Presenting your customers with a great page experience has always been important when it comes to online success- it’s nothing we don’t already know. Google has been telling us what we should be doing to improve the user experience for years, so this algorithm update is Google’s way of telling businesses that it’s time to shape up, or get left behind! Let’s take a closer look at what the page experience algorithm means for you and your business.
What is Google’s page Experience update?
On 28th May 2020, Google announced it will be releasing a new ranking algorithm based on page experience. It’s rare that Google gives advance warning on their updates, so this shows just how seriously you should be taking it!
It was first announced that the update will come into play during May 2021, but it was recently announced that it’s been postponed to launch between mid-June and the end of August 2021. Great news for any businesses that haven’t taken the time to make tweaks to their website… consider this a nudge in the right direction.
What does this mean for you and your business?
The upcoming algorithm means that page experience, from a technical point of view, is about to become a significant factor when it comes to your Google ranking. If your website isn’t meeting the standards set by the time the update comes into play, it’s likely you’ll notice a drop in visibility- meaning less traffic and ultimately, fewer sales.
Think about it, Google wants to serve its users with the best websites it has to offer. If your website isn’t providing your customers with the best possible experience, it can easily be overtaken by competitors. Don’t let it happen! If you are a local business be sure to also checkout our seo plymouth blog post which encompasses user experience in a more local sense.
So how exactly is page experience measured?
This is where it gets a bit technical, so bear with us. Google explains that page experience signals measure the different ways that users perceive the experience of a web page, beyond the content and information. This includes things like:
- Core Web Vitals
- Safe browsing and HTTPS
- Intrusive interstitials
Are you still with us? Let’s look a bit further…
Core Web Vitals to Measure Page Experience
Core web vitals are the ‘things your website will be measured on’.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Simply put, LCP measures the time it takes for the largest content element on a page to become visible. (if you have a huge image that slows down your entire website, this is bad!) Google recommends that sites should aim to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of a page starting to load.
How can you make this better?
- Reduce the size of the large images used on your site
- Remove any unneeded assets and only load what you need to
- Use correctly sized images more prominently
- Convert icons and simple graphics into vector SVGs
First Input Delay (FID) – Website Interactivity & Responsiveness
‘Did the wi-fi cut out or….?’ First Input Delay (FID) measures the time between a user taking an action on a site (like clicking a button) and the site responding.
How can you make this better?
A lot of the things needed to make the FID improve are complex for someone who doesn’t know web design, so we’ll just summarise here by saying that the user is king when it comes to any code you have on your website. Using native form elements and making your code work smarter, and prioritising your users’ needs over your code will all work wonders for your FID score.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Have you ever been browsing a website and something shifts dramatically and your place is lost? This can even result in clicking the wrong button- not ideal! CLS is a metric that essentially measures how much elements shift about on your pages during loading.
The need for a mobile-friendly and responsive website is nothing new. By now, most website owners have achieved this, after the Mobile-Friendly algorithm was released in 2015. If you’re still to catch up or want to know more, we wrote a blog on this specific topic just last week. Hop on over and have a read!
Safe browsing and HTTPS
HTTPS is the little padlock you see next to your URL in most web browsers. It’s an absolute MUST when it comes to security for your users. If you’re not using HTTPS, your customer will see a ‘not secure’ message in the URL bar, this can be off-putting and result in you losing their trust.
If you are not yet using HTTPS, we would strongly recommend getting it implemented. With the upcoming algorithm update, this is likely to be a more heavily weighted ranking factor.
That was heavy reading… let’s summarise!
Unfortunately, no one really knows just how much page experience will affect your search results. We will have to wait and see once the update goes live. However, as Google has given us the measurement tools needed, and a pre-warning of the algorithm, we would say the likelihood is that the impact will be noticeable.
We have a dedicated team of SEO specialists and Web Developers who are here to do the hard work for you, whether it be rebuilding your website so it’s fit for mobile, or improving overall performance. If you’re in need of our SEO services, please speak to a member of our team today. Let’s get your website algorithm ready!