Recently, Google announced important updates about Web Stories, Page Experience Benchmark, Rich Results, and communications vehicles. At Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing Inc., we like to stay up to date on these advancements to keep our clients current.

Here’s what we learned.

Web Stories

It’s all about the mobile user experience!

Do you use “stories” on Instagram or Facebook. Now Web Stories are here!

They are the size of mobile screens with magazine style layouts. They only have about 10 words or so per page with 4-30 pages.

You’ll soon be finding them in Google Search, Google Images, Google app, and Google Discover. They’re built on AMP (making them fast to load) with normal HTML (the language of websites).

What’s more there’s a WordPress plugin for it. That means your web designer doesn’t have to delve into complicated code to create them. The plugin is in beta with the warning, “Dragons beware!” The full tested plugin release should be within the next month or two.

Web Stories are going to be a great way to improve your search engine optimization (SEO)! Learn more about SEO for Web Stories.

Let us know if you’re interested in Web Stories for your website.

 

 

Google’s Page Experience Benchmark

Currently, page load times are one of the ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. According to John Mueller of Google in a recent announcement. Soon, “Page Experience Benchmark” will be a ranking signal. (John said he’ll give us 6-month notice before this goes live.)

The following will be part of the Page Experience Benchmark:

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals WILL be a signal in a new ranking system. What are these Vitals? They consist of metrics for:

  • Speed (how fast your pages load)
  • Interactivity (how quickly people can interact with your site as it loads)
  • Visual Stability (fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons, etc. don’t shift while loading)

Mobile Friendliness

In addition to Core Web Vitals, Mobile Friendliness, i.e., mobile-first indexing will be a part of the Page Experience Benchmark. Google was originally going to change search returns to be mobile ONLY beginning in September 2020.

As a result of the pandemic, mobile-first indexing WILL launch by the end of March 2021.

Do people have to twist and turn their phones, or scroll horizontally to see your website content? If so, it’s TIME to upgrade and commit to mobile BEFORE your site completely falls off the radar.

We’re here to help. Learn more about our website building process.

HTTPS Security

As discussed in 15 Tips for SEO, your site should be secure. In other words, it should have an SSL certificate. We might add: you shouldn’t have to pay your host for this. (Shame on GoDaddy.)

Intrusive Interstitials

You don’t want “intrusive interstitials” on your site. I mean, really, who would?

Web designers talk funny. An intrusive interstitial is a high-falutin’ name for pop-up ads or banners that block important content. Search Engine Journal suggest you can have a pop-up if it blocks only 15% of the mobile experience. Google offers guidance on interstitials—and which ones are impacted.

 

 

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tools

We’ve discussed how structured data may indirectly impact your SEO. Google is “deprecating” it’s Structured Data testing tool. Instead the Rich Results Test (RRT) is now out of beta and available for use. It’s specifically used to diagnose what is shown in search results.

Read more about RRT.

Additionally, special announcements, licensable images, and AMP article markup have been added to the rich results you may now find on Google.

In Search Console, Google has added recipe and recipe markup reports.

 

Google Communications: Webmasters Podcast and SEO Mythbusting

Bored on your pandemic walks? Now you can listen to Google’s new podcast. It’s a “behind-the-scenes” look at Google’s decisions, called Search Off the Record.

You may also want to check out Google’s SEO Mythbusting. For example, you’ll learn that page speed is not a “major” ranking factor. Good content is what matters.

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