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Taking Your Website’s Temperature: The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience

Taking Your Website’s Temperature: The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience

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The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience
User experience is very important to Google. Even from the earliest days of the company’s history, Google sought to improve user experience online. Its algorithm updates have all been to that effect, to stop website owners from manipulating the system at the expense of Internet users (so-called Black Hat SEO tactics).

 

Now, websites that offer a better user experience tend to rank higher than those that don’t. But how does Google know that users have a good experience on one website and a bad experience on another? What does it use to measure user experience?

What Are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Just like humans have vital signs that provide signals to doctors about a patient’s well-being, so do websites. These Core Web Vitals are signals to Google that a website is offering a good user experience (or not). As of May 2021, these Core Web Vitals an official part of Google’s ranking factors, so it’s important for webmasters to pay attention to them.

These Core Web Vitals are:

  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS)
  • First input delay (FID)
  • Largest contentful paint (LCP)

What Is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)?

Cumulative layout shift (CLS) occurs when content on a webpage shifts position. It happens when the content of a webpage isn’t loading in a synchronized manner. CLS can also occur when new content is loaded on top of existing content. It’s annoying to users because they may lose their place while reading your content or because a link they were about to click on has moved.

What Is First Input Delay (FID)?

First Input Delay (FID), is a measure of how quickly your website responds to an action from a user. For example, if a user clicks on a link, FID measures how long it takes to load the page that link leads to. A good FID score is 100 milliseconds or fewer. If a web page takes a long time to process a user’s action, that user may leave the website.

What Is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a metric that measures how long it takes for a webpage to load the largest object on the page. This largest object could be an image, a video, or a block of text. If this object takes a long time to load, a user can’t start enjoying the content on the page and may therefore click away.

What Other Vital Signals Does Google Use to Measure UX?

These three core vital signs aren’t the only signals Google looks for when it comes to measuring user experience. Google also looks for:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing (no malware)
  • HTTPS (not HTTP)
  • Lack of pop-ups

Google also measures your click-through and bounce rates. If there’s something not in either list above that affects user experience negatively, users will click off your site, increasing your bounce rate, which in turn negatively affects your SERP rankings. 

Think of your own experiences as a user on the Internet. Try to emulate websites that you liked, on which you easily found what you were looking for and where the content was informative. Try to avoid features that you found annoying or that made you want to click away.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021

SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021

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SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021
SEO has changed a lot over the years. Google has made a multitude of updates to its core algorithm in an effort to improve user experience. In the early days of the Internet, many SEO techniques were used that are now considered “black hat.” Using these techniques back then could result in Google displaying your page higher than it truly warranted. Now, however, employing black hat SEO techniques to manipulate search rankings will actually result in Google punishing your web page and lowering your rankings instead.

While some black hat SEO techniques are obvious, others might not be. So in 2021, what SEO mistakes should you avoid making?

Why Is Keyword Stuffing Bad?

Keyword stuffing is the technique of using the same keyword as many times as possible within the same page. In the past, keyword stuffing would help your site rank better for searches containing those keywords. However, now, Google considers too many of the same keyword to be a bad user experience.

How Many Times Should I Use a Keyword?

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. If the same word is repeatedly used and for no purpose other than to manipulate Google, it doesn’t make the content very enjoyable for the user to read. Your content should be for your users, not for Google. Use the keyword as many times as needed for the user’s benefit, and no more. Google can crawl your page for a specific search with just one instance of your keyword.

Why Should I Avoid Duplicate Content?

There are multiple problems with duplicate content. To start, having content that is too similar to other content you already have doesn’t make for a very good user experience. Users want new and interesting content. The same thing they’ve already read before doesn’t provide them with anything new.

The second problem is that Google will have to choose between the pages. Google won’t necessarily punish pages that contain duplicate content, but you’ll have to split potential results between the pages with duplicate content. Google won’t display both for a particular search, only the page that is considered most relevant to the search. This means that one page may be stealing views from the other. It’s better to combine what unique content exists between the duplicate pages and create one more thorough page.

Why Is EAT So Important?

The final major mistake that many make with SEO is ignoring EAT. EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

Having high-quality content is necessary for good SERP rankings, but it’s not the only major factor. EAT is about building a brand that is trustworthy. If users know they can trust in your expertise and know that you’re an authority on your particular subject, they’re more likely to not just stay on your site to read one page, but also be repeat visitors. Others web pages are more likely to contain links to your content.

More readers staying longer and more links to your site will help your Google rankings on their own. Google looks at these signals of a good user experience to influence your SERP rankings. The better you build your brand as an authority in your subject that readers can trust, the higher your rankings and the more visits you’ll receive.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

What’s New for Social Media in 2021?

What’s New for Social Media in 2021?

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What's New for Social Media in 2021?

