Search engines have become such a central part of all our lives that it’s difficult to remember what we did before they existed. In the early days of the internet, search tools were primitive in the extreme: who remembers Archie or Gopher? Even Tim Berners-Lee’s WWW Virtual Library and Yahoo which it spawned weren’t really search engines: they were catalogues of relevant links assembled by humans. In the 1990s after the short-lived success of WebCrawler, the number of new search engines proliferated but it was Google that became dominant because Google got it right.
The days of simply stuffing websites with keywords were over. Google’s PageRank assessed the relevancy of webpages to any given search not just by the presence of the search terms but by the number of pages that linked to it. That became the truest measure of a site’s significance and Google has been honing this approach ever since.
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Google has always sought to prioritise the user’s experience, through its algorithmic development, new features and SERP (search engine results pages) format changes. It’s the only search ethos that makes sense. But it does mean that achieving the highest rankings has become an advanced skill. For example, if you’re trying to attract customers who are looking for SEO services in Colchester, featuring the keywords on their own will get you nowhere.
Over the years, Google’s updates have focused on various issues: verifiable authority and expertise; the responsiveness of websites on mobile platforms including ease of navigation; the ability of machine learning to predict users’ behaviour; and even the preferential ranking of mobile sites.
Google never stands still, which is a headache for anyone trying to keep up, but means the search experience continues to improve in every way. The 2021 algorithm update includes Page Experience. This brings together all of Google’s innovations so far, including acknowledgement of safe browsing and mobile-friendliness as well as a distinctly unforgiving stance on intrusive pop-ups. It also analyses site loading speeds, interactivity and visual stability. These benchmarks are collectively known as Web Vitals.
The effect of Page Experience is to make every aspect of user interaction significant. While a number of these factors are already known to be important, like loading speed, taken together they represent the biggest shake-up yet of Google’s search experience.
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But that doesn’t mean the only way to meet this challenge is to fix these essentially technical issues. You’ll need to do that too, but you must never lose sight of the old enduring cliché that content is king. As Google themselves have said: “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.” Well-written, clearly argued, authoritative content is essential for making sure you hit those rankings. It’s true that if a dozen competing websites carry similarly effective text then it’s the ones which have truly embraced Google Page Experience that will come out on top.
At Pure Digital Internet, we stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we are the first choice for SEO services in Colchester. It’s our business to ride every wave of Google’s tide and take our clients with us.