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Changes coming to Google Search in June 2021

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Starting in mid-June through August, Google will be bringing page experience to Google Search. Things that make a website great to use — like page speed, stability, and mobile-friendliness — will be playing a contributing factor in how your website ranks on Google.

If you need help making any of these changes, we can do it for you! Godaddy’s Website Design Services can make sure your site is built using Google’s best practices.

What is Google Lighthouse?

Google Lighthouse is a development tool that can measure your website’s overall health. Each element that Google checks for factors into your site’s SEO performance. Here are the kinds of things that Google tests on your website:

Your performance score is made up of these key metrics.

  • First Contentful Paint is the time from the page starts loading to when any part of the page shows up on the screen.
  • Speed Index is how quickly content shows up when your website loads.
  • Largest Contentful Paint is how long it takes for the largest image or text block on your website to load.
  • Time to Interactive is how long it takes from when your page starts loading to when someone can interact with the loaded resources (like clicking another page or form)
  • Total Blocking Time is the total amount of time between First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Time to Interactive (TTI).
  • Cumulative Layout Shift is the total layout shift score for your entire website.

Here are three additional categories that Google measures:

  1. Loading time is how fast the main content on your page loads.
  2. Interactivity measures the time from when someone first clicks on your page to when the browser (like Google Chrome or Safari) begins processing that info.
  3. Visual stability means that your site is free of distracting or unexpected content like pop-up windows.

Your accessibility score is another important metric. It measures how accessible your site is to different kinds of people. Here are some examples of things Google checks for:

  • High contrast between your site background and your text
  • Captions on videos
  • Alt text on images

Google also grades sites on their overall SEO performance, adherence to best practices, and speed and reliability. Sites that get a high score across all these categories will perform better in Google Search.

So, what’s changing?

Google has always rewarded sites with good design and content. When this update goes live in June, Google will be incorporating user experience criteria, including Core Web Vitals — metrics measuring speed, responsiveness, and stability. Sites that meet these guidelines will be prioritized in Google Search. Let’s dive into each metric more deeply.

What are Core Web Vitals?

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures loading performance. Sites should aim to have an LCP of less than 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
  • The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures visual stability. Sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.
  • First Input Delay (FID) measures interactivity. Sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
Google search changes core web vitals
Source: Web.dev

Other search signals

  • Mobile-friendliness — The site is easy to view on a mobile phone. You can scan your site to see if it’s mobile-friendly here.
  • Safe browsing — The site doesn’t contain any malicious or deceptive content.
  • HTTPS — The page is served over HTTPS, which means the site connection is secure. This is achieved by adding an SSL to your website.
  • No intrusive interstitials — The content on the page is easy to access, without any distracting or unexpected content like pop-ups covering the main content.

Related: Everything you need to know about Google Core Web Vitals for small business

What does this mean for me?

Test your website using one of the Google tools below. Then, if certain scores on your website need attention, you can review the tips on how to impact top-contributing factors.

Remember: if your site doesn’t accommodate Google’s new requirements, it’s likely that your SEO ranking will suffer, and it will be harder to find your website online.

GoDaddy’s Website Design Services can make this simple by building or rebuilding your website for you. You’ll get a stunning professional website that is secure, mobile-friendly, and built with Google’s best practices and new requirements in mind. Request a call with our experts today.

Testing your Core Web Vitals

First, you’ll need to use one of these tools to measure your Core Web Vitals. The first on the list, Chrome User Experience Report, uses anonymous data to help website owners figure out how they’re doing without needing to install metrics tools. Imagine if you could take a census taken across thousands of websites — that data helps power these tools.

Chrome User Experience Report collects real, anonymized user measurement data for each Core Web Vital. This data enables site owners to quickly assess their performance without requiring them to manually insert analytics tracking on their pages. The data also powers tools like PageSpeed Insights and Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report.

Core web vitals screenshot

How to fix your website’s Core Web Vitals

General guidelines

The typical goal of a website for a business is to provide information to increase conversions, whether to generate more sales or to garner leads for a service, and a great design will only get you so far.

