Exploring Google’s new page experience algorithm update
Google recently announced it will be updating to its algorithm to include Page Experience.
Google’s always-anticipated algorithm updates have always been driven by improving the experience of internet users. From moving to eliminate keyword-stuffing and making well-written content a priority, to introducing mobile-friendliness and page speed as SEO ranking factors, Google algorithms have shaped the way marketeers work.
Google’s upcoming Page Experience Update will continue the trend towards a better online user experience. But what will change? How will affect your website? What steps do you need to take? And when? Our head of digital, Andrew Butcher is on the case, and will try to answer all of your questions in the next three minutes.
What will change?
This will depend on how usable your website is for your users right now. If your site is brilliantly built and optimised to deliver an exceptional experience, you don’t need to do anything – you can kick back and enjoy watching extra website traffic roll in. However, if the opposite is true and your site is slow to load, doesn’t work well on mobile, or isn’t interactive, then you may have some work to do. Here are the things to look out for.
- How quickly does your main content load?
- How responsive is your site is to user actions?
- How stable is your content? Watch out if you have one of those annoying sites where the content never seems to stop moving and you accidentally click an ad instead of the link you wanted!
These factors are called Core Web Vitals and these will be combined with Google’s existing page experience factors give a rankings boost to websites delivering great user experience. As demonstrated in the graphic below, from Google’s blog ‘Evaluating page experience for a better web’:
TOP TIP: Assess your competition
When looking to measure how well your site is working, remember to use your competitors to your advantage. Testing how well competitor sites are faring will provide you with a better barometer of performance expected by your customers and enable you to benchmark your own website.
You may be tempted to compare your site to one of the world’s best websites, such as:
- Slick sites with near-unlimited budgets such as Apple
- Online experts such as Moz or Neil Patel
- Amazing interactive web experiences like this from The New York Times
…at which point you might need to take yourself away for a little cry. However, your budgets, ambitions, or even your customer capacity may also be poles apart.
What does Google say?
In its blog entitled ‘Evaluating page experience for a better web’, Google announced that it will be using “a set of real-world, user-centred metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience…to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.”
When does it take effect?
Google has recognised that dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19 are the biggest current concern and have reassured site owners that these changes will not take effect until next year at the earliest. On top of that, Google has said that it will provide at least six months’ notice before rolling out the new page experience algorithm.
So, I don’t have to do anything?
You don’t have to…but Google is giving you an opportunity to get a head start. It has introduced the tools you need to get started on making your user experience awesome. Even if making improvements now won’t necessarily deliver an immediate ranking boost your users will love it, which can only be a good thing.
Google’s Chrome browser has launched Web Vitals – a tool to help you monitor and improve your performance in the user-centred metrics required to achieve future success online. Use it, start planning now, and get a competitive advantage.