Don’t let Google updates drive you crazy

The recent Google core algorithm updates will affect all websites that are listed in Google SERPs today. But don’t fret. Once you identify what’s changing, you’ll be better prepared for website fixes.

September 16, 2021
President of Strategic Communications

Who wants to be in the top five results in Google SERPs (search engine results pages)? You do? Of course, you do. But it can be a challenge at times to not only get there but to stay there. You research keywords, short-tail, long-tail and competitor keywords and you finally figure it out. Then, Google changes its algorithm, and you must almost start over again. Yes, it’s frustrating and it’s a necessary evil of working within the confines of Google and their requirements.

Not all Google algorithm updates are equal

Some Google updates will mildly or not affect your rankings at all. They are minor tweaks to code to improve how users find information important to them after an update occurs. You won’t necessarily know it, but Google will update its algorithm several times a day and even more than a thousand times each year. They won’t always announce them, and they won’t typically dramatically affect your SERPs performance.

The Page Experience ranking core algorithm update

Most recently, Google completed a three-month core update known as the Page Experience. It combines the current user experience with Google’s core web fundamentals to improve the way it evaluates the overall experience on each page. Their goal is always to improve users experience. The update covers four ranking factors:

Core Web Vitals (CVWs)

CVWs focus on three speed-related ranking signals: largest contentful paint, first input delay and cumulative layout shift.


The Large Contentful Paint is the hero image at the top of your homepage. It measures how quickly the largest and most important piece of page content loads at the top of the webpage for a user visiting the site. To pass a Core Web Vitals assessment, this piece of content needs to load in under 2.5 seconds. It accounts for 25% of your Google Performance Score.


Google Large Contentful Paint Example Image

The second Core Web Vital, First Input Delay, measures how responsive your web page is to user input, like the clicking of a link or button. To pass a Core Web Vitals assessment, your web page needs to register a response time under 100 milliseconds. It accounts for 25% of your Google Performance Score.

Google First Input Delay Example Image


The third Core Web Vital, Cumulative Layout Shift, measures the stability of your web page and whether elements move out of place as additional ones are loaded. To pass a Core Web Vitals assessment, your web page needs to register a score under 0.1.  It accounts for 5% of your Google Performance Score.

Google Cumulative Layout Shift Image Example

Mobile friendliness

Google will be looking for mobile sites first which will give a website a better chance of landing higher in SERPs. Your website ranking on Google is determined solely on mobile optimization as Google is basically ignoring desktop websites. If you’ve been putting off optimizing your site for mobile, now is the time to make it a priority or you will most likely fall to page two in SERPs, and no one wants that.


HTTPS and safe browsing/security issues

A website must be secure and use HTTPS (instead of HTTP) as well as have no security issues to be in good status with Google.


No intrusive interstitial identification

What is an intrusive interstitial? Essentially it means website popup ads. Website popups are not recommended unless they are legally required – i.e., confirm age to enter. Blocking a page especially on mobile equals to a bad user experience and can reduce the accessibility of a website. This kind of popup is timed and will pop up on its own – not when you click a button to subscribe.

To dive deeper into the Google core algorithm Page Experience update, here are some helpful resources:

Google Search Console

Understanding page experience in Google search results

What site owners should know about Google’s core updates

Search Engine Land

The Google Page Experience Update

Never miss an update that may affect your website’s SERPs performance

If you are unsure of how to figure out if your website is mobile-friendly, has any safe-browsing issues or if your site’s connection is secure, don’t worry. We can help. Enrolling in a regular website maintenance and optimization plan is key to keeping up with all of Google’s changes that will impact your SERPs.

You’d start with a website audit to identify any potential issues that will affect site security, speed, and search results. Complete this short form and we will be in touch.

Also, take a look at these blog posts on the topic:

Why is website maintenance important?

2021 website trends and analytics to keep watch

Chernoff Newman has deep category experience in agriculture, food and beverage, education and workforce development, energy, economic development, financial/insurance, healthcare and infrastructure. We design integrated marketing and strategic communications that are impactful, thought-provoking and influential. We marry ingenuity with business know-how to influence beliefs and behaviors for brands, companies and their many stakeholders. We influence attitude and inclination. We influence opinion and outcomes. And when needed, we also influence to quell contention.