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Top 10 Best Atlanta SEO Companies

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Looking for the best Atlanta SEO companies for 2020?

Keep reading because we’ve compiled the top companies based on unbiased data.

Let’s jump right in.

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Top 10 SEO Companies in Atlanta

  1. Lyfe Marketing (34 points)
  2. Cardinal Digital Marketing (32 points)
  3. M16 Marketing (28 points)
  4. Atlanta SEO Pro (24 points)
  5. Captivate Search Marketing (23 points)
  6. Propellant Media (23 points)
  7. FindLocal Company (22 points)
  8. MediaLinkers (22 points)
  9. Shiftweb Solutions (22 points)
  10. Yeah! Local (20 points)

1. Lyfe Marketing: #1 Atlanta SEO Agency

Lyfe Marketing is the top dog under our scoring system. Not only did it have more website traffic than its competitors combined, but it also had an average Google review score of 4.5 across a total of 148 reviews, making it the market leader in Atlanta by quite some distance.

Part of its success comes down to strategy. Unlike some, the company focuses on providing its clients with quality website traffic, not just volume. Like other sophisticated SEO companies, it understands that the key to digital marketing success is to give clients the tools they need to generate leads. This digital marketing agency provides an efficient link building and keyword research strategy. They also highly qualified with local SEO services. You can count on this marketing agency with both on and off-page SEO needs.

On top of that, Lyfe Marketing agency focuses heavily on achieving measurable search engine results. Every month, it sends its clients a breakdown of relevant SEO and how its efforts are helping to improve visibility and ranking – helpful for an industry in which trust can be an issue.

Lyfe Marketing currently has more than 300 local and national first-page rankings for its clients’ pages. Not bad.

2. Cardinal Digital Marketing: Boosted Search Engine Results

Coming in at number two on our list Cardinal Digital Marketing, an Atlanta-based SEO agency that writes for Forbes, The Business Journals, Entrepreneur, WSJ, and the American Marketing Institute.

The company came in second for two main reasons: the quality of its website and its average Google review score. Its website loaded pages in under three seconds, was mobile-friendly, and had a valid SSL certification. And clients rated the service an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars across 77 reviews.

The agency’s primary focus is on helping multi-location companies expand across different local markets. And under the leadership of its CEO, Alex Membrillo, it has expanded its operations impressively fast over the last couple of years. So much so, in fact, that Inc. magazine named it one of its 5,000 fastest growing privately-held US companies.

The firm boasts a 97 percent client retention rate and offers clients, on average, a 28 percent client lead monthly growth rate. You just can’t ignore figures like those.

3. M16 Marketing: Advanced Search Engine Optimization

Third on our list is M16 Marketing, the number one SEO agency as voted by UpCity. The company focuses almost exclusively on rankings, deploying a five-step strategy to help clients get to number one. It all begins with keyword research and then evolves into content development, technical SEO, and link building.

The company came in third on our ranking for two reasons: it’s 4.9 out of 5-star review score, and its snappy website. It also has the best feedback of any in this list.

M16 believes that combining art and science is the best way to create value, and it deploys its expertise to dazzling effect. The company claims to offer month-on-month of more than 250 percent, according to its marketing. And its impressive customer review scores seem to back that up.

The firm focuses intently on building relationships with its customers from the start. It doesn’t do things in a boilerplate fashion. Instead, it gets to know the brands with which it works, and internalizes them, thereby challenging old ideas and breaking new ground. If you’re looking for an SEO in Atlanta, this one is certainly one to consider.

4. Atlanta SEO Pro: Full-service Digital Marketing

Atlanta SEO Pro focuses on pay per click (PPC), web design, web presence management, and search engine optimization. This Atlanta SEO company claims that it is “not just another Atlanta SEO company” but one that provides genuine value, retaining nearly 100 percent of its clients.

We were impressed by the overall quality of their operation – something that shone through across our metrics. The website passed our test with flying colors, and their review score was an impressive 4.8 out of 5 on external review sites. What hurt their score (and why they didn’t rank higher here) was their low monthly search traffic – just 260 unique visits to their website per month, according to Ahrefs metrics.

