Having a user-friendly layout/Page experience
In 2020, Google announced that page experience would play a very important role in terms of rankings. There are pages out there that trick people into performing an action they do not necessarily want to perform, i.e. the user experience is designed in a way that an element on a page pops up, expands, or
moves in a way that you end up clicking on something you did not intend to click.
Google has addressed page experience in detail and has lumped loading, interactivity, and visual stability together as core web vitals. By using page experience as a signal, Google wants to encourage SEOs and developers to create pages that make for a great user experience.
When working a page’s wireframe or design, most SEOs and marketers want to focus on conversion optimization, which means that they want to collect a lead or want the user to perform an ecommerce transaction or subscribe to something.
Conversion optimization can be achieved by using multiple well placed call to actions on a page, by placing the lead-capture form in an area where it’s visible, by encouraging users to perform an action that you want them to perform (subscribe to your newsletter, call you on the phone, chat with you etc.). When optimizing for conversion, marketers figured out that pop-ups, modals and banners helped improve the number of leads being captured on the page, even though all of these techniques can be disruptive of the user experience. This lead to further manipulation of interactive elements on the page, and several marketers started using tactics where a page element moves or expands in a way that you end up clicking somewhere you did not mean to click and subscribe to or buy something you didn’t mean to buy.
Now that Google has decided to penalize this kind of behavior, you have to revisit your page experience and make sure there are no elements that move in a way that manipulates the user’s behavior.
The sitemap.xml tells Google how many pages are on your websites and makes it easier for the bots to find them and index them. This file also lives at the root directory, i.e. www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml, the file can contain up to 50,000 urls and has a size limit of 50MB (uncompressed). If you have more than 50,000 pages on your website, you can make multiple sitemap files each dedicated to a different category.
If you do not have a sitemap, you are relying on Google to find all the pages you want indexed on its own. Google finds your web pages from other websites that link to them and through internal links on your website. In some cases, your internal linking structure may be a little weak and some pages may be either hard to find or entirely left out. With a sitemap, you avoid this problem altogether. Furthermore, by listing pages that are relevant for SEO and avoiding all other pages, you further manage your crawl budget. You can create a sitemap yourself or by using any of the free online tools out there.