Always with the aim of satisfying its users, Google announces the arrival of a new update of its algorithm for 2021: the user experience will be an essential criterion to be well referenced on search engines. Users are increasingly demanding and impatient. They are asking for more simplicity, more speed and more accessibility to companies.
UX: a new essential criterion for SEO
Recent studies have shown that users prefer sites that offer an excellent page experience. In recent years, research has added various user experience criteria such as page loading speed and mobile-friendly.
Earlier this month, the Google Chrome team announced “Core Web Vitals”, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability to help companies measure the user experience on their websites.
3 “Core Web Vitals” factors to respect:
The “Google Page Experience” update is based on 3 fundamental principles which are:
– The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): this is the time it takes for a web page to load. In other words, this metric evaluates the perception of speed by indicating the moment when the main content of the page is displayed. For a good user experience, a website should ensure that the Largest Contentful Paint arrives within the first 2.5 seconds after the page begins to load.
– First Input Delay (FID): This indicator is concerned with interactivity meaning the delay between the moment a user attempts to interact with a part of the site and the moment when the interface is actually able to respond to that interaction request. Your CLS score should be less than 100 milliseconds.
– Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This criterion evaluates the visual stability of a web page. It measures how often users experience unexpected layout changes. For a successful user experience, pages must maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
Other factors are also taken into consideration such as:
– Mobile Friendly: pages must be adapted to mobile browsing.
– Secure browsing: pages must not contain pirated content or malware that could engage in deceptive practices. Google will compile a report to assess whether you are having problems with safe browsing on your site.
– HTTPS: To ensure a secure connection to users, pages must be delivered using HTTPS. A Google help page is available to help you find out if your site is secure.
– No intrusive interstitial: page content must be easily accessible. Therefore, avoid pop-ups that cover the main content of the page when a user tries to access a site or while browsing a page.
Google Quality Raters: what is it?
The “Google Search Quality Raters”, also called “Quality Raters” by SEO experts, are used to judge the quality of the results returned by the search engine. Most of the time, A/B tests are carried out. The Quality Rater does not directly influence the search results but expresses an opinion that is considered by the engineers in charge of the engine’s algorithms.
What are these Quality Raters used for and how does Google use their ratings?
A Quality Rater interviewed by SearchEngineLand had explained that, according to him, Google was primarily looking to improve its algorithm. The “side by side” evaluations allow to assess the consequences of a possible change of algorithms by submitting a before/after.
This is why the feedback from the “Quality Raters” is used to decide whether to launch a new algorithm or not.
The Quality Raters cannot, under any circumstances, directly influence the search results and they do not have the power to delete or penalize a site or a page. Their job is first and foremost to give an appreciation of a search result.
The Importance of UX
The user experience is dedicated to visitors. It is a strategy based on the user rather than on a simple optimization of your SEO.
Internet users must be able to quickly find the information they are looking for. Ideally, information should be found in less than 3 clicks.
The content and design of your site must allow the Internet user to navigate easily, to appreciate the quality of the site and to transmit the values and know-how of your company.
SEO/ UX best practices
– Searcher Language
Keywords give you an extremely valuable insight into how people think about your products or services.
Typically, companies use language that is specific to their industry. However, many visitors are not in the industry and are not familiar with the “official” words that describe a particular product or service.
A keyword search will reveal not only the words they use to describe what they want, but also the problems and solutions they are looking for.
This is key information that can inform your content later and allow you to modify your strategies.
– Researcher’s intention
Some words or expressions do not have the same meaning for everyone. For example, a person doing a search with the phrase “website audit” may be looking for someone to perform the audit while another may be looking for advice on how to perform the audit.
Make sure that your pages match their search intent or else they won’t click on your link. Your content needs to be clear so that the web user knows what you are offering and that this traffic is qualified.
– Site ID
One of the first things visitors see when they arrive on a page is the site ID.
Your logo must be visible and understandable. When your logo and the accompanying slogan meet the needs of your visitors you multiply your chances of keeping them on your site. Example: natural products
– Header tags
Visitors often look at the header at the top of the page content to verify that the page they are visiting provides the information they are looking for.
The highest header tag (which must be an H1 and the only H1 on the page) should provide a message similar to the page title tag.
You can also use additional headings to separate long content.
Visitors often browse through content looking for answers or specific solutions, and header tags can help them.
Internet users scan the navigation to ensure that the site meets their search criteria.
Do you offer a single product or service or do you offer several? In any case, do not hide your solutions or services under a “shop” or “services” menu link.
Display them proudly in your navigation, grouping them under relevant headings.
Visitors should know what you offer only by looking at your navigation.
Moreover, your navigation is a great place to use keywords! Each navigation link can be a relevant keyword phrase that leads to the content of the page.
– Calls To action
Navigation is important but you must integrate call to action to achieve the objectives you have set (registrations, sales, subscriptions, visits, calls…).
To do this, make sure that your CTAs indicate what the visitor will get when he clicks. For example, “join the community”.
Visitors to your site will not be ready to take action the first time, so you should put in place a CTA strategy that will meet different objectives. Indeed, it makes sense for you to provide secondary objectives that will keep the visitor interested in your site. For example, ‘Contact us for more information’, ‘Download our brochure’, ‘Discover all our offers’.
– The speed of the website:
– Optimize your images: Images slow down your web pages which creates a bad experience. Image optimization is the process of reducing the size of the file, using a plugin or script, which speeds up the page loading time.
To do this, you can pass your image through compression tools to decrease the size without decreasing the quality.
– Choose the right hosting: for a high-performance site, you need a suitable hosting solution. To make your choice, evaluate your needs in CPU, memory and storage space in order to prevent the saturation of the resources allocated to your web hosting space and thus not risk slowing down or blocking your website.
You can opt for a dedicated server or a VPS if the storage space is not sufficient.
– Unnecessary spaces
– Line breaks
– Block delimiters
Minimizing the code reduces the amount of code that needs to be transferred to the web. If the code is light, the bandwidth will be conserved and the site will be displayed faster.
Get ready for the update in 2021!
Google has announced that this update should be effective during 2021 according to the current context related to Covid-19.
It was also specified that there would be a notice announced at least 6 months before the deployment of these new criteria to allow site owners to prepare for these changes.
Do you need help to do this? Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to develop a successful UX strategy.