Thus, Atlanta SEO Pro is a quality SEO firm but has low visibility – a tad ironic, you might say.

Fundamentally, Atlanta Pro SEO is for companies looking for something a little different to get themselves noticed in search engines. The firm is self-admittedly “sometimes-quirky” and fun-loving, so expect uniquely creative approaches to content marketing. Founder James Bell has experience in search engine optimization, local SEO social media, and hyper-local marketing strategies.

5. Captivate Search Marketing: #5 of the Best SEO Companies in Atlanta

Captivate Search Marketing came in fifth according to our scoring system. While it did well in the review segment, it was hampered, like Atlanta SEO Pro, by a lack of website traffic. Current traffic sits well below five hundred unique visitors per month.

The company likes to focus on producing what it calls “pure value content” for its clients. In other words, it is not in the business of spamming search engines and hitting keyword quotas. It wants to give its customers genuine insights and artistic content that generates search engine traffic that converts to value.

The firm quite admirably focuses on generating high quality leads for its customers. What’s interesting about its approach, though, is that it doesn’t just try to incent relevant traffic; it also focuses on pre-qualified leads and sales.

While generic Ahrefs data paints the company as a small-time operation, it works with a variety of prestigious clients across the state, including WIFII, Georgia Natural Gas, and Park ‘n Fly. Customers like how the company always delivers in a “time-sensitive” manner, providing content, just when they need it.

6. Propellant Media: Atlanta SEO Agency

Propellant Media’s story began several years ago when the company realized that midsize companies didn’t have access to enterprise-level SEO solutions. The firm, therefore, began developing a host of proprietary techniques, enabling smaller firms to gain access to the same regimes that help the big boys hit the top spot.

The company achieves sixth place on our list. It has the second-highest traffic of any Atlanta SEO company we analyzed – just one place behind Lyfe Marketing. But, unfortunately, problems with the website loading speed and local SEO – lack of Google reviews (we could only find three), meant that the company missed out on a place in the top five. With that said, Propellant Media certainly has the legs to feature higher in our list in the coming years.

The company is headquartered at Tech Square Labs, a widely-renowned hub for innovation and technological web development in Atlanta. It leverages this unique environment to develop new expertise at the frontiers of SEO, offering clients profound insight.

7. FindLocal Company: Find Them in Atlanta, GA

FindLocal Company is an Atlanta-based SEO firm that focuses on both SEO and creating ADA-friendly websites that help its clients avoid unnecessary lawsuits. The site comes in seventh on our list. The average review score across 31 reviews was an impressive 5 out of 5. But the total number of monthly visitors was less than one hundred, meaning that this is still very much a company in development.

Part of this has to do with the fact that FindLocal Company doesn’t rank in the top ten websites for frequent searches. You have to go onto the second or third page to find it, dramatically reducing organic traffic. Again, FindLocal suffers the same problem as Atlanta Pro SEO. Being hard to find is never a good look for an SEO company.

8. MediaLinkers: Web Design with the Right SEO

MediaLinkers is a bit of an old hand in the Atlanta GA SEO market. It first set up shop in 2002 back in the dot-com era and helped dozens of companies create a web design for their online businesses. Today, it has more than sixty employees and specializes in web design and search engine optimization services.

MediaLinkers did well in our SEO best practices test, earning full marks in that segment. It also did well on Ahrefs domain rating score, thanks to its expansive network of do-follow links. The company, however, fell down considerably on total website visits, serving less than ten people per month at the time of our analysis.

Nonetheless, it boasts a top design team on its staff. It creates professional, aesthetically pleasant websites, even if its own company’s website needs a bit of work.

9. Shiftweb Solutions: Helps You Being Found in Search Engines

Shiftweb Solutions is an Atlanta-based SEO company founded in 2011 by Sinoun Chea that focuses heavily on providing support to small businesses. Chea believes that her clients are the backbone of local economies and communities, and so is keen on helping them gain visibility online in whatever way she can.

