Google considers thousands of signals when deciding how to rank a site. A new core update is being introduced by Google (a set of metrics that measure user experience for loading performance and other indicators), alongside an update to page experience ranking signals. It’s important to be aware of these updates so that you can maintain your site and improve your rankings over time.
Google intends this latest update to “provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a webpage.” Ultimately, Google aims to direct users to the most relevant, easy to navigate, and useful website where they will have a great experience. The new core update is another step towards Google rewarding web pages that are fast to load and easy to interact with.
It’s worth remembering that the key principle of ‘create great content’ is nothing new. Back in 2010, when Google announced it would now be taking speed into account in search rankings, it stated: “When a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs”. So, it’s definitely in your benefit to ensure your site is quick to load and user-friendly.
Core Web Vitals – What Are They?
Core updates address the metrics that contribute to your website speed and usability:
- How long it takes the largest item on your page to load. It could be text, an image, a video, a form, a banner, a gif etc.
- First input delay – the time during (or after) your page load before a user can interact with it by clicking a link, completing a form, scrolling, using a button, or similar. If your page takes a while to load and then isn’t navigable straight away, it’s likely users will simply go elsewhere.
- Cumulative layout shift – when elements of the page’s layout move as the page is loading, for example, buttons appearing or moving as you’re clicking on them or content shifting while you’re reading it.
Improve Google Rankings with Great Content
Great content is, ultimately, the most important thing you need to consider for your site as this will not only serve your audience well, but Google too.
According to Google’s guidelines : “While page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content”. So, it’s important not to prioritise this update over any other ranking factors.
Great content means giving consideration to the user’s journey through your site – what information do they need at what stage? By keeping your users on your site, encouraging them to visit multiple pages and then return for more, you’ll send the right signals to Google that your site is useful, which will help your rankings.
Google has always had ‘great content’ as a key driver, and provides guidance on what questions to ask when creating content:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopaedia or book?
Good digital marketing means your website will require constant attention to ensure it is effective for both search engines and users. Thinking carefully about your user’s journey through your site, and the content you create to help your visitors get the information they need is the best place to start. Ultimately, that will go a long way to keeping Google happy too.
Look After Your Customers, Look After Google Rankings
All of the above means that your content needs to be well-considered, original and insightful. And whilst you may have core landing pages and evergreen articles which stand the test of time, you will also need to create fresh content on an ongoing basis. Not easy, and often very time-consuming! However, in the B2B world, great content equals thought leadership, and an establishment of trust, so the effort pays dividends in helping you stand out from the crowd and converting web visitors into client prospects.