So you have a cool website, such as a blog or an e-commerce site, but you want to appear on people’s Google search results. When your Site appears on a Google search listing, this will provide you with free traffic to your Site. Having this ‘Organic’ traffic will eliminate much of the need to pay for advertisement, saving you a boatload of money. But how to go about this? There is something called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a sort of criteria that Google uses to know if your website can answer a user’s search request. There are many ways to have good SEO, one of which is to have a well-structured document. When you write your page, you need to have the proper tags/metadata that explain to Google what your Site, or a particular page, is about. If Google can know this, it can decide whether this page satisfies the user’s request.
Google also checks how many other high-quality sources are referencing your page, meaning someone else links to your page. They check both who links to your page, and what pages you link to, to determine if you are a high-quality source. Think of this as writing a research paper. If you have many sources cited, and other research papers have you cited, you could be seen as a credible source. This, of course, comes with time and is something you should strive for in the long run. But this is only part of the battle to optimizing your Site. There can be many other competitors out there that have the same content or items for sale. So how do you stand out?
Recently Google came out with something called Web Vitals. These are the metrics they use in their algorithms to determine whether your Site is of high quality. These metrics are around how quickly your Site loads the appropriate content, as well as how much jitteriness there is to the page load. What I mean by jittery is that your page loads, and you see a lot of content constantly shift as new images and text loads. Removing jitteriness is essential because users tend to click on unintended links as the layout shifts, which is looked down upon. I’m sure you have clicked on a marketing banner by accident once or twice, which pushed you off the page.
To figure out if your page is optimized for consumption, Google looks at three metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – How long it takes for the user to see the content
- First Input Delay (FID) – How long it takes the user to interact with the content
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – How hard is it for the user to interact with the content
We now know how Google determines if our Site is a good source to answer the user questions. It should be easy now to make sure we follow the rules and that our content and Site are both relevant and optimized, but how do we go about this?
Google makes it relatively easy to find ways to optimize your Site. You can use this tool they created to score and get suggestions and improvements for your site. They will provide tips on how to go about fixing them relative to the above 3 criteria, but for a summary you can read below.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
First Input Delay (FID)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
That’s about it. As you are developing your pages, keep the above three criteria in mind, and you should have more traffic coming in soon.
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