For most people, the most difficult element of SEO is staying up-to-date with all of the latest Google algorithms. Once you think you have got your SEO strategy perfect, Google pops up with another algorithm that changes everything. The next algorithm update from Google will be implemented in May of this year (2021), so it is vital to be prepared. This involves the introduction of a new factor called Page Experience.
What is Google Page Experience?
Page Experience incorporates all of the different ways in which a person interacts with your web page, and whether or not the experience is a seamless (or painful).
Existing Google search signals are included in this, such as intrusive interstitial guidelines, HTTPS, safe-browsing, and mobile-friendliness.
As we look ahead, it will incorporate metrics in Google Core Vitals. There are three main areas of focus in this regard; visual stability, interactivity, and loading.
Great! So what do each of these actually mean…?
This refers to stopping the unexpected and annoying movement of page content. How are you positioned? Test here
This is the time for when a person interacts with a page initially to the time that the browser starts to process the interaction. Test Here
This is all about page load speed. How long does it take for the main content to load? To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load
Test Here: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The importance of this Google algorithm update
Now that you know what this update entails, it is important to consider how this may impact you and why you need to take this algorithm update seriously.
Google has been very clear regarding the importance of Page Experience. If your page offers an outstanding experience, users will interact with it and engagement will increase.
Think about it.. If you go to a restaurant and the food, environment and overall visit was outstanding, you’re not going to think twice about coming back; or doing business with this group again. On the contrary, if the food was miserable, the waitstaff was rude, and the place was filthy, this restaurant may not be your first choice the next go around.
As a consequence, we can expect to see websites delivering a poor page experience to drop in the rankings. This, in turn, means your traffic will drop as well.
Well, like with anything, we need to first take a peak at your current website performance and see how we stack up..
There are three key areas we recommend looking at, to begin with. Firstly, your engagement rates – How long are people staying on your website? What are my bounce rates? What are my top exit pages? How many pages are people viewing before exiting? What pages are visitors leaving on? What is my conversion rate?
Quick Tip: Open a Free Account at Hotjar – this will allow you to actually record website visits to see what users are doing and where your website is falling short.
Secondly, your design and structure. After you’ve installed your heatmap, we need to start analyzing performance and identify what content people are interacting with, how far their scrolling, where users are falling off and what content is (or isn’t) displaying correctly.
Thirdly, your page speed. As I’m sure you can relate to, nothing is worse than visiting a site and waiting a leap year for it to load. It is a miserable experience and if you’re like me, you’ll leave after just a couple of seconds. Google recognizes this.. If your website takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to load, then you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be (and to be frank, have been) negatively affected. Once the Page Experience algorithm update is rolled out, good luck. Changes must be made.
It’s advisable to get a better understanding of the metrics google will use, from First Input Delay to Cumulative Layout Shift. You can then use this to create an audit of your website so that you can fix any inadequacies before Google punishes you for them.
We’re here to help!
Confused yet? Hopefully not. But, if you do not have the experience and the know-how to do this yourself, schedule 5 or 10 minutes here and we can dive a bit deeper into how you (or your team) can stay ahead of these “algo” updates.