Google Ranking Algorithm Update

Google is once again making changes to its ranking algorithm “for a better web”. Starting in 2021, a user’s experience with a web page will play a crucial role in determining page ranking. In other words, if Google perceives a user’s interaction with a web page is poor, the page ranking will drop. The announcement comes on the heels of the years of building up towards improving the overall experience consumers have on the web, with first adding mobile optimization in April 2015, followed by how quickly pages load in January 2018 as factors for ranking results.

Citing “great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply”, Google’s aim is to enable searchers to easily access the information they’re looking for and encourage site owners to provide a seamless experience for their customers. To better help developers prepare for the new factors that will affect SEO ranking come 2021, Google has put together detailed documentation, outlining what will help improve the overall user experience. 

Additionally, Google has launched Core Web Vital Skates core feature report, a self-assessment tool, on the Google Search console to help ahead of the transition. Google says the self- assessment will “measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads”. 

Google Ranking Factors

Image source: Google

6 Ways To Improve Ranking in 2021

To help your business prepare for the 2021 update, we’ve rounded up some of the top components of page experiences brands should focus on. Below, we will detail our recommendations, what they mean, and tips for improvement. 

Strive to provide relevant content

This refers to how relevant a website is in relation to a particular search term or topic. The better the quality and context of the content, the more likely it will be to achieve a good ranking when Google evaluates the page.

Pro Tip: Revamp your content strategy by determining which terns your customers are searching for the most by performing a keyword analysis. Once you perform this analysis, ensure your on-page content focuses on these keywords in a succinct, meaningful way to effectively provide your searchers with the information they need most.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Your website should be designed to work the same way across all devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. To be considered mobile-friendly, your website should not have any usability concerns regardless of the device being used to view the website. 

Pro Tip: Clearly display your CTA above the fold to ensure visitors take action both on desktop and mobile. 

Responsive Page Design

Make your content interactive

Does your content encourage the participants’ active engagement, more than simply reading text or watching a video? Interactive content encourages more time spent on the page, hooks readers, and entices them to spend more time consuming your content.

Pro tip: Types of interactive content you may want to consider adding to your site include infographics, assessments, polls, surveys, and interactive videos.

Reduce your load time

As consumers have a plethora of sites to choose to interact with, if your site takes too long to load, it’s likely you’ll lose not only a consumer’s interest but a potential sale as well. In fact, a one-second delay in page load time has been proven to cause a 7% loss in conversion and 11% fewer page views. 

Pro tip: Take advantage of the free tools available to test how long it takes to load your site, such as Page Speed, Web Page Test, and Pingdom

Provide a safe browsing experience

Since 2006, Google has provided a Safe Browsing service behind the scenes, aiming to safeguard users from harmful content. As online threats continue to grow and evolve, it’s important to ensure you’re providing a safe browsing experience for your website visitors to build trust and avoid being filtered out by Google’s advanced tool.

Pro tip: HTTPS is no longer something that is nice to have, it’s something every website must have, and factors into where your website appears in the SERPs. HTTPS was introduced as an added security measure, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and authentication. While it takes steps to receive HTTPS certificates, it’s worthwhile for every website to attain in order to improve security measures and the overall customer experience.

Skip the popups 

It’s no secret the use of popup ads can derail the customer experience on a web page. We recommend avoiding any extraneous content that takes over the majority of the page, blocking the view of the content the reader intended to consume. Additionally, the use of intrusive popup ads is tied to having a negative effect on SEO ranking factors. 

We’re here to help. 

Just as Google is placing a strong emphasis on a user’s experience with your website and will soon be penalizing those who don’t adhere to their guidelines, we too believe the key to forming a positive, engaging experience with customers starts with your website. 

At Rio SEO, we are here to help you optimize your local presence, be found where your customers are looking, and boost your local landing pages. If you’re looking to revamp your local landing pages to better prepare for the Google ranking algorithm update, we are here to help. Get in touch with our local search experts today, to learn what you can improve upon to gear up for your most profitable year yet come 2021.