It’s critical to prioritize superior performance over a flashy design. Having a website with lots of dynamic features and animations (especially on mobile) can be impressive but might perform poorly. Ultimately, a solid site with reliable performance will always generate more leads than a site designed without performance in mind.

According to WPO Stats, here are some examples of why this is important:

Yelp statistics
Source: Yelp
Google search changes
Source: Google Chromium Blog

Making fixes

Fix everything labeled “Poor” first, since they’re the lowest-scoring parts of your site. Next, you can prioritize work by the issues that affect the most URLs on your site or by fixing the issues that affect your most important URLs. Anything you see labeled “Needs improvement” can be fixed but isn’t as crucial as the “Poor” label.

Fixing LCP (Largest Content Paint)

Did you know that the longer your page takes to load, the lower your conversion rate will be? Vodafone improved their LCP by 31%, resulting in an 8% increase in sales, a 15% increase in their lead to visit rate, and an 11% increase in their cart-to-visit rate.

The following items can contribute to a high LCP:

Slow resource load times

This is primarily impacted by the type of content you have on your site. You can use a tool like the developer console Performance tab in Google Chrome to identify how long each element on your page is taking to load and address it accordingly. Here are a few suggestions that will help improve your resource load times:

  1. Videos used as a design element, in headers or as a background, can add a lot of visual impact on your website but should be used sparingly and on desktop only, if possible. Default to images on mobile or tablet devices
  2. Be sparing with animation. Try to include videos only when they’re not resource-heavy. You should also only include videos that are critical to your site goals
  3. Optimize your images. Here are key ways to ensure your images are optimized:
    • Remove anything that isn’t relevant. If the visual isn’t there to serve a purpose, then it’s just increasing the size of your website without providing any additional value.
    • Compress your images. Make sure that your images are the right size for the content area. You can also use tools that are tailored to compression that will help retain image quality.
    • Convert to next-gen image web formats like WebP over JPEG. Next-gen images are formatted for compression and quality, helping website pages load faster while using fewer resources. Be sure you have a common version as a fallback (like JPEG) in case your visitors’ devices don’t support the modern format.
    • If you use varied sizes of the same image for different device situations, consider removing any large <srcset> images and keeping more common sizes. [Editor’s note: <srcset> defines the set of images the browser can choose from, and what size each image is when working with responsive images.]
    • Use lazy loading tools or code to delay loading images. This means that images won’t load until a user scrolls to that placement on the page.

Related: How to optimize images for the web

Slow server response time

There are several items that impact your server response time.

Lack of CDN (content delivery network): A CDN will help accelerate your content delivery, increasing your site speed, by reducing the amount of distance between your customer and the server that is providing the content for your website. When choosing a CDN, you will want to ensure it has PoPs (Points of Presence) located near or throughout the areas where you target customers the most.

If your database is too large and needs to be optimized, here are some items you can try to get better performance:

  • Remove page revisions that you no longer need. In some cases, a database could keep all your revisions of every change made, causing your performance to degrade over time. Pro tip: if you don’t want to continuously maintain your revision history, you can add code to your website specifying a specific number of revisions to keep.
  • If you don’t plan on using certain content, consider deleting pages and posts.
  • Keep your website tidy by removing spam and trashed comments.

Your hosting environment can play a key role here. You’ll want to make sure you choose a strong hosting environment that focuses on speed and performance.

Related: Building a server — home or hosted server?

Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS

To eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS, you’ll need to minify and combine CSS and JavaScript files where you can. Set JavaScript to load deferred so you won’t block any other content or asset downloads. This can slow down your site performance.

Optimize CSS delivery by building some tooling that will prioritize your critical CSS over content below the fold. Remove unused JavaScript too, as this will just create unnecessary bloat on your website. You can find more details on LCP here.

Fixing CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)

If you’ve ever gone to a website and been redirected by a sneaky ad, you’ve experienced poor CLS. This happens when a page shifts and causes a visitor to interact with an ad or pop-up by accident.

