Could we soon be saying goodbye to First Input Delay (FID), Google’s Core Web Vitals metric that measures a web page’s interactivity? It’s looking highly likely.
Google is working on a brand-new Core Web Vitals metric – one that could (and probably will) make FID obsolete. Search Engine Journal’s (SEJ) Roger Montti first reported on this information after reading about it in an HTTPArchive Almanac article about content management system (CMS) use. One of the articles, peer-reviewed by several Google staffers, discussed FID in detail and mentioned that the Google Chrome team was working on a new metric for measuring responsiveness.
So, why do away with the one Core Web Vital most sites are passing with flying colors? The answer is for this exact reason: Too many sites are performing too well, and as a result, FID has lost meaning. The Page Experience Update has only been around for a few months, but, ultimately, FID’s goal has been reached – there’s not much more it can do for page experience.
What’s more, it’s the easiest Core Web Viral to get a great score on. And if everyone gets a trophy, no one gets a trophy.
It seems almost guaranteed that FID is on the way out. While we wait to see what a replacement metric might look like, consider reading Montti’s deep-dive into what we know so far. The article links to a Google web.dev blog that gives more insight into the new metric. In the blog, Hongbo Song, a software engineer, said:
“As a review, the First Input Delay (FID) metric captures the delay portion of input latency. That is, the time between when the user interacts with the page to the time when the event handlers are able to run.
“With this new metric we plan to expand that to capture the full event duration, from initial user input until the next frame is painted after all the event handlers have run.”
In other words, the new metric won’t measure single interactions but groups of individual interactions that form part of a user action.
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it seems highly likely this metric will not supplement but replace FID as a Core Web Vitals metric, so we can’t get too comfortable just yet. Google always said optimizing for page experience would be an ongoing task, not set-and-forget. And with the Page Experience Update coming to desktop early next year, perhaps we can expect the new metric to be introduced sooner rather than later.
Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update Is Rolling Out: Back in April, Google launched its first “product reviews update,” giving well-researched and in-depth product reviews a well-deserved boost in Google Search. That update saw surprisingly volatile ranking shifts, with some sites seeing massive surges in traffic and others plummeting. Now, just in time for the holiday season, Google has launched its December 2021 Product Review Update – a name that implies we can expect these to happen as frequently as regular core updates. The update launched on Dec. 1 and should take three weeks to roll out. Luckily (or unluckily, for some), the Product Reviews Update is only relevant to sites that review products. Google said in its announcement that sites that have made positive changes since the April update should see an improvement in their rankings once the December update is complete. Although we’re still right in the middle of the update, early signs point to exceptional SERP volatility. If you’re concerned for your site, give Google’s guide to writing high-quality reviews another read.
Here’s What IndexNow Means for Your SEO Strategy: In October, Microsoft Bing and Yandex announced IndexNow, an open-source indexing protocol that eliminates the days-long or even weeks-long wait for search engines to crawl and discover content and enables search engines to be instantly aware of content updates and immediately fetch pages – a huge win for both sides. The possibility that IndexNow would change the face of SEO became even more plausible weeks later, when Google announced it would be testing out IndexNow and examining its benefits. So, things are happening: But what do the protocol and its possibilities actually mean? And how does it work? On Friday, SEJ’s Loren Baker sat down with Fabrice Canel, principal program manager for Microsoft Bing, to discuss exactly this on the latest episode of the Search Engine Journal Show. Take a listen during your coffee break and find out how to make your SEO strategy IndexNow-ready in 2022.
The Recommended (and Google-approved) Time To Keep 301 Redirects in Place Is One Year: If you’ve ever migrated your site or moved a page to a new location, you’ve almost certainly made use of 301 redirects – and you’ve probably wondered how long these redirects should stay in place. Well, it’s your lucky day, because Google’s John Mueller gave a definitive answer to this question in the latest Ask Googlebot video series on YouTube. Mueller stated that redirects should be kept in place for at least one year. This is because when a URL changes, Google’s algorithm needs to see and record the change more than once – at least a few times. In order to ensure Google has crawled your page multiple times and knows for a fact the page has moved, your 301 redirects should be given at least a year to do their duty. Of course, you don’t have to keep them for only a year; you can keep them as long as you want, no harm done. But if you plan on doing away with them, a year should be your minimum.
Here’s How Google Handles Inclusive Language: It’s always fascinating to learn the lengths search engines like Google need to go to to ensure online content remains free from discrimination and accessible to all – an impossible task in the far-reaching online realm. We got more insight into Google’s efforts on the latest episode of Search Off the Record, a podcast hosted by John Mueller and Martin Splitt, where they interviewed two Google staffers working on the search engine’s inclusive language systems. Inclusive language avoids expressions or ideas that are biased, prejudiced, stereotyped, discriminatory or denigrating to a group of people. In this must-listen podcast, Mueller gave some interesting insights into how Google indexes for inclusive language. But the key takeaway for any listener with a website should be to make every reader feel included. Of course, this is easier with some languages than others. But there are small changes all of us can make to produce content for a more diverse audience.
Google Introduces a New Interface for Maps and Local Search: If the Local Pack is looking a little different on desktop lately, you’re not imagining it. Without any fanfare or official announcement, Google has moved the map to the right of the top three local search results on desktop SERPs. Previously, the map was positioned above these results. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land noticed a sharp uptick in the new design, which you may have come across yourself because Google has been testing for several months. He reached out to a Google spokesperson who confirmed that the update is rolling out. If you notice a change in traffic – positive or negative – coming from local search, this seemingly insignificant change could be the reason.
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