Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update Coming in 2021

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If you are a marketer for a small business, you know how important your website is to serve your customers. Your website helps promote your products and services, but it also allows you to set yourself apart from your competitors. And if your website isn’t user friendly and doesn’t provide a great user experience, then chances are that your traffic will fall off and you’ll lose out to other businesses that have taken the time to optimize the performance of their site.

That is why it is important to know that not too long ago, Google announced that they would be releasing a new ranking algorithm sometime in 2021. This algorithm is intended to judge web pages according to how internet users perceive their interaction with the web page.

What is Page Experience?

If you aren’t familiar with page experience, it is essentially comprised of a set of signals that measure how someone would experience a website, and how they would feel about it. Metrics include loading performance, interactivity and the visual stability of the webpage. Further, search signals are also included as part of the experience. Those include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and what is referred to as intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka pop-up ads).

Breaking down the Upcoming Google Page Experience

To make this a bit easier to understand, we have broken down the user-centered metrics, called Core Web Vitals, that will be scored as part of this coming change.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - This metric measures the performance of the site load. To ensure a successful and positive load experience, LCP should take 2.5 seconds or less.
  • First Input Delay (FID) - This metric assesses interactivity. To ensure a positive user experience, it is believed that pages should have an FIC that is less than 100 milliseconds, which is the same as 0.1 seconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - This metric assesses visual stability. For a good user experience, a webpage should cultivate a CLS that is under 0.1.

So what does this all mean? In a nutshell, the page experience algorithm is constructed to assess web pages based on how users interact with it. Your website pages will rank higher when they provide a good experience, especially as it pertains to safe browsing, fewer pop-ups, high page speeds and if the site is mobile-friendly.

Google plans to provide notice of six months before this page experience update will go live. During that time, it is highly recommended that webmasters and business owners focus on improving their LCP (loading speed), FID (interactivity) and CLS (visual stability). You can leverage the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to help you assess your website speed. You can also evaluate your overall webpage performance with tools such as Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights and Chrome Dev Tools. By auditing your site now, you can identify where improvements are made and allow your web developers to make the necessary corrections.

Great Content is Still King

This all said it is important not to lose sight of the need for great content. You can make all the changes in the world to your site, and if your content is poor, so will be your ranking. On the flip side, even with poor page performance, if you have great content, it will still rank highly in Google Search results.

If you need help figuring out how to weather this upcoming change, we would love to do some discovery work on your business. Contact Sanctuary today to learn more or request a consultation!