Unsure if this article is relevant to you? If you fall into one of the following teams, we would highly recommend reading on!
- Website Development
- Marketing & SEO
- Digital & eCommerce
It's getting closer. From June 2021, Google is officially changing the way it ranks websites all over the world.
Google announced that it is postponing the rollout of the page experience update, specifically the ranking change, from May 2021 to be a gradual rollout that won’t start until mid-June 2021 and won’t be fully rolled out until the end of August.
As previously announced, Google will start assessing some technical elements of your website to gain a better understanding of your website's ‘Page Experience’, in other words, performance.
This could spell bad news for your site-ranking if you are not prepared.
No worries we got you!
Even though the updates are new, they are based on the already existing signals Google has mentioned many times before, the difference is that now they are officially included into the set of signals that define how your website is ranked
If you pass their screening, the algorithm will give you an organic boost in rankings and with that you can naturally expect a traffic increase and ultimately, a conversion rate improvement.
Otherwise, if you fail the test, your points will be diminished and the new update will work against you.
Let's go through the new technical updates and how you can leverage them to ensure you are prepared for the upcoming changes.
Three signals for Core Web Vitals
Ladies and gentleman here they are, the three specific technical elements (‘signals’) that Google refers to these as Core Web Vitals, and which will start being assessed this May:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - Page Load Speed - How fast does your website load?
This includes all of you images, videos and graphics on the website. Crawlers tend to check everything, especially media files which are bigger in size.
LCP may not be the main ranking signal by authority, however it influences user experience directly and with that bounce rate and monthly traffic. This makes it far more important than Google is telling is.
LCP can make or break your ranks in the following weeks, so make sure you pay close attention to it.
You can check the status of your page speed and website media loading speed with the Cloudimage performance report, for free, via the tool here: https://performance.cloudimage.com
Tips on how to speed up your websites loading time, and handle those big chunks of heavy design are included.
- First Input Delay (FIP) - Interactivity - How long do your users have to wait to interact with content, e.g. forms, on your website?
Nobody likes waiting around for a button to work.
We want results and we want them now!
Digital experiences are in big chunks created by the FIP. They tell us how much the brand is valuing their customers/visitors, and how much they are investing in creating a great experience for them.
Digital experiences are the main reason behind the increased conversion rate and more importantly, the creation of life long customers.
Visitors that return to your website are the ones telling you that they enjoyed the experience and want more.
This is why Google appreciates FIP so much. It enables it to measure a possible quality of the digital experience provided by a certain domain.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - Visual Stability - How visually stable is your website? Does it jump around as it’s loading content?
A layout shift occurs any time a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next. (See below for details on how individual layout shift scores are calculated.)
Unexpected movement of page content usually happens because resources are loaded asynchronously or DOM elements get dynamically added to the page above existing content.
The culprit might be an image or video with unknown dimensions, a font that renders larger or smaller than its fallback, or a third-party ad or widget that dynamically resizes itself.
In most of the cases the image sizes make this mess because they are not properly defined in HTML.
Google's own studies show that for pages that meet these thresholds of Core Web Vitals, visitors are 24% less likely to abandon the site.
How to leverage the new Google Update in May
Get ready for it!
As you may have noticed, loading speed may be the highest ranking factor among others in the May update.
So it’s easy - optimize for speed.
If you are someone who has worked with SEO for a long time, you are probably thinking: “But my site is already optimized enough… I think.”
Check! And optimize better.
Use the performance report made by Cloudimage to check every single image on your web site!
Most used website speed checker is Google page speed. However, this tool does not give you a detailed overview of how fast your media files are being loaded, therefore checking it in other places will give you in depth knowledge of what you need to work on.
As image and video optimization is our main expertise let us dive into that!
Images often make up 70%+ of page weight and how they load has a tangible impact on your page's layout.
To ensure your images are not damaging your website ranking, you should ensure that they are:
- Optimized: images should be served in modern, light file formats, such as WebP, or AVIF. This ensures image file sizes are as light as possible - meaning they can be delivered and loaded quickly.
If you still have any PNG/JPEG files, make sure to have them converted so that you can avoid negative points during the crawling.
Cloudimage.io enables you to do these conversions fast and with great accuracy, so if you need help do give it a go.
Moreover we would emphasize that the use of multi port CDN is becoming kind of a standard in the industry right now!
CDNs enable you to accelerate your content delivery speed all around the world, including China!
They are also quite favored by Google crawlers and are safe and secure to handle your content worldwide.
More about it you can read here: https://blog.scaleflex.com/how-to-increase-brand-loyalty-with-accelerated-content-delivery/
- Responsive: when a customer/end-user visits your website, the size of the image served should be automatically optimized for their device/container size.
If your images are not responsive, your website will be pushing image files that are unnecessarily large and this inefficiency will damage your site's ranking, alongside your end-user experience.
Leverage the HTML5 <picture> element to make images responsive to different screen sizes and make sure to test on different devices. Google will do it for you anyway but why not get ahead!
If you need help with image responsiveness do visit our blog on how to make your images responsive, in an easy, yet effective way: https://blog.scaleflex.com/super-simple-way-to-make-your-images-responsive-to-different-screen-sizes/
- Stable: your website should ideally utilise a combination of blur-hash and lazy loading.
Blur hash provides a graphically-pleasing, blurred version of your image whilst the full quality image loads, this prevents the page from jumping around as images take time to download.
Also, a quick win here would be that it's not that popular yet. Some of the biggest brands out there are still not utilizing the power of a Blur Hash.
You can find out why Blur Hash exists, how it works and what the steps to implementation look like, via the following link:
Furthermore, lazy loading ensures that only the images within a defined scrollable range are loaded - i.e. not everything is loaded at once - this enables better page/network efficiency.
Chrome and Firefox both support lazy-loading with the loading attribute. This attribute can be added to <img> elements, and also to <iframe> elements.
A value of lazy tells the browser to load the image immediately if it is in the viewport, and to fetch other images when the user scrolls near them.
Don’t forget the videos! Video Transcoding and Adaptive streaming can speed up your video delivery and keep your digital experience on the high note!
Dive into the magic of video transcoding in our latest blog and maximize your site optimization before the Google Update rolls out in May!
You are now good to go, waiting for that algorithm push to happen. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the trends in the world where speed is everything and do schedule a free demo if you need help with any of the points mentioned above.
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.