Google Adds User Experience as a Ranking Factor

Google Adds User Experience as a Ranking Factor

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2020 at 9:58 pm    

Google has announced a new algorithm, the Google Page Experience update that is set to launch in 2021. The objective of this update is to effectively analyze how web pages perform correlated to how users are experiencing it. Consequential? Most definitely. Reason for concern? Not with Cobalt Digital Marketing by your side.  

Even if you don’t have the skills to make your website more user friendly, our McAllen digital marketing agency can help you to develop a fully optimized website that takes user experience (UX) to the next level. 

In layman’s terms, if Google’s algorithm determines that users visiting your website are having a subpar experience engaging with your pages, then this can negatively affect your rankings. But since the rollout won’t begin until next year, now is a good time to start preparing for the update.

User Experience a New Google Ranking Factor

Some of the current metrics Google has in place include proactively measuring whether your page loads quickly, how users are guided through a specific page on your website, copy, and content, if your website is mobile-friendly, its security, whether content jumps around while the page loads, and the detection of too many ads.

Google search ranking factors compromise page experience and include several variables. Chief among them are page speed update, the intrusive interstitials penalty, the HTTPS ranking boost, safe browsing penalty, mobile penalty update, along with polishing the metrics concerning speed and usability.

The better these variables perform, the more enjoyable the user experience will be for visitors who come to your website. When these variables perform at an optimal level, they usually result in a higher ranking for pages on your website.

Google measures refinements with a tool they call core web vitals. 

Core Web Vitals 101

User-centered metrics consist of real-world core web vitals that evaluate the features of your web pages involving the steadiness of content as it loads, the time it takes, and interactivity. 

They fall under three metrics: 

  • Largest contentful paint – The speed of loading performance that should happen within 2.5 seconds of visitation. 
  • First input delay – An interactivity measure that should give a good user experience of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative layout shift – A visually appealing metric in which your page should fall below 0.1.   

Prepping for the Google Page Experience Update

While the update isn’t going to happen instantly, Google is giving everyone a fair warning that it plans to put a critical emphasis on user experience to judge the content on your pages. 

Excellent content on your website will still be imperative when it comes to your SEO ranking on Google. If you’re familiar with the previously mentioned web design jargon, then you should be able to pull off any necessary updates to your page effectively. 

However, if you aren’t capable of doing so, teaming up with an experienced, reputable marketing agency would not only be a wise move but a priceless investment. 

Industry research and studies have explained just how important great user experience is to website visitation. It’s not alarming to many digital marketing agencies that Google will add user experience to its algorithm. The addition of user experience as a barometer metric comes on the heels of other variables such as mobile-friendliness and load speed in recent years. 

 

Need help with ramping up your user engagement to standards, improving SEO, or your digital marketing presence in general? Cobalt Digital Marketing can help you with all your online marketing needs with our Cobalt Formula™ that delivers proven results. 

[maxbutton id=”2″]


A Whole New World: How to Prepare For Website Migration (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 at 7:13 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

Are you setting sails in search of greener lands?

If you’re moving your website to a new host, it can feel like exploring a whole new world, and that isn’t always a good thing. While change is sometimes necessary, failing to prepare for a website migration can lead to plenty of complications that can have a major effect on your traffic, search engine rankings, and overall business.

But you don’t have to face these obstacles alone.

If you’ve been considering website migration, consider the following guidelines from your McAllen digital marketing professionals at Cobalt Digital Marketing.

Do You Even Need to Migrate?

Before even taking your first step, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I really need to migrate my website?”

If you answer “Yes” to any of following questions (or to multiple ones) then it might just be time to do so:

  • Are you wanting to rebrand your company?
  • Are you unhappy with your current host provider?
  • Do you want a newer website?
  • Do you need to meet security standards?
  • Are you looking to make your website mobile-friendly?
  • Do you want to keep track with new tech?

Website migrations essentially tell search engines that your old website (and web pages) has moved over to a new location. When done correctly, your website’s authority, SEO value, content, links, and traffic will all carry over to your newer and better site. This is essential because building a new website without all your old authority is the same as starting completely fresh, which is something you DO NOT want.

What To Do Before Migrating Your Website

These practices will still prove to be useful for any website design software you are using. To get started…

    1. Backup all your website’s files.

This is a best practice, in general, whenever you are going to be taking on any technical projects on your website. You’ll need to use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program to copy all of your folders to your local computer (including any hidden ones).

