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How Google’s latest broad core update will affect nonprofits’ SEO efforts

Just in time for the holidays, Google has announced the release of yet another broad core update, called the November 2021 Core Update. While it will take a few weeks for all the changes to roll out, it’s important that nonprofits begin to understand how this update will impact organic search results.

There are 4 key elements to this update that you should be aware of:

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Title Links
  • Continuous Scrolling
  • Google My Business (now Google Business Profile)

Let’s discuss in more detail what nonprofits need to know about the changes being made to each of these elements and how they will have an impact on your overall SEO strategies.

Core Web Vitals

Earlier this year, Google announced an update that placed an emphasis on customer experience by factoring core web vitals like speed, responsiveness and secure sites in search rankings.

Now they’re taking it a step further and will begin attributing the following factors into a user’s desktop search results:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the time it takes for the largest image or text block to render on a page
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures unexpected layout shifts on the lifespan of a webpage
  • First Input Delay (FID), which measures load responsiveness
  • HTTP security
  • Intrusive interstitials (better known as pop-ups)

Previously, these were only factored into mobile search results. The rollout of this particular element will begin in February 2022. While speed and experience will still be critical factors—and in most cases tie-breakers for search rankings—Google still expects site owners to deliver relevant content to their audience as well.

All this to say, content is still king, but the performance of the page rendering that content has become more important than ever.

Title Links

If you’re unfamiliar with title links, these are the titles of search results that appear on Google.

Sample title link

Back in August 2021, Google released a minor title link update that was intended to more accurately describe what a page was about rather than adapting to a user’s search. After receiving some negative feedback stemming from the title links not appearing how the website owners originally intended, Google has reset title links back to how they were prior to the August 2021 update.

With this update, nonprofits may see better impressions on their landing pages, however it could mean a lower CTR.

Continuous Scrolling

A new feature Google is rolling out, continuous scrolling, will be limited to mobile and available only to certain regions.

Essentially, this means that they’re taking away page numbers from Google Search results for certain audiences, allowing users to continuously scroll for more results. This will likely lead to higher search result impressions but could cause a lower CTR.

This could have huge implications if fully adopted, like redefining the value of page rankings, so we’ll continue to monitor this feature as it evolves.

Google My Business is now Google Business Profile

While this is mostly just a name change, it’s an important reminder for nonprofits to establish and maintain your Google Business Profile. This feature will help you connect with more users by allowing them to find your organization more easily.

If you’re unsure how to claim your Google Business Profile, check out this resource from Google.

While some of these changes may seem small, organic search plays a huge role in driving traffic to your organization’s website. Keeping an eye on these updates will help you adapt your SEO strategy for maximum impact.

Mitchell Chokas

Mitchell Chokas has been guiding organizations through the fog of search engine optimization (SEO) since 2017. As SEO Supervisor at RKD Group, he helps nonprofits maximize their website traffic through dynamic SEO strategies that adapt to the ever-changing landscape of organic search. Mitchell loves the challenge that SEO brings in trying to match the psychology behind search intent to the science of algorithms.

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