Google’s Algorithm Update 2021: Page Experience May 02,2021
We all know about the dozens of changes that are done in Google’s algorithm every month. Some changes are so major that it can heavily impact on your website rankings. Some of you might have heard about Google's announcement that it is going to roll out an update in its algorithm. And this algorithm update will have an important impact on the rankings.
Google is going to introduce new Core Web Vitals (CWVs) as a speed related ranking signal in this upcoming algorithm update.
The new core web vitals are a list of metrics created to improve user page experience.
These metrics include technical SEO.
It has not rolled out yet but is believed to roll out in this month that is May, 2021.
The update is going to include a factor called Page Experience. The name itself says about what the update will be about.
Let us dive deep into the importance of the update, how it could impact your website, and what measures to take in order to stay on top.
So, what does Page Experience exactly mean?
“The page experience ranking factor is all about how a user perceives the experience of interacting with a web page on any particular website.”
The factors that are impacted by this update are: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
These factors decide whether a visitor will stay on the website or not.
The main purpose of this update is to put weight on creating a user-friendly website. It is to be made sure that the site that ranks at the top isn’t creating experiences that a visitor hates.
In other words, user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that aren’t user friendly.
Importance of the Update
Some things that you think were normal, are going to change after this major Google update.
The sites with more backlinks and high domain authority may not rank on 1st position, but the site with comparatively low domain authority and less backlinks may sit on the top of the search result page.
You might be wondering how this could be even possible?
It could be possible maybe because of its amazing user experience, because of their text, which is more appealing than their competitors, or maybe because of its lower bounce rate. There could be a wide variety of reasons.
Ultimately, Google wants to rank only those sites in the SERPs that visitors love the most.
If your friend says let’s go to buy shoes, which is the first brand that comes to your mind? If I had to guess, it’ll be Nike that you’ll have first.
Next, if someone says let’s order something to eat, you’ll quickly scroll through a bunch of apps on your phone and open Swiggy with a tap.
Many of you think that being a brand helps contribute to SEO and helps generate traffic, but that’s not entirely true. Most sites out there do not have large brands and still they manage to rank on the SERP (Because of their user-friendly behavior, interactive-ness, and many more reasons).
What Google is onto is, it is on the mission of showing the sites first that users love the most.
No doubt brand queries are one of the ways they can do this, but user experience is also one metric, which will hold value.
So, what measures to take in order to cope up with the algorithm and to stay on the top?
Start by Optimizing Your Main Pages
If you have only a few pages on your website with poor user experience, and less interactive-ness, but the other pages of the website having good UI and good loading speed, then Google won’t reduce rankings of the whole of your website.
This algorithm update, most probably, is going to focus on page-level basis.
So, it does not mean that your website’s all pages should have a good user experience, if it has, nothing like that. Otherwise, it is not necessary.
Here’s how to optimize website’s user experience:
Optimize the Loading Speed and Cut Out the Errors
The faster your website loads, the better experience visitors will have.
Optimizing images would help you out in speeding up your website. But, compromising image quality is also not an option. There’s this tool I’ve talked about, in the basic SEO strategy blog, called Squoosh from Google, which helps you compress the image size without touching its quality.
Check for the broken links on your website, and if present, fix it. As broken links create a bad experience, it should be fixed as soon as it is discovered.
There are many free tools available which let you measure the loading speed of your website and show other problems in the report that is generated when you enter the URL of your website.
With the proper analysis of the generated report, you will be able to strategize on different ways to optimize your website.
It’d be great if you could manage to get your website for desktop and mobile under 3 seconds. Ideal time range for website loading speed is 1 second.
What is the Core Web Vital (CWV) Metrics?
Following are the new page experience metrics, which are called CWVs:
LCP (2.5 or less than that for 75% of page loads)
FID (less than or equal to 100 milliseconds for 75% of page loads)
CLS (less than or equal to 0.1 for 75% of page loads)
Google’s existing user experience metrics that you already know about mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines will still be applicable ranking factors.
Let us understand CWVs one by one.
LCP [Largest Contentful Paint]
The LCP metric measures how fast the main element on the website is ready for the user.
More technically, LCP measures the render time of the largest element with most content within the website. Google recommends sites to manage LCP under 2.5 seconds for 75% of their page loads.
High LCP (4.0 sec) = Bad
Low LCP (2.5 or less than 2.5) = Good
FID [First Input Delay]
FID measures the reaction time of a web-page when first user input is given. (Be it a click, tap, or press any key to submit something.)
Alternatively, if a web page is done loading, but nothing is responsive when you click on it, it means that the webpage has a high FID time.
You got to manage the FID under 100 milliseconds for 75% of web-pages.
High FID (with over 300ms) = Bad
Low FID (100ms or less) = Good
CLS [Cumulative Layout Shift]
CLS is a CWV metric that measures visual stability. You should aim for a score of less than 0.1 for 75% of page loads.
High CLS (with over 0.25) = Bad
Low FID (0.1 or less than that) = Good
When a web page is loading, sometimes it will appear that the page is finished loading to a user, but when the user is about to click a button — the page shifts due to an ad or something and the button moves down in the loading process (slow CLS).
This can result in a bad user experience for visitors.
For example, if you are on XYZ e-commerce website and you are trying to cancel a purchase, and right above the ‘Cancel’ button, there’s another button that is ‘Buy now’.
Imagine going to click on ‘Cancel’ and the page suddenly shifts because of high CLS and you end up clicking on ‘Buy now’.
This according to us, is a bad user experience and the user might start hating the website.
NOTE: The CWVs metrics can be measured using the Google Search Console report;.
Analyze the Website Design
Even if a web page on the website loads quickly, there are times when it can be confusing to navigate through the site.
This could be because the design is cliched or just hard to jump from one content to another.
There could be too many pop-up ads which happens to be frustrating sometimes.
There could be no proper structure for the content on the website.
Sometimes, most of the websites simply assume that their only purpose is to sell.
But nowadays, the visitors want to be engaged with, wants to be entertained, and wants to get information.
That’s why empathy and likeability are one of the important factors.
User experience will be given more and more importance over time.
If you love a site and everyone else loves that site, Google will eventually know that the site should rank high.
On the flip side, if everyone feels a website has a bad user page experience, then Google won’t rank that website as high.
As the algorithm tends to give the users a priority, Google adapts to make its algorithms more effective over time.
I hope you now have a clear idea about the upcoming algorithm change and how it is going to impact the rankings.
Thank you for reading till here.