Changes are in store for the world of online marketing in 2021. Google, the undisputed sovereign of search engines, recently announced it would make some changes to its algorithm in the coming year. The new algorithm is called The Google Page Experience.
The announcement was particularly kind. Generally, Google avoids divulging information ahead of an update. If you recall the Medic update of 2018 and the chaos that ensued, you can appreciate the head start we have before the newest update hits. Google offered the lead time, in part, as a response to COVID-19 and the financial upheaval a multitude of businesses are experiencing.
In this post, you’ll learn how to improve the page experience on your website and prepare for the upcoming algorithm update in 2021.
What is Page Experience?
A portion of page experience is how site visitors feel about their encounter with a web page. Page experience seeks to learn how the consumer felt about their visit and does so using various indicators. These gauges look at more than just the informational value of the website.
Page experience delves into site metrics known as Core Values. These are how the users’ real-world experiences stack up against similar sites that are equally informative.
Why is Google Rolling Out the Update?
Although it is the largest search engine, owning 74% of the searches, Google consistently tweaks and adjust its processes to:
- Give searchers the best experience possible. Google conducted internal and industry research to try and zero in on what searchers loved and did not love about their online experiences.
- Promote websites that give users an excellent experience.
- Encourage all web pages to step up and improve their sites, making the web better for everyone.
Should I Be Concerned?
Generally speaking, yes. The 2021 algorithm update will have impact across the board. There is no particular niche that will benefit from the update, and no specific group of sites is exempt from the changes.
The driving force behind Google’s new algorithm is the user being pleased with their experience. The depth of your concern regarding the page experience update will vary based on a few different factors. The top influences are:
- The present condition of your website – If you are already giving visitors to your site a great experience, then check over the details and tidy the site to make what is good even better. If your site is haphazard and frustrates users, now is your chance to overhaul it ahead of the update, so your SEO does not fall.
- Your ability to enact changes to your website – If you are already stretched as thin as possible, you may legitimately have nothing left to give to your SEO. Turning to a professional for help could be your best shot at a meaningful and positive change to your site.
What Does the Page Experience Update Focus On?
Google’s update will enable the search engine to use several information vectors, known as Core Web Vitals, to learn about users’ experiences while on the webpage. These vitals relate to several website fundamentals such as loading speed, site stability, and responsiveness.
Google’s Core Web Vitals Are:
1. Loading Performance
Google measures a webpage’s loading performance by examining the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). The LCP notes explicitly the length of time needed for a site to load its most sizeable section.
Looking at the LCP makes tracking how users view the site’s loading speed possible. In this case, perception matters a great deal. Upon seeing a web site’s main page load almost immediately, visitors believe they are on a reliable and useful site.
Google measures how quickly your website will engage with a user. The search engine accomplishes this by looking at your First Input Delay (FID).
You can think of the FID as a first impression. Most members of the virtual marketplace understand that site visitors have little patience when they experience a delay in their online activity. A good FID is 100 milliseconds or less.
3. Visual Stability
Content formatted correctly will maintain visual consistency. Anyone who experiences the distracting problem of a page with freezing or unstable images can relate to the importance of visual stability.
To measure this data, Google makes a note of the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). For a site to keep its stability, your webpage should have a CLS of 0.1.
What Other Criteria Does Google Use to Judge a Page Experience?
A number of the additional criteria Google will use as a part of their Page Experience Update are elements that businesses have likely already optimised. These include:
1. Browsing Safety
Google had consistently shown concern for the safety of site visitors. The new algorithm continues to hold security as an essential element for site rankings. In addition to your SEO, maintaining a secure webpage should matter to all businesses. After all, your customers depend on you to have precautions in place to make sure they are safe while browsing your site.
Here are the top three potential security problems your customers’ can encounter on sites that are not safe.
- Hacked Content – While we all like to believe otherwise, hacking is a substantial threat to those in the online marketplace. In addition to your business content, hacking can impact your clients’ information. Many businesses of all sizes have lost court decisions brought by customers who had personal data compromised because of hacking.
- Malware – Guarding against any program that can exploit your customers or harm your website is critical when you are considering safety.
- Social Engineering – Always be on the lookout for programs that trick site visitors into downloading unwanted materials or giving away valuable information. Other types of social engineering programs can send viruses to harm equipment.
2. Page Speed
The fact that consumers demand page speed is not new information. Neither is this the first time Google highlighted the critical nature of web page speed.
However, it still bears repeating the target loading speed for your website is 2.5 seconds. When forced to wait beyond the 2.5-second threshold, site visitors became irate and frequently moved on to another website.
3. Interstitials That Slow the Browsing Experience
Interstitials are similar to pop-up ads that show up and impede a customer’s search. Roadblocks to what a consumer is searching for will frustrate them and possibly cause you to lose a client.
4. Mobile Friendly Optimisation
You have likely heard a strong case for creating a site that is compatible with mobile technology. Around 66 per cent of searches are mobile, and desktop came in second to mobile devices for searches in 2019. Given this information, you can see how your SEO is somewhat dependent on your site’s ability to work with mobile technology.
Because you want your site to have as high a level of security as possible, you must have a website that uses HTTPS. Google insists on it in order to give a good SEO ranking to sites.
How Can I Find Out if My Website Meets the New Standards?
Fortunately, in addition to offering time to get ready for the new algorithm, Google is updating its web developer tools to help businesses. The new tools will look for the critical components within the search engine giant’s Core Web Vitals.
What Developer Tools Has Google Updated?
Google has added to the capabilities of a number of web developer tools so businesses can check their site and make necessary adjustments.
The enhanced web developer tools include:
- Page Speed Insights
- Chrome UX Report
- Web Vitals Chrome Extension
- Web.dev’s Measure Tool
- Search Console
- Chrome Dev Tools
Is Content Still Important for My SEO Rankings?
Even though Google is adding the page experience to ranking factors in the new algorithm; excellent content is still vital to your search engine ranking. Even if you have an amazing website user experience, thin, irrelevant, or incorrect content will not slip by unnoticed, and your ranking will suffer.
Top Tips for Content and Formatting Google Loves
When you consider making changes ahead of the new algorithm, remember it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few tips that can help your SEO:
- Remember the Basics – Google still loves unique, relevant content. Checklists, dot points, and numbered topics are great for your site visitors.
- Post Relevant Content – Analyse what content your potential customers would like to see. You can learn a lot from keyword analysis, so do not depend on the terms that once held top spots in rankings. SEO is continually evolving.
- Create Interactive Content – Sure, reading blog posts or watching videos are great, but interactive content will keep your visitors on your site longer. Additionally, it will add to a positive page experience and can increase the chance of reviews and recommendations. A few examples of interactive content include:
- Interactive videos
Are You Ready for 2021?
If all of these points seem a bit overwhelming, you might consider hiring SEO professionals who have an excellent track record and an advanced understanding of what Google wants.
Businesses are fortunate to have time to prep for the Google Page Experience Update. While the update will not happen until 2021, it’s important to start preparing now.