03 Feb Improving your Ranking on Google
Whether you know it or not, your web presence is constantly being evaluated using a specific set of Google metrics. How well you score on these metrics determines your ranking, and Google features higher-ranking sites more prominently in its search results. Today we’re going to cover what those metrics are (Page Experience and Google Core Web Vitals) and give you some practical tips for navigating the jargon and improving your ranking.
Page Experience and Google Core Web Vitals
Page experience is quite simply the user experience when they visit your web page. It includes what Google calls Core Web Vitals which measures things like how fast your page loads, how well the interactive features on your website work, and whether or not your page is visually stable. The page experience also includes factors like mobile friendliness of your website, whether or not you use safe-browsing and secure protocols (whether your site is HTTPS enabled), and the presence of interstitials (defined below). All of the factors above are used to determine a ranking for your page. The better your site scores on the metrics, the higher your page is ranked, and the more likely Google is to display your site in search results.
So, how do you determine how well your site is performing on these metrics? Google has made it fairly easy to make these determinations and you (or your web developer) should be able to use the tools we list below to improve your website metrics and ranking.
Core Web Vitals
In order to rank highly, your page must provide a good user experience, focusing on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This tool measures loading performance. If your site is too slow to load, potential customers may get impatient and click the back button. You want all of the elements of your page to load quickly so users find what they are seeking on your site as quickly as possible. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): This tool measures interactivity; that is how long it takes from the time a user interacts with your page (tries to click on something) to the time the browser processes the response to that action. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This tool measures visual stability; that is how often content shifts on your page. Have you ever started reading an online news article only to lose your place when new items are loaded? That is an example of cumulative layout shift. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.
Mobile-friendliness is a measure of how well your website displays and works on mobile devices. In a world that is increasingly using phones and tablets to access the web, it’s important that your website doesn’t only perform well for desktop users. You can check how mobile-friendly your web page is with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test will also give you error messages (if there are any) that can help your web developer make some improvements.
Your website users want to browse your site safely, without exposure to any malware or deceptive content (something that tricks them into revealing confidential information or downloading files). You can easily check to see if your site has any safe-browsing issues with the Security Issues report and make any necessary changes from there.
Anyone interacting with your site wants to ensure their information is safe and secure. For instance, if they are purchasing an item from you, they want to know that their credit card information is being handled appropriately. You can use this link to easily check if your site’s connection is secure. If your web page isn’t served over HTTPS, you can learn more on how to secure your site with HTTPS.
No intrusive interstitials
Intrusive interstitials are basically pop-up ads; items that block user’s access to content on a website. In general, interstitials make it harder for the user to access your website (they must take an action to close the pop-up before they can access the real content of your website). While you will hear us recommend installing a newsletter signup as a popup sometimes, we also highly recommend that this pop-up not appear right when a user opens your site, but rather upon their exit, or on a delayed timer. The intent of adding this as a measurement in ranking is to ensure that the user finds what they’re looking for quickly, with the best possible experience.
We hope we’ve given you an informative overview of what Google uses in determining page rankings, along with some tools that you and your web development team can use to improve your site. If you’re interested in working with Stitchcraft Marketing to craft a better user experience for your website, contact us today!