If you’re looking for an unbiased data-driven list of the best SEO companies in Austin for 2020, you’re in the right place.
In this post, we rank local outfits in the famous Texas town according to objective criteria that strip out personal prejudice. The companies in this list got there because of merit, not because their executives enjoy a cushy relationship with us.
What’s more, we base all our rankings on public-available information about each agency, so you can easily cross-check our scores. So, without further ado, let’s get into the rankings.
Top 10 SEO Companies in Austin, Texas
- Thrive Internet Marketing Agency (32 points)
- Complete SEO (31 points)
- TastyPlacement SEO (30 points)
- OgreLogic Solutions LLC (26 points)
- Digitech Web Design Austin (25 points)
- WEBii.net (23 points)
- MARION Integrated Marketing (23 points)
- Regex SEO (22 points)
- Big Gorilla Design (22 points)
- Geek Powered Studios (21 points)
1. Thrive: Top Austin SEO Company
Thrive comes in first place in our list of the top SEO agencies in Austin, Texas. Established in 2005 in Arlington, this company has stood the test of time, and it now employs over a hundred people, working with clients all over the world.
Thrive excelled across all our test criteria and performed admirably on the website performance front. It earned the maximum score owing to its rapid loading speed and mobile-friendliness. It was also the top dog for website traffic, gaining more visits than the other nine agencies in this list combined.
At root, the firm is a full-service digital marketing agency. They offer search engine optimization, link building, web design, social media marketing. This marketing agency adopts what it calls a “big-picture” approach to its thinking, helping its clients with both the nitty-gritty technical side of gaining online visibility, as well as high-level strategy. It currently boasts customers in places as far-flung as Hong Kong and Germany.
2. Complete SEO: Award-Winning Marketing Experts
Complete SEO is a locally-owned agency in Austin that provides enormous value for its clients. The firm takes a fundamentally different approach from other agencies in the industry. Instead of using outdated templates, it takes into consideration its clients’ budgets, goals, competition, and values, and then uses this information to construct a unique plan of action. On these criteria, this agency in Austine builds high-quality SEO campaigns.
In today’s market, that approach is most welcome. It may explain why the firm managed to achieve a 5 out of 5 review score across 25 Google Reviews.
Right now, Complete SEO offers free consultations, so clients can find out whether the service is a match for their needs or goals without having to hand over any money. It is particularly popular among outlets that have tried other digital marketing companies in the past but were disappointed. And it publicly posts its case studies to back up its performance claims.
3. Tasty Placements: Google Partner for Your Marketing Services.
TastyPlacement SEO is now more than ten years old, making it one of the more experienced agencies on this list. Founded during the financial crisis of 2008, the company has a list of impressive accolades, including unrivaled Google certifications, regular speaking engagements, and even books on the latest SEO practices.
The agency earned the maximum points on our SEO best-practices score and, like Complete SEO, received a perfect 5 out of 5 on for its average Google Review score too. To grow your business this SEO agency offers a variety of internet marketing: social media, SEO, PPC, content marketing and so on.
The firm likes to brand itself as a “thought leader,” owing to its academic achievements in the search engine arena. Its ebook WordPress Search Engine Optimization is a full-length treatise on everything you need to know on how to get your site to rank higher. The agency first published it in 2012, and it has seen multiple editions since.
4. OgreLogic: Full-Service Web Development
OgreLogic comes in a solid fourth place based on our objective points system. The company is famous in the Austin area for defining itself not as a digital marketing agency, but as a “global software development partner.”
This terminology is deliberate. OgreLogic sees its work as more encompassing than mere digital marketing. It creates software from the ground up designed to help firms realize their visions and attract more clients. Both SEO consultants and web design developers at the outfit work together to solve the real problems that their clients face.
There are no templates here – just a passionate focus on maximizing the usefulness of digital technology to maximize your return on investments.
OgreLogic believes that it offers a competitive advantage across a range of domains. For instance, it never shies away from sharing the results of its work. Instead, it proves its transparency by offering clients data on service performance at regular intervals. This SEO company in Austine, TX provides email marketing, link building, on-page search engine optimization, local SEO to help big and small businesses grow.
It does well on the promptness front too, delivering SEO campaigns that respect its clients’ timetables and immediate business needs. There’s a lot to like here.
5. Digitech: Search Engine Optimization in Austine, TX
Digitech came in fifth overall, owing to its excellent website experience and positive, third-party client feedback. The company is the brainchild of Darryl Stevens, a naturally creative visionary. Like so many great SEOs, he is entirely self-taught. He mastered web design and search engine optimization by serving clients in the online marketplace back in the heyday of digital marketing. This marketing company in Austin, TX offers PPC, SEO, graphic design, social media marketing to make sure their marketing strategy helps with your business growth.
Now, he is a contributor to top online publications, such as Entrepreneur and Forbes magazine, thanks to his deep expertise.
