Google Announces Page Experience Algorithm Update - Why You Should Pay Attention
Google is set to roll out a new Search Algorithm update in 2021. The new Page experience update focuses strongly on user experience and page speed. Follow on for more information on the Algorithm update.
Initially set to roll out in May 2021, the Google Page Experience update has been pushed back to June this year. The update will slowly start rolling out in mid-June 2021, not all at once, Google expects this to be updated within its ranking algorithm by August 2021.
What is Google Page Experience?
It’s likely that Google Page Experience will impact rankings in 2021. To what degree and when specifically we will start to see these impacts is still to be determined.
Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine which sites are listed in the search results. Many of the Page Experience Metrics are already included as ranking factors, however, they are set to play a larger role in rankings in the coming months.
According to Google, “great page experience doesn’t override having great page content”. In short, if your website provides users with a fantastic user experience and has great, unique and authentic content, then your site’s ranking should rise and traffic should increase.
This is actually great news for small brands who are worried about competing with larger, international brands.
Google Page Experience Algorithm - Key Metrics.
According to Google, the following Key Metrics will play a role in the new Page Experience Update:
1. Mobile Friendliness
First, make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool or Google Lighthouse to check that your site is mobile friendly. It’s important to note the difference between a site which is able to load on a mobile device and a site which is mobile friendly.
2. Safe Browsing
If Google determines that your site contains “malicious” or “deceptive content”, your rankings will plummet. Google will not direct users to unsafe websites.
Avoid this by making use of the Security Issues feature on Google Search and by regularly securing and updating your website, plugins, and databases. Regular maintenance of your website ensures that it is updated and safe from hackers.
Make sure that your site uses HTTPS, which basically means heightened security and privacy, secure connectivity, and data encryption. This is very important if you’re performing activities such as logging into a website, filling out a form, or checking out on an ecommerce site.
You can tell if your website has this correctly set up is the start of your domain beings with https:// (and not http://).
4. Intrusive interstitials
Next, check that there are no Intrusive elements on your site such as the presence of annoying pop-ups or any elements that block your page content, restrict a users ability to browse the site. If you want to learn more about this, take a look at this blog post on SEMRush.
Be sure to think of your users when introducing new features as these do not always work seamlessly across different browsers - not matter how well intentioned the update, it could lead to users not being able to access your site correctly.
5. Core Web Vitals
Finally, the last thing that you need to do is evaluate your Core Web Vitals. These include but are not limited to:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) that measures your site's speed and loading speed. According to Google, if anything takes longer than 3 seconds to load, bounce rates would increase by 123%.
- First Input Delay (FID) is about ease of use and interactivity. FID measures the time in milliseconds from when a user first interacts with your site including clicking a link or tapping on a button. The longer the delay, the worse the user experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) Google measures the visual stability of your website’s content. The lower your CLS score, the more stable your layout is.
Google has used some of these signals in the past but they were not necessarily captured as ranking criteria.
Evaluate Page Experience in Search Console
An exciting update this week, this feature has already started to roll out in Google Search Console. Allowing you to start to evaluate your website’s performance with relation to these ranking factors.
So where do you start? We would recommend starting with Page Speed Improvements. Just ask yourself - would you stick around for a website that takes longer than a few seconds to load? Google said it themselves: content is still king. Sure, metrics and algorithms are also important but even with a fantastic user experience, heightened safety, security and encryption, without great content, hardly anyone would get anywhere.
Click here to learn how to create timeless and valuable content that your customers will love.
This is definitely an exciting development from Google and a great new way to optimize and maximize user experience across a wider spectrum. Let’s wait and see what happens over the next few months. It is important that you keep yourself updated with similar announcements and developments if you plan to stay relevant and ahead in today’s competitive digital world.
Remember: optimize your technical aspects but don’t forget to create and maintain great quality content if you want to achieve high ranking on Google! Looking for help and support with SEO, page ranking, user experience and more? Contact us and we’d be glad to assist you.