10 Steps to Optimizing Your Website According to Google’s New Standards

If your business operates primarily online—like any eCommerce website—visibility is a priority. And the page experience update will affect that visibility. Plus, the user experience (UX) factors it includes, like the time it takes for your page to load and how smooth it is to navigate, play a crucial role in the customer journey. If the buying experience is seamless, people are more likely to complete their purchase, and even come back for more. This is Google’s primary focus with the last big update in May 2021. Our Calgary Web Design team has broken down and summarized in laymen terms, some of the main changes and how this affects our web designs going forward.

Prioritizing above the fold content (Largest Contentful Paint (LCP))

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a measurement of the time taken for the main element of a page to fully load. LCP is one of the metrics used to evaluate perceived website responsiveness and is an important component in determining first meaningful paint, which takes into account the time taken to download all of the critical resources required to render above the fold content. Ideally, this should load under 2.5 seconds.

Image optimization into webp

The newest update to Google’s Page Experience Update, has a big focus on speed and UX. One big change is the image optimization into webp images. This is an important aspect of website optimization in general because page speed plays a major role in SEO rankings. Google’s latest announcement is all about making pages faster by reducing the length of time it takes for a page to load and how easy it is for users to navigate through your site. This includes things like removing ads that are not relevant for each user’s device and creating a smoother transition from one page to another.

Prioritizing speed when choosing a web host

One of the biggest changes with this update is prioritizing speed. Webmasters should always prioritize speed when choosing a web host, but now it’s more important than ever. Sites that load quickly are ranked higher by Google and will have an increased chance of winning over their prospective customers.

Reducing animations, transitions and video

Great transitions and animations can serve many purposes. When used appropriately, they can help users understand what’s changing and why, improve the look and feel of your design, and make navigation more intuitive. But when in doubt, speed comes first and may override the desire for creating trendy, modern looks. Our apprach to animations and video is to only use them if they serve an evident purpose, otherwise images will always load faster. Even when using video, we recommend hosting offsite to reduce storage use.

Implementing lazy loading

Lazy loading is a new way to improve the UX on your site. Instead of loading all the content, like images and videos, at once, it loads them as you scroll down. This means that people don’t have to wait for content to load when they’re scrolling through your website if there are a lot of images and text. Lazy loading decreases page load time by up to 50%, so it’s important for SEO.

Reduce any unexpected page movements (Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS))

Google considers any unexpected scrolling or movement through your site as a change in layout. This can result in pages not loading, which can be frustrating for the user and make it harder to understand where they are on your site. In order to reduce CLS, keep the top of your page free of links, buttons and other elements that may cause unexpected changes in page layouts. Be sure to have an easily accessible navigation bar that you know will not introduce any of these problems.

Near perfect mobile and tablet responsiveness

A key update to the page experience is that pages need to be more responsive on mobile devices, and Google will rank higher pages with great UX. Google anticipates traffic coming from mobile devices, so it’s important that your website is a seamless user experience when viewed on any screen. To achieve this, Google recommends designing websites with a responsive web design. To get a sense of what this looks like, imagine if you had an app for your website—all content should flow easily and take up the entire screen. Web layouts that are not responsive will be penalized by Google.

6 Steps to turning your website design into your 24/7 salesperson

Your landing page is the face of your business. It represents the first impression that your customers will have of your brand and it’s the only way to get them through the front door. If you’re like most businesses, your landing pages are a critical part of your marketing strategy. They’re designed to do one thing: drive people towards a conversion. While it’s important for your landing page to be eye-catching and informative, it’s just as important that it answers any questions and responds to specific queries.

1. Strong Call-to-Action

Your landing page needs to have one thing: a strong call-to-action. Your potential customers need to understand what the next step they need to take is without confusion or ambiguity. If they aren’t immediately presented with an option to purchase, sign up, register or learn more, then you aren’t doing your job correctly.

2. Clean Design

Your landing page needs to be clean and uncluttered. You want it to be easily accessible for computers, tablets and smartphones. Visitors shouldn’t have to scroll left or right at all times in order to see everything on the page (in fact, I’d suggest that you limit scrolling as much as possible). Keep everything important above the fold when possible. Customers are more likely to buy from you when they aren’t distracted by flashy images or too many colors. The more work they have to do just to figure out what it is you want them to do, the less likely they are going to do it.

3. Clarify the Message

Make sure there is no doubt about what you are selling: don’t confuse them with multiple offers or choices. Keep it simple, straight forward, and focused on what you do best. When you try to be everything for everyone, you end up speaking to no one. The more confident people feel about your offer, the more likely they will be to take action. That means having compelling copy that communicates exactly what you do, why you’re better than your competitors, and why people should buy from you today. The copy must have a clear headline that describes what you’re offering and why it’s so great. 

4. Identify Your Value, Not Your Deal

Another thing to remember is that you don’t want to be too salesy when designing your landing page. Don’t use words like “offer” and “special,” because that can turn people away. Instead, focus on benefits instead of features, because this is what people are looking for. Identify how you’ll solve their problems and address their particular needs instead of flashing a sale sign.

5. Create Sustainable and Scalable Customer Journey Entry Points

Trying to create sustainable and scalable customer journey entry points for your audience is crucial to maintain consistent new visitors and grow your business. Depending on your industry and online behavior of your specific demographics, either SEO or social media might be the best lead generation tool. As soon as you find a process that works, putting rocket fuel on it through time or money invested must be possible to scale the business.

6. Search Engine Optimization

The search engine optimization (SEO) process involves optimizing a website so that it ranks higher in organic search results for relevant keywords and phrases. This is done through the various elements of a website including its content, links, online reviews, social media activity and more. Optimizing for search engines can be very complicated and time-consuming. It is also one of the best ways to attract new customers to your website. Google is constantly changing their algorithms, with 2021 updates prioritizing for internal page experience and speed.

Conclusion 

If your goal is to generate more leads and traffic for your business, then you need to start thinking from the customer’s point of view. You need to understand who they are and what they are looking for. Our Calgary web design company, JYZ Design, specializes in content messaging, professional design as well as conversion optimization when we develop websites.

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