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5 Steps to Surviving Google’s Next Update

Google’s latest algorithm rolls out in May, and it will affect your search rankings… unless you have a user-friendly website. 

Unsure about where to start? 

We promised you last week we’d share some ways to get your site ready for Google’s update, and we’re keeping our promise. 

What exactly will Google’s update measure? 

Google is adding Page Experience to its list of factors used to determine search rankings. The new algorithm will measure 3 “core web vitals,” which include loading time, interactivity, and visual stability. You’ll be ready for Google’s update in May if you spruce up your website with these core web vitals in mind. 

Here’s how we recommend getting started:

1. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Improving website speed is the most obvious way to prepare for Google’s update, and Google offers a free tool that measures your site’s Core Web Vitals here! If you have a web developer on your team, this tool will be invaluable for them. It gives your website a Core Web Vitals score and recommends changes to improve it. 

2. Compress pictures and fix bugs.

Google’s PageSpeed tool can be confusing if you aren’t a web developer, but don’t worry! There’s still a lot you can do to improve your website’s speed without understanding your Core Web Vitals score. Compressing large images to 100 KB or less is one easy way to speed up your website. You can also fix those pesky 404 errors. Google provides a tool for this too. Check out its URL Inspection Tool, which checks for several kinds of errors.

3. Use a heatmap to improve users’ experience.

Heatmaps use a color-coding system to measure different values on a webpage. These values include where users click on your website or how far they scroll down the page. This information is powerful when making your website more user-friendly. 

 

For example, a heatmap might reveal that visitors to your website are clicking an icon, but the icon doesn’t take them anywhere. That’s an easy fix. You can link additional information about your brand using the icon! Crazy Egg is one of several places to audit your website’s usability with a heatmap.

4. Improve your bounce rate.

Webpages with recipes are the ones we love to hate. You know the ones we’re talking about. You want the recipes, but you don’t want to scroll through the ads or close the pop-up videos to get to the recipes. You’ve probably clicked the “back” button or closed the window in frustration. These actions are called “bounces.”

Bounces tell Google your website isn’t user-friendly so you want to eliminate things that bug users like too many pop-ups or ads. Don’t overwhelm visitors with calls to action, and strategically place them throughout your site. For example, you might design your website so that a CTA appears at the end of a webpage as people are about to leave it.  

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if it bugs you, it probably bugs your user too so improve it or get rid of it. 

5. Make sure your website is user-friendly on all devices.

Imagine you browse an awesome website on your laptop. Later you try to show it to a friend on your mobile device, and it’s unresponsive. You’ll definitely bounce, and you might not visit the site again. A final step you can take to prepare for Google’s update is to use a responsive web design. Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Surprise: Google has a tool for that too called the Mobile-Friendly Test.

 

If you take these 5 steps before May, your website will be ready for Google’s Page Experience update, and you’ll improve users’ online experience with your brand. If you’re still unsure where to start, our team is here to help make your website more user-friendly. Schedule a call today, and we’ll talk about how to improve your search rankings and increase traffic to your website.  

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