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Site Load Speed and Google

How fast a website loads has always been an important factor in Google rank, but the coming months will see even more emphasis on this factor.  However, we have always invested a lot of time and money in our server capacity and optimisation so are better placed for the changes than most web companies.

A major Google algorithm update is due to be rolled out in the next couple of weeks which will have repercussions on all our websites and how we build new websites.  Technically aware clients might also start asking questions about this new Google algorithm. This email is designed to explain what this means for Salon Guru and our clients. No action is needed from you yet.

In the past, a website's speed has been more loosely linked to where it ranks on Google compared to competitor websites.  Now Google is looking at three new areas that TOGETHER will significantly affect a site's ranking.   

From mid-May, Google will be testing all sites on these three areas:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - The time it takes for MOST of the pages to load when a user visits the website.
  • First Input Delay (FID) - The time it takes for the website to respond when an internal link or menu item is clicked.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - How much the page moves/shunts vertically while it loads. 

Google has set targets and IF a website PASSES ALL THREE it will receive a ranking boost. The boost is being given as a bonus because Google will deem the website to have a fast and smooth loading experience. The full roll-out will not be solidified until August 2021 so they are likely to tweak things as they go along in the form of minor updates.

Additionally, Google will be taking into account, for the first time, what they call 'interstitial pop-ups'. Intrusive pop-ups (e.g. a pop up We Are Recruiting image or a Visit Our Shop image on the home page) may cause a site to be de-ranked against its competitors, so we need to evaluate pop-ups to make sure they are essential. If they are not essential they should be removed. 

The tech team has been working hard for months to prepare for this update. We have been measuring our sites' performance and have created a new set of graphs and a traffic light system from the data gathered.  Client Managers can find this information on the Team Desk Summary Page for each client to see if the site is meeting these new targets or not.

Not all sites will meet these targets and Google forecasts that fewer than 25% of all sites will make the grade. Happily, however, according to our own latest data, out of all 170 Salon Guru sites only around 29 will require significant changes- so we are in very good shape. 

If you have any questions or suggestions please let Shane know.

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