The new year is upon us and for many, it isn’t a moment too soon. 2020 was a difficult year for both individuals and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, many are looking forward to 2021 as a fresh start and a sign of hopefully better days to come.

COVID-19 had a major impact on social media. Social media usage had already been on the rise for several years before the pandemic began, but how people used social media changed. With stay-at-home orders issued across the world, social media usage increased even more as people turned to social media in order to keep in touch with each other.

Is Engagement Important in 2021?

The pandemic didn’t just change how much people used social media. It also changed how people used it. Companies rushed to take advantage of the increased usage and increase engagement, but this didn’t necessarily produce the desired results. The increased usage in social media was to keep in touch with individuals rather than seeking out brands. This means that during the pandemic, engagement wasn’t as important as content.

This trend looks like it will continue into 2021. The pandemic isn’t over yet. Audience social media energy is still going towards communicating with each other rather than engaging with businesses. That doesn’t mean social media marketing isn’t still worth the cost and effort, however. It just means that content is more important than engagement in 2021.

What Content Should You Focus on in 2021?

Even though users may not be as engaged as in the past, they still consume content, just on a more passive scale. What this means for a social media marketing strategy is that your content strategy is just that much more important. Users may not be commenting or liking as much, but they are still reading. If you’re using analytics, engagement may be down, but you can still look at which posts are reaching more people. These are the types of posts to focus on.

Content that your audience can identify with is key to a social media content strategy in 2021. This means that you’ll need to know who your audience is and what they like. Paying attention to the analytics to see which posts get the most views as well as analytics regarding information about your audience will be important to helping you figure out the best possible content strategy for the coming year.

Are There New Audiences You Should Cater to in 2021?

Traditionally, social media and technology are seen as the purview of younger generations. However, with the pandemic’s shutdowns sending more and more people to virtual forms of communication, more older consumers are turning to social media as well. It’s important to not count out older generations, such as Baby Boomers, as a part of your potential audience. Depending on your industry, your target audience may vary and it’s important to produce content catering to that demographic. However, the demographics that make up your target audience may have changed over the past year and into 2021 because of changes in who is using social media.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

How Important Is User Experience in SEO for 2021?

How Important Is User Experience in SEO for 2021?

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User Experience in SEO for 2021_
Google’s goal since its founding in 1998 was to provide the best possible user experience. To meet this goal, Google has been issuing updates to its algorithm in order to produce search results that best meet that user’s search intent. SEO used to be about rigging search engines to increase a page’s ranking. However, that wasn’t what Google intended and it’s been forcing SEO in the direction of providing a good user experience ever since.

Why Is User Experience Important in SEO in 2021?

User experience has always been a major part of SEO. Even back in the days of black hat SEO, websites that ranked highly but didn’t offer users a good experience would get a lot of views but would have a high bounce rate. They would also fail to convert a lot of visitors to customers. As Google’s algorithm has gotten better at directing users to better search results, user experience has become an essential part of SEO.

If your website isn’t providing users with a good experience, that will result in a high bounce rate. Google now takes bounce rate into account in its rankings and will decrease your rankings accordingly. The point of SEO is for the users and to help them find your content, not for gaming the search engines. Providing a good user experience isn’t just good for users, but also good for businesses. The better the experience users have when visiting your website, the more likely they are to continue to read, visit again, recommend your website to others, purchase your products or services, and trust your company.

How Important Is User Experience in SEO 2

What Is Google’s 2021 Algorithm Update?

Google is set to release another update in 2021, specifically relating to user experience. What this update will do is add UX (user experience) as an additional ranking factor. Ranking factors are what Google looks at when evaluating websites and determining their rankings.

What Should You Do to Prepare for the Update?

In order to prepare for the Google update, which should be released sometime in 2021, it’s important to look over your website for areas in which your user experience can be improved. Put yourself in the shoes of a user and think about what would help them find their way around your website. It’s also a good idea to look at your competitors’ websites for comparison. If their sites provide a better user experience, then you may be losing customers to them.

What Factors Are Important in UX?

The most important factors to consider when looking at UX are:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Page load time
  • Navigation
  • Interactivity
  • Stability of loading content
  • Content quality

Google’s new algorithm update will take into account interactivity, load time, and content loading stability. However, these aren’t the only factors that are important. You should have high-quality content that is informative and well-edited. Your website should be easy to navigate. If users can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll switch to a different website where they can. Mobile-friendliness is also of vital importance. More Internet searches are performed on mobile devices than on computers now.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

A Very Covid Holiday

A Very Covid Holiday

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A Very COVID Holiday

Thanks to the coronavirus, the 2020 holiday season is going to be very different than normal. With the virus resurging around the world and cities going into lockdown again, the holiday shopping period will be more online than ever before. Online shopping has been growing in popularity for many years, but many people still enjoyed shopping in brick and mortar stores.

