Starting next week, Google is rolling out its highly anticipated Google Business Profile, replacing the Google My Business app that you’ve just grown used to.

As we detailed a couple months ago, this is the beginning of the end for Google My Business, which will change the way you manage your account on Google. This will include your SEO and rankings on Google, and it will change the way you and other businesses interact with Google.

As the platform is about to roll in, let us walk you through what you need to get ready for the rollout.

Page Experience

Starting in February, Google will use page experience to determine where your website fits in its rankings for desktop. If you have a mobile website, Google’s rollout is already affecting you. Google applied their new page experience standards to mobile devices in August, so you can already see from your mobile ranking how you’re doing with their new page experience requirements.

Obviously, mobile friendliness won’t affect your rankings on a desktop. Despite this, we always suggest building a website with responsive web design that can be easy to navigate on a phone, tablet, or desktop. Whether you’re doing great or not-so-well, here’s the long and short of what Google wants from your site now.

The Basics

As usual, Google wants to ensure that it’s pointing its users to websites with a good user experience, meaning their load times aren’t long, navigating the website is intuitive and easy, and your website’s responsiveness is lightning fast. These are called Core Web Vitals. Without getting too technical, these are how Google measures what your site visitors’ experience will be like. These metrics measure your site’s loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.

Google also wants to bolster secure websites, meaning your website must have HTTPS encryption on it. If you are using Smart Link for your web hosting, all our websites have an SSL certificate.  This ensures the connection is secure and won’t inadvertently give your site’s visitors information to hackers and other nefarious data miners.

Finally, Google is going to mark down websites with intrusive interstitials that make the user experience more annoying. Think pop-ups. What’s your first reaction when a big, fat popup blocks the content you’re trying to read? Frustrated, right? Make sure none of these are on your site, or if they are, they leave plenty of space for visitors to read the content they’re looking for.

There are a few exceptions. Some sites need age verification or other legal obligations before they present their information. Other sites need to inform visitors that they use cookies to gather data. Logon pages for pages that are only for certain people (members, employees) can also have a login/password popup that bars unauthorized visitors from access.

Content is still king

You have the basics down. Your site loads and changes pages at the speed of light. There are no annoying, unnecessary popups on your page, and your site is secure with an HTTPS encryption. While that means your site won’t get thrown to the bottom of Google’s rankings, it’s not a substitute for stellar content.

From Google’s team themselves, on their page about Advanced SEO, “Understanding page experience in Google Search results”: “While page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content. However, in cases where there are many pages that may be similar in relevance, page experience can be much more important for visibility in Search.”

Therefore, making sure your page has all the information your customers are looking for is still crucial to being competitive in Google’s rankings.

What’s more, the rollout of these new search criteria will finish in March, meaning you have a couple months to make sure your page is up to snuff to remain competitive. Be sure to start now in order to stay ahead of the competition.

If you need help managing your Google listing, or managing any of your search engine listings, we can help! Give us a call at 248-684-0500 and we’ll take care of the rest. Meanwhile, check out our free search engines auditing tool to see how you’re really performing on search engines!