How Professional Website Design Helps You Thrive After 2021’s Big Google Changes

Google is the #1 search engine of all time, delivering 3.5 billion searches per day in 2019.

That number has only risen since then, of course, with extra hours spent inside contributing to a sharp increase throughout 2020. The only other website in the search ecosystem with comparable reach is YouTube, a Google subsidiary, which hosts 1 billion video watches daily.

When Google makes tweaks to its core search algorithm, the entire internet is affected. Changes to search functionality impact the whole Android universe, YouTube, e-commerce, and local businesses. For years, digital marketers struggled to monitor and respond to these tectonic shifts.

Over the last five years, the Big G has tended to prefer gradual, continuous changes to the massive algorithm updates of yore. But businesses still need to be prepared for sweeping overhauls when they happen: As long as Google maintains its dominance in the market, the search engine world is its sandbox.

This is why businesses of all sizes and industries need to be concerned about the latest news.

A new page ranking model called Page Experience is on its way.

And it stands to make professional website design even more crucial.

What Is Google Page Experience?

Google Page Experience is a fresh way of looking at improving the user experience on your website.

It will consolidate some familiar search ranking factors while adding a few more.

Google has been tinkering around the edges of search for a while now, looking for the most effective ways to measure user experience – broadly, how easy it is for your website visitors to achieve their goals. In general, a better user experience has always been a wise idea. Now, it will be pivotal.

Under the Page Experience umbrella, website owners will find seven metrics. Some, like Mobile-Friendly, are familiar: Google has expected pages to be mobile compatible since back in 2016. Others are more esoteric, like Visual Stability, or are updated takes on previous requirements, like Safe Browsing.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these and what they mean:

1. Mobile-Friendly

A website is considered mobile-friendly if it is easy to navigate and use on a smartphone or tablet. The best way to ensure your website qualifies as mobile-friendly is to use a responsive theme. Responsive websites adjust automatically to the smaller display size and input layouts of a mobile device.

2. Safe Browsing

Google’s Safe Browsing program automatically warns users when they visit sites that might be compromised by hackers or malicious software. Webmasters using Google products such as Google Analytics also receive a warning and various tools that can help them investigate the underlying issue.

3. HTTPS Security

HTTPS Security is a ranking signal that represents compliance with business-class encryption standards. An HTTPS website uses advanced methods to protect user data. HTTP Security is not limited to websites that process payments or provide access to especially sensitive kinds of data – all websites can use it.

4. No Intrusive Interstitials

Interstitial refers to pop-up windows and banners that substantially obscure a page’s content when viewed on a mobile device. Large interstitials may only be used for legal purposes such as cookie policy or age verification. An interstitial for any other purpose must use a “reasonable” amount of screen space.

Since these three metrics pertain to all website pages, they’re known as Core Web Vitals:

5. Loading Speed

Loading speed is now built around the concept of Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This is a measure of the time it takes for a page’s primary content to load. For positive ranking effects, LCP should be 2.5 seconds or faster. An LCP reading of four seconds or more is considered Poor.

6. Interactivity

Interactivity is measured according to First Input Delay (FID). That’s the amount of time it takes for a website to “become interactive,” i.e. the delay between the time the user requests the page and the time links, buttons, and other elements activate. An ideal result is under 100 milliseconds.

7. Visual Stability

Visual Stability is measured in Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), the amount of unexpected movement in a page’s visual content after the page loads. Visual instability is a prime indicator of a poorly designed website. It can be distracting and confusing for users.

Google Is Experimenting With Visual Indicators For Superior Page Experience

It’s not unusual for Google to revise its standards, so why is this example so important?

Most search engine updates go on behind the scenes. Results pages change, but they don’t give any indication to the end-user about what has changed or why. The difference in user behavior is indirect: They still have the power to scroll as far down in search results as they wish.

With Google Page Experience, all that is poised to change.

Google is experimenting with ways to visually indicate how well a website scores on Core Web Vitals from right on the results page. This is likely to spark a more significant change in browsing patterns, so websites with low Core Web Vitals scores lose out to those with higher ones on the same list of results.

