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Blog Image September 21, 2020

What The Multifamily Housing Industry Needs to Know About Google’s New Ranking Signal

When it comes to web browsing, it’s no secret that search engines prioritize sites with fast, intuitive user experiences. It’s simply what the modern Internet user is looking for: instantaneous information, straightforward transactions, and seamless communication. Recognizing these and other consumer demands, Google is planning to take their affinity toward highly functional websites one step further by expanding upon their current “Page Experience” website ranking signal.

This news isn’t completely unexpected, since “Core Web Vitals” was introduced to the Google ranking signal road map in April 2020. The update sought to incorporate more usability metrics into Google Search. With these new developments, Google continues to blueprint key metrics of Page Experience, in order to align with ever-changing user expectations and industry standards. In enhancing its comprehensive list of Page Experience ranking signals, Google hopes to “help people more easily access the information and webpages they’re looking for,” while supporting websites that provide an enjoyable user experience.

Right now, the search engine only accounts for metrics, like mobile friendliness, safe browsing, and HTTPS security, in its Page Experience search signals. Come 2021, however, this search signal category will also account for loading, interactivity, and visual stability. All of these factors work to measure the user’s perception of the website based on their interactions with it and have proven to be worth the investment for businesses to attract search engines to their marketing sites and keep users engaged with its webpages.

By optimizing for any one of Google’s Page Experience ranking signals, you’ll implement a better user experience on your website that will span web browsers and tech devices. These Page Experience ranking factors are particularly vital to the 61 million American adults, who live with a disability. Like UX, web accessibility standards, inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), seek to provide users with a seamless browsing experience. If you’re looking to unify these two strategies, consider updating your website to the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which currently stands at Version 2.1, and aims to provide a smooth website or app experience to every user.

You’ll also be glad to know that these new additions to the Page Experience ranking signal won’t completely alter your current Google rankings. Although it is important to donate time, labor, and spend to your website’s usability, you will not want to forgo your content marketing strategy altogether. According to Google, a good page experience cannot outweigh relevant content in the form of SEO-driven website copy, regularly scheduled blog posts, and informative videos.

In fact, Page Experience will not be prioritized over websites with excellent content quality and ample relevance to the search query itself. To Google, the Page Experience ranking factor will simply serve as a tiebreaker between two websites. When it comes to competing sites with high-quality content, the one with stronger user experience will rank higher within search results, for example.

Since it will take Google some time to completely roll out this feature, we advise not to expect new implementations to the Page Experience ranking signal any earlier than sometime next year. The multi-faceted tech giant plans to inform all of its users – businesses, creators, and even apartment owners and operators, like you – of the new deployment six-months prior to its official release. In other words, you still have plenty of time to optimize the usability of your marketing website before Google begins ranking it based upon their updated standards.

When optimizing your site, a good place to begin is Google’s own toolbox. The company has already released an updated version of their Developer’s Tools manual. Development tools within the G Suite, such as Google’s Search Console, Lighthouse, and Chrome UX Report, will all prove handy for your on-site Webmaster or third-party website development team. In time, Google will even release a Core Website Vitals plugin for their Chrome web browser, which will allow anyone to evaluate their website – professional web developer or not.

If you’re looking to invest marketing spend in a new site, without paying the astronomical costs usually spent in customization, consider investing in a comprehensive multifamily industry focused platform with features that extend far beyond the typical marketing website and can help you manage multiple multifamily-related workflows. These all-in-one marketing, leasing, and retention platforms keep abreast with the latest tech trends and will have these newest SEO standards already embedded in the back-end of your website.

In the wake of current events, businesses across all verticals, including the multifamily housing industry, are depending upon online marketing than ever before. However you choose to approach Google’s brand-new developments to its Page Experience ranking signal, it’s important to remember that search engines are constantly evolving these very signals to meet the needs and preferences of searchers. Prepare yourself for these shifts, and you’ll better equip searching renters with the information they’re seeking, while boosting your community’s visibility online.

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About The Author

Jimmy Lancaster is one of the most well-known engineers on the Silicon Bayou, specializing in custom software development. He is the Chief Product Officer of 365 Connect, the leader in delivering the world's most sophisticated automated marketing, leasing, and resident engagement platform for multifamily communities across the globe.

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