Google UX update 2021

Perception is reality. If something is perceived in a certain way, it might as well become that. Why? For all intents and purposes that’s the objective truth.

Why are we talking about perception? Well, in May 2020, Google announced arguably the most radical evolution of how its search engine evaluates website pages – one that’s entirely based around how users perceive their experience of a website page. And it’s set to go live in 2021.

The Google Page Experience update, which will be steadily rolled out in 2021 has been touted as the most radical shake-up of how the search engine ranks individual pages.

So, as we begin to say goodbye to 2020 and prepare to embark on a new year, now’s the time for businesses to engage the services of a lauded SEO agency in Manchester– like Jungle Marketing – to assess their website and make sure that they’re prepared for the changes in 2021.

However, before we go any further, we know how much of a headscratcher Google’s updates can be for decision-makers and business owners. So, we’ve cut through all the technical spiel to help you understand why you need to get your website optimised for the impending update.

Interested in learning more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Page Experience update, including are the five core ways that you should get your website ready for 2021.

What Do We Actually Know About Google’s Algorithm?

So, as of December 2020, the specifics of Google’s algorithm aren’t known. This is no surprise as Google often plays its cards close to its chest until updates are released. However, what we can do is to make educated guesses about what to expect when Google rolls out its new algorithm.

What we do know is that Google (and other lesser used search engines) consider 200 factors when their algorithm crawls, indexes and ranks pages. And it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that this figure is somewhat low. In fact, Google’s algorithm could consider 30, 40, 50, even hundreds more factors to determine the authority, authenticity, and relevance of website pages based on individual searches!

Now, currently, any website designer in Manchester looking to optimise their site should focus on:

  • Content, both length and uniqueness
  • Keyword density
  • Domain age and authority
  • SEO, including header tags, meta data and image optimisation
  • Site navigation
  • Backlinks
  • SSL certificate

And, as we’ve just mentioned, this is just a smattering of ranking factors.

With an evolving criterion that outlines what pages will be placed one the first and second pages of Google rankings and what’s destined to languish somewhere on page nine ten, twenty, forty, nailing the authority, authenticity and value your site offers is essential.

Why Is User Experience So Important?

In an age when people have attention spans that last seconds online, creating a positive experience for users from the get-go and reinforcing that feeling as they read and absorb your content is paramount.

Think of it this way, statistically 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after having a bad experience. The online landscape is unforgiving. As any SEO agency in Manchester will tell you, if you want to pique user’s attention and keep it, you need to optimise user experience.

If you don’t design for usability, you miss opportunities. Even worse, websites that aren’t UX optimised ignore the core needs of their audience(s) and commit the cardinal sin of compromising to crucial factors: trust and credibility.

The Five Ways that You Should Get Your Website Ready for 2021

For anyone who’s unsure of what they need to do to make sure that their website is ready for the year ahead and the upcoming Google Page Experience, help is at hand. Here are the five ways that you should get your website ready for 2021.

Make Sure It’s Mobile-Friendly

In July 2020, it was reported that there are 5.15 billion unique mobile users. Online Nation, the annual national report compiled by Ofcom, found that 80% of time spent online is now spent on a mobile device.

Now, mobile-first marketing is nothing new. In fact, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO from 2001 – 2011 and executive chairman from 2011 – 2015 was clear that a mobile-first approach was essential to the search engine’s algorithm, a belief that endures to this day.

Remember, Google has its own goal – to make sure that they provide users with the best possible experience. If 80% of people are likely using the search engine on a mobile device, they will make sure that their search pages results are filled with URL’s optimised for mobile use.

As any knowledgeable website designer in Manchester will tell you, the search engine behemoth will continue to take a mobile-first approach to ranking websites. In 2021, having a website that promotes seamless functionality across all devices, whilst promoting a consistent design and being optimised for mobile SEO is a necessity.

We advise that businesses keep long-tail keywords to a minimum – after all, who really types in in ‘find me a website designer that understands user experience?’

If your site isn’t optimised for mobile, you’re missing out on opportunities. It’s that simple.

Be Wary of Panda and Penguin Penalties

Google’s Panda update targeted poor website content. Their penguin update addressed manipulative link building tactics. Now, despite first being released in 2011 and 2012, these algorithm changes and their subsequent updates are as relevant today as they were a decade ago.