This process is likely to take some time, but you should be able to get started with the actual migration process itself.

    1. Figure out what the migration is for.

Having a set goal will help to keep the task manageable while also providing you a clear idea of what you need to do. During this process, you should also check for any issues with the old website that need addressing.

Consider your old website’s SEO, UX, content, and web design and prioritize to set realistic targets. It’s best to get these changes figured out prior to the new launch as doing so afterwards can be quite costly.

You’ll also want to take into account downtime. If you own an ecommerce site and plan on migrating it right in the middle of the holiday season, then you are asking for a loss of clients and money. Plan around peak periods of the year so that you don’t lose out on business. (And also plan for delays. Believe us…they happen.)

    1. Get your specs on.

Prepare a document with all the technical specs needed for your new website. These should be actionable items that cover the major areas of your site including:

      • URLs
      • Navigation
      • Copy & headings
      • HTML sitemap
      • XML sitemap
      • Meta data
      • JavaScript, CSS, and image files
      • Mobile optimization
      • CMS functions
    1. Creep and crawl.

Yes, we know that we have been discussing a lot about what happens before migration, but these steps are important to make sure nothing gets lost in transition.

Crawling your site before the migration is perfect for finding any errors, redirects, 404 pages, outdated and brokens links, or unusable pages. Think of it as trimming the fat.

    1. Check those analytics, and get your tracking tools in place.

In most cases, a new website is supposed to mean new opportunity and improved business, but you won’t be able to make an accurate analysis if you don’t have a baseline. You’ll want to export your analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) beforehand so that you’ll be able make a valid comparison between sites. You’ll also want to utilize tools to track the migration process.

Make sure to pay extra attention to top ranking pages and links. If you notice a decline in traffic on these pages then some hiccup might have occurred during the migration.

    1. Do your research on your new web host.

The Internet is huge and plenty of companies are trying to get their piece of the pie. This means plenty of web hosts who are more than willing to offer their services. Keep in mind, however, that not every host is built the same, and not everyone will be able to offer you the configuration you need (or meet your budget).

When doing research on a new web host, consider costs, space limitations, server configuration and speeds, number of (big named) clients, rankings of websites hosted on the server, and contract length, just to name a few points.

Do some comparison shopping to help you make a more informed decision.

    1. Use a staging (sandbox) site.

This is great tool to protect your site before going live. Staging sites (ex. WordPress) allow you to make all the necessary edits and technical changes all on a private server, protecting you from releasing a buggy site that can hurt your brand.

    1. Mapping the new world…of URLs.

You’ll want to use the same URLs for all of your high ranking and valuable pages when doing a migration. This way Google and other search engines will continue to see your new site’s authority the same as your old site.

In order to ensure that you are properly migrating and using the right URLs, you’ll want to track new and old URLs. This can be done easily with a simple spreadsheet.

Not only will you want to keep the same old URLs when it makes sense, you’ll also want to keep the same architecture to prevent having search engines thinking you have a totally new site. Make sure to redirect all your links to the new site.

    1. Watch out for duplicate content.

Google and other search engines really frown on duplicate content. When doing a migration, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t run across these types of problems.

You can handle this by doing a content analysis on your old website and making sure you don’t have any duplicate content, keyword-spammed pages, plagiarized content, ad-heavy pages, or any other issues. You should also have your content writer consolidate any pages that would work best together on a single page.

    1. Be the master of your (old) domain.

When migrating to a new site, you’ll still want to keep your old domain so that it links properly to the new one. You’ll need to set up for annual renewals, but they’re a relatively cheap cost.

So…we’ve covered quite a bit here, but there’s still plenty of things left to do. Make sure to check back in for Part 2 of how to migrate your website to a new server.

And if things seem a little too complicated already, remember that Cobalt Digital Marketing has got your back. We’ll make sure to handle the entire process and create an entire digital marketing scheme that is sure to bring plenty of leads and sales.

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.26.6″ custom_padding=”||0px|||” locked=”off”]

Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_button button_url=”/contact-us” button_text=”Contact Cobalt Digital Marketing Now” button_alignment=”center” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ custom_button=”on” button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_bg_color=”#101a35″ button_border_color=”#101a35″ z_index_tablet=”500″ button_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” button_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” button_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px” locked=”off” custom_padding=”0px|||||”][/et_pb_button][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]