The internet is always evolving — and that’s reflected in Google’s ever-changing algorithm. In order for your site to rank well in search results, it’s important that you follow Google’s best practices, many of which are targeted with these algorithm changes.
We aren’t always told when Google plans or rolls out an algorithm change. Sometimes the only indication we have that one has taken place is a significant change in a site’s search ranking. But Google has announced their Page Experience algorithm update will launch sometime in May 2021. What exactly should we know about this update and how can we prepare for it? Read on to find out.
What is the Page Experience algorithm update?
Google will update its algorithm thousands of times in a single year. But while each update might have different aims in mind, these updates take place for the sake of internet users. Google wants to provide the most relevant and valuable information to web visitors and ensure they can receive that information in a way that’s fast, convenient, and visually appealing.
The way in which users receive information online is the main focus of the Page Experience update. Essentially, Google will reward sites that provide a positive user experience that focuses on page load speed and performance, site security, mobile-friendliness and consistency. Conversely, sites that don’t take steps to provide a positive user experience for visitors may see negative effects on their rankings once the algorithm update is rolled out in May.
What will Google be looking for with this update?
What exactly is meant by providing a positive user experience? While that idea might seem rather subjective, Google has a number of specific ranking signals that are taken into account, When calculated together, these ranking factors determine how prominently a site might show up in search results. And although page experience doesn’t matter more than having high-quality content, it can make all the difference when trying to rank sites that offer an equal level of content quality.
Google has a number of elements that will come into play with this algorithm update. In particular, business owners should work with their web developer or SEO agency to address:
- Visual stability: One of Google’s Core Web Vitals is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which is a score given to sites based on the number of times a page’s layout unexpectedly changes during a session. Your CLS score should be below 0.1 with the new algorithm update.
- Loading performance: Page loading speed and performance matter. Largest Contentful Paint (or LCP) refers to the time needed to load the largest visual element on a page. This should be ideally less than 2.5 seconds for best results.
- Interactivity: First Input Delay (FID) refers to delays that keep a user from clicking or interacting with a page for a certain amount of time after it’s first clicked. Your FID score should be less than 100 milliseconds to adhere to Google’s best practices.
- Mobile-friendliness: Mobile-friendly websites play a substantial role in search rankings, which makes sense because more than half of all web traffic can now be attributed to mobile users. Be sure your pages provide a consistent viewing experience on mobile and contain no obtrusive pop-ups or navigation issues.
- Site security: Having a secure site with an SSL certificate is essential, even if you don’t require web users to provide sensitive information. Prioritize site security and safe browsing habits to ensure visitors will feel confident using your site.
With only a few months to prepare your site for this impending Page Experience update, it’s important to put a plan in place that will ensure you’re ready for the rollout. With this information in mind, you’ll be in a great position to get started. Need some help readying your site for the update? Get in touch.