Factors in Google Ranking that will Change Search this 2021: AMP, E-A-T, and Core Web Vitals
When it comes to the practice of SEO, which of Google’s fresh ranking factors could influence the practice of SEO and which would eventually fade away?
This year, the biggest update of Google is what they referred to as the Page Experience. A part of this update is the Core Web Vitals which is why it is vital to keep it in mind especially whenever you have to optimize images.
When it comes to getting the feature “Top Stories” on mobile, AMP may no longer be the only way to achieve this. From the year 2021, it can be possible for any kind of news to turn into a “Top Story.”
In a combination of the operational costs and privacy concerns of the AMP, it may lead to the disappearance of the AMP in several years.
As of the moment, E-A-T is not among the ranking factors, but we are unaware if this will eventually turn into one.
2020 has been a historical year as history keeps on happening to everyone all over the world. This year, Google continues to have its search algorithms revamped. There have been many updates in the algorithm for the past years because Google kept on working to keep the people on their toes. The year 2020 is not different as everything fell in one swoop. People got news about the AMP and the update on Page Experience. There was even a debate regarding the need for E-A-T with ranking. What is the stand of the Core Web Vitals as changes undergo in the search game of this 2021?
Let’s check out every innovation to see which would eventually end up fading into obscurity and which ones could change how people conduct SEO.
The relevance of AMP may be an open question. Even if it has always been wonderful in increasing the speed of a page quickly and easily, there have been concerns regarding privacy that people voiced repeatedly since the inception of this technology.
This 2020, there have been significant changes within the same update in Page Experience. According to an announcement by Google, people are no longer required to make AMP pages so they can occupy the SERP feature “Top Stories.”
That announcement has been a significant step for anyone who has been attempting to accrue as many features in SERP especially for websites about the current news.
Ways Rankings Get Influenced by AMP
According to the words of John Mueller, AMP is not a factor in ranking. It may appear simple and plain but things are not that simple in reality. That is because AMP has a lot of significant gains when it comes to the speed of the page which is a vital factor in ranking.
Because of the pre-rendering of AMP in combination with some severe limitations in design, AMP webpages usually win for page speed, but they rarely rank as is.
However, the SERP feature, “Top Stories,” has been beneficial to the use of an AMP for news agencies that have websites. People can easily understand this since most of the page gets occupied by the results of the “Top Stories.”
The “Top Stories” don’t just automatically rank at the top of the SERP. They are also sporting the logo of the website that posts them which allows them to stand out more from the SERP with a blue-link that appears old and boring.
Because of this, news websites may end up getting forced to using the AMP to be in the mobile’s SERP feature “Top Stories” since this is absorbing tons of clicks.
Yet, providing support to the web pages’ AMP versions may require many resources since you work on the maintenance of a wholly unique version of your existing website.
Moreover, a well-optimized page for speed may not need the AMP to get gains in speed as well.
Despite the fact that it may be difficult to imagine the complete disappearance of the AMP in the next several years, the maintenance cost and privacy concerns associated with it may end up spelling its end as a practice that people use widely.
Since the “Top Stories” is now available to pages that are non-AMP, there may be no reason to have the security of users’ jeopardized for gains in speed which you can have through proper optimization.
E-A-T stand for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. These words are all positively perfect and is something that people should strive to achieve in their lives professionally. However, what does it have to do with SEO?
Straight from the Quality Rater Guidelines of Google, E-A-T became the topic of the industry for quite some time now. Let’s check out how these may change the ways search gets optimized.
Ways E-A-T can influence the rankings
· This may not apply for a lot of people.
The ranking process of Google gets great insights from the Quality Rater Guidelines. Yet, among the less essential factors that people need to focus on is E-A-T as these concepts can be abstract and nebulous. Aside from that, Google is not interested for people to focus on this.
· According to the official representatives of Google, E-A-T is not a ranking factor.
After getting a lot of follow-up queries, John Mueller of Google reiterated and Google’s search engineering VP, Ben Gnomes confirmed that the rankings of a page don't get directly influenced by the quality raters.
Yet people usually see that the YMYL websites are not ranking despite establishing some authority and expertise. One of the popular examples is the impossibility of virtually ranking a website that provides medical advice when there is no actual doctor creating the articles.
