Another Google countdown
This May, Google are making another major change to their algorithm. So, what is the Google Page Experience update, and what does it mean for marketers?
What is the Google Page Experience update?
In the simplest of terms, how easy it is to navigate and use your website will be used in Google’s algorithm as a ranking factor. This means that user experience - how much a user enjoys using your site - will help to determine where on Google’s results page your website appears.
How will Google measure this?
That isn’t entirely clear, although we do know part of the picture will come from Google’s new Core Web Vitals (more on that below).
As with many things in the world of SEO, Google provide general guidelines, but rarely go into specifics. As digital marketers, it’s up to us to work out which ranking factors are most important and prioritise accordingly.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet, but to quote Google, “The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with our existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.”
So, things we already care about are still important, alongside these new Core Web Vitals.
What are Core Web Vitals?
These new metrics all relate to the speed of the site and what happens on the screen as it’s loading. Pure speed has always been important, but perceived speed is important too. If a site loads quickly but the user sees a blank screen before everything suddenly pops up, it can seem slower than a site that loads more gradually.
- Large Contentful Paint (LCP): this refers to the time it takes for the main content on the page to load – a key signal to the user that something is happening, and reassurance that they’re in the right place.
- First Input Delay (FID): the time is takes before a user can interact with the page i.e. scroll, click on things, etc
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures what Google are calling ‘visual stability’. You don’t really want things moving around too much as the page loads, as that can be jarring for the user.
There’s a new Chrome extension you can use to test your site.
When does the countdown end?
The update is coming May 2021. So, there’s plenty of time to do something about it!
What can you do?
Whether your website is old or new, it would be well worth getting some professional SEO or user experience advice. With an older site, it might be worth considering a rebuild with speed and user experience in mind. For a newer site, take a look at it using tools such as Lighthouse, Google Pagespeed Insights or the new Web Vitals Chrome extension mentioned above. If it doesn’t score well, you could see your rankings suffer when the update drops in May.
Also, remember that both SEO and User Experience (UX) are ongoing processes. It’s about continual improvement.
Chat with our team today and see how we can help.
Want to know more? Get in touch :)