We found no issues with the review scores or the quality of the website experience. (The company has an average Google Review score of 5 out of 5 stars across 37 reviews). The main letdown was the quality of the domain. The small number of do-follow links and the relatively sparse monthly traffic pulled down the number of points we could award the firm.

Shiftweb Solutions serves a wide variety of companies in the local community, including artists, attorneys, and nonprofits. It has a reputation for working diligently and honestly.

10. Yeah! Local: Free SEO Audit

Finally, Yeah! Local rounds out our list of the top ten best Atlanta SEO companies in 2020. The firm is the brainchild of Justin Herring and wants to help businesses in the local area get access to non-sleazy local SEO services that offer genuine value.

Herring saw first-hand how some SEO companies ripped off their customers, failed to provide them with updates, and ignored their emails. So he set up Yeah! Local as a boutique SEO service to solve the problem, and has been going ever since.

Yeah! Local’s average review score was 5 out of 5 across 41 reviews, but there were a couple of reasons why Herring didn’t rank higher. First, total traffic to the site is less than 500 per month – which isn’t a great deal for a local SEO agency. And second, some pages on Yeah! Local did not load within the three-second time limit. That hurt their score.

Scoring Criteria

We think it is essential to be able to point to data whenever ranking companies instead of just relying on opinion. That’s why we’ve taken a multi-faceted approach, using multiple sources of information to create our scoring regime.

Scoring a firm on the quality of its website is okay, but it tells you nothing about the quality of the customer experience, or how well the firm markets its own digital storefront. We, therefore, delved deep, using Ahrefs metrics as well as data from publicly-available Google Reviews.

Our final scores take into account the following:

  • Whether the site has a valid SSL Certificate
  • Whether the website is mobile-friendly
  • If the loading speed is under three seconds
  • If the site ranks in the top ten on Google
  • The Ahrefs domain ranking score,
  • The number of links from third-party websites
  • The volume of traffic
  • The number of Google Reviews
  • The average rating on Google Reviews

Each parameter above carries a maximum score of 5 points. Thus, agencies earn 5 points for ranking in the top ten on Google, a further 5 for higher domain rankings, and so on down the list.

You can view the scoring criteria here.

Send Inquiries Today

If you’re looking to hire an SEO company in Atlanta, then this guide should help inform your decision. Our objective scoring system means that our ranking isn’t just a matter of opinion; it is a consequence of what the data say.

Check out these SEO company websites and decide for yourself which one can most closely meet your business goals.

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40 + AMAZING Email Marketing Statistics (for 2020)

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Do you want to get an overview of what is happening in email marketing right now? Do you yearn to discover what types of emails are most successful, and what the future holds for this marketing type?

Well, then you have come to the right place. Indeed, below you will find statistics on each of the following categories:

  • Email marketing and customer engagement
  • The impact of emails on conversion rates
  • The use of emails in customer support
  • Whether customers prefer email to other forms of communications
  • The future of email marketing

You’ll also find a brief introduction and summary on each section and a final summing up at the end. So what are you waiting for? Roll your sleeves up, crack your brain open, and get into some seriously sexy email stats!

1. Email Usage & Engagement

Anyone telling you that social media has killed off email marketing is sorely mistaken. Indeed, with so much potential to nurture relationships with customers and acquire new ones, email marketing is most definitely still alive and kicking.

Oh, and did you know that email marking is one of the most cost-effective kinds there is? Something that makes it pretty much vital to any successful and on-budget marketing campaign. Yep, that’s right email most definitely still holds its own in the world of marketing, and you can see there are plenty of stats to prove it below:

  1. 3.9 billion globally used email in 2019 (Statista).
  2. Global email users will grow to 4.3 billion by 2023 (Statista).
  3. In only 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received per day. (Statista).
  4. It is expected that the number of sent and received emails will grow to over 347.3 billion daily emails in 2022 (Statista).
  5. Welcome emails get opened 82% on average (GetResponse).
  6. You can boost orders by 69% by sending three abandoned cart emails. (Omnisend).
  7. 35% of marketers send customers between 3-5 emails every week. (Not Another State of Marketing)
  8. Over the last year, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement (Not Another State of Marketing, 2020)
  9. 31% of B2B marketers report email newsletters are the top way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  10. Over 350 million dollars was spent on email advertising in the US in 2019. (Statista, 2019)

2. Email & Customer Support

There is plenty of noise about live chat and chatbots in the customer service sector right now. However, before you swap all of your customer service provision across to these tools, it may be worth taking a pause. The reason being that the stats show users still want to communicate, interact, and solve their problems via email. Indeed, email is an essential part of the customer service process. Just check out the stats below that prove it!

