You may have heard Google is updating their algorithm for how it ranks results when buyers search the web for products and services. The changes will roll out in May 2021. Will your rankings suffer?
Many industrial marketers are worried, but if search engine optimization (SEO) has been part of your marketing practice, we don’t think the change should negatively impact your rankings, even though some media outlets are raising warning flags.
Who Will This Update Target?
We believe this algorithm update will be geared more toward media websites and other sites monetized by banner ads that try to squeeze maximum dollars out of their traffic by increasing page views and ad clicks. We don’t expect most industrial, ecommerce, and other B2B websites that focus on creating a frictionless user experience leading to a purchase will be as impacted.
Factors to Consider:
The algorithm change will take into account a new factor Google calls Page Experience. It includes all aspects of how users interact with a web page and how positive or painful the experience is for them.
The major factors considered are mobile friendliness, loading speed, interactivity response, call-to-action, and visual stability of page elements. Mobile friendliness and page speed have been part of the Google’s page-ranking algorithm for several years. These two factors are important, and they will impact your rankings.
To help ensure that you maintain your rankings, or potentially improve them, take steps to optimize your site for mobile and speed.
First, use Google tools to run a page speed report.
You can run this report for any page on your website. It will give the page a score and offer suggestions on how to increase speed. Major factors influencing speed are:
- Image size and format
- Flash elements that slow down loading
- Excess or unused code
Look for opportunities to compress images and optimize code. While working on images, be sure to use the Alt-text tag to describe the image using keywords. Remove Flash elements that bog down page loading time.
Interactivity of a page is its response to clicks, which is related to page speed. One element Google mentions regarding interactivity is the call to action (CTA). The CTA should be short, specific, and clear about the action needed. Ideally include a benefit.
More than half of all web searches globally are now performed using a mobile device. The mobile friendliness of your website can definitely impact your search engine rankings.
Google also offers a mobile friendly test.
If you don’t have a responsive web site design that renders pages quickly and cleanly on mobile phones and tablets, you may need to invest resources to make that happen. With so many searches being performed on mobile devices, having a responsive website is a requirement.
Remember: Great Content is Still the Most Important Factor
Some marketers might get so caught up in the metrics and technical issues of SEO that the most important element—great content—gets pushed to second place.
As Google has written on its own blog, “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.”
Fresh, relevant content that answers the question posed by an engineer’s search query will always play a critical role in determining page rankings. Your content should be simple, it should answer a need, and it should be unique to your business.
When you have such content, and then optimize your site to create a seamless and frictionless user experience, from headline to copy to CTA to Shopping Cart and Sale, you could see your rankings move closer to the top.