In 2020, Google announced and began to establish the timetable for another Google Search update. This update improves the way Google measures user experience, adjusts the factors that determine site ranking and provides users with new tools to measure their site’s performance.
Google, however, does not typically announce updates to Google Search. As a result, the page experience update garnered more attention, with website owners wondering how the update will affect their site, and whether changes need to be made.
In this post, we’ll look at Google’s page experience update, provide some tools for measuring and improving Core Web Vitals, and offer an opinion on how the update will affect SEO for financial advisors.
What’s Included In the New Update?
Google’s goal is to provide searchers with the best results. To do this, Google ranks sites based on over 200 ranking factors. Among these factors is overall user experience, which helps Google determine whether a site is enjoyable to visit.
The page experience update seeks to improve the way Google measures user experience by adding 3 Core Web Vitals to the list of previous factors. The resulting list will then be used to measure user experience, as shown in the Google Search Central Blog:
The previous list of user experience factors included:
- Mobile-Friendly: Is the website optimized for use on a mobile device?
- Safe Browsing: Does the site contain potential malware?
- HTTPS: Is the site secure?
- No Intrusive Interstitials: Does the site block content with popups?
What Are The 3 Core Web Vitals?
The three core web vitals being added to the list include:
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Think of LCP as load speed. The more elements on a page, the slower it will load. The slower a page loads, the more likely a visitor is to leave. Google recommends an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less to be considered in the positive range:
2. First Input Delay (FID)
FID is how long a visitor has to wait before they can interact with elements on a page, such as buttons or links. Google recommends 100 milliseconds or less as a good FID:
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Have you ever been on a website, reading an article, and suddenly everything shifts to make room for an ad or other page element? This is CLS. Google recommends a CLS of 0.1 seconds or less.
Each Core Web Vital also has a range to measure quality, as shown by web.dev:
How Do I Check My Core Web Vitals?
Part of Google’s “page experience update” includes the page experience report as an additional feature of Google Search Console. This report will examine every page of your website to measure the factors that impact user experience.
To access your Core Web Vitals and page experience report, you will first need a Google Search Console account linked to your website. If you don’t have an account, then check out this guide to set up your Google Search Console to set one up. Here’s how you can locate your Core Web Vitals and page experience report once you’re logged in:
Locating Your Page Experience and Core Web Vitals Reports
- Navigate to Google Search Console and click “Start now” to log in to your Google account.
- Check the upper-right-hand corner of your screen. If you’re logged into your Google account then proceed to step three, otherwise, log in here.
- Once logged in, click the hamburger menu in the upper-left to open the sidebar.
- From the sidebar, click the “Search property” menu, and select your website from the dropdown.
- You will now be on the “Overview” tab of your website. From the tab to your left, select “Experience” and click “Page experience” or “Core Web Vitals” to access either report.
In some cases, your Google Search Console may not have enough data to provide a sufficient report. If this is the case, there are still tools you can use to help measure and adjust your pages. Refer to the tools in the “How To Improve Core Web Vitals” section below to see how.
How Will the Core Web Vitals Update Affect SEO for Financial Advisors?
In the scope of SEO, Core Web Vitals will join a list of over 200 factors that determine web position. Therefore, Core Web Vitals will become one of many factors to help measure the search rank of a given website. Furthermore, Backlinko’s study of Core Web Vitals and user experience shows little connection between both factors. The same study also shows us where the average site sits in terms of performance times:
This data shows us that the average site falls within the yellow, or “Needs Improvement” section, of web.dev’s Core Web Vitals measurements.
Based on this data, and the additional information above, there should not be a dramatic change in overall site rank. However, this is only an assumption, as we’ll still need to wait to see the full effects of the Core Web Vitals on SEO.
How To Improve Core Web Vitals
No matter how Core Web Vitals affect SEO, we do know they’ll be a ranking factor. And, like any other ranking factor, it’s a good idea to adjust for them to achieve the best SEO results.
Google Search Console can help by showing the performance of your Core Web Vitals, but this will only show you where a problem is. You will need additional tools to solve the problems Google Search Console reveals. Web.dev provides a list of tools for improving your Core Web Vitals, but a great place to start is PageSpeed Insights. This tool will let you analyze a specific webpage and provides solutions to listed issues.
Wrapping Things Up
Though the Core Web Vitals update may make some changes to SEO and website ranking, we will have to wait until the update is fully implemented to see the full effect of the changes. If you’re interested in more SEO assistance, then check out Twenty Over Ten’s SEO Essentials. Our one-time setup includes on and off-page resources and a content strategy to help improve SEO moving forward. Check out our pricing page to learn more.
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About The Author
Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.