Google is always working on improvements to their algorithm through big (and small) updates over the years. These algorithm updates are meant to ensure that searchers are being shown the most relevant, high-quality, and user-friendly pieces of content on the web. These updates are one of the many reasons that search engine optimization is never done. It’s important to be ahead of the game and have a marketing team that stays up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry to ensure your website doesn’t drop in the ranks when a new update rolls out.
The newest big algorithm update is rolling out this year – the Page Experience Update. In this article, we’ll go over what this update entails and what businesses can do about it.
What is the Page Experience Update?
The Page Experience Update puts even more emphasis on user experience by looking primarily at site speed and mobile-friendliness. Google wants to make sure that searchers are being served the best content possible, so that will be the main purpose of this update.
How Do You Know What Google Will Look At?
The metrics being looked at for the Page Experience Update are not a secret. The Core Web Vitals section that was added to Google Search Console in 2020 gives you the technical details, showing you how many URLs are giving users a poor experience, need work, or are doing a good job. In Google Search Console, it’s not necessarily obvious what these metrics mean to the untrained eye, so I’m here to break it down for you!
Here’s what some of those metrics are referring to:
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Have you ever been reading something or tried to click a link and suddenly the page jumps down and you lose your place? This is what’s being measured with the cumulative layout shift metric. It’s considered poor user experience if the content on the page suddenly shifts after loading. Ideally, your web pages would not move once the page loads.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures how long a web page takes to load. Searchers won’t stick around on slow-loading websites and will bounce. Your LCP metric should be less than 2.5 seconds to be considered a good user experience. There are many metrics that can affect site speed including large image file sizes, unused code, and more.
Previous Google Updates Also Impacted by Page Experience
In recent years, Google’s updates have had a strong focus on user experience. If you haven’t taken care of these already, it’s important to get these taken care of as well:
- Upgrade to HTTPS from HTTP
- Ensure your site is responsive and everything functions on mobile
- Avoid intrusive interstitials that make content less accessible
- Improve site security to prevent being flagged for security issues by being hacked
All of these metrics will be used as ranking factors, so it’s in your best interest to make as many improvements as possible.
When Will the Page Experience Update Happen?
Google will be launching the Page Experience Update in May 2021. These updates will likely take a lot of development work, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible to prevent losing valuable search positions to competitors with better Core Web Vitals metrics.
What Do You Need to Do to Prepare for the Page Experience Update?
Whether you’re a local Fox Cities business or are a nationwide chain, you need to be prepared for the upcoming Google update to stay ahead of your competitors.
To be prepared for the Page Experience Update, it’s important to have both a reliable digital marketing team and a strong web development team. If your marketing team has been paying attention, they should have been talking to you about the upcoming updates already. Your web development team should cut down on how much your website’s content shifts upon loading, decrease site speed, and take care of any mobile usability issues as needed.
At E/Power Marketing, we have been working with our client’s web developers to call attention to any Core Web Vitals issues and get these updates taken care of before the update rolls out this spring.
Not sure if your website is ready for the Page Experience Update? The SEO experts at E/Power Marketing will audit your website and let you and your web developers know what areas need work. Contact us today!