2020. What a rollercoaster of a year, amirite? And we don’t just mean the worldwide pandemic – we’re talking online, too.
Throughout 2020 Google released several algorithm updates, throwing businesses and their websites in a loop. What ranks well? What doesn’t? Just what does that dang algorithm want now?
Well, we’ve got some bad news for you. 2021 will be no different. There are plenty of SEO changes in store, just waiting to daze and confuse you.
Google has made several announcements, giving people a heads up on what updates they plan on releasing this year. And with the right tools, you can optimise your website to accommodate them.
So what SEO changes will 2021 bring? Read on to find out.
What is SEO?
Never heard of SEO before? Don’t panic – we got you.
Ever used Google to search for something? Of course you have. Have you noticed that the answer you need is always right at the top of your search results? No, it isn’t a lucky coincidence. And it definitely isn’t some voodoo magic. That’s SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In simple terms, it’s the process of optimising a website to make it easy for users to find on search engines. Google basically has a long checklist of all the ‘things’ it wants your website to have to be eligible to appear on the first page. A Robot txt. file, a site map, keywords and lots of content! There’s other things too, but you get the idea…
Websites that tick all the boxes on this list get a higher ranking – which means more traffic, more brand awareness and eventually more conversations. So yeah, SEO is kinda a big deal.
Back in the day, all Google needed was a couple of keywords and an SEO title. Ah, those were good times. But now? Google needs a lot more than that.
Google releases almost 1000 algorithm updates every year. And with each update website owners may need to make a change to keep up with the algorithm.
So how will these changes affect your website?
Of course, there are thousands of SEO articles on the web that you can read to stay on top of it all. But why spend hours trolling the internet for the best blogs when you can find them all here, with us? We publish blogs on all sorts of digital marketing topics, like Facebook ads, chatbots, SEO, and Google updates. There’s a lot of good stuff to learn that will help your business grow.
The world of SEO and algorithms can be a scary, daunting place – if you don’t have the proper guides, that is. Have some questions about using SEO for your business? You’ve come to the right people! Digital marketing is our thing. Schedule a complimentary one hour meeting here with our team to learn more.
User experience is everything
Imagine this: the new sneakers you’ve been waiting for are finally available to buy online. You whip out your phone and jump on the website. But what’s this? The site is taking ages to load. Now there’s a pop-up blocking the ‘buy now’ button. How annoying. But the worse part? The website isn’t even mobile-responsive. Blurgh, forget it. You never visit that website again.
Google prides itself on delivering websites that the user finds useful and enjoyable to use. So if your site is a pain to navigate in 2021, your rankings will plummet.
Trust us – this isn’t just a hunch. Google considers user experience so important, they announced that they will be releasing a new update on their algorithm called Page Experience. From May 2021, websites that score well on the Page Experience scale will rank higher than sites that don’t.
What is Page Experience?
In a nutshell, Page Experience measures how user-friendly your website is. The more your users enjoy your website, the higher your page will rank on Google. Easy-peasy.
But how does Page Experience work? How can Google tell what is enjoyable and what isn’t? By focusing on three major things:
- Loading – how quickly your website loads
- Interactivity – the time from when your user first interacts with your page (with a click or tap for example) to when the browser starts to process that interaction.
- Visual stability – prevents the unexpected movement of your page’s content.
What should I do?
Page Experience is going to mean big things in terms of SEO. But there’s no need to freak out just yet – you have until May to get your website in tip-top shape.
If you haven’t already, start by optimising for mobile search. Don’t think it’s important? Think again. In the last quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated almost 51% of global website traffic. That’s a lot of traffic you could be missing out on.
Now take a look at your page speed. Is it lagging? Your website should only take anywhere from 2.4 to 3 seconds to upload. If that sounds insane, remember that a second longer than that can decrease your conversation rates by a whopping 70%. So get that speed up!
Your rankings will go up and down
Look at you, feeling pleased with yourself and your site’s high ranking. Bet nothing can knock you off that little perch of yours. Except for a total plummet on Google’s pages. Ouch.
All these newfangled SEO changes and updates will mean that your website’s rankings will seesaw up and down, especially with any major updates. And if you think this is just a phase, brace yourself – zigzagging rankings will be the new normal.
But don’t panic just yet. Roller coaster rankings don’t mean that your website is crashing and burning. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. It just means that you need to accommodate for the updated algorithm. So stay on top of your game.
What should I do?
Make a point to regularly check Google Search Central for any changes, or use online tools such as MozCast or SEMrush Sensor. These tools notify you of any new search updates, so you can always stay one step ahead.