Last May, Google announced that in May 2021, it would be updating its algorithm to align with user desire for a “great page experience.” What the new Core Web Vitals update means is that this year, three specific page experience signals will affect a website’s ranking in search results.
How to Navigate Google’s New Great Page Experience Rankings
The principle change is particularly noteworthy, as Google typically (if at all) announces changes to the algorithm retrospectively, not months in advance.
The announcement has given us reason to believe that organic search rankings will be significantly impacted by this update. For brands and marketers, this is big news.
While page speed is by no means a newly-desired performance remit for developers, this change introduces a new way of measuring existing performance that Google feels is more refined and important to users.
How does Google Define Core Web Vitals?
The set of search criteria that Google defines as the Core Web Vitals are the following:
- Loading times — this metric will be measured by Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) in seconds; the render time for the largest block of text or image to be visible within the viewport.
- Interactivity — this metric will be measured by First Input Delay (FID) in milliseconds; the time at which the main thread again becomes idle following the initial user interaction post load.
- Visual stability — this metric can be measured by Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) via impact and distance fraction measurements; the number of times rendered elements change position during the lifespan of the page.
Google search quality has been increasingly measured by user experience and will likely continue to be required in SEO rankings.
It’s of no benefit to Google to serve up organic or paid results that do not adhere well to the benchmarks of these metrics. It’s also likely Core Web Vitals will eventually impact quality score in some way.
How can brand marketers manage these changes?
Prepping for this rollout will involve significant developer contact, as well as access to the data you and your team need to make informed decisions regarding. There will need to be deep communication about what to tackle first in terms of poor speed performance.
What is your competition doing? How are they performing in the metrics?
Ultimately, you need to understand which metrics might be performing poorly relative to your online competition. Once you have performance tested across key page templates over time, you can start making decisions about which metrics need optimizing as a matter of priority.
Ascertaining whether existing performance is “good” or “bad” requires testing and benchmarking data.
The testing component should be seen as the first step and data will be derived from two sources.
The First Testing Source: Lab, which tests via a designated server and headless browser. Google Lighthouse tests can be run natively in Google Chrome, and there are also many 3rd party tools that can help automate testing.
The Second Testing Source: Field, which tracks actual user interaction.
Valuable references for Field are the Chrome User Experience Report, Core Web Vitals report, for tracking pages at scale on owned properties, and Google PageSpeed Insights for one-off insights for any website with sufficient field data
Relativity is often important in the remit of search marketing.
You need to know if your organic or your paid competitors are performing relatively better or worse across all corresponding page templates, devices, locations, etc.
If you are performing worse than your competitors, then this update will likely be detrimental to performance come May 2021. If you are performing better, then this will likely be a boost for your brand.
It can be difficult to know where to start.
It’s important to work with experts who have web performance experience and have developed tools specifically to automate the testing process.
Websites and brands need to be constantly reviewing and adapting their online presence.
You have always reviewed and adapted your online website, brand and presence to keep up in the market. If you wish to maintain a stake in the search rankings and preparing for Google’s core web vitals update in May — your preparation will serve you well.
Google holds around 90% of the total search engine market share, so updates such as this shouldn’t be ignored.
What about brands and marketers?
For brands and marketers, looking to experienced developers and agencies to guide them through these changes will ensure that websites are prepped and organic performance isn’t hindered.
Image Credit: joshua woroniecki; pexels
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!