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Google has 3 new ranking signals that you need to know about

Google have announced 3 new ranking signals that will come into act in May 2021


These 3 signals will help Google understand more about you and your website, and help them determine how to rank you in Google search results better.


And who doesn't want that, right?!


I'm going to quickly unpack these 3 new Google things for you



NEW SIGNAL #1: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) -aka 'Loading'


How Google explains it:

"Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a Core Web Vitals metric and measures when the largest content element in the viewport becomes visible. It can be used to determine when the main content of the page has nished rendering on the screen.

The most common causes of a poor LCP are: Slow server response times."


How I explain it:

So Google looks at the biggest content elements such as images or banners for example, and measures how long they take to load properly - In most cases, “largest” points to a hero image that is “above the fold” (which means the stuff you see on a web page before you scroll down the page) and is one of the first images people will notice when loading the page.

So large image sizes will effect LCP because they take ages to load. That's what Google is looking at.



NEW SIGNAL #2: First Input Delay (FID) - aka "Interactivity"


How Google explains it:

"FID measures the time from when a user interacts with your site (i.e. when they click a link, tap on a button, or use a custom, JavaScript-powered control) to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction."


How I explain it:

So you're on a website, you click a button, you wait for the button to do it's thing (like take you to another page for example), then you reach that new page. It's the waiting time, that is measured.



NEW SIGNAL #3: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - aka "Visual Stability"


How Search Engine Journal explains it:

"CLS is the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading.

The kinds of elements that tend to cause shift are fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons and other kinds of content.

Minimising CLS is important because pages that shift around can cause a poor user experience."


How I explain it:

Well actually this is pretty well explained already, but this might help too: "I was about to click that! Why did it move?"


Make sense now?

web.dv adds: "This is very common on the web, including when reading the news, or trying to click those 'Search' or 'Add to Cart' buttons. Such experiences are visually jarring and frustrating.


They're often caused when visible elements are forced to move because another element was suddenly added to the page or resized."


So by now I bet you're thinking,

"WTF do I need to do Karlie?!"


Am I right?

FIRSTLY, chill. You've got time. But...


The main things you can do to cover all of this include:


1. OPTIMISE YOUR IMAGES AND GRAPHICS


Make sure they're small le sizes before you upload to your website, AND install an image compressor plugin or app to your site if you can.



2. CHECK YOUR SERVER RESPONSE TIME


Typically, applying xes like adding caching, optimising images, xing render blocking CSS and JavaScript and pre-loading certain assets can help.

(If this all sounds like a headache and you're about to chuck this whole email into the 'too hard basket' - DON'T. Chat with your web developer or chat with A web developer and ask them to check it out for you.)


Again, you've got time!

Of you wanna DIY - Google says to use these tools:

PageSpeed Insights

Search Console (Core Web Vitals report)

Chrome User Experience Report



3. NEVER INSERT CONTENT ABOVE EXISTING CONTENT, EXCEPT IN RESPONSE TO A USER INTERACTION


This ensures any website layout shifts that occur are expected.



I mean there's other shit you can do, but start here. And run the Core Web Vitals report on your Google Search Console every now and then - and don't delete any emails you get from GSC telling you that you have some site errors or things that need addressing


1. Largest Contentful Paint

2. Cumulative Layout Shift

3. Google Core Web Vitals Preparation

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