With the pandemic, however, online shopping has been surging all year in 2020, and looks like it will only grow as people do their holiday shopping online as well. Some may turn to in-store pickup or curbside pickup, but they’ll be filling those orders online, even if they aren’t having their purchases shipped to them.

 

SANTA with masks

 

How Do I Prepare Ahead of Time for Holiday SEO?

You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It’s recommended that you start your holiday strategy at least 45 days ahead of time. Content can take a while to be indexed and to be ranked, so the sooner you’re prepared, the better off you’ll be during the holiday season.

If you have events or sales, you should have an announcement or save-the-dates available online, preferably posted on social media as well as on your website. Leading up to the beginning of your holiday campaign, you can post more about it on social media to remind your audience that your event or sale is beginning.

masks for COVID

Does All Holiday Content Have to Be New?

If there’s a place to reuse content that worked for last year, then you can reuse content. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t necessarily reuse blogs or social media content. However, landing pages with content that still fits your holiday strategy can be repurposed. In fact, reusing landing pages may actually benefit your SEO strategy for the holidays. Simply redirecting the URL from last year to one more relevant to this year (ex. /holiday-gift-guide-2020 instead of /holiday-gift-guide-2019) and updating any necessary wording in the content will help you preserve any links you already had for the page. That will help you start out the holiday season ahead of the game.

How Important Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing may be more important than ever before in 2020. Because of the pandemic and lockdown orders, people aren’t seeing friends and family in person as much. This means that they’ve turned to the Internet to meet their communication needs. For many, this means more time spent on social media.

In recent years, shopping on social media has been increasing. Thanks to the additional reliance on social media this year, that trend looks to be continuing. Whether you’re selling products or services, social media platforms geared towards image sharing, such as Pinterest or Instagram, can be especially helpful in showcasing what your business has to offer. Plus, the holiday season is the optimal time to introduce new products or services. People are looking to buy and they’re looking online. Social media can be a great resource for drawing customers’ attention to your new holiday offerings.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

SEO for the Holidays

SEO for the Holidays

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SEO for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! People are looking to buy, which means that this time of year is a prime opportunity for marketing. It also means that customers are inundated with sales pitches and marketing efforts more now than at any other time of the year. In order to cut through the noise and reach users through the flood of holiday marketing, businesses have to stand out. How can SEO help you stand out to your customers?

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When Do I Need to Start Holiday SEO Planning?

From a customer’s perspective, it seems that Christmas comes earlier every year, with Christmas merchandise appearing in the stores even before Halloween. While you don’t need to implement your holiday SEO strategy that early, it’s a good idea to start planning for it. Additionally, you should post holiday content leading up to the holiday season. If you have holiday content posted in the month ahead of the holiday season, your content is much more likely to appear and rank on Google.

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Do I Need to Update My Keywords?

Staying on top of keyword research is always a good idea, whether it’s the holidays or not. The keywords that work best right now may not always. Constantly revisiting your keywords will help ensure that you’re using the best ones for your SEO strategy. The holiday season is no exception.

The only difference with the holidays is that you may want to incorporate holiday-themed keywords into your strategy. If your company is having a Christmas sale, for example, keywords to that effect can help direct customers to your website to take advantage of it. A good tool to use for keyword research is Google Trends.

Does All of My Content Have to Be Holiday-Related?

While holiday content isn’t always evergreen, it’s definitely relevant at this time of year. Customers are searching for holiday deals, sales, ideas, and more. While you could avoid posting holiday-specific content, you would miss out on a major source of searches during this time of year. Holiday blog content is a good idea for staying relevant throughout the holiday season. It may also be a good idea to create holiday landing pages on your website. These can help keep your holiday content together on your site and separate from your regular content.

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Do I Need to Optimize for Mobile Devices?

More people shop on their mobile phones every year. This year will be no exception. A lot of holiday purchases will be done on mobile devices. Your regular SEO strategy should already include mobile optimization. Google indexes mobile versions of websites first and has since 2019. If you aren’t already optimizing for mobile, you need to start immediately.

For the holidays, it’s especially important to ensure that your web pages are mobile-friendly and load quickly on mobile devices. If the holiday pages and content aren’t optimized for mobile or load slowly, that can drive away the traffic you’re trying to attract.

Do I Need to Pay Attention to Analytics During the Holidays?

Analytics is an important tool because it can tell you how well your content has performed. You might think that you don’t need to look at the data for your holiday content until after the holidays have passed so you can see what worked well and what didn’t. However, after the holidays is too long to wait.

If you look at your analytics throughout the holiday season, you can react more quickly to what the analytics show. If your SEO strategy needs to be adjusted mid-season, it’s better to know as soon as possible so you can make the necessary changes before the holiday season is over.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.