You’ve probably heard that Google began rolling out a major change to their search algorithm this summer. The changes started in mid-June and are expected to finish in August. The change affects how Google ranks websites, because they have added metrics called “Core Web Vitals” in their scoring.
These have been introduced to reward websites that deliver a great user experience.
There’s a lot of advice available on how to protect your website’s SEO rank during this transition. Some of it gets very technical and complex. The good news is that if your site is built on GoDaddy Websites + Marketing, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
The main thing you need to do is republish your website.
Of course, there are best practices that you should follow if you want to optimize your position in search results. Search ranking is all relative — your placement will depend on how well you’ve prepared your site compared to other sites. While we can take care of the technical aspects of SEO optimization, the choices you make about site design and content also matter for SEO results.
Republish your website
Google pre-announced that they would be making this change to how they determine search ranking. We’ve been working hard to improve Core Web Vitals scores for GoDaddy Websites + Marketing sites. To take advantage of the work we’ve done, you will need to republish your website.
Don’t worry — your site design will not change.
We’ve simply optimized the website visitor experience in the three areas that matter in Google’s new algorithm:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how fast the main content on your site loads.
GoDaddy Websites + Marketing sites apply a variety of techniques to optimize LCP.
For example, we’ve reduced server response and resource load times, and adjusted client-side rendering. These ensure that your website pages feel fast to visitors since the site content loads quickly.
First Input Delay (FID) measures the time it takes for the browser to process your website visitor’s interaction with the page — this includes link clicks, button taps, page navigation, etc. Website visitors don’t want to wait — interactions should feel smooth and fast. Google rewards websites that don’t take a long time to respond.
All that is to say — your website visitors will have a zippy experience when they click through the site.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how much the content on the web page shifts unexpectedly. This is particularly a concern on mobile devices, because it may be more noticeable at slower internet speeds that different parts of the page are loading separately. It’s a better user experience if everything loads at the same time, and Google rewards this with higher ranking. This metric tends to be harder to “pass” for many sites. While GoDaddy has optimized many of the technical aspects that impact CLS, the design choices you make for your website can have a big impact.
For example, while the website builder will optimize your images for faster loading, sites that have a lot of very large images will usually perform worse than sites with fewer images.
For added peace of mind, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing sites take care of other factors that impact search rank.
Security is critical, so we include SSL certificates for all plans at no extra charge. In addition, content added to the site or downloaded to your computer is automatically checked to ensure that it does not have malware.
For submissions to the contact form, we have Google ReCAPTCHA integration to prevent spam from bots.
All of these security features, plus our fast Content Delivery Network with distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, help your website rank higher in search results.
The main thing you need to know is that the technical optimizations that our developers have made, and continue to fine tune, require regular republishing of your website in order to take effect. We don’t republish automatically since you may have edits in progress that are not ready to be seen publicly. So, it’s a good idea to login regularly, preview your site, and hit Publish.
Evaluate your SEO results
Google is gradually rolling out the changes to the search algorithm.
Your website’s rank might not change all at once, so it’s a good idea to monitor it over time. You can check how your website is performing using the SEO tool in Websites + Marketing.
The integration will show your website’s daily page position and rank on Google. Top keywords and phrases that website visitors use to search for your site are displayed, along with impressions, clicks, and average position. Another option to check website rank, especially for more technical website owners, is to use Google’s Search Engine Console.
So far, it’s still too early to know how much impact the new ranking algorithm will have on search results.
Google does not disclose details of their scoring and ranking algorithm. However, they define thresholds for what user experiences are considered “good” in each of the three Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, CLS) metrics.
If all of the metrics are “good,” then the website is determined to have “passed” the Core Web Vitals assessment.
These are still early days since the rank change is just being rolled out. As you review scores, don’t be surprised to find that many websites do not pass all three metrics.
A site may meet the criteria to be “Good” for two of the three metrics, but the website would still “fail” Google’s Core Web Vitals assessment.
In addition, Google evaluates both mobile and desktop pass rates for Core Web Vitals. It’s more important to do well on mobile, since the majority of website traffic is mobile.
Google’s ranking will favor sites that perform best on mobile.
Keep in mind that website rank is relative. It can be concerning if your website is not “Good” for all three Core Web Vitals. If your scores are higher than those for competitors, your website will have the rank advantage. This is where the choice of architectural platform for building your website makes a difference.
GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Website Builder has two to three times more websites (on a percentage basis) that pass Core Web Vitals compared to other website builders like Wix and SquareSpace, according to comparisons done by The HTTP Archive, an open source project that tracks website performance.
Follow best practices
While GoDaddy will take care of the heavy lifting to prepare your website for Google’s rank change, there are still some things you can do to optimize your rank results.
Your design choices and content can have a major impact. Here are five things you can check:
Add links between your website and your social media accounts
You should also add links on your social accounts to your website.
This cross traffic helps Google and other search engines determine that your site is legitimate, which boosts your rank.
Tip: Check that all your links, social and otherwise, are working correctly. Broken links are a bad experience for your visitors, and this will hurt your ranking.
Be judicious about the media you add to the website
Pictures and video drive engagement with website visitors. However, sites with a lot of imagery or large video files will take longer to load, which will make the website visitor experience worse and reduce your ranking.
Sometimes “less is more” — pick a few high quality photos to highlight rather than overloading the site with imagery.
Videos should be compressed, and make sure that audio does not play by default. If you choose to autoplay, consider turning it off on mobile devices. It’s best for the website visitor to have control, especially on mobile since it might add more data charges.
Make sure every image has ALT tags
These are keywords that describe your engine.
This text helps search engines and visually impaired people understand what the image includes. It improves the indexing of your website on search engines, and content that has higher relevance for the searches people are entering will rank higher.
If you are adding video, make sure that you give the video a name and description that has some relevant keywords.
Check that your content is complete and unique
Duplicate content makes it hard for search engines to determine relevance, which hurts ranking. Many Websites + Marketing sections come with “starter text,” but it’s important for you to edit these text blocks so that they are unique to your business.
Additionally, don’t have empty pages where there is no content for search engines to index.
Include local SEO and customer reviews
If your business is eligible for Google My Business, make sure you set up a free profile.
Proximity is a factor in ranking, so if Google learns that your business is near the person who is searching, your business will be more likely to show up higher in the results.
And if you have positive reviews, by all means, showcase them on your website — you can set up a feed to do this automatically.
Google will boost the websites that have better reviews.
For more advice about ways you can improve your rank to get found on Google and other search engines, check out the SEO guide on GoDaddy Blog.
If you want recommendations tailored to your website, consider upgrading to one of our paid website plans to use our SEO optimization tool. If you are too busy or don’t want to work on this, there is always the option to hire an expert.
Google makes frequent updates to their algorithm for determining search rank results. The change happening this summer to improve website experience is considered a major update.
However, if your business has a GoDaddy Websites + Marketing website, our engineers have already optimized how your website performs, working closely with a team from Google. The main thing you need to do is republish your website to get the benefit of this work.
Beyond that, it’s always good to follow content and design best practices to improve your rank.
Editor's note: Need some help? Let the experts at GoDaddy SEO Services guide your SEO strategy and optimize your site so it gets the attention it deserves. Contact GoDaddy today to see how you can work less and rank higher.