E-commerce Compact #23: New Ranking Factors in Google, Instagram Tabs & Google Small Business

23.11.2020, 5m

Google confirmed that there will be a new ranking factor in search going live in May 2021. In this week's edition of E-commerce Compact, we'll talk about this update. Also, keep reading to find out about major changes to Instagram's home screen and what Google Small Business is doing to help SMEs prepare for this year's Christmas sales.

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New ranking factor in Google: The Page Experience Update

Google recently confirmed that the Google Page Experience Update is coming starting in May 2021.

This means it’s still about 6 months until the algorithm update officially goes live.

What is this update about?

In short: Page Experience shall improve the user experience.

As the name suggests, the Page Experience- factor is intended to quantify how a website behaves in terms of user experience, or as Google puts it:

“These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”

Google will also test to see if there is a "a visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have a great page experience”.

Recommended Reading:
How to Personalise the Customer Journey in the Digital Age

Page Experience combines several ranking factors

A number of signals relating to the user experience are already built into the Google algorithm. The current algorithm has metrics for mobile usability, secure browsing, and the use of HTTPS security.

In addition, Google aims to find out whether certain guidelines, such as the guidelines on intrusive interstitials, are followed.

The new Page Experience signal takes these existing signals and combines them with core web vitals - "a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience" such as the page loading time, interactivity and "visual stability".

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As soon as the Page Experience Update goes live, the search engine giant says it will test various options to display a visual indicator in the search results that informs searchers whether a particular search result is likely to offer a great user experience.

What can you do to prepare for the Page Experience Update?

In short: check your website with Google Tools. The Core Web Vitals were introduced a few months ago, have their own tab in the Search Console and have already been integrated into Google Lighthouse (an open source tool for performing technical website checks) and into Google PageSpeed Insights.

Furthermore, the content on your website remains important - along with with the page experience. The search giant made it clear that the content on a website (and its presentation) remain crucial.

Recommended Reading:
Increasing Traffic with Visual Content Marketing

Instagram adds ‘Shop’ and ‘Reels’ tabs 

A couple of days ago, Instagram announced major changes to their home screen layout. The company is adding a Shop and a Reels tab to their home screen. 

The Reels tab will redirect users to the Reels’ surface, while the Shop tab is to lead users to “personalised recommendations, editors’ picks curated by our @shop channel, shoppable videos, new product collections, and more”, as the social media claims. 

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Instagram wants users to better connect with influencers and brands that promote their products through Instagram. 

“We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while,” says head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri.

“We’re excited about the new design and believe it gives the app a much-needed refresh, while staying true to our core value of simplicity.”

Tip: Get our "Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Online Shops" whitepaper for free

Google for Small Business offers tools & tips to help SMEs for Christmas

Google decided to help small businesses to better attract holiday shoppers. Google Small Business has now launched a website to help small businesses and online shops to significantly boost their holiday sales, nicknamed the Holiday Hub.

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This site now offers personalised recommendations for marketing purposes, useful content to learn more about special features and strategies, as well as special tools.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Christmas sales will be more crucial for small businesses than ever. Consumers are likely to do their seasonal shopping even earlier this year. 

That’s why businesses should start preparing their Christmas marketing as early as possible. 

Recommended Reading:
8 Low Budget Ideas for Creating an Advent Calendar on Social Media

What does the Holiday Hub have to offer?

The new site provides small businesses with personalised recommendations to reach both online and offline shoppers across Google Search, Google Shopping, and Google Maps.

When visiting the new Google for Small Business page, retailers can initially choose if they need particular information and tips for their online shop or their local shop.

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Google then provides retailers with useful and short video lessons on pressing topics in terms of marketing and sales. 

Recommended Reading:
Black Friday: An Opportunity or a Threat to Your Shop’s Success?

Additionally, Google offers a number of helpful tools like the Merchant Center or the possibility to create ads in Google Shopping for free which small companies can make use of.

Moreover, the tech giant teamed up with some of the most popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce and refers to their services. The website also presents some examples of where small businesses have grown successfully thanks to Google's tools and tips.

Trusted Tips: Get our Google Shopping step-by-step guide for free!