That presents a bigger problem: Lots of Core Web Vitals are related to the basic techniques and technologies used in your website design. Especially if your website is older, you may need to significantly upgrade your website design to capture the best search engine positions.

Google Page Experience was slated to go live in May 2021. Odds are that, as you read this, it is already affecting the search performance of your website. Refreshing your website design with professional help is critical to success.

Amateur Web Design Holds Businesses Back With Technical Glitches And More

Over the last few years, some businesses have looked for ways to save money on website design and maintenance. “What You See Is What You Get”-style website builders have become all too common. These brands call themselves the solution to website building woes, promising anyone can do it.

For results that will help you build a winning reputation, though, you need a professional website design.

Website builders may look sleek and simple, but they are disappointing in terms of what they have to offer:

  • You’re limited in appearance and layout options, leading to “samey-looking” websites
  • You only get to use whatever lead capture and contact features the builder supports
  • Website builders often have poor user experience, long load times, and lax security
  • You can easily end up paying a steep premium for a whole slew of “add-on” features

When you use a website builder, it’s a little bit like going to a restaurant and buying a sandwich piece by piece. The pictures on the menu might look impressive, but by the time you’ve paid a surcharge for the cheese, the lettuce, the tomato, and the onion, you’ll usually find yourself asking, “Where’s the beef?”

Even If Your Website Has Been Around For Years, It’s Not Too Late For Professional Website Design

Here’s a question many business owners ask: Is it too late for professional website design to make a difference?

Think of the beautiful shells you can find along the shore here in Florida. Every one of them was once home to a living creature. That creature grew and changed over time, and eventually needed to look for a new shell to serve as its home. Not having a shell wasn’t an option, just like not having a website isn’t an option today.

As you grow, you can sometimes rearrange your website and make it work for you.

But sometimes, you need a new shell.

The indispensable thing to remember about getting your website redesigned professionally is that you won’t lose any of the progress you’ve made. If you have some articles with especially lofty positions in relevant search results, you will preserve those ranks as long as you are using the same domain name.

Outside that one caveat, things can get really interesting.

Web developers can restructure your website inside and out, making it faster, more visually compelling, and easier to use. In the end, that means better outcomes with Google ranking factors like Core Web Vitals and superior long-term performance – especially compared to competitors who cut corners on their website design.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Five Ways Expert Website Design Will Transform Your Online Presence

1. Better Security And Regulatory Compliance

Highly regulated industries can face major fines over a data breach. Security expectations are rising across other parts of the economy, too. Today’s website development toolkit includes security that adheres to the highest standards for consumer financial data and other private information your website uses.

2. Faster, More Enjoyable Customer Experience

To positively influence customer behavior, you must smooth the path. Clearing away as many obstacles as possible is key. Web design pros know how to walk through your current workflows, streamline them dramatically, and make them more enticing with strategic use of social proof and trust signals.

3. More Engaging And Visually Oriented Content

Even the savviest consumers have a limited tolerance for text. Research shows that even at the best of times, they scan instead of reading. Visual content drives deeper comprehension and longer recall for the main ideas within your message. That’s valuable if you’re sharing complex information.

4. Effective Lead Generation Built Into Your Website

One of the core principles of modern website design is to communicate, turning prospects into leads and leads into customers. Every piece of content should serve a conversion goal. Even if you already have thousands of pages, your design team can tie them into an overall lead generation strategy that meets your needs.

5. Future-Proofing Your Website For Tomorrow’s Unknowns

If your website is ten years old or more, it is from an era before digital marketing truly came into its own. Website designers of the time may have done their best, but it was hard to predict how online interactions would shape our lives in the future. These days, your website can be designed to last without looking like an antique.

When you’re feeling the temptation to defer investments in your website, that means it isn’t producing the business value it should. If your website ROI is 300%, spending on it becomes a much more pleasant errand! New York Ave brings best practices in modern website design to Central Florida businesses like yours.

Finally, you can get a Fortune 100-caliber website – and results to match – without a Fortune 100 budget.

To learn more or get started, contact us today. We are here to help you excel.

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