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Latest news on Google’s March algorithm update

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced its new ‘Core Web Vitals’ update to help improve the way it evaluates the overall user experience of a site. The three new Core Vitals include loading time, interactivity and visual stability.

So far, YMYL (your money, your life) websites seem to be doing well off of the back of this which isn’t a great surprise given the other recent Google updates.

While we’re still witnessing the effect of the main update in March, just last week Google announced further updates to this new algorithm.

How the algorithm will be specifically measuring user experience

As we know from the main update in March, these new Core Vitals are putting user experience at the forefront of the algorithm.

Similar to the ‘Medic’ update in 2018, this new Core update has massively impacted, both positively and negatively, a large number of sites. However, unlike the Medic update, which mainly focused on E-A-T content, this new update is looking at a website’s usability.

With this latest information, we now have a clearer idea of how and what this includes. The new update will be looking at the following in terms of how it ranks the user experience of a site:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Load time
  • Safe browsing
  • Stability of content
  • HTTPS
  • Interstitials

With these in mind, it should make planning these changes ahead of the smaller updates noticeably easier.

AMP requirement scrapped for Top Stories carousel

As of April, in response to COVID-related content, Google made a change to its Top Stories carousel so search results would provide both AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and non-AMP stories. This meant that smaller publications, such as local news sites, would be featured.

Fast-forward to today and Google has decided to make this update permeant meaning that it will no longer require sites to be an AMP to feature.

This will be a factor when considering load time for pages and or websites and is something that developers or editors of content-based sites should be planning for.

Core Web Vitals can now be measured without Chrome UX Report

When Google announced this Core Vitals update, the new requirements were only measurable using the Chrome UX report. However, and luckily for some of us, Google is adding measuring capabilities to its existing tools. Now, you can measure these Core Vitals using the following:

  • Search Console
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Lighthouse
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Chrome UX Report
  • Web Vitals Extension

There will also be some new tools including a Chrome plugin for evaluating Core Web Vitals. On top of this, Google is also working with other third-party tool and extensions providers too.

Timeframes for when these updates will be happening

Where we’re used to Google just unexpectedly surprising us with massive changes, they are instead rolling these changes out slowly. Given the COVID-19 situation, Google has recognised the need to be more lenient. They’re essentially giving everyone a ‘head start’ with the relevant tools so that no immediate action needs to be taken. It is expected that these changes will be rolled out throughout the year instead of all at once.

Summary

With so much going on in the world, this latest update has been hit with a lot of criticism. However, Google has recognised this and is giving regular updates and notices to the changes it plans to make. Hopefully, this should give websites the time needed to invest and make any relevant changes to ensure that they benefit from the newest algorithm.

Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Author
Morgan Mitchell
Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Author
Morgan Mitchell
 
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