Google search changes poor cls

To avoid poor CLS, make sure your content has dimensions. Always include width and height attributes for images and videos so modern browsers can translate the aspect ratios for different devices. Without these elements, the content will be pushed around on the screen and can cause unpredictable shifts in your layout.

If you have ads or embeds on your website, specify the content container width and height to match the expectations of how the content should be displayed on your site. More details on CLS can be found here.

Fixing FID (First Input Delay)

First Input Delay is the amount of time between when a user interacts with your page and the browser responds to their interaction.

Google search changes poor FID

First Input Delay uses field data, real-world anonymized performance data, to measure the time between when a user interacts with your page and when the browser responds to that interaction.

FID is closely related to LCP. LCP is lab data (a simulated, though comparable experience) that measures how fast your page takes to load enough data to be interactable. This is called “painting” your site, hence Largest Content Paint.

FID is measuring how responsive your website is when customers try to interact with your painted page, like clicking your call to action (CTA) link or button.

The main factor affecting FID is heavy JavaScript execution. It’s key to break up the JavaScript work, serving up what the user needs when they need it.

For further improvements, you can use the Google Lighthouse to scan your website to receive a performance audit and fix any opportunities referenced. More details on how to optimize FID can be found here.

The changes coming to Google Search will present a challenge to many website owners. But, with some hard work, making the necessary fixes will pay off. Or, if you need some extra help, contact the SEO experts at GoDaddy.

Heather Rudnick contributed to this article.

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Tips from Google to make the most of the 2021 holiday shopping season

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Before looking ahead to this holiday shopping season, let’s take a quick look back at 2020, and what a year it was. Amid all the challenges came new opportunities and unprecedented growth for ecommerce. Emerging data offers insights into shifting consumer behavior and its positive impact on ecommerce.

The pandemic definitely triggered a shift to more online shopping. In fact, online sales in early spring of last year exceeded sales during the 2019 holiday season by 7%. Additional research shows ecommerce growth on hyperdrive, with 10 years of growth happening in just three months.

There’s more good news for online retailers: 39% of consumers say they’re buying more online now than they were a year ago. And 81% of consumers in surveyed countries across the globe say they’ve discovered new brands online during during COVID-19.

It’s clear that 2021 will continue to be a year of peak demand, making it a critical time to connect with your shoppers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for your business to be discoverable online this holiday season with help from GoDaddy and Google.

Get ready to reach more shoppers online

Google ad from ceramic plates

People shop across Google more than one billion times each day, searching for products just like yours. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with customers when and where they’re looking to make their holiday purchases.

With GoDaddy’s new Google channel, you can easily add your products to Google for free and promote them with a Smart Shopping campaign to drive traffic to your GoDaddy online store.

3 ways Google can help you prep for peak moments

Use these three free Google tools to gain greater insights into the current consumer mindset as shoppers gear up for the 2021 holiday season.

1. Explore what the world is searching for with Google Trends

explore what the world is searching

Google Trends lets you see in almost real-time what people are — or aren’t — looking for across Google Search, YouTube, Google Shopping, and Google Images. You can pinpoint where there’s growing interest in products and search terms to guide you in selecting which products to promote. Take new information about what your target market is searching for and incorporate these topics into your SEO and content marketing strategy.

2. Discover what shoppers are looking for

Most shoppers today are doing more research before purchasing.

Shopping Insights gives you information on what people are searching for on Google, related to products and brands.

It’s a guide filled with articles, data, and insights that can help you navigate three critical steps in today’s shopping journey: inspiration, research, and purchase.

3. Evaluate your retail website with Grow My Store

As people spend more time online, they have higher expectations from ecommerce websites and apps. With Grow My Store, you can analyze the customer experience on your site and pick up practical tips for how to improve. You can also see how your site stacks up against retailers in the same industry and find insights on market and consumer trends to help reach new customers.

