools, like Google Lighthouse, that load pages in a simulated environment on controlled network settings and devices without user input. This means it isn’t always reflective of the user experience. First Input Delay, for example, cannot be measured in this environment. However, this data is still instructive and can give you a good idea as to whether you are on the right track with optimizations. Total Blocking Time, for example, has been recognized by Google as a good lab proxy for First Input Delay.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

If you are scoring in the “orange” or “red” on any of the three metrics and therefore failing the Core Web Vitals assessment, dive into the recommended suggestions for improving each score and open up that Core Web Vitals report to identify which URLs need to be fixed. Of course, you could simply use Huckabuy Page Speed software to solve the problem. That said, in future articles, we will detail exactly how to improve Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift scores if you want to approach this problem with developer time and resources.

Longer page load times have a severe effect on bounce rates.⁹ For example:

on June 16th, 2021, Google began to roll out a broad core algorithm update called “The Page Experience Update.”¹ This update is intended to bring a better experience to users by prioritizing pages that offer a quality page performance — ie fast load times, and a non-shifting, stable page. Google has always had some page experience metrics — mobile-friendliness,² HTTPS-security,³ and intrusive interstitials⁴ — and they have prioritized fast pages since 2010,⁵ but with the 2021 Page Experience update, they are now introducing three new metrics to measure both speed and overall page experience. These new metrics are called Core Web Vitals.

The latest (publicly acknowledged) algorithm update is the “Page Experience” update, which introduced new ranking factors tied to the quality of a site’s user experience (loading speed, responsiveness, and visual stability). The rollout for this update began in mid-June 2021 and is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

The Page Experience report is a new Google report that shows data on each of the page experience metrics over the previous 90 days, specifically the percentage of URLs on your site that provide a “good” page experience and the number of impressions those URLs have received in organic search results. For a URL to have a “good” page experience, it must pass the Core Web Vitals assessment and there must be no issues associated with mobile usability, security, HTTPS, or advertising experience. Learn more about this report here.

HOW TO IMPROVE CORE WEB VITALS SCORES.

The first thing you should do is understand the problems specific to your site. Perhaps, for example, your site is scoring well on Cumulative Layout Shift, but you have a lot of room for improvement on First Input Delay and Largest Contentful Paint. Run a quick audit of your site through Page Speed Insights or Lighthouse to see where you stand on all three and what strategies are suggested for improvement, and then dive into the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console to see which specific URLs need to be fixed.

In order to pass a Core Web Vitals assessment, your web page must receive a passing score for each of the metrics. For the Largest Contentful Paint, you must be under 2.5 seconds. For First Input Delay, you must be under 100 milliseconds. And for Cumulative Layout Shift, you must be under 0.1.

From an SEO standpoint, there is an incentive to optimize your website for good Core Web Vitals scores because they will become a lightweight ranking factor. Additionally, a good user experience improves bounce rates, conversion rates, and ultimately, revenue, across all marketing channels. Users typically decide whether or not they want to stay on your website within the first 10-15 seconds of arriving, and if your site performance isn’t up-to-speed then users will be more likely to navigate elsewhere.

“Providing a smooth journey for users is one of the most effective ways to grow online traffic and web-based businesses. We hope the Web Vitals metrics and thresholds will provide publishers, developers and business owners with clear and actionable ways to make their sites part of fast, interruption-free journeys for more users.” Google.

The Google Core Web Vitals update is a core algorithm update that began to roll out on June 16th, 2021. It will introduce three new metrics into the algorithm that measure and help rank sites based on the quality of their user experience. Specifically, they look at how quickly the largest piece of content in the initial viewport loads, how responsive the page is, and how visually stable the page is. The three metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals are called Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.

Google updates its algorithm quite often. Sometimes thousands of times per year. But most of these changes go unnoticed. Typically, when a significant change is made, Google makes a public announcement well ahead of time.

Google Search Liaison announced via Twitter the July 2021 Core Update is rolling out and will take one to two weeks to complete. Google’s guidance for core updates can be found on the Google Search Central Blog.

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter that a broad core algorithm update was about to be released. Sullivan also noted that some planned improvements weren’t quite ready for this update, so the parts that weren’t ready will be rolled out as part of second, related broad core algorithm update, scheduled for July.

In its early years, Google only made a handful of updates to its algorithms. Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year.

June 23, 2021.

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter an algorithm update targeted at fighting spam was rolling out to search results. The rollout of the update was to be completed the same day. He added that a second spam update would follow within a week. Google revealed no specific details on what this update was targeting.

Google Search Liaison confirmed via Twitter that the July 2021 Core Update rollout was effectively completed on July 12th. No additional details were provided.

Google announced the BERT Update, calling it the biggest change to Google search in the past 5 years. Google uses BERT models to better understand search queries. Google said this change impacted both search rankings and featured snippets and BERT (which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) will be used on 10 percent of U.S. English searches.

Google confirms a core algorithm update, the December 2020 Core Update, is rolled out on December 3, 2020. This is the third core algorithm update of the calendar year. A fair amount of time has passed since the last core update, compared to the average time between these types of updates.

Google’s algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).

On June 2, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan tweeted that Google would be releasing a new broad core algorithm update on June 3. The next day, Google confirmed the update was live and would be rolling out to its various data centers over the coming days. As is the case with any broad core algorithm update, Google tells us there is nothing specific to fix because a core update encompasses a broad range of factors.

April 8, 2021.

Some webmasters reported changes starting around Halloween, perhaps indicating an (unconfirmed) Google update. But there was little evidence of a significant update here. The more likely cause of the chatter was spillover from the August broad core algorithm update and Google ramping up its use of neural matching.

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via a tweet that a broad core algorithm update would be released within a few hours and it would take a few days to complete rolling out. Google’s guidance was the same as it had been for all other recent core algorithm updates.

Google announced an algorithm update aimed at identifying and nullifying link spam was beginning to roll out. Google warned that any sites taking part in link spam tactics could see ranking changes – with sponsored, guest, and affiliate content most likely to be impacted. Google said the update should be fully rolled out in “at least” two weeks and will impact multiple languages.

Google confirms its long-awaited Page Experience update has started rolling out. Sites should not expect to see drastic changes as a result of this update, Google says, and any sudden drops or spikes should be mitigated by the gradual rollout process. The rollout will be completed by the end of August 2021.

All Updates.

Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that webpages in a featured snippet position will no longer be repeated in regular Page 1 organic listings. This change affected 100% of all search listings, worldwide.

Most of these updates are so slight that they go completely unnoticed. However, on occasion, the search engine rolls out major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs such as:

Google Search Central announced via Twitter that a broad core update would be released later that day. They referred webmasters to their documentation on what site owners need to know about core updates, last updated in August 2019.

On June 10, Pandu Nayak, Google Fellow and Vice President of Search, published a post on The Keyword blog. In it, he discussed Google’s work towards improving the algorithm to demote sites that “employ exploitative removals practices” and “predatory practices.” He also shared a link people can use to report online harassment.

Read more about this update below.

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