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Pagespeed graphic Dec 01, 2020

Google Ranking Factors You Need to Watch in 2021

By now, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a part of the processes and considerations of online business owners permanently.

After all, an optimized website attracts visitors and potential customers.

An estimated 70% of users rely on organic search results, and a quarter of these searchers often end up buying something.

The good news is the Google page experience update is set to launch next May 2021.

The Google Algorithm Update and How it Will Affect The Digital Market

In the last few years, we have seen drastic changes in how SEO works, which has changed the online marketing landscape.

Google continually updates its algorithm, which has led to the downfall of websites that fail to stay with the trend.

And to prevent your site from meeting a similar fate, you must know and work on the potential Google ranking factors in 2021 as early as now.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of content and the HTML source code within a page.

Doing so will help rank a page higher in search engines like Google.

In comparison, off-page SEO refers to optimizing external signals and links.

The factors affecting on-page SEO are the ones that have changed the most in the last couple of years, and you can be sure that google new ranking factors will be a mainstay in 2021.

Improving Through On-Page SEO Score

Over the years, Google has implemented extensive updates to its ranking algorithm, which also changed the way SEO works.

Even with those comprehensive updates, there is one priority that their algorithm always checks: are the users that go to your site satisfied with the visit?

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Google answers this through several metrics.

Your score is a reflection of the total of these metrics. While this score is not available to the public, there is a general idea of what makes up a high score.

Here are some factors you should focus on to gain a high score:

Technical Quality

The technical aspects of a site are often handled before it goes live. It involves a site being accessible to search engines so that it can be indexed.

The AI scans and detects whether a domain is safe or not. It also checks if the server responds fast.

Keeping your site secure, responsive, and accessible is key.

It’s essential to keep a site well-maintained behind the scenes. URLs should be meaningful and user-friendly. They should also not contain any duplicate content.

Mobile Readiness

Google places a large priority on how good a website displays on mobile.

Preparing your site for mobile phones is a must as it is becoming the primary device for accessing the internet.

The logic behind it is simple: those using mobile devices are likely to stay on your site if mobile-ready.

mobile phones

The content must also be optimized for a mobile system.

The new Google algorithm updates consider several significant factors in considering whether a website is mobile-ready or not.

The site must load fast on mobile platforms, and it must also be functional for touchscreens.

User Experience

User experience is all about how friendly the site is for its users.

This is seen through visuals, navigation, and quality of the site. It’s essential to have links that are well-organized and defined. Images and other visual aspects must also be of high quality but not slow down the site.

While links are important, they should not overwhelm a site visitor. A user should find what he/she is looking for in two or three clicks from the homepage.


The content of the website must be easy to read, free from small errors, and current. It needs to match the user’s expectations, and all the meta-content must align.

Google prioritizes unique content, so there must be no duplicates. There should also be no broken links.

For the meta-part of the site, all descriptions and titles should be evergreen or current.

There should be no broken links. Good content will mean that the user stays engaged to the site for long periods instead of bouncing back to the search engine results pages or another similar site.

SEO Trends And Updates For 2021

While the Google algorithm doesn’t have frequent updates, when it does, it often means large movements in rankings.

Being informed about these updates can help us make adjustments that fit in line with it.

2021 Core Web Vitals Update

In early November, Google announced that they would apply a new update, which will bring page experience to Google Search.

This update will roll out in May 2021 and it may also mean another Google new ranking factor will roll out.

Core Web Vitals will combine with other UX signals to create the page experience signal.

What constitutes core web vitals is as follows:

  1. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): the number of unexpected shifts in visual content layout.
  2. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the length of time it takes for a page’s primary content to load.
  3. First Input Delay (FID): the length of time it takes before the page becomes interactive.

Essentially, core web vitals is the measurement of a user’s enjoyable experience.

This stems from how fast and consistent the page loads.

The ideal settings would be less than 0.1 CLS, not more than 2.5s LCP, and less than 100ms FID.

These core web vitals will make adjustments to their ideal measurements every year.

The other signals they will combine with are:

  •  Safe browsing
  •  HTTPS security
  •  Mobile-friendliness
  •  Intrusive interstitial guidelines

There are steps that pages can do to help increase their scores to prepare for this new update.

  •  Reserve space for embeds and images to reduce visual content shift
  •  Incorporate HTTPS with your embedded resources and forms
  •  Minimize long tasks in the code to help optimize speeds
  •  Preload resources to help visuals load faster

More Applications

Aside from the Core Web Vitals, Google is considering adding labels to show if a page provides a user experience.

Testing will begin sometime before the launch of the new update. This will not bode well for a lot of unprepared web pages.

An assessment of core web vitals revealed that only 15% of all pages qualify as passing.

This update may also apply to the top story’s carousel.

Moving forward, Google will only show news that also gives a good page experience. Testing for it will likely begin in the coming months.

Preparing for the Google ranking factors in 2021 will help you stay ahead of the ever-competitive search engine rankings.

These updates will mean massive shifts in positions, and a prepared page will ensure a spot among the top.

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