Digitech takes a philosophical view of its work, believing that “inside every impossible is a possible just trying to get out.” Darryl and the team are a group of creative thinkers who want to help brands solve their most intractable online outreach problems. Services include design, development, marketing, fractional CMO, and exclusive SEO.
Notable clients include Universal Music Group, Election Science, and the American Heart Association.
6. WEBii: Web Development with Search Engines on Mind
WEBii was one of the most impressive agencies on our Austin SEO shortlist but fell out of the top five because of the relative obscurity of its website.
The company is an old hand in the Austin area. The founders set up the firm in 1996 with a mission to bring better customer service to the web hosting industry. Since then, it has evolved, expanding its operations into custom web development, domain name registration service, and search engine optimization.
The long experience of the company makes it something of a jack-of-all-trades. Its team offers WordPress web development, server administration, graphic design, project management, and custom web design. All the people who work for the firm pride themselves on their communication skills and prioritize staying in regular contact with customers, keeping them apprised of developments.
Companies requiring a full-stack solution should consider this agency.
7. Marion: Graphic Design & Full Service SEO
Marion did well under our scoring system, primarily due to the positive user experience. The driving force behind this is the company’s unique mix of creative, technical, and strategic assistance. It doesn’t just adopt a cookie-cutter approach but instead learns all of its clients inside out before beginning work.
Each customer gets a virtual CMO – somebody who works with them to understand their business goals turn them into an SEO roadmap. They then get access to a host of services, including logo design, assistance with catalogs, and illustrations. Each account holder receives expert account management, assisted by professional digital marketing specialists, content creators, and web designers.
Over the years, the firm has won several awards, including Gold Winner at the 2020 AVA Digital Awards, 2019 MarCom Gold Winner, and 2017 Silver Awards Winner at the Davey Awards. Carey Balzer, Jon Anger, and Robert Dihu – the three founding partners – offer either full-service digital marketing services or supplement in-house marketing teams.
8. Regex SEO: Digital Marketing in Austine, TX
Regex SEO is another small-time Austin SEO company with massive marketing agency potential and interesting history.
The founders of the company were sick of standard SEO industry marketing approaches. For years, the digital marketing industry over-promised and under-delivered. It hyped pre-packaged plans but failed to generate results for clients. The team behind Regex SEO decided to do something about it. They rejected the subterfuge and shoddy work provided by many agencies and set up their own agency instead. This Austin SEO services company helps you grow your business with pay per click, content marketing, social media marketing, graphic design, and email marketing campaigns.
Regex SEO has won a host of awards and earned widespread online marketing industry recognition. In 2017, it was a Marketer of the Year finalist and later won numerous UpCity, MarCom, and AVA digital awards. The firm’s current clients include the likes of Service Corporation International, Dignity Memorial, and Maison Luisant.
Our scoring system ranked it eighth. Like many of the other boutique agencies on this list, it offers excellent service but fell down because of relatively lackluster website traffic performance. We expect this one to rise in the future.
9. Big Gorilla Design: Brand Awareness in Search Results
Coming in at the ninth place of the top SEO companies is the somewhat hilariously named Big Gorilla Design. The outfit concentrates on legitimate SEO tactics – not just keyword stuffing. Their list of services covers just about everything you could imagine, including content marketing, email marketing, graphic design, eCommerce site development, and print design.
Big Gorilla Design marketing agency sees itself as an SEO services educator, rather like Tasty Placements, and works hard with clients to discover their actual needs before recommending services. It’s not just about rankings. It is also about building brands.
Big Gorilla Design did well on our test in most areas. But, as with so many other agencies, lack of traffic to its website and inbound links dragged its score down.
With that said, the agency offers clients a unique “out-of-the-box” approach to internet marketing and a lot of flexibility. They provide a vast range of options, including choice over the underlying platforms for the websites they create – such as WordPress or static HTML.
The company has a good sense of humor. The road to success is, according to their marketing, “paved with bananas (and other cool things).”
10. Geek Powered Studio: Search Engine Optimization & Content Marketing
Geek Powered Studios rounds out our list of the top SEO companies in Austin, TX in 2020. SEO specialist Guillermo Ortiz founded the digital marketing agency in 2009 during the depths of the financial slump, drawing on his experience of web design. What began as a small side project in San Antonio, flourished into a full-scale digital marketing agency, employing over a dozen people and serving an ever-growing list of clients. They offer the whole spectrum of online marketing: from social media marketing, pay per click advertising, email marketing to maximize your return on investments.
Geek Powered Studios has won several awards, including the 2014 BBB Torch Award and the 2016 US Search Awards. The company has also featured on Mashable, American Express Open, and Tech Cocktail.
Why did it come tenth in our objective test? The main culprit was the failure of the company’s website to respond rapidly to user input. If it hadn’t been for that, it would have received a much higher score. Also, the company’s website ranked well outside of the top ten, which seems to undermine its promise to deliver on its SEO promises.
How We Score
So there you have it: our top 10 best SEO companies in Austin. Remember, we don’t rank companies in our lists according to mere opinion or solely based on what Google says. Instead, we use an objective in-house scoring system that allows us to compare companies objectively, based on a wide range of parameters.
