If you’re keeping your finger on the pulse of search engine optimization (SEO), you may have already heard that Google’s going to be rolling out algorithm changes this June.
Now, is that really news? You might be asking because Google tweaks its algorithm all the time.
But in this case, they’ve given us marketers a head’s up about the upcoming changes and what they mean for our websites.
So, what exactly do they mean? What should you be doing (if anything) about June’s update?
The answers boil down to making sure your website is fast and user-friendly.
There are three particular metrics Google says they’re focusing on: LCP, FID, and CLS. Here’s what that means:
LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
If you ignore the techy acronym, the point here is page load time. Google says the first load (where you can see the site, if not every single video or image) should happen within 2.5 seconds. And if you think about your own browsing habits, that probably makes sense. We expect to see something starting to load very quickly when we get to a site. Even if it’s just the logo or background, we look for an indicator that we’ve come to the right place and everything is loading.
With the Google update, the faster your LCP, the higher you’ll likely rank.
FID (First Input Delay)
This is about how fast your website reacts when a user does something like click a link or a button. The site should be reacting, according to Google, in 100 milliseconds or less.
Yet again, this makes sense. We all expect that when we click to go deeper into a site, the site reacts to our request post haste.
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
Finally, there’s CLS. This is about the visual stability of your page, which is just a fancy way of saying that when someone clicks, your page shouldn’t move around.
What do I mean? Well, when I go to my library’s website, for example, the page loads pretty fast. I start to click on the link that takes me to my account at the top of the screen, but as soon as I move my mouse up to click, a banner at the top of the page suddenly loads and I end up clicking on the banner instead of the link because the link (and everything else) has now shifted downward on the page because of the banner loading.
This often happens with sites with ads or lots of graphics. They load last and end up moving other elements down on the page. If you are faster than the load time, you can end up clicking into some weird, unwanted stuff.
Google’s asking us to do less of this (and, library, I, for one, approve).
Is your website fast enough?
So, how do you know if your website is meeting these new standards? You can check it with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. In addition to telling you if you pass or fail, they’ll also point you toward why.
And if their explanations about fixing server times and converting to JPEG files make your head spin, don’t worry, that’s where a tech-savvy marketing partner comes in.
If you need some help implementing these algorithm changes, reach out anytime.