Website owners beware, Google is raising the standard for what it expects of websites appearing in its search results. In short, if your website doesn’t meet Google’s new benchmark for site performance your organic traffic is about to nosedive.
The new changes are being introduced in June’s upcoming algorithm update, which is being referred to in the SEO community as the ‘Page Experience Update’. This update is part of Google’s drive to improve the functionality and user engagement across the web, it wants to keep the searcher as happy as possible since they are the bedrock of Google’s business model.
Sites that don’t meet Google’s requirements will tumble down the rankings, but websites that heed the warning can gain the first mover advantage to steal their competitor’s traffic. The opportunity here is huge!
To take advantage, you need to make sure that your website is operating at maximum capacity before the algorithm update arrives in a few short weeks. To help you get ahead of things, we’ve created the below checklist of website functionality tasks that Google is going to be taking a much closer look at.
Take care of all the things on this list and you’ll be in an excellent position to grow your organic traffic:
- Page loading speed below 2.5 seconds
- Minimal content layout shifts on load
- Your website is 100% mobile responsive
- Site is running HTTPS
- Safe browsing (non-intrusive ads or dangerous on-page elements)
If you’re not sure how to implement any (or all) of the things on this list, reach out to Atomic and we’ll happily optimize your website so it passes the page experience update and gets more visitors to your site.
Page Loading Times
The most crucial thing to fix right now is the loading speed of your website, for each extra second it takes to load, you’re losing potential visitors and customers. And if that wasn’t bad enough it could now begin to cost you your organic traffic.
Two of the new factors being introduced into Google’s algorithm is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and First Input Delay (FID). LCP measures how long it takes your page’s content to become visible and FID measures how long it takes for the page’s interactivity to load. Both should be under 2.5 seconds.
By adding these metrics to its algorithm, Google’s proved that it’s taking page loading times very seriously from now on. If you need some tips to speed up your WordPress site, take a look at this blog post we put together recently. Alternatively, if the prospect of editing your website terrifies you, take a look at Atomic’s PageSpeed optimisation services.
Content Layout Shifts (CLS)
Another core web vital being introduced to the Google search algorithm in June is CLS. CLS occurs on page’s that have been put together without specifying the pixel dimensions of every on-screen element.
When CLS is neglected it results in items jumping around the page as it is being loaded, which can lead to a frustrating user experience. It’s highly likely you’ve encountered CLS during your own browsing experience, if you’ve ever tried to click on an element and hit the wrong one thing through no fault of your own, we feel your pain.
Test your key pages now to see which ones don’t load stably, fix any you come across immediately.
In 2019, mobile overtook desktop as the most used device to browse the web. If your website doesn’t look great on mobile you’re likely providing a poor user experience to the majority of people browsing your site, and Google knows it.
Recognising the growing trend towards mobile browsing, Google introduced a mobile-first policy during a previous algorithm update. What this meant is that sites which didn’t adjust to the screen size of the visitor’s device took a big drop in traffic. If your site was one of those, now is the time to fix things.
Website’s are about to be recrawled by the Google bots ahead of the newest algorithm change, during the crawl if your site provides a great mobile experience you’ll get back the traffic you’ve been missing out on!
If you want your site to look better and provide a much better mobile browsing experience, Atomic’s development team will create a design that your customers will love.
HTTPS has been around for some time but it’s still surprising how many people leave their websites unsecure. In a nutshell, HTTPS encrypts the browsing experience for your users, making it difficult for scammers to steal their personal information.
HTTPS powered sites are verified with a padlock in the search bar which displays the website’s URL. To activate HTTPS you need to ensure that you have an active SSL certificate, these are usually provided for free by your hosting provider.
We recommend reaching out to your website host to enquire about your SSL certificate if it’s not active on your site.
A Safe Browsing Experience
This should be a given for any website. But if your website has potentially harmless elements on the page you won’t get anywhere near Google’s search results.
Harmful elements could include:
- Intrusive pop ups
- Gateway pages
- Phishing links on the page
- Unnecessary tracking cookies
- Downloads to malicious files
If your website is caught with any of the above it will result in a Google penalty, and your website being blacklisted from search results.
If your website is fully compliant with all of the items listed in the checklist, then you’ve got nothing to worry about come June when the page experience update rolls out.
However, if your website is slacking on any of the above points, your organic traffic is at serious risk and you need to move quickly to meet Google’s expectations on user experience.
To get your website performing to its maximum potential, contact the Atomic team. We’ll create a plan for your website that enables it’s traffic to grow exponentially, while converting more customers, and providing a luxury browsing experience that fits your brand