With this holiday season ramping up, make sure to position your online business in the right spot with help from GoDaddy and Google.

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9 retail tips to increase in-store sales through on-site marketing

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Getting a customer to enter your retail store is a win, but it isn’t the ultimate goal. Your primary objective is having them walk in and walk out as a paying customer. To help you turn in-store browsers into buyers, consider these retail tips to increase in-store sales.

How to improve sales in a retail store

Before we dive into specific retail tips to increase in-store sales, let’s consider the strategies that can help you improve sales in a retail store. As you develop marketing ideas to increase in-store sales, ask yourself these three questions. 

  • What in-store assets can I leverage for on-site marketing?
  • How can you leverage omnichannel marketing?
  • How can you tie your marketing to the customer’s journey?

Let’s take a closer look at each question below.

1. What in-store assets can I leverage for on-site marketing?

As you think about how you can use these retail tips to increase in-store sales, start by considering what you have to work with. Take stock of the types of in-store marketing that are available to you.

  • Print signage
  • Digital signage and video screens
  • Kiosks
  • Live product demos
  • WiFi marketing
  • Overhead messaging
  • Store layout
  • Check-out experience
  • Product packaging
  • Your team

2. How can you leverage omnichannel marketing?

When thinking about in-store marketing, don’t completely turn off your digital marketing mind. Instead, consider how you can connect the in-person shopping experience with the online shopping experience. Consider how you can use omnichannel marketing.

Omnichannel marketing is the process of using multiple, consistent marketing channels that reach customers in a variety of places while offering a cohesive brand experience.

 

Customers often merge the two worlds of shopping. They shop online and then come into a store to make a purchase, or they shop in a store and then buy online. According to Statista, 74% of customers use a mobile device for product research while shopping in a store in the United States.

Two people browsing a clothing rack at a store

As you develop on-site marketing ideas, consider how you can help the customer connect their in-person experience to their online experience. Think about what a customer may have done online before their visit (or while shopping in the store) and how you can connect that experience to their in-store visit.

3. How can you tie your marketing to the customer’s journey?

As you plan your in-store marketing, don’t think only about making a sale. Keep in mind that you can use on-site marketing to move prospects through their customer journey.

Instead of tying all of your marketing to the goal of generating a quick sale, consider how you can use on-site marketing to reach customers in each phase of their journey.

  • Awareness Phase: What can you do to bring awareness to new products or offerings?
  • Consideration Phase: How can you educate or inform customers when they are considering whether or not they want to buy?
  • Decision Phase: What can you do to help a customer make a purchase or drive them toward an up-sell once they have decided to buy?
  • Post-Purchase: How can you bring customers back and stay connected with them once they have made a purchase?

9 retail tips to increase in-store sales

Now that you have some guiding principles to keep in mind as you brainstorm on-site marketing ideas, let’s look at some specific retail tips to increase in-store sales.

  • Convert print signage to digital screens.
  • Collect information from in-store shoppers.
  • Remind people to follow you on social media.
  • Create packages and up-sell opportunities.
  • Create a loyalty program.
  • Use QR codes to guide customers to online sources.
  • Create a photo opp.
  • Allow online customers to create in-store baskets or pick-ups.
  • Utilize your packaging and bags. 

1. Convert print signage to digital screens

Don’t let your static signage grow stale and get overlooked. Switch to using digital signage so you can regularly change promotions and feature multiple messages at once.

2. Collect information from in-store shoppers

Run contests or give incentives to in-store shoppers so they join your customer database by entering their phone number or email address. When you have customer contact information, you can reach out to encourage customers to come back and buy again — or to buy for the first time if they left without making a purchase.

Related: 10 ways to grow your email list in-store

3. Remind people to follow you on social media

Another way to create a connection with customers before they go is by asking them to follow you on social media. This connection gives you another opportunity to encourage interested in-store shoppers to come back again.

4. Create packages and up-sell opportunities

Increase revenue by showing customers why it’s a good idea to purchase two products or services together. Create packages and up-sells that add value to items customers are already planning to buy.