  1. Email remains the most used digital customer service channel, with 54% of customers using email customer service in 2019. (Forrester) 
  2. Response within the hour is what customers expect when they send an email to a business. (Toister Performance Solution).
  3. 62% of customers want to use email to communicate with a business. Beating phone, live chat, and contact forms (HubSpot Research)
  4. 57% of customers prefer to contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. (Ameyo)
  5. 45% of executives with web or mobile self-service capabilities report noticeable reductions in phone inquiries, and 39% report less email traffic. (Information Today)
  6. 81% of retail businesses say reply on email for customer acquisition (Emarsys)
  7. 80% of retail businesses depend on email for customer retention. (Emarsys)

3. Email & Conversion Rates

While conversion rates for email marketing may not be quite as high as in 2018, the figures and the ROIs show that the email approach is still successful, a great deal of the time. Of course, a more targeted approach is preferable here, with triggered and segmented emails doing best.

  1. The average email conversion rate was highest in 2018 at 18.49%. (Barilliance)
  2. In 2020, the average email conversion rate remains high at 15.11% conversion in 2020. (Barilliance)
  3. Emails accounted for 19.8% of all transactions. Only paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%) did better. (Custora E-Commerce Pulse)
  4. 306% higher click-through rate is what you can expect from Triggered Email Campaigns– vs. non-triggered emails. (Barilliance)
  5. 36% of total email revenue comes from segmented emails. (Barilliance)
  6. For every $1 invested, you can expect an average email ROI of $38. That is a 3,800% increase. (Barilliance)
  7. B2C marketers using automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – (eMarketer)
  8. Conversion rates are used by 60% of marketers to evaluate an email’s effectiveness. – (DMA)
  9. Click-through rates can be raised by an average of 14% (and conversions by an average of 10%) by using personalized email messages – (Aberdeen.)
  10. Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) for purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message – (DMA)
  11. Conversion rates rise by 28% when a call to action button rather than a text link is included in an email. (Campaign Monitor)

4.Consumer Preferences With Email

Do customers like emails from your business? That is the critical question here. After all, you won’t want to send them if they will do more harm than good. Of course, the stats show that emails are still a very welcome form of communication from the users’ point of view and that they are associated with a range of other benefits as well, as you can see from the info below.

  1. 80% of respondents said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
  2. The type of email with the best customer response rate is Email My Cart at 22.64%. (Barilliance)
  3. 43% of consumers will choose whether to open an email based on who sends it. (MailChimp)
  4. 43% of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the senders’ name or email address. (MailChimp)
  5. First thing in the morning is the most popular time for consumers to check their emails, with a whopping 58% doing so. (Optinmonster)
  6. 60% of consumers prefer email over any other promotional channel. (Optinmonster)
  7. Users check their emails for deals from brands at a rate of 44%. (Optinmonster)
  8. After receiving a marketing email, 60% of consumers have made a purchase. (Optinmonster)
  9. Consumers hope for rewards when signing up for marketing emails at a rate of 85%. (Disruptive Advertising)
  10.  Users open 40% of all cart abandonment (SaleCycle)

5. Email Forecasts & Predictions

What does the future hold for email marketing? Well, the answer, as you can see from the numbers below, is many things, including an overall rise in email daily usage. More personalization and better targeting are likely too. At the same time, marketers are likely to show more respect for customer privacy. Perhaps most notably, email marketing shows the potential further to increase business ROI by a massive 22%!

