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Industry News 7 min read

Google's Newest Updates: What It Means for Your Paid Media & SEO

Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Published 18 Mar 2021

Two major announcements from Google recently sparked a flurry of tweets, blog posts, and forum comments within the SEO and PPC communities as digital marketers speculate precisely what these updates will mean for the future of paid media and organic search ranking. 

We’re referring to Google’s announcement early this month that it’s decided to stop selling ads based on specific web browsing data, which will impact the way your company advertises online through paid media.

In addition to this update, back in November, Google announced its Core Web Vitals Update, which will impact where your company ends up on Google’s search engine results page. 

Maybe you heard about these updates, but you’re not sure how they will impact your digital marketing efforts? 

Or maybe you’re scratching your head in complete bewilderment with no idea what we are talking about?! 

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Galactic Fed is here to break down both updates for you, giving you the who, what, when, and why in as few words as possible; we promise! 

Let’s begin with Google’s most recent update:

The end of ads based on specific web browsing 

Who will this affect? 

Google’s decision to stop selling ads based on individualized web browsing history will affect anyone who runs Google Ads, including ads on YouTube, Facebook, and Google Search.

What does it mean for your company’s paid ads? 

Currently, businesses can use data from people’s browsing history to figure out who to place an ad in front of and whether they went on to purchase the advertised product or service. 

After Google’s change, there won’t be as detailed a picture of either. The ability to track and measure customer behavior as it exists now will be changing. 

When is this happening? 

Google plans for this new update to be in effect by the end of 2022. 

From the second quarter of this year, Google will begin testing new technologies referred to as “privacy sandbox,” which will target ads without collecting granular information about individuals from the websites they’ve visited. 

One such technology looks at people’s browsing habits on each of their devices and allows advertisers to target groups of people with similar interests, or “cohorts,” rather than individuals. 

Why is Google taking this approach? 

Many believe this is a move by Google to address growing privacy concerns and increasing pressure from the US, EU, and other governments. 

Google may be trying to bypass stiffer regulations around data privacy by making these changes independently, demonstrating a concerted effort towards improving data protections now, without the heavy hand of government intervention.

What’s the controversy? 

The digital ad industry has expressed concern that this action from Google, and similar updates from Apple, are anti-competitive and will hurt smaller advertisers who don’t hold as much first-party data as big players like Google.

Source: Twitter

On the other hand, many folks believe this is a step in the right direction and what consumers want when it comes to protecting their privacy online. Put simply by David Temkin, Google’s Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust: 

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising…and advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.”

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Let’s move on to Google’s Core Web Vitals Update and how it will impact your company’s SEO. If you are thinking, what the heck are Core Web Vitals, you’re not alone! 

The main three metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: evaluates the loading speed of a webpage’s main content.
  • First Input Delay: measures the speed at which site visitors are able to interact with a webpage after landing on it.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: evaluates how often site visitors experience unexpected shifts in a webpage layout.

Source: Google

Who will this affect? 

Google’s Core Web Vitals update will affect every company or individual with a website that cares about the amount of organic traffic they get to their site from Google.

What does it mean for your company’s SEO? 

If your website doesn’t meet the minimum requirements outlined in the Core Web Vitals Update by the date they go live, it could affect where your website ends up on your targeted search engine results page. 

Here are the minimum requirements for each metric:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: needs to happen within 2.5 seconds of landing on a webpage
  • First Input Delay: needs to occur within 100 milliseconds
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: pages need to hold a CLS of less than 0.1

Not quite sure how your own website measures up when it comes to Google’s Core Web Vitals? Place your URL into Google’s Page Speed Insights to understand how various pages on your website stack up against Google’s standards:

When is this happening? 

Google’s Core Web Vitals become ranking signals for search results this May. Time is of the essence to make sure your site’s user experience is in good shape to boost organic traffic to your site, and more importantly, ensure your site is a joy to use by as many people as possible.

Why is Google taking this approach? 

Core Web Vitals are Google’s relatively new standards for measuring whether a webpage provides a good user experience (UX.) These standards align with Google’s continued focus on improving the web’s user experience by improving the loading, interactivity, and stability of the internet’s websites. 

Any controversy? 

Not really. Everyone seems to be supportive of making websites more user-friendly; it’s hard to argue with that. Some question the impact the new update will actually have on sites:

Source: Twitter

Addressing privacy concerns and improving UX

And there you have it! Google’s recent paid media announcement will impact how you go about reaching people online through advertising, in the sense that the metrics we have been using to measure impact will change.  

When it comes to your website’s SEO, just ensure your site is user-friendly and meets Google’s new Core Web Vitals to get rewarded with a decent spot on your targeted search engine results page.

Galactic Fed has a large team of paid media and SEO experts who have partnered with many Fortune 50 companies if you want to learn more or want help with preparing your business for Google’s upcoming updates. Contact us today!

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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