Roundup of Google updates from November 2021
With Blackfriday & Cyber Monday being two major online retailing moments in November, what better time for Google to have rolled out their core update?
Published byAlexis Pratsides
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday being two major online retailing moments in November, what better time for Google to have rolled out their core update?
Let’s take a look at the user-focused factors concerning organic rankings, as well as the changes Google’s making to their search results pages and updated guidelines for ecommerce webmasters.
The core update rollout
The update was rolled out and implemented over a 1-2 week period, causing organic ranking fluctuation – during the busiest online retailing period of the year!
Google has been quite transparent with their latest changes. John Mueller dissects factors concerning the November update, through their Youtube Google Search News Update.
Here are the main factors to consider, with this update:
Again, Google has already spoken and acted upon this in previous updates. With the protocol offering user’s end to end encryption, ensuring your site offer’s both a HTTPS and an up to date SSL certificate will improve web security. This is a major trust signal that not only Google wants to see, but it can play a major conversion factor for users looking to exchange sensitive information online.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The LCP metric measures the time it takes to present users the largest available content on-screen.
It’s great to consider this metric when developing web pages – but it’s also important to know that this metric only takes into account content above the webpage fold. This ultimately considers content presented to users prior to any user interaction.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS is a measure of the instability of content by summing shift scores across layout shifts that don’t occur within 500ms of user input. To break it down granularly, here are some common causes of poor CLS:
- Ads, embeds, and iframes without dimensions
- images without dimensions
- Actions waiting for a network response before updating DOM
- Web fonts causing FOIT/FOUT
- Dynamically injected content
First Input Delay (FID)
FID is a core metric that captures a user’s first impressions of a site’s interactivity and responsiveness. It measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction.
Continuous scrolling comes to search on mobile
Google have scrapped their individual search engine result pages for mobile, and have introduced a continuous scroll functionality for search – a bit like social news feeds! Depending on how users adapt to this new functionality, this may have big implications for organic rankings
With a continuous scroll, users no longer have to physically engage in activating page 2,3,4, etc, but will now be given the ability to view up to page 4 results in one listing. For sites that don’t currently rank on page one for particular keywords, this is a great opportunity for improved organic visibility.
For Google, this could possibly mean click-through rates will play a stronger ranking signal, for search engine results pages, as users will be presented a wider more accessible scope of results. Balanced against variables such as on-page interactions and bounce rates, this new initiative could be a sign of even more augmented importance on user interaction-based data to depict rankings.
Google has announced they intend to add the same continuous scroll functionality for users as of February 2022.
Google updated their ecommerce guide
Google has updated their ecommerce guide for webmasters and developers. The guide outlines pointers and best practices to take into account when considering ecommerce SEO into web development and planning.
The bulk of the topics span from Where ecommerce content can appear on Google to Pagination, incremental page loading, and their impact on Google search.
How these updates may affect you
These updates broadly speaking (industry dependent) wouldn’t be considered be all or end all SEO factors. Saying that, they should be seen as minor signals you should reflect upon and analyse against your website, to see if these factors would affect you.
Whether a lead generation or ecommerce business, these factors won’t dictate your ability to rank organically but should serve as an indication of how Google’s looking to shape their user’s search experience. A focus on user experience within these updates should be a clear indicator that Google will be implementing more and more user-centric signals to consider as organic search ranking factors.
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