Refresh Your SEO knowledge and learn new things from Google I/O 2021.
I watched the SEO sessions online at Google I/O 2021. This part of Google I/O is especially useful for SEOs who want to update and refresh their knowledge and learn new things. Honestly, I really learned a lot of new techniques and I want to share SEO takeaways in this blog post.
SEO Takeaways From Google I/O 2021
- What’s New in Search
- Preparing for Page Experience Signals
- What’s New in Web Vitals
- The Business Impact of Core Web Vitals
When watching Google I/O 2021 session, I took some important notes that Google shared with us, so I am sure that you will find a lot of SEO knowledge and tips. There are a lot of screenshots from the presentations.
What’s New in Search
A large part of technical SEO is about making it possible for search engines to fetch your HTML pages and to understand the content hosted there.
- Fetching in the SEO language is called crawling.
- Crawling is similar to how developers use widget or URL to request the page.
- Parsing in the SEO language is called indexing.
- Headings and other texts from the DOM are extracted and stored as tokens for an index of URLs.
- Search engines use various machine-readable elements to interpret the content on the page and to decide whether to store the page in the index or skip it.
- Structured data are one of these elements that provide additional information about the page and its content.
- In order for Google to understand the links, they should be well-formed HTML elements and point at reasonable and fetchable URLs.
- With the processing, Google also looks for links to new pages (both internal and external)
Updates in Crawling (HTTP/2)
HTTP/2 is the next major version of HTTP (the protocol used for transferring data on the internet).
- Google has been crawling over HTTP/2 since November 2020.
- HTTP/2 has been enabled to make crawling more efficient.
- With HTTP/2 Google can open a single TCP connection and efficiently request multiple files in parallel so that Google does not need to spend as much time crawling the server as before.
- Crawl budget is a mix of how many URLs Google wants to crawl from your site (the crawl demand) and how many URLs Google systems think your server can handle without problems (the crawl capacity).
- HTTP/2 crawling allows Google to request more URLs with a similar load on the server.
- The decision to crawl with HTTP/2 is based on whether the server supports it and whether Google systems determine there’s a possible efficiency gain.
- Website owners do not need to do anything other than enabling HTTPS and HTTP/2 support on their web server.
- Over half of all URLs are now crawled with HTTP/2. Thanks to stream multiplexing and header compression, the number of connections and the bandwidth have both gone down significantly.
When it comes to machine-readable information on a page, Google primarily relies on structured data embedded in the HTML pages.
- JSON-LD has become the most popular way to provide structured data.
- All of Google’s modern search specific metadata can be provided through JSON-LD and the schema.org vocabulary.
- Schema.org (started in 2011) is a globally accepted standard & open vocabulary for expressing information. It’s an important part of the open web infrastructure and is constantly being expanded.
- Google recently open-sourced Schemarama which provides data parsing and validation tools.
- To learn what you can do with structured data within Google Search, check the Search Gallery (a lot of new elements).
Structured Data for Videos
- Google has been making changes to how they recognize and show videos in Search.
- There are a few types of supported structured data that can be very interesting if embedding videos is important to your site.
- Videos and their landing pages are prominently shown in Search and Discover.
- You can host videos on your site or using any video hosting platform. Both approaches work similarly and are supported by Google Search.
Video Key Moments
Search now allows users to directly move to important moments in a video. Two types of markup will be supported to enable this:
- Clip Markup (a web page can provide information on segments or clips within a video). These segments can then be shown directly in the search results. All you need to do is provide a textual tag, a starting time, and a URL that goes directly to that timestamp.
- Seek Markup (if you cannot easily list the segment information for all of your videos). This markup will allow Google to use machine learning to analyze video content and automatically determine relevant segments. You just need to tell Google how to link to an arbitrary timestamp within the video hosted on your pages. Available in the near future.
Preparing for Page Experience Signals
Page Experience Pillars
Google Search has always considered user experience as part of ranking.
- Mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal (2014)
- HTTPS (2014)
Page Experience has four pillars of user experience:
- Loading (how fast or slow the resources of the page are downloaded and displayed on the user’s browser)
- User Annoyance (some of the webpage behavior that may get in the way of a user accomplishing a task)
- Security & Privacy (how safe, secure, and privacy-friendly a web page is)
- Accessibility (whether the site is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities). *15% of users worldwide have some form of disability.
These four pillars provide a structure of how you should think about the page experience for your site.
Core Web Vitals (update to CLS)
LCP, FID, and CLS are Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that apply to all the web pages and should be measured by all site owners and will be surfaced across all the Google tools. Core Web Vitals are a robust set of threshold guidance that map to user expectations.
Each Core Web Vitals metric:
- represents a distinct facet of user experience
- is measurable in the field
- reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome
Page Experience Ranking Coming to Desktop
Page experience is critical to all users regardless of the device they are using. Updated guidance, documentation, and tools will be provided.
What’s New in Web Vitals
Web Vitals are metrics for web pages with a focus on user experience. They measure problems that frustrate users like poor performance or content shifting around.
- Core Web Vitals is a subset of Web Vitals considered most important to focus on.
- Core Web Vitals apply to all web pages and are surfaced across all Google tools.
- They are measurable in the field so you can get a ground truth of what real users see.
- They focus on the critical user-centric outcome (a small set of metrics).
Business Impact of Core Web Vitals
Here some nice screenshots I thought I would share with you. It’s about how different people look at Core Web Vitals.
Catch up on what you missed or re-watch your favorites on demand at Google I/O 2021.