  1. By the end of 2022, over 347 billion emails per day will be sent and received. by the end of 2022. (Statista)
  2. By 2023 global email use is predicted to reach 4.4 billion. (Statista)
  3. By 2021 email clients such as Gmail will readily accept video, and it will be commonly used for email marketing. (Jarrang)
  4. Expect to see an increase of personalized images in emails in 2021, such as live-data weather reports. (Jarrang)
  5. Hyper-targeted emails will become the norm. (Campaignmonitor)
  6. Interactivity and animation are set to become the next significant trend in email marketing. Designmodo
  7. In the coming years, marketers will focus more on subscribers’ privacy, embracing privacy laws like GDPR or CCPA (Litmus)
  8. In 2020 and beyond, email personalization and segmentation will be increased and boost ROI up to 22%. (Litmus)

Final Thoughts

Despite the rise of newer forms of marketing, emails still have an essential role to play. Indeed, they continue to promote engagement in healthy numbers. Not to mention that they help to foster quality connections with potential customers.

Customers also prefer email contact when it comes to customer service, which is, of course, a massively important aspect of customer retention that shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, providing the most positive experience for your customers by communicating with them in the form they choose is just good business. The reason being that you are much more likely to be able to present them with additional buying opportunities later on.

Target and segmented email continue to show excellent promise for high rates of conversions too. This means that if it’s an effective marketing strategy you are looking for, email is the answer.

Customers also continue to like emails over most other forms of communications. That they continue to open and respond to them, and they enjoy deals and rewards delivered via email. However, privacy is a significant concern for most users, and businesses need to respect this if they are to optimize their email marketing results.

Finally, things seem bright regarding what we can expect from email marketing in the future. Indeed, we can expect developments such as integrated video and personalized images to be commonplace, which will only make email marketing even more effective than it already is!

Latest posts by Nathan Gotch (see all)



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Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost

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30-second summary:

  • Featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks.
  • The featured snippet and knowledge panel SERP give a better click-through rate together.
  • Users click on featured snippets that seem “informative”.
  • Users who prefer the regular search results listings don’t click on featured snippets.
  • “People also ask” boxes are an unpopular choice showing the lowest amount of clicks.
  • 24% of users consider a featured snippet as an ‘Ad’ and don’t click on it.

Featured snippets are probably the first thing people see when they perform a search query. Acquiring the position ‘zero’ on the SERPs, the featured snippets dominate the page and immediately capture the attention of the viewer. 

However, does it make an impact on the visitor? Do the featured snippets get more clicks when compared to the top results? How does the audience perceive them?

To answer these questions and more, we at Engine Scout recently conducted a study and analyzed how featured snippets influence searchers’ behavior and overall experience. 

The methodology applied for the featured snippet study

In our study on featured snippets, we collected data from 3552 testers, who were asked to look at four different SERPs with snippets. They were required to make a search on Google related to a specific keyword and make a selection from the results.

To collect an unbiased opinion, featured snippets were not mentioned anywhere in the survey.

There were three choices for the testers to choose from: Ads, featured snippets, and regular result listing.

They were later asked which section they clicked on to estimate the Click-through rate (CTR). 

Featured snippets - sections

What is a featured snippet and how does it boost website traffic?

The featured snippet is a summarized extract from a post that answers the user’s ‘search query‘ most accurately. It is placed above all the Google search result listings, occupying position zero.

This means no matter what your website’s ranking for a certain post if Google chooses a featured snippet from your post, it will appear on the top.

According to Ahrefs, it is 99.58% true that Google will only consider your content for a featured snippet if it is already ranking on Page #1. The other 0.42% pages that Google considers account for their ‘People also ask’ box SERP feature. This feature only receives a total of 6% click shares, for the same reason.

The ‘concise and direct‘ nature of these featured snippets motivates users to click on them. According to our study, they account for 35.1% of all clicks which translates to getting ‘extra traffic‘ to your website. 

Optimizing a post to rank for a featured snippet can be tricky. Any content can be worthy of becoming a ‘Featured-Snippet,’ including a paragraph, a list, table, or even a video.

Try these three quick strategies to win more featured snippets that get clicks to your website.

1. Include direct answers to a search query in a paragraph snippet

Paragraph snippets account for 82% of the total featured snippets.

