Google Page Experience set to launch in May 2021…ARE YOU READY?
In May of 2021, Google is rolling out a new algorithm called Page Experience. This new update to the algorithm provides a combination of several site performance metrics that will affect how websites are ranked in the search engine. This is an important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) update to understand as it may have an impact on your business’s search engine rankings.
At Agile Digital Strategy, we love to keep up to date with the latest SEO, web design and digital marketing trends online. Here is a breakdown of what the update will look like, how it can be used to your advantage and tools you can use to track your performance on Google with this new update. This guide will help you to prepare for these new changes to Google.
What Is Google Page Experience?
In a nutshell, Page experience includes all aspects of how users interact with a web page. The new Page Experience update will determine how good or bad a site’s user experience is, and that will factor into where your website ranks in search results. In Google’s own words:
“The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile.”
Page experience is already made up of several ranking factors, including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. The new update to Google Page Experience signal updates will combine updated Core Web Vitals with the existing search signals already implemented in the algorithm.
This update will begin in May this year, but don’t worry – it will be rolled out to users gradually, so you won’t experience any extreme changes overnight. It’s important to understand how you will be able to use these new features to your advantage to continue to develop your online presence.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Google wants their searches to have a user-friendly experience when visiting the top-ranking sites. With this new algorithm update, Google are officially adding three more indicators that Google is referring to as “Core Website Vitals”.
Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in your webpage’s overall user experience. These metrics Include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – measures the time it takes for content to visually render on a webpage within the viewport. In other words that is the loading time of your website.
- First Input Display (FID) – captures the amount of time from when a user first clicks on a page to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction. That will be the user’s first impression of your site’s responsiveness.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – measures the visual stability of your website. This has to do with preventing unexpected moving of page content, which can cause users to click something else by mistake.
The new update will focus on each of these metrics to gain an understanding of how the user interacts with your webpage, and thus will reward you how good your webpages user experience is. All three Core Web Vitals may need to be met in order to benefit from the ranking boost on the search engine, so it is important to focus on all three rather than one or two.
What can you do to Improve Your Page Experience?
You might be thinking “OK, I now understood how the new “Core Web Vitals” will work, but how can I implement improvements to my website?”.
Now that we have covered what Core Web Vitals are and why they are essential, you may be wondering how you can optimize your website for the upcoming changes. Don’t worry, we have you covered! Here are our top tips to Improve Your Page Experience:
1. Optimize your speed
2. Analyze your design
Even if the page loads quickly, there are times when it can be difficult to navigate. It is crucial to make your webpage easy and straightforward for users to navigate through your website so that they can interact with your page content. An interesting way to understand how your visitors interact with your page content is using a Heatmap tool (such as Hotjar or Crazy Egg) which shows user mouse movement, scrolling, clicks, and taps by graphical representation of data that uses a system of color-coding.
3. Optimize for mobile search
According to Google mobile-friendly sites show up higher in search results and are responsible for more than half of searches on Google.com. Here are some points to look at: Does your site load quickly on mobile? Is it easy to navigate on a smaller screen? Is it easy and quick to take action on mobile, such as contacting you, searching for a product, or making a purchase? This is the perfect way to see how well your webpage performs for mobile, and it can notify you that it needs to be optimised for smartphones.
4. Use Alt Text for images
Alt Text is an HTML code, and it describes the appearance of an image on a page. That is the text that appears in place of an image if it fails to load on a user’s screen. Using alt text on your images can result in a better user experience and positively impact your website`s search engine rankings, furthermore, it is important for blind and visually impaired people who use screen readers. It is also a fantastic way to boost your websites SEO by filling in the Alt Descriptions with more of your keywords.
5. Good content
Content is King! The primary goal of Google is to provide users with the most useful and relevant results based on their queries. That means your content needs to be valuable to searchers, in order to have any value for Google crawlers. It is important to know your persona, what are their problems and concerns and then create content that solves them. This way you might attract qualified traffic to your website and keep them engaged, both really important factors for SEO.
6. Compare your experience to competitors
Check how are your competition performing online and analyse their user experience on the website. How does their content quality compare to yours? What are the differences between their website in comparation to yours? This will give you an idea of what you need to do as well. However, your goal shouldn’t be to copy your competition, but do better.
Tools For Measuring Core Web Vitals
Below we present some tools you can use to check how your website performs in relation to Core Web Vitals:
- PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. Running PageSpeed Insights on your website is simple – just navigate to the PageSpeed Insights homepage and enter the websites URL. Within a few seconds, you will receive a complete analysis. Follow the analysis to make improvements to your website’s user experience.
- Core Web Vitals report in Search Console
The Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console shows how your pages perform, based on real world usage data. Search Console provides information on how Google crawls, indexes, and serves webpages. If new issues are found by Google on your site, you’ll receive an email from Google Search Console alerting you of any issues, including server errors, site load issues, and security issues like hacking and malware. This can help to quickly resolve any issues with user experience on your website. There is also a really handy extension for google chrome to measure the Core Web Vitals metrics in real-time on your desktop.
- Website Performance Testing and Monitoring
Regular testing and monitoring are essential for your website. To keep your site up to date with the regular changes to Googles Algorithm, it’s important to ensure you are continuously performing well. Using a tool like GTMetrix is a fantastic way to conduct an audit on your website to see if there are any changes which should be made to improve the user experience. By entering your websites URL, information about your site speed, page loading times, performance and more.
Final Thoughts on Google Page Experience
At Agile Digital Strategy, we are excited and ready for when Core Web Vitals become ranking signals in May 2021. We appreciate Google’s continuous efforts to find the most relevant and quality sites on the web, as it allows for dedicated work on Websites to be rewarded.
We are excited to see what else the new update brings us later this year, but until then we are focused on implementing the above changes to websites to improve website performance for all of our clients. Our team hopes that you have found our guide helpful.