Another update? Again?
This summer Google announced that they will be releasing a new update on their algorithm called Page Experience. From May 2021, websites that score well on the Page Experience scale will rank higher than sites that don’t. Now that might sound all fine and dandy, but what does it mean?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Google Page Experience – Google’s new algorithm.
What is Google Page Experience?
Ever jumped on a website only to have buttons blocked by pop-ups? Or tried to use a non-responsive site on your mobile? Annoying, isn’t it? So annoying, in fact, that users stop visiting the site altogether. That’s the kind of thing Page Experience measures – how enjoyable your website is for your visitors.
In a nutshell, Page Experience measures how user-friendly your website is. The more your users enjoy your website, the higher your page will rank on Google. As you can imagine, this means big things in terms of SEO.
How is Page Experience measured?
How does Google decide what is a good Page Experience, and what isn’t? Is there some judgemental Google worker checking every website ever? Er, not quite.
As a part of the Page Experience, Google has launched Web Vitals – a series of benchmarks that measure and enhance the user’s experience online.
Page Experience currently includes all the standard Google Search criteria – mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, and HTTPS. But by adding Web Vitals to the mix, Google can now analyze the user experience in far more depth.
At the moment, Web Vitals focuses on three things:
- Visual stability
But what do those mean?
You guessed it – this metric measures how quickly, or slowly, your website loads. More importantly, it focuses on how long it takes for the main content to load on a page. If your visitor can get what they need quickly on your website, they’re more likely to enjoy using your site.
This measures the time from when your user first interacts with your page – with a click or tap, for example – to when the browser starts to process that interaction. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a button for nothing to happen. Your users want a quick response – and they want it now.
Visual stability prevents the unexpected movement of your page’s content. Ever tried to click on a button, only for the page to move down thanks to an annoying pop-up? Blurgh, no one likes that. Having good visual stability means that everything stays where it’s meant to, and nothing gets accidentally clicked or missed.
Why is Page Experience important?
Google updates its algorithm all the time. Big whoop. Why should we pay attention to this one?
Because Google is going to make Page Experience a big deal. In fact, your website’s Page Experience is going to weigh heavily on how it will be ranked on Google’s search pages.
Visual cues will guide consumers to websites that have high Page Experience scores, while sites that don’t will be left behind in the rankings. So yeah, Page Experience is kinda a big deal.
Think about it – pages that are easier to use increase engagement and allow people to get what they need quickly. Why wouldn’t Google want to show off those sites first?
How can I increase my Page Experience?
Feeling a little freaked out by the new update? Think your website won’t be able to stand up to the scrutiny? Don’t panic! You have until May this year to get your website ready. That’s totally more than enough time to get everything sorted.
So where should you start? We have a few ideas.
Optimize for mobile search
We know you’re busy with running a website and all. And things like making your site mobile responsive tends to get put on the backburner. But thanks to Page Experience, optimizing your website for mobile search is more important than ever.
In the last quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated almost 51% of global website traffic. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder why mobile responsiveness is essential for Page Experience.
Look at your web design. Pages that are simple and responsive look a lot better on smaller screens. Optimize your website for mobiles by:
- Reducing code on the back-end
- Leveraging your browser caching
- Reducing any redirects
Improve your page speed
We’ve got better things to do than wait for a page to load. Like, literally anything.
On average, a website should take anywhere from 2.4 to 3 seconds to upload. A second longer than that can decrease your conversation rates by a whopping 70%. That’s shorter than the time it took you to read this sentence!
You don’t have much time to impress your user. Improve your page speed by:
- Minimize your HTTP requests – the more components you have on your page, the longer it takes to load.
- Use asynchronous loading files. This is when elements of your page will load simultaneously with other elements. Way, way faster than waiting for one thing at a time.
- Resize your images. Large image files take forever to load. Make a few tweaks to their sizing and watch that baby fly!
Focus on content
With all this technical mumbo-jumbo, it’s easy to forget about the most important thing – the content.
Many people get so caught up in metrics and SEO that they let their content suffer. But good, valuable content will always be important for Page Experience.
Make your content clear and simple. Answer their questions. Write copy that speaks to your visitor’s fears, frustrations, needs, and desires.
Struggling to get your head around Google’s Page Experience? Purchase an SEO package with us! We help implement a plan for algorithms like this. Contact us here to get started.