Saturday, April 13, 2024

Google changes to impact businesses

Google has implemented one of the biggest changes to its search engine algorithm methodology in years – and the changes are going to affect a lot of people, says Australian Institute of Internet Marketing Services founder Kynan Albassit.

He says over 90% of people in Australia and across other parts of the world use Google to undertake everyday search activities and to navigate and support their use of the internet.

“From consumers to businesses, Google is the biggest ‘must use’ tool in the world,” he says. “If a business wants to reach new customers, it optimises its website to rank well ‘organically’ on Google.”

Google has introduced a new set of parameters to determine how well a website ranks based on page experience factors. Mr Albassit explains that page experience factors are a set of considerations called ‘core web vitals’ that determine how ‘website friendly’ a site actually is.

“In summary, Google is now judging websites on three new metrics,” he says.

Three metrics

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) addresses the loading experience. It measures the time it takes for the most important and relevant content on a website to load.

“A load time of 2.5 seconds or less is considered ideal,” Mr Albassit says. “If elements of your website are slow to load, this will now impact your site’s Google ranking. If your website hosting is poor quality, your site contains coding that delays loading, or you have too many big images on your site and this affects loading times, you are going to be punished.”

First Input Delay (FID) measures the length of time it takes for your site to respond to a visitor’s action. For example, if a site visitor clicks on a link, how quickly does the page respond.

“FID is measured in milliseconds and the ideal response time is 100 milliseconds or less,” Mr Albassit says

“If you have multiple activities on your site such as products, sign up boxes, log in sections – all of these must respond in milliseconds or less in order to meet Google’s new user experience requirements.”

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) relates to visual stability. It monitors how well your website performs when each page loads.

“Do images and other elements jump around or shift as a page loads? If they do, this means your CLS will be high,” Mr Albassit says. “Google considers a CLS score of below .1 to be ideal.”

Premium placement for best websites

Mr Albassit says many businesses that have not invested a lot of time or resources into their websites “will be punished big time” under Google’s changes.

“In essence, Google is saying – to be on our platform, the best of the best websites will be given premium placement – because Google wants to deliver the best experience possible for its users,” he says.

What can businesses do before these changes affect their business? Start searching for good help, advises Mr Albassit.

“Your website is going to need some changes, and you may have to change or upgrade your hosting. Don’t wait for the changes to impact you. Act fast. It doesn’t take long to be pushed down Google’s pages – but it can take a while to climb back up depending on how you approach things.”

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