The time has finally come, where we digital marketers get to update our strategies and frantically review and update our websites. That’s right, it is time for another Google algorithm update.
Although this was announced a while ago now, and despite some delays, it seems that the Page Experience algorithm update has finally started rolling out in June 2021.
To be brief, Google is rolling out a new algorithm that will include factors such as page experience and user engagement. To start with the initiative, they’ve launched Web Vitals – an endeavour to measure and enhance users web browsing experiences on sites across all industries
What is Page Experience and what does it entail?
To put it succinctly, Google wants to know if a user's experience on the page is satisfactory. The following metrics are used: whether or not the site loads quickly; how mobile-friendly it is; and whether users can view content in one place without jumping around as they wait for additional information to load.
Google's core web vitals are a major factor in page rank experience. The mobile-friendly update, Page Speed Update, the HTTPS ranking boost and intrusive interstitials penalty all contribute to how Google determines which pages are high quality or low-quality content based on their own set of metrics for determining this.
Bad Page Experience signals
- Low Engagement: The truth is that people want to be engaged with on the internet. Notice how many sites are failing at this? They just don't care about their customers’ feelings, or what they think of them as a company and an individual. People today want more than sales - they also need entertainment! It's not enough for websites these days to have good prices; you must provide your users with something worthwhile too like empathy or understanding if you hope to get anywhere in 2021.
- Slow Load Times: It's no secret that we all hate waiting. It can be annoying to click on a search result and wait for the page load, but it feels like a lifetime while you are doing so! This is especially true when your potential consumers feel this way too; they will undoubtedly get put off by how long it takes which could cost you sales in return.
- Poor Page Design: You know what they say: every page is a journey, but some pages are more difficult to navigate than others. It could be because the design feels outdated or uninspiring and there's no clear content structure. Again, this can prove to be harmful to your target market in the long run.
Good Page Experience signals
- Core Web Vitals: Google's Core Web Vitals are a series of metrics that provide insight into how quickly your site loads. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the speed at which your largest page element renders, First Input Delay (FID) measures the time between when you input something and when Chrome responds to it, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), quantifies how many elements on each webpage shift as they load in so together these three measurements help quantify whether or not your website is loading as Google expects. If you see positive results for these on a search console report, you should be in good stead.
- Usage of HTTPS: Data encryption is a necessary measure to preserve the privacy and safety of web users. By using SSL certificates that scramble this data during transit all while maintaining security through verification checks like domain validation, for example, websites protect customer communications so hackers cannot intercept it or misuse it for malicious purposes such as identity theft and financial frauds among other things.
- Non Intrusive Interstitials: Google has taken a stand against intrusive popups and ads with their intrusive interstitials update. The devaluation algorithm aims to keep users focused on the content they are requesting without being interrupted by unnecessary advertisements or obtrusive options, such as popup screens that take up most of your screen space. Therefore, if you adhere to these requirements, it should reflect positively on your website.
- Good Mobile Usability: The world has gone mobile, and so should your website. Mobile sites account for over 60% of Google searches with AMP pages being the go-to site optimization solution to speed up page loading times on a smartphone or tablet's browser. The AMP Page Experience Guide offers an easy way to analyze what can be done better in terms of performance by looking at key metrics like time spent reading content, bounce rates, load speeds and more.
- Safe Browsing: The internet is a fast-paced, interactive space for sharing information. Sites that feel unresponsive will turn away users in droves and they may never come back. It’s important to make sure your site doesn't contain any malware, spyware or other potentially malicious scripts to protect both you as the owner of the site and visitors who may be tricked into visiting other sites with harmful content because it was advertised on yours.
Quick things you can do to prepare for Page Experience
Even though the update has begun rolling out, it is a gradual process that is not likely to be fully implemented until August. To get your website ready for this update, the most obvious thing to do would be to conduct an audit of your website and ensure that your pages meet the criteria for positive ranking signals as mentioned above. However, there are also some quick things you can do either in the meantime.
Firstly, you can focus on compressing or resizing images. This is something that commonly affects the speed of your page and from our experience, it tends to crop up a lot when using PageSpeed Insights which allows you to see ways you can make your web pages faster.
Next, you can take a look at the links on your website. You’ll want to see if there are any broken links as they can be detrimental to your website’s performance if they are not monitored efficiently. If you have links that are leading to 404 pages, you’ll need to find an appropriate redirection destination as soon as possible.
Furthermore, you need to look out for any potentially toxic links that are pointing towards your website as you don’t want your website associated with anything that isn’t directly related to the company. This is more geared towards making sure your customer feels safe when visiting your website.
In any case, the most important thing is to be aware of the update and keep in communication with your colleagues in order to create an effective strategy for meeting Google’s requirements and mitigating any potential disasters.
We hope that you can take all the steps necessary to ensure that you are ready for Page Experience. After all, as digital marketers, we like to see everyone succeed when Google gives us something new and exciting to deal with.