Dealers Warned: Google Changes Could Drop Websites from Searches

Car retail website experts are warning that the latest batch of Google algorithm updates carry major changes that could, in the worst case scenarios, see dealerships’ websites drop out of online searches.  Autoweb Design say that Google’s new updates focus on the user journey around a website, pinpointing barriers interrupting the visitor in their customer journey, but taking action now can maintain website rankings.

Throughout the course of a year, Google release numerous algorithm updates, in many cases, these updates are mild and have little to no impact on website rankings; however, occasionally a major update comes along, introducing Page Experience 2021.

In recent years, these updates have been largely oriented around structure, content & semantics however, this year there is a shift in the way Google will index and rank websites going forward. The update is heavily centred around the user journey of a website, pinpointing any barrier that interrupts the visitor from their desired customer journey.

Google will measure the performance based on how ‘friendly’ a website is to the end user, instead of just how relevant and structured the content is, which is still extremely important. All of these factors will be evaluated to determine a websites organic position on Google.

Google will take into consideration the following. 

1.    Load Speed

2.    Response

3.    Layout Stability

4.    Mobile First

5.    Safe Browsing

6.    Intrusive Interstitials.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is the largest single piece of content on a web page within the initial viewpoint above the fold. Usually, on a car dealer website homepage, this will be the main banner image. Google will measure the time it takes for this to load on a web page.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID is the time taken between the user clicking on a button to when the website responds to that action. For example, a user clicking ‘enquire now’ this is the length of time it takes to execute that request, which in this case would be to generate an enquiry form. Obviously, a long response time can deter the website user from continuing.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS is the metric used to explore how much the website content shifts on a page. CLS can lead the user to go forward with unintended actions with a slip of a click, contributing to a negative user experience.

Mobile First

Having your website designed for mobile is incredibly important for users, as non-responsive websites simply shrink down to the size of the device so visitors are unable to view the page content properly.

Safe Browsing

There are several factors in ensuring that your website is safe & secure. These include having a valid SSL certificate, a URL beginning with HTTPS, ensuring the site is clean of malware and there is no deceptive content. If all of these procedures are in place you will see the padlock just before the URL on the top search bar of your browser, which will give confidence to users too.

Intrusive Interstitials

An intrusive interstitial is a popup that prevents the visitor from moving forward without closing the popup. Examples of these are newsletter sign ups, offers, customer feedback survey, advertising etc. However, this does not include necessary pop ups like live chat, age verification and cookie consent.


The best thing to do is to be prepared and prevent your website from potentially dropping down the rankings on Google, as recovery can be difficult. In a worst-case scenario, websites could disappear from Googles organic search results completely, however this is not likely to happen overnight. We recommend, assessing your current website performance and make any fixes as soon as possible, as the update will start in May 2021.

Some points you should be exploring involve cleansing the nature of plugins used, making sure your website is mobile friendly, removing any unnecessary popups and reducing the sizes of your images, as these will optimise the ‘page experience’ for the user.

There are lots of methods to fix any website worries you may have; however, this involves some technical talk. Autoweb Design are happy to run a free website audit, to identify specific areas of your website that Google will penalise (if any), and what steps you should take moving forward. As it is said… failing to prepare, is preparing to fail!

To find out more, visit or email Alternatively, call 01757 211700.

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