Google’s next quarterly algorithm update named Page Experience is set to launch next month, in May 2021. Alike every algorithm update Google implements, every website will be affected with alterations to their Google rankings.
As one of the longest operating Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney, if there is one thing we know for sure, it is never underestimate the power of a Google algorithm upgrade. If you do, almost certainly, you will see a drop in your rankings. So, it’s a smart idea to pay attention to this change and optimise your website according to our suggestions in this article.
What’s the Motivation for the Update?
Page experience has always been an essential factor for web designers and user experience (UX) designers to ensure customers feel welcomed enough on a business’s website to purchase products and services.
All internet searchers want the same thing: a fantastic page interface as they land on a website from search results. Google realised they could improve search results for users if they implemented tighter measurements encouraging a health website interference.
As a result, Google applied additional metrics to assess page experience as Core Web Vitals for website owners last year. For over a year, Google has been taking note of the page experiences websites offer users. Now, these measurements will positively or negatively affect your rankings after this update takes effect in May.
No need to panic, as it’s not too late yet! Now is the time to take action against any page experience metrics in Core Web Vitals where your website might be falling short.
What is Meant by Core Web Vitals?
Before we can start to understand how Page Experience is measured, we need to understand how Core Web Vitals are calculated. Web Vitals are metrics that website developers use to boost the quality and usability of their site.
If you’re wondering why web vitals are relevant, consider this: would you remain on a website that takes over two minutes to load? Would you want to visit a website that does not respond to your clicks? Probably not, and Google knows that.
As the world’s biggest and most popular search engine, Google wants to provide users with the most useful content and well-optimised web pages. Since users are more likely to connect with a well-functioning website, as a result, Google honours user-friendly pages by increasing their ranks and penalises poorly performing sites by lowering their rankings.
You can assess the performance of your website in the “Enhancements” section of your Google Search Console account, and here you will be able to monitor the three Web Vitals.
o Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures site speed and page load times. A fast LCP is considered below 2.5 seconds. LCP ensures web pages are relevant, functional, and healthy for easy user operation.
o First Input Delay (FID) measures site interactivity and how quickly it responds to user action. A well-designed page should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
o Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of your site and the total number of unexpected layout shifts that occur. A good CLS score is less than 0.1.
LCP, FID, and CLS are considered “behind the scenes” metrics of websites as they relate heavily to the technical structure of a website. Still, they play a critical role in assessing the value and health of individual pages and websites.
What is Meant by Page Experience?
According to Google’s recent post announcement, page experience specifically refers to “how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value”. Page experience includes the three Web Vitals variables mentioned above, as well as the following:
o Mobile-friendliness is essential for a healthy site; according to Google, a mobile-friendly website is a user-friendly website, which is vital for rankings. Pages must load fast and be easy to read on mobile so the site can rank higher, whilst lagging and clustered counterparts sink lower in the rankings.
o Browsing safety refers to the potential security issues and threats to user’s personal information, like malware, deceptive pages, harmful downloads and uncommon downloads.
o Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) security is similar to browsing safety. It monitors all data sent via HTTPS to a user, ensuring the data is authentic, encrypted and safe from modification. Google started penalising sites with unencrypted browsers and HTTPS in 2018, classifying them as “not safe” in the URL bar. Users are more likely to trust and connect with websites that use HTTPS encryption.
o Intrusive interstitial compliance refers to the ‘popup’ ads on a website, which can relate to anything from regular popups, full-screen interstitials that sit above a website’s header and full-screen modal windows that block the content on a page. Google will penalise sites that have constant pop ups.
To simplify the new updates, experts have come up with the following motto:
Page experience = core web vitals + existing metrics.
How to Analyse Page Experience
With the additional pressure COVID-19 placed on company owners and leaders who have been scrambling for the past year attempting to adjust to a new virtual-first digital environment, Google has treated this shift with great care and sensitivity.
In particular, Google has provided multiple free-to-use tools which allows website owners to help measure, monitor and optimise their page’s experience, such as:
o Different tools to help measure and report Core Web Vitals, including LCP, FID and CLS.
o A tool to measure your pages mobile-friendliness with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
o Check any safe-browsing issues on your site by using the Security Issues report.
o Check if your site's connection is secure. If the page isn’t served over HTTPS, learn how to secure your site with HTTPS.
o Make sure that you’re not using interstitials in a way that makes content less accessible.
o As well as a tone on information relating to Core Web Vitals and Page Experience FAQs.
How Will Page Experience Impact Small Businesses?
Google’s mission with this update is to provide consumers with the most appropriate, high-quality content as possible. If your website doesn’t adhere to Google’s new guidelines, Google will assume your website is not that useful or important to users. As a result, Google can lower your rankings, ensuing less visibility for your company and fewer customers to your site.
For example, among sites with similar foundations and messaging, such as “Leading SEO Agency in Sydney” or “Best Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney”, there is a good chance that these websites have virtually similar content. In this case, websites with better page experience scores from Google will be placed higher in the search engine than their identical twins.
If you want to rate higher than your competition, you should start optimising your website right away.
How Do I Prepare for the Update?
While yes, the update will undoubtedly produce thousands (if not millions) of distinct website traffic winners and losers almost immediately. Google has stated that above all, they will continue to prioritise website pages that offer the best information overall, even if some aspect of page experience is subpar.
Hot tip: quality content is still the most critical web design feature. A good page experience does not override having great, relevant content. Substance will always triumph design.
If a site publishes the best content and relevant information, it will outrank those with a better page experience. A better page experience cannot hide the fact that a website’s content is bad, so your material must be both appropriate and high-quality.
Small businesses must continue to create well-researched content that addresses the most important questions of customers and make the material readily accessible on their website.
Therefore, it is more important to create high-performing website content that is laser-focused on the needs and desires of your customers, rather than SEO hacks that aim to cheat the Google algorithm.
Per year, Google releases over 3,000 updates, but Page Experience will be remembered… so, ask your digital marketing agency how they can help ensure success adhering to the newest Google update.
RGC Advertising is an award winning Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney which provides Creative Services, Web Design Services, SEO Services, Digital Marketing Services and Programmatic Advertising Services to some of Australia’s leading consumer brands.
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