We’ll all be glad to see 2020 come to an end. Which leaves us looking forward to 2021, and the marketing trends to focus on in this new year.
One aspect of your marketing strategy to watch? User Experience, or UX. In fact, Google is planning on incorporating UX into its search rankings – meaning if your users don’t have a good experience on your website, it could negatively impact your SEO efforts.
What is UX?
UX refers to the experience a user has when they visit your website. It has less to do with the content of your site, and more to do with the mechanics of it. Page loading speed, responsiveness, and visual stability all impact UX. Essentially, to ensure a great experience for people visiting your website, you want to make sure that your site is easy to navigate, every page loads quickly, is responsive, and that the content remains stable on the page while loading.
Core Web Vitals: How Google Will Measure Your Site’s UX
Google has outlined the metrics you’ll need to focus on to make sure your website offers a great experience. While these metrics do not incorporate all aspects of good UX, they will be extremely important to focus on in 2021 since they are measurable and will be incorporated into page rankings in May.
Loading Performance: LCP
LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint, refers to your page load time. Load time has been a difficult metric to measure. Instead of measuring the load time of your entire web page, LCP refers to the load time of the largest image or block of text on the page. This large section needs to be fully loaded within 2.5 seconds to earn a good ranking from Google.
FID, or First Input Delay, refers to the experience people have when interacting with your page. Once your webpage is loaded, the user will want to interact with it. FID measures how quickly your website can respond to the user interacting with it. For example, if someone taps a button on your website, the browser needs to respond quickly to take them to the next page. To achieve a good rating from Google, your FID score needs to be no more than 100 milliseconds.
Visual Stability: CLS
CLS refers to the Cumulative Layout Shift. Any time the layout of the page shifts unexpectedly, it will affect your CLS score. For instance, if a user is reading text at the top of their page, and it suddenly shifts to the middle of their screen, the layout has changed and negatively impacted their experience.
These shifts can be annoying, but they are also capable of causing more significant user problems. No one wants to accidentally place an online order because their screen moved unexpectedly.
Other Aspects of UX
While Google will be incorporating their Core Web Vitals in search rankings, they are designed to work alongside other UX best practices. Google lists three Core Web Vitals right now, but you can expect them to add additional metrics in the future.
Some other elements to consider include making sure your website is mobile-friendly, offers secure browsing, and has no intrusive interstitials (aka pop up ads).
Time to Adapt
Google mentioned plans to include Core Web Vitals in search rankings in May of this year, but due to the Coronavirus, these new guidelines won’t be initiated until May of 2021. This gives you valuable time to look at your website’s UX and find out what you need to do to guarantee your search rankings are not negatively impacted by this update.
If it seems like a lot, well, it is. Thankfully, you can always ask us for help! We’d be happy to check your website to make sure you’re offering the best user experience possible. Contact us today so your website will be ready for 2021!