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Performance
2 min

Google to penalize slow, user “unfriendly” sites

by Michael O'Laughlin July 16, 2020
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Providing an optimal page experience for users has always been important. If you want to keep your audiences engaged and coming back, you have to offer them fast page loads, compelling interactivity and intuitive navigation. And soon, your site’s usability will have a direct impact on your Google search ranking.

Google recently announced an update coming to its ranking algorithm that will take into account page experience and reward sites with better usability by ranking them higher in search results. Mobile friendliness and load speed are already included in current rankings; however, Google also recently introduced Core Web Vitals, which expands the metrics it takes into account related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability when measuring a site’s user experience.

Luckily, Google has always provided a way to test your site’s pages with PageSpeed Insights or with an audit tool in the Chrome browser. Testing our clients’ sites with these tools is a standard practice of ours. During recent routine testing, we noticed that, as far back as 5/29/2020, these tools were taking the upcoming ranking changes into account when scoring pages. The current list of measurements and opportunities for the performance audits can be found here. They provide critical insight and help site owners uncover gaps in their experiences.

Google has said that because of COVID-19, the update to search rankings will not happen before next year. It has also promised to provide at least six months’ notice before the updates are rolled out. Now would be a great time to identify improvement opportunities and create a plan for enhancing your page experience before the new algorithm is at play. One North can help by taking an audit of your site, identifying recommended improvements and developing a roadmap that prioritizes and tackles the updates.

Contact your account manager or one of our client development directors today to get started and protect (or improve) your Google search ranking.

Michael O'Laughlin

As Director, QA & Managed Applications, Michael is responsible for delivering One North digital experiences to clients and creating both web applications and custom data integration solutions. Michael’s favorite Chicago spot is the United Center, watching the Hawks in the playoffs.

Favorite movie quote: “Great moments…are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game; not tonight.” – Miracle

What you wanted to be when you were little: A firefighter

Key Takeaways
  1. Google recently announced an update coming to its ranking algorithm that will take into account page experience and reward sites with better usability by ranking them higher in search results.
  2. Because of COVID-19, the update to search rankings will not happen before next year, and Google will provide at least six months’ notice before the updates are rolled out.
  3. Now is a great time to identify improvement opportunities and create a plan for enhancing your page experience before the new algorithm is at play.
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