Google announced that next year it will be using a new ranking system. The metrics for picking “Top Stories” on mobile will be looking for a web page’s overall “experience.” Core Web Vitals is a new program, which, as Stephanie Condon points out in ZDNet, quantifies aspects of a user’s experience, including load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. “Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply,” she quotes from Google’s blog, and “in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.” The aim is to reward site owners who provide an “experience” that users enjoy.
To help explain this shift in Google’s ranking metrics, BVM CEO Mike Emerton sat down with Jason Brown, BVM’s Chief SEO Officer to find out more.
Mike: Can you explain what Google is doing?
Jason: Google mobile search is approximately 3 years old. When they first split Google into a desktop search versus a mobile search engine, they went forward with “mobile search indexing.” This is a culmination of what Google has been working towards. First, it was page load time and load speed for indexing; then they required you to be on https secure, and all these pieces tie into this overall “experience” that they’re talking about. The point is to get web development to be based on Google’s tools.
Mike: What’s your biggest takeaway from this news?
Jason: The biggest takeaway, Google not saying they are a “textual search engine” first. It’s no longer about the content on the page–the keywords in the meta descriptions, the inbound links, and all the other SEO 101 jazz. Google is no longer just reading the page; there now must be some type of “interaction.” Pages may now need to program in accordions or hover effects with click tracking and tracing so that Google can actually see that people are physically interacting with the page. Companies are going to have to tie their events into Google so that the tech giant can see that people are interacting with the page and the experience is actually happening outside the load factor of page speeds.
Mike: Can you explain more about how this will affect web development?
Jason: You won’t be able to DIY when developing your site anymore, you’ll need professional services. No longer will you be able to use WordPress and a template, you’ll need to have someone who understands how your site is going to work from a code-loading standpoint all the way to content strategy. You can’t just load content anymore and put in your Meta Data and expect it to list. You need to build a strategy based on whether or not you have large pictures, where are the “adjustables,” and where are the interactive calls to action? And how do all these relate into a relevant website?
Mike: What do you mean by “relevant”?
Jason: Google is not a search engine anymore, its a “relevancy engine.” Every time they introduced these new pieces, they’re trying to tell you how to build your relevancy, so that the website shows up as the most relevant person in a particular search. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is going the way of HD/DVD. As Google updates its metrics for ranking “Top Stories” on mobile, it’s eliminating the requirement for Top Stories to support AMP.
Mike: Does 5G play into this?
Jason: Yes! With the advent of 5G and pushing load speeds faster. It’s allowing your data carrier to load bigger websites; and it allows web developers a little more freedom because 5G is now running at cable and fiber speeds. We can load bigger websites on smaller platforms and not be restricted to only having text and images with zero activities.
Mike: What will companies need to do in order to, as you said, “build a strategy”?
Jason: Your web development and the in and outbound reach program is like a house. You must have a good foundation. Your SEO is merely a window into your house. You also have to have framing, plumbing, electricity, siding, and roofing — these are all the security aspects needed to run your business. If any of these have a failure, at least you have a foundation; but if your foundation isn’t sound, then the internet, and in some cases, intranet systems for e-commerce, can go into critical failure, which means you will have to rebuild.
Mike: So to conclude, it seems that you are stressing the increased need for professional web developers.
Jason: Correct! If you don’t start properly from the ground up, you’re in trouble. There are some things you can DYI, and there are some things you do not want to DYI. As far as Google is concerned, you must have your search team involved. If you break this rule, you get a Google misdemeanor. More missteps and you get sandboxed. Google does not give out participation trophies.
For more information on the changing Google metrics and how your company can best prepare to be listed among the top results, contact us, and we will make sure your foundation is strong and your strategy is wholistic.