Have you ever visited a website when all of sudden pop up ads take over, the page you want won't load, or you can’t find the information you are looking for? This could be happening when potential clients visit your firm’s website--which is the kiss of death when it comes to attracting new niche clients.
Of course, Google already knows this and that’s one of the reasons that it released a major update to its search algorithm this month. Called the Google Core update by web gurus, this update is a major revision that will impact the search ranking of many websites, including yourcompany's!
If you have invested in building a website that effectively brings niche client leads to your firm, then the last thing you want is to erode your search engine optimization gains or to have your hard work developing a solid online niche strategy undone by the changes Google is making. This is why it’s important to understand the potential impact Google’s Core Update may have on your firm’s website.
Consider these key facts about the changes then take action to minimize any negative impact on your niche marketing SEO or overall online firm marketing strategy:
1. Having a mobile-ready website is more important than ever to rank higher in Google search. The number of website visitors accessing your firm’s site through their phone or mobile device has likely grown exponentially over the last several years. Has your website kept pace with this trend? If not, you may be sacrificing your SEO.
This is because smaller screens such as those for a phone or tablet must adjust the format of your website, through a proper mobile version of the site. Otherwise, your firm’s website can become scrambled, hard to read and difficult to navigate. That’s why Google’s search algorithm strongly favors mobile-friendly sites.
2. Visual stability is also key. Hand-in-hand with the updated mobile version of your website is the need to eliminate dynamic images and other graphic elements as much as possible. When crawling a website, if the the text or images move, Google may penalize the site because it sees these elements as impairing its usability. This is because it can lead to visitors clicking on things not wanted such as links or even the buy button--a frustrating and very negative experience!
3. Intrusive elements like pop-up ads. Another annoying UX (user experience) factor that can come into play when visiting a website is experiencing pop up ads. Google considers elements like these disruptive to the user’s ability to get the information they need, so these will also play a factor in your website’s overall ranking.
4. Page loading speed is another critical issue. Do you know how long it takes for the pages to load on your existing website? As you might guess, Google prefers a speedy page loading timeframe (Who doesn’t?). It’s important to recognize, too, that there are actually two categories of webpage speed: 1) Contentful Paint (FCP) and 2) DOMContent Loaded (DCL).
FCP is the speed at which the first wave of information loads on your site and DCL is how quickly the rest of the page(s) load (in very basic terms). A good FCP score is less than one second, a good DCL score is two seconds or less. Google itself aims for 0.5 seconds per page overall. There are many factors which affect this ranking element such as image size, the platform your website is built on, etc. Unless you have the time and technical desire to research this area, it is usually better to outsource the tasks of optimizing your site load speed to a web developer or website management company for expertise in improving your site’s page speed.
5. First Input Delay (FID). Another improvement from a UX perspective that is included in the Google Core update is a measurement of First Input Delay (FID). According to Google, FID “measures the time from when a user first interacts with your site (i.e. when they click a link, tap on a button, or complete a form) to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction.” With this new update sites with a FID of mere milliseconds will be ranked higher.
6. Safe browsing is a priority for Google. Another important factor in the search ranking of your site is Google’s assessment of its safety for visitors. With this update Google will be searching websites for malware, phishing and social engineering. Google will also be looking for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which is “Protocol for web browsers and servers that allows for the authentication, encryption and decryption of data sent over the Internet,” as defined by digicert.com.
Having SSL or HTTPS encryption makes your site more secure and will boost your Google ranking. It is key to check this out! If your site gets flagged when you search for it as insecure, or when you land on the page there is a warning or your url does not have https:// at the beginning you have work to do! Make this a priority because if the site is labeled as not being secure, you will be penalized for it by Google’s Core update.
Despite any negative impact Google's new update may have on your firm’s online niche strategy, there’s no denying the fact that it will benefit users exploring the web (including yourself!). Take this opportunity to give your firm’s site a makeover, keeping the objectives of a safer, more organized and faster search experience in mind.
If you need help optimizing your firm’s website to minimize the negative impact of the Google Core update, consider scheduling a complimentary website review session with The Bona Fide Business Suite team. We’ll help you evaluate and update your website, SEO, and content strategy to leverage the Google Core update to your firm’s niche marketing advantage.