Panda penalties are easier to avoid and fix. But that doesn’t make them any less necessary for webmasters and business owners to keep abreast of. Basically, as we move into 2021, making sure that all the content on your site provides value is paramount. Google doesn’t want to see guest posts and forums littered with spam. Users complained about the deluge of poor-quality content they felt that they were experiencing – something that Google rectified.

A penguin penalty can similarly spell bad news for a website. It could affect a single page or your entire website. Not only that, but it also compromises your outbound links. Get a Penguin penalty and you’ll likely find your website plummeting down the rankings. And, as any good SEO agency in Manchester, or anyone really with a passing knowledge of digital marketing, will tell you, if visitors can’t find you, they can’t buy into and from you!

Make Sure Your Website Is Speedy – Across All Devices

No one wants to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of users expect a website to load in just 2 seconds! Now page load times have always been important but in an era when most everyone expects instantaneous information in the blink of an eye, a website that doesn’t load the moment you hit a link is enough to make users hit the back button and find another link.

This isn’t just hyperbole. It’s backed by statistics. A one second delay can cause an 11% drop in organic traffic. Imagine the percentage of a ten second delay! However, there are things that business and website owners can do to speed up sluggish websites.

If you’re website has been built on the WordPress CMS – as 455 million are – downloading and installing the WP Rocket plugin, a powerful caching tool that improves the performance of any website that drags its heels, is one of the most important plugins of 2021. WP Rocket combines files, making it easier to load full page content, drastically reducing that all-important bounce rate.

Think about it, if you’ve migrated your business from a physical store to an online eCommerce platform with hundreds of product listings, you need WP Rocket to make sure that visitors can access pages with ease – something that a website designer in Manchester can help you with.

Migration to a Fully eCommerce Website

So, if 2020 will be remembered for anything, it’ll be Covid-19. Whereas we don’t want to harp on about the effect the pandemic has had on people’s personal and professional lives, the impact that the Coronavirus has had on the online landscape is impossible to ignore.

As of December 2020, there’s no confirmed date of a wholesale vaccination being rolled out. Just this week, compulsory wearing of face masks in shops even after a vaccine has been synthesised and made available to the public and has hit the news.

Now, with 2021 just round the corner, expect more eCommerce websites to be launched. What does this mean? Stronger competition than ever before. For any business to hit its commercial targets, they’ll need to leverage the skills of an SEO agency in Manchester to get their products and services in front of customers.

Expect SEO-rich product descriptions, multi-channel eCommerce practices, and content focused on product and service features to take the spotlight and drive buyer awareness. In simple terms, if you’re website isn’t optimised for SEO eCommerce, you’ll likely slump down the rankings – even if you don’t have a plethora of products across pages and pages of your website!

Say Goodbye to Pop-Ups for Good

Ever experienced this… you’ve clicked one, two, three even four or five links to find what you’re looking for. You click the link and there it is – just what you want. Then a full-page pop-up appears, asking you to subscribe to a newsletter, or input your details in to get ‘exclusive’ special offers.

There are few things more irritating.

Pop-ups frustrate visitors, even ruin the whole experience. And yet, businesses still use them. To these businesses we say, why? Just get rid of them.

There are other, better ways of promoting special offers and incentivising people to subscribe to your newsletter. If nothing else, these site elements can be put on a banner at the top of your homepage or in the footer – if you really, really want to.

Our advice? Say goodbye to pop-ups altogether. Use social media to promote individual aspects of your service or increase user buy-in. After all, in a commercial sense, once you’ve connected with customers at all stages of the sales funnel that’s what it’s there for.

The Time is Now to Get Your Website Ready for 2021!

The new year is just around the corner. The landscape of digital marketing is changing. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate what your business is doing online and optimise strategies! Unsure of where to turn for help? Engage the services of an experienced, knowledgeable, and creative SEO agency in Manchester, like Jungle Marketing.

Google’s UX update is just round the corner. Be prepared. Have a strategy. Take action. Trust us, if you want to thrive in the ultra-competitive online landscape of 2021, you need to leverage the skills of those in the know – Jungle Marketing.

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