These snippets give the most relevant response to a query in a paragraph form. They usually also display a pertinent image alongside or above the text.

Here is an example of how Google shows a paragraph snippet when asked about ‘What is SERP?

2. Make the best use of keywords in your paragraph

Attaining the first rank in Google for a keyword requires quite an effort. 

Enriching your optimized content for featured snippets with the right keywords increases your chances of that ‘Position Zero‘ in the SERP.

Try to include question-oriented keywords in your content. People find search results with keywords resonating with their question as “trustworthy” and “informative.” This is the primary reason why they prefer a featured snippet over all other organic results.

Take a close look at your competitor’s featured snippets for some inspiration. Make a list of keywords that have triggered a featured snippet for them, and make your content surrounded by these keywords.

Several online tools can lessen your workload by retrieving information and keywords from the competition’s snippets. You can use them if you find it time-consuming to manually optimize your content for featured snippets.

3. Include a knowledge panel in your content marketing strategy

A box with information relevant to a search query appearing on SERP’s right panel is called a Knowledge Panel

It only appears when the search is about an entity, for example, business, person, or location. The information inside this box lets the reader know about the entity and gives them a way to reach out to it.

Featured snippet alone offers a close competition to the organic listing for the total click share. 

But pages ranking for both the featured snippet and the knowledge panel outperform the organic listings for the CTR. A double featured snippet leaves behind the CTR of organic listings, getting 42.1% of the total click share.

Therefore, it is an added benefit if you strategize your featured snippet to trigger a knowledge panel. 

For reference, check out this post to see how Gennaro Cuofano structured his featured snippet with his Amazon author page reference. Google considered this reference and used it to display a knowledge panel alongside his featured snippet.

The other side of the story

Featured snippets can sometimes work opposite to their intent.

According to our study, 24% of users confuse featured snippets for Ads.

Featured snippets and how people confuse them for an ad

Therefore, merely optimizing content to target the featured snippet doesn’t ensure a high CTR.

Google keeps altering its interface to make the Ad label on the paid search results barely noticeable. 

As featured snippets also acquire the top position on SERPs, it is very natural for someone to get confused and not click them.

According to Dr. Pete Meyers, the Marketing Scientist at Moz:

“The lesson for SEOs is that we can’t just target a feature — we need to understand query intent, what our buyers expect from that feature, and how they perceive that feature.”

Try to make your content look like a straightforward, quick answer to a query with images for references to appear very different from an ad.

Wrap up

Google introduced the featured snippet to make it easy for searchers to find relevant answers quickly. With voice search technology becoming a common search tool for half of the smartphone users,  featured snippets catered to the trend and enabled users to read the answer out loud.

To make Google identify your content worthy to pick snippets from, you have to optimize your content so it’s relevant and appropriate for voice search SEO, so it helps to bring in more traffic to your site. 

Jonathan Gorham is Co-Founder at Engine Scout Digital Marketing. He can be found on LinkedIn.



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What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021

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30-second summary:

  • Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
  • Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
  • The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
  • To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
  • Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.

The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric. 

In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.

Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.

As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:

“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year [2021], and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”

You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

Elements of the Google page experience metric

Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.

The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.

Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.

1. Core Web Vitals

Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.

Google page experience metrics

Source

The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.

To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.

2. Mobile-friendly site

Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.

Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic. 

Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.

3. Safe-browsing

Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.

One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.

To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.

4. HTTPS

Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.

The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.

If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.

HTTPS - Google page experience

Source

5. No intrusive interstitials

Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.

The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.

However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.

Google page experience - Remove interstitials

Source

Five steps to optimize your site for 2021

Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.

Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.

Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.

1. Get an excellent web hosting service

Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.

You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.

Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.

Example website performance data

Source

2. Keep your page’s size lite

Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.

There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.

You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.

Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.

3. Optimize your site for mobile

As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.

Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized. 

The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.

You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

4. Install security measures

Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.

First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.

Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.

And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.

Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.

5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners

Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.

Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.

As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.

Google page experience - Remove large pop up banners

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In conclusion

Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.

Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.

Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.

However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.

Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.



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