The issue here is that the website’s trustworthiness, expertise, and authority may not get interpreted by search algorithms easily as they only understand the code.
Google does not have a way that will definitely allow them to have the signals transformed into rankings aside from the quality raters’ feedback which gets completed before every update in the algorithm.
Even if the use of E-A-T to make websites rank may appear to be inarguably beneficial for any searcher, there are still several concerns that may not get solved quite easily. This includes who will be the one to determine the E-A-T signals and to which standard will these be according to?
Having these factors introduced would create a system wherein they punish the rankings of newer and smaller websites since they don’t have enough trustworthiness as this may not be realistic for them to acquire.
On the side of the search engine, providing a response to any of the said concerns may need some effort and time. E-A-T may not be something the people have to always remember as they do SEO operations daily.
Imagine a scenario wherein the SEO expert and webmaster has enough free time. They may consider to work on the E-A-T so they can stay well ahead of their competitors.
Yet, there is not enough proof that Google actually uses E-A-T or if these signals can be significant factors in ranking if they use it. Because of that, it would be better to not consider E-A-T as a priority more than the traditional tasks in SEO which includes technical optimization and link building.
Take into consideration the whole Quality Rater Guidelines that has around 168 pages. Getting an explanation of E-A-T that is comprehensive enough including why it may get calculated specifically may need so much more pages compared to that.
A part of the update in Page Experience was the Core Web Vitals. So far, this was the one that could cause a lot of problems.
With the Core Web Vitals, there are a lot of things that people may need to learn about it. This can boil down to three of the most significant concerns on web pages:
· Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS
This is a measurement of how much of the page’s content jumps as the content loads. This mostly involves visual content after it opens.
· Largest Contentful Paint or LCP
It deals with the speed of the page’s biggest single object when it comes to loading.
· First Input Delay or FID
This involves the page’s reaction time to the first input of the user after they either press, tap, or click any keys.
Ways Core Web Vitals Can Influence the Rankings
There are SEO experts that think the whole update on Page Experience may not be that special as it has the possibility to distract from their core mission which involves storytelling and communication.
A significant part of the update on Page experience may involve the assembly of the things that people have been aware of for quite some time now. This includes control in the page speed, mobile-friendliness, use of HTTPS, among others.
Yet, the Core Web Vitals may be different as there are ways which are unexpected that it can influence the practice of SEO. Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS is the key factor that is now changing the rankings.
Just like what a lot of the SEO experts know for quite sometime now, a vital part of optimizing images involves the use of the <img>tag’s <decoding=async> attribute. This helps in avoiding the loss of page speed while the page gets rendered.
The use of the <decoding=async> has the possibility of creating pages that are too problematic if the coders were not able to specify the width and height of every image that needs to get rendered. There have been websites that were able to do this. One of them is Wikipedia as a lot of the site’s pages have a space for images got created and pre-defined in advance.
However, SEO experts wouldn’t need to worry about the pages getting too jumpy as this did not influence any of the rankings. Since there is now a formal announcement that CLS is a factor for ranking, things would eventually change for a lot of SEO experts and websites.
Nowadays, it is vital to ensure that each web page undergoes coding with the consideration of the CLS. The space that each image needs has to get defined in advance to avoid shifts with the layout.
In the overall, it may definitely be too early to decide as there is a lot of work needed from SEOs all over the web. Whenever you are not used to focus on the SEO’s technical side, your daily work may not become influenced by Core Web Vitals turning into signals for ranking.
Whenever you’re conducting SEO that appears highly complicated and technical, Core Web Vitals can surely make changes in the way people work in ways that are unexpected.
The Vitality of Core Web Vitals
This year, the most essential news about ranking that came out in terms that are quite practical. Despite that, search can be a field that is highly volatile. Things that worked in the past couple of weeks may no longer be effective today. What works for you now may not be great for a lot of people.
The matters end up getting more complicated as people are fighting a battle unevenly. It is not in the best interest of search engines to provide the picture of the way ranking works in detail unless we have it abused.
That is the reason why it is vital to always and remember the changes and news about optimization that happens everyday. Because of the SEO community’s consistent efforts to work out which is the best way to get to the top of the rankings, it would eventually become possible for people to have that gap closed and become aware of the paramount trends so we can let ourselves overlook.
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