Usability and interactivity are going to be some of the largest SEO ranking factors for websites in 2021. This isn’t conjecture either. Google confirmed it themselves in their own central search blog. This insight is crucial in determining your 2021 digital marketing strategy. Investing in search engine optimization may be the way to go.
This blog will give a primer on what these SEO ranking signals are and how to check if your website fails at any of them so you can improve before the changes go live in May 2021.
What are the New Page Experience Signals in SEO?
The 2021 SEO signals can be summed up in two words: user experience. The core web vitals are loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
Load speed affects user retention, page views, and conversions. Even a one second load delay reduces page views by 11% and reduces conversions by 7%. In addition, Google officially notes load speed as an SEO ranking factor . Ultimately, just a few seconds can have a lasting impression on users and ranking.
Interactivity and visual stability are summed up by how long before a user can interact with your website and how stable their experience is throughout. If your content is relevant to your user and doesn’t hinder their ability to access the content, interactivity can be a good way to boost SEO. Visual elements increase your visibility too. Articles with images are viewed 94% more than those without! A quality mix of interactivity and visual elements can improve your rankings.
Optimize Your Website Loading Speed
Website loading speed is possibly the easiest to test and breakdown. There are many tools that can help you find out how long it takes for your pages to load and grades them, such as Google PageSpeed Insights. You can get your page speed score (out of 100) and use PageSpeed suggestions to make your website run faster.
A simple way to improve your website loading speed is through optimizing media and graphics. Image size can play a major role in your loading speed as large files slow your website down. Rather than removing them, compress them. Try to keep images under 1 to 2 MB.
Another way to improve your website loading speed is by checking for redirects, which are essentially URL forwarding. Check your website for links that lead to pages that have long since been deleted. In the future, don’t link to URLs that you know has a redirect on it.
Optimize Your Website’s First Input Delay (FID)
First input delay (FID) is notoriously fickle, but it’s still an important metric to track. Measured in milliseconds, FID is all about first impressions and often dictates the smoothness of a web page for a user. FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with your site to the time when the browser is able to respond to that interaction.
FID is often confused with Time to Interactive (TTI), but they are actually different. TTI measures the time a page takes to load before the user can interact with it. Rather than the user interacting with the browser, TTI is about the browser allowing the user to work with it.
You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights to measure FID. There are also options in the new Google Search Console Web Vitals report. In the long run, improving your FID can make a big difference in search engine optimization.
Optimize your Website’s Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative layout shift (CLS) refers to the shifting of webpage elements as the website is still loading. It is an indicator that a website may be broken. CLS can cause buttons, images, and other style components to move around due to other elements loading or poor embeds taking up space. Not setting image dimensions, poorly optimized web fonts, and slow web elements are the main offenders of this.
The good thing is CLS is easy to diagnose. Browse your site and pay attention to how things load. Fixing CLS, however, can be more complicated. Minimizing CLS is important because shifting elements are confusing for the user. Google ranks websites with a positive user experience higher, which makes CLS an SEO ranking signal.
Optimizing CLS is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Whether it be embedded ads or images without set dimensions, there are solutions for these problems. Some common solutions are proper styling on CSS, changing your web fonts, and setting height and width on images.
Improve Your SEO Ranking Factors Today!
The thing about having a website is it doesn’t do much if you’re not being found. Increasing your visibility can help more users find your business. 2021 is the perfect time to rethink your SEO strategy to do just that. Code Authority’s software development team can help freshen your website while our digital marketing team can jumpstart your SEO ranking signals. Contact us today for a free consultation!