Our scoring system takes into consideration the following criteria:
- Average user review scores
- The total number of Google Reviews
- Total website traffic
- The number of linking domains
- The domain ranking
- If the agency ranks in the top ten
- Website experience parameters, including loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and SSL certification
We then assign a score, up to a maximum value of 5 for each of the above criteria, depending on the relative performance of the agency. Companies with a lot of reviews, for instance, will score 5, while those with relatively few will earn 1. We then sum all of the individual components to arrive at a final score out of 35 for every firm.
The top-scoring SEO agency in this was Thrive Internet Marketing on 32, followed closely by Complete SEO on 31 and Tasty Placements SEO on 30. The rest clustered between 26 and 21, and a whole host of other Austin agencies never made it onto the list.
You can take a look at our raw scoring data here.
Enquire With Us Today
The purpose of this guide was to provide you with a comprehensive insight into the types of companies offering SEO services in Austin, Texas. While there are some technical differences between the firms, the above SEO agencies represent the cream of the crop. You should, therefore, choose the one from the list of top Austin SEO companies that offers the best services for your particular niche.
40 + AMAZING Email Marketing Statistics (for 2020)
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:
- 3.9 billion globally used email in 2019 (Statista).
- Global email users will grow to 4.3 billion by 2023 (Statista).
- In only 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received per day. (Statista).
- It is expected that the number of sent and received emails will grow to over 347.3 billion daily emails in 2022 (Statista).
- Welcome emails get opened 82% on average (GetResponse).
- You can boost orders by 69% by sending three abandoned cart emails. (Omnisend).
- 35% of marketers send customers between 3-5 emails every week. (Not Another State of Marketing)
- Over the last year, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement (Not Another State of Marketing, 2020)
- 31% of B2B marketers report email newsletters are the top way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
- 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!
- Email remains the most used digital customer service channel, with 54% of customers using email customer service in 2019. (Forrester)
- Response within the hour is what customers expect when they send an email to a business. (Toister Performance Solution).
- 62% of customers want to use email to communicate with a business. Beating phone, live chat, and contact forms (HubSpot Research)
- 57% of customers prefer to contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. (Ameyo)
- 45% of executives with web or mobile self-service capabilities report noticeable reductions in phone inquiries, and 39% report less email traffic. (Information Today)
- 81% of retail businesses say reply on email for customer acquisition (Emarsys)
- 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.
- The average email conversion rate was highest in 2018 at 18.49%. (Barilliance)
- In 2020, the average email conversion rate remains high at 15.11% conversion in 2020. (Barilliance)
- Emails accounted for 19.8% of all transactions. Only paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%) did better. (Custora E-Commerce Pulse)
- 306% higher click-through rate is what you can expect from Triggered Email Campaigns– vs. non-triggered emails. (Barilliance)
- 36% of total email revenue comes from segmented emails. (Barilliance)
- For every $1 invested, you can expect an average email ROI of $38. That is a 3,800% increase. (Barilliance)
- B2C marketers using automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – (eMarketer)
- Conversion rates are used by 60% of marketers to evaluate an email’s effectiveness. – (DMA)
- Click-through rates can be raised by an average of 14% (and conversions by an average of 10%) by using personalized email messages – (Aberdeen.)
- Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) for purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message – (DMA)
- 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.
- 80% of respondents said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
- The type of email with the best customer response rate is Email My Cart at 22.64%. (Barilliance)
- 43% of consumers will choose whether to open an email based on who sends it. (MailChimp)
- 43% of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the senders’ name or email address. (MailChimp)
- First thing in the morning is the most popular time for consumers to check their emails, with a whopping 58% doing so. (Optinmonster)
- 60% of consumers prefer email over any other promotional channel. (Optinmonster)
- Users check their emails for deals from brands at a rate of 44%. (Optinmonster)
- After receiving a marketing email, 60% of consumers have made a purchase. (Optinmonster)
- Consumers hope for rewards when signing up for marketing emails at a rate of 85%. (Disruptive Advertising)
- 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%!
- By the end of 2022, over 347 billion emails per day will be sent and received. by the end of 2022. (Statista)
- By 2023 global email use is predicted to reach 4.4 billion. (Statista)
- By 2021 email clients such as Gmail will readily accept video, and it will be commonly used for email marketing. (Jarrang)
- Expect to see an increase of personalized images in emails in 2021, such as live-data weather reports. (Jarrang)
- Hyper-targeted emails will become the norm. (Campaignmonitor)
- Interactivity and animation are set to become the next significant trend in email marketing. Designmodo
- In the coming years, marketers will focus more on subscribers’ privacy, embracing privacy laws like GDPR or CCPA (Litmus)
- In 2020 and beyond, email personalization and segmentation will be increased and boost ROI up to 22%. (Litmus)
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!
Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost
- 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).
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.
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.
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.
What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021
- 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 , 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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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