Category Archives: Google Algorithm Update

Google’s Core Vitals Are Changing — Get Ahead of the Curve to Secure Your Rankings

Google’s Core Vitals Are Changing

Get Ahead of the Curve to Secure Your Rankings

In the ever-evolving online landscape, one factor has become increasingly critical in influencing search rankings: user experience. To evaluate user experience, Google relies on its Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that gauge real-life user experience by evaluating page speed, interactivity, and the visual stability of web pages. However, Google’s Core Vital’s are changing.

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One such metric, First Input Delay (FID), has long been the standard for determining page load responsiveness. However, a seismic shift is on the horizon as Google announced it’s preparing to replace FID with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) in March 2024. 

Understanding the Shift from FID to INP

FID measures how fast a website responds when a user clicks a button or interacts with other elements on the page. This metric specifically focuses on the initial interaction and assesses the speed at which the site reacts to the user’s input.

INP is similar, but it doesn’t just measure response time after a button is clicked. Instead, it looks at the overall responsiveness and interactivity— how long it takes the website to react after a user clicks, fulfill the user’s request, and display the updated result. Unlike FID, which concentrates on the initial interaction, INP encompasses all interactions throughout a user’s journey on a webpage and identifies the interaction with the longest delay.

Moving from FID to INP will give Google a more comprehensive view of how interactive and responsive a website is. Essentially, the smoother and faster a website works, the better the user experience—and the more worthy it is of being ranked higher in search results. 

Implications for Search Rankings

This upcoming change underscores Google’s commitment to prioritizing a seamless user experience—and given the early announcement, it’s likely to have a significant impact on search rankings. It’s essential to take proactive steps before the update rolls out in March to stay ahead of the curve.

Websites that have already been optimized for INP are unlikely to encounter any changes to rankings. However, websites that have prioritized FID optimization will need to pivot towards INP, which demands a broader focus on responsiveness throughout the entire user session.   

Recommendations for Preparing for the INP Era

Here are some crucial steps to take to prepare your website for the shift from FID to INP:

  1. Upgrade Server Environments: Evaluate and upgrade your server environment if needed, especially if you’re using hosting services with minimal resources, like GoDaddy. A robust server infrastructure is essential to handle the increased demands of INP.
  1. Evaluate Interactivity: Assess and improve interactivity beyond the initial page load. This includes optimizing transitions between pages and addressing issues like slow-loading images.
  1. Real User Measurements (RUM): Enable Real User Measurements monitoring to collect field data on INP. This data is invaluable for understanding user interactions and identifying optimization opportunities.
  1. Analyze INP Data: Do a deep dive into INP data to pinpoint areas that require optimization. Focus on reducing input delay, streamlining processing time, and minimizing presentation delays. To provide a good user experience and meet Google’s Core Web Vitals criteria, your INP needs to be below 200 milliseconds.
  1. Optimization Recommendations: Implement strategies such as breaking up JavaScript tasks, minimizing DOM interactions, reducing timers, and limiting third-party code.

For some websites, this may require updating an older more code-heavy theme to improve load times.

Embracing the shift of Google’s Core Vitals

Transitioning from FID to INP is a strategic necessity for sustaining or boosting search rankings. As a precautionary measure, you should take a comprehensive approach to optimization by addressing not only technical aspects but also user-centric elements. Identifying what slows down your website’s responsiveness is key. Conduct tests, observe user interactions, and seek guidance from a web developer if needed.

So, by embracing the shift to INP and proactively optimizing your website, you can ensure a positive user experience that aligns with the latest major update in Google’s evolving search ranking criteria. 

If you need guidance on navigating the shift from FID to INP for your website, Zenergy Works offers free initial consultations. Reach out to us today—we’re here to support your online success. 

Google My Business: Vicinity Update

A new Google Algorithm update, currently referred to as the Vicinity Update, which primarily affects Google My Business Listings, was rolled out by Google between approximately November 30th and December 8th of 2021. Google confirmed the update on December 16th.

The primary effect that this update has had on rankings is that proximity to the search has become a more important factor, making it more difficult for a business to rank for searches far away from their business location. Previously, this could be accomplished through the use of keywords within the listing and creating strong rankings in SERP (search engine results page) in locations farther away from the location of the business.

At about the same time that the Vicinity update was released, Google made design changes to the local pack, or listing of Google My Business Listings in SERP. The redesigned results will feature a list of three results on the left with a map on the right. The old design—which features three results below a map, has been in place since at least 2016.

Google’s guidelines have not changed much, the algorithm determines SERP results based on relevance, distance, and prominence. Google also suggests that in order to boost visibility, local businesses should:

  • Verify locations
  • Add photos
  • Manage and respond to reviews
  • Enter complete data

As always, Google’s intent with the update is to improve search results for local search. Unfortunately, many local businesses have suffered because of the algorithm change. To survive and thrive, local businesses will have to continue to adapt to the landscape and closely adhere to the guidelines in order to achieve sustainable search success. 

Please reach out to us directly at www.zenergyworks.com if you have any questions on this or any other SEO or digital marketing questions. We will always do our best to help.

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