Related: 10 strategies to sell excess inventory

5. Create a loyalty program

Encourage customers to visit and buy (while also growing your customer contact database) by establishing a loyalty program that rewards shoppers for visiting or making a purchase.

6. Use QR codes to guide customers to online sources

QR code on a smart phone

Make it easy for shoppers to join your loyalty program, follow you on social media, and react to your digital in-store call-to-actions. Use QR codes that they can scan to be taken directly to relevant web pages, social media accounts, your online store, etc.

7. Create a photo opp

Give customers a reason to visit your store and share their experience with their followers. Set up a photo-op in your store so shoppers can take a photo, share it on social media, and drive brand exposure.

8. Allow online customers to create in-store baskets or pick-ups

Connect your online and in-store experience by allowing online customers to create in-store baskets that they can retrieve when they visit the store. This approach is great for clothing stores where customers may want to try on items.

Related: 10 tactics to turn impulse shopping into stone-cold sales

9. Utilize your packaging and bags

If a customer makes a purchase, use it as a gateway to get them to come back. In your packaging or bags, include a coupon or promotion that encourages them to visit again.

Start selling more in-store and online

If you have a retail business, you have a variety of ways to promote products and offerings to customers.

Use these retail tips to increase in-store sales. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider how you can leverage digital and in-store marketing to increase sales. And if you primarily sell online, see how a physical storefront can help you reach new customers and showcase your business in a new way.

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How technology is changing the advertising industry

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  • Technology has upended the advertising business.
  • Changes in ad tracking and consumer habits are impacting how advertisers reach people and spurring new competition for ad dollars.
  • Here's a breakdown of Insider's coverage of how ad buyers and sellers are impacted.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The advertising industry is going through big changes as technology changes upend consumer habits and where and how marketers reach them.

Apple and Google's phasing out third-party cookies threatens to upend longstanding ad targeting practices. The acceleration of streaming TV has fueled the chase for TV ad dollars.

The shift to online shopping has attracted new players for digital advertising.

Insider has been tracking these trends at some of the biggest advertising buyers and sellers, including WPP, Omnicom, Google, and Amazon, and rounded up our coverage.


The crackdown on ad tracking is changing advertising

Targeting changes are forcing advertisers to come up with new ways to reach consumers. Google and Apple have sent shockwaves through the ad industry when they announced changes that would put an end to longstanding ad targeting practices in the face of pro-privacy regulation.

Those moves have led marketers, their agencies, and adtech companies like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk scrambling to find workarounds.

Read more:


Marketing meets tech

Mars Inc M&Ms
Employees work at the chocolate maker Mars Chocolate France plant in Haguenau.

CMOs are finding new ways to zap ads at people by building homegrown tools, using targeted ads, or ​​snapping up ad tech and martech companies.

Brands like Anheuser-Busch, Mars, P&G and L'Oréal have ramped up efforts to gather data on consumers as platforms clamp down on ad targeting and e-commerce accelerates.

Read more:


Adtech is hot again

Even as advertisers slashed their spending in the economic downturn, the rise of streaming TV and online shopping has benefitted adtech companies that help connect ad buyers and sellers and solve advertising and marketing problems.

Investors are pouring money into firms like like TVision DoubleVerify that are solving problems in digital advertising. Other firms are going public as Wall Street fell back in love with adtech due to broad macroeconomic changes.

Read more:


Ad agencies are getting disrupted

While the established holding companies scramble to adapt to the digital shift, new ad companies focused on digital specialities and armed with new private-equity funding threaten to take their place.

Read more:


Retailers are seeking a piece of the ad pie

Instacart Shopper Car
Instacart is adding 30-minute delivery.

A new set of companies sees an opportunity in selling advertising include food delivery companies, online retailers, and brick-and-mortar grocers. They're hoping to replicate the success of Amazon, which claimed 10.3% of the US digital ad market in 2020 and is competing with Google and Facebook for ad budgets.

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