Does Google’s next big update mean that you need to throw out your website and build a new one? Certainly not. But could it potentially punish you for longstanding user experience problems? Most certainly!
If you have been putting off auditing and updating your website, now is the time to do it. Google’s much-anticipated Core Web Vitals update is finally going live in May of 2021, so you still have a little bit of time left.
To help you prepare for this update, we will go over a few common website issues. They may be hindering your site’s performance right now. And they will definitely hurt you after the update goes live.
Google’s Update-Slow Site Speed
Our devices are getting faster and our expectations are getting higher. How long are you willing to wait for a site to load? Probably not very long. How long are your customers willing to wait for your site to load? Probably not much longer.
“Nearly every major change that Google makes is in the name of creating a better experience for the user,” said Paul Teitelman, owner of SEOToronto.ca.
“A few years ago, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic, so Google introduced mobile-first indexing. Today, users are demanding a faster web experience, so Google has focused on speed in their Core Web Vitals.”
This update will introduce 3 new speed metrics into daily marketing conversations:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): When is the site done loading?
- First Input Delay (FID): When is the site interactive?
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): When do the site’s elements stop shifting during a load?
This gives webmasters a new level of granularity to help them understand their site’s speed.
Some businesses assume their users only access their site through desktop browsers and these users don’t care about the mobile experience. But Google cares. Mobile-first indexing means that Google will look at your mobile site before they look at your desktop site.
You also need to know that there is a difference between having a mobile site and being mobile-friendly. You need to ask yourself:
- How fast is our mobile site?
- Is there enough written content for Google to crawl?
- Are there enough internal links to guide Google (and users) to click deeper?
- Are my buttons and links easily clickable?
Again, a bad mobile experience is most likely hurting you as we speak, and it will be an even bigger deal after the Core Web Vitals are rolled out.
Cumbersome Interstitial Ads
Google has laid out some very clear guidelines for using interstitial ads on your site, but they still remain a major frustration for everyday users. This is why Core Web Vitals will focus on these ads.
If your users abandon your site because of an annoying interstitial ad, Google will notice. This ad is now hurting your SEO, your traffic, and your conversions.
Will this update require some work from your end? Probably. However, it’s important to know that success in SEO isn’t a destination— it’s an ongoing journey.
Doing the work today will greatly reduce the odds of being blind-sided in May.