The 2021 Page Experience update to the Google algorithm is set to launch in May 2021. It includes new metrics in Google’s Core Web Vitals that add importance to how fast a site loads, how well users can interact with it, and how visually stable it is (in terms of space and consistency). Understanding the importance of these changes and making adjustments should be a priority for every SEO agency to keep their clients’ websites ranking well.
Page Experience and the Page Experience Update
“Page experience” includes all aspects of how users interact with a web page. The Page Experience update to Google’s algorithm measures how great or how painful of an experience a user will have when they visit your site. The simplest way to think about this update is that user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that aren’t user-friendly.
The Page Experience Update will focus more heavily on Google Search signals like:
- Mobile Friendliness
Since most people are searching Google from their mobile devices, they want to make sure your website is “mobile-friendly”. Here’s what they mean:
- Your website should be developed with software that works well on mobile devices. There is software (like Flash) that looks and works great on a laptop but functions terribly on a phone. Your web designer should avoid using these software types in your web design.
- Your site should have readable text throughout. All text on your site should be readable without zooming.
- Content should be sized correctly. Users should not have to scroll horizontally or zoom in to see all of your website’s content.
- Links should not be too close to each other. Links should be placed far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
- Safe Browsing
Your website should be “clean” and “safe” if you want Google to rank it well. They demand safe browsing for their users. Serious measures are taken to make sure that your website doesn’t contain viruses, malware, or phishing scams if you want it to show up. They constantly check and flag unsafe websites. (You know a site is unsafe if your browser shows a warning message before it lets you visit a dangerous site or download a harmful app.)
- HTTPS (not just HTTP)
HTTPS is what protects the communication between a browser and your website. It makes sure that information is not intercepted or tampered with by attackers. WiFi networks, especially public ones, can be vulnerable. So, webmasters like us use HTTPS (which stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure”) to keep the information that gets collected by your website safe. It encrypts the information being sent to your website so your users’ information stays secure.
- No Pop-Ups
Google will begin to punish sites that keep visitors from getting to the content they want because of having too many pop-ups. A poor page experience occurs when you have annoying pop-ups that cover the whole screen, are hard to dismiss, or keep popping up while you are trying to navigate a website.
It will also include metrics in Google’s Core Web Vitals Report (CWV), placing a good amount of focus on three additional things:
- page load time
- visual stability
Page Experience and Page Load Time
The Page Experience update will mark the beginning of another big shift in SEO efforts in 2021. In addition to mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, a secure website (HTTPS), and limited pop-ups, your SEO agency should be focused on page loading speed.
A slow page load will soon be the difference between your website being shown in Google’s results, or your competitors. A website’s loading time is literally in a race to the finish against all other websites competing for the same keyword.
Google is focusing on load time because it’s thinking about its users. We’ve all been frustrated by clicking on a search result and having to wait for a page to load. Five seconds can feel like an eternity. Google aims to eliminate this frustration. It wants to serve the websites that people love the most.
Page Experience and Web Design
The best SEO agency in the world can take care of your SEO basics and work the technical SEO to get a page to load quickly. But poor website structure and poor web design will create a negative user experience and drag your results down. Your site must also be interactive and visually pleasing.
Examples of poor page experience web design:
- Websites without a clear message
- Navigation bars that are hard to find
- Non-responsive sites (not mobile friendly)
- Unreadable text
- Un-clickable buttons
- Too much flashy animation
- Pop-ups that are large, intrusive, or hard to cancel.
Examples of good page experience web design:
- Websites with a clear message
- Easy navigation
- Responsive to user interaction
- Text that is easy to read without zooming in
- Clickable buttons and text
Examples of poor page experience website structure:
- Poor navigation
- Too many elements
- Cluttered elements
- Poor page organization (example: blogs organized by date instead of by subject).
Examples of good page experience website structure:
- Logical navigation
- Visually pleasing without images or text that “jumps around”
- An appropriate amount of space between images and text
- Page organization that is easy to browse (example: blogs organized by subject, not date).
Users enjoy interacting with sites they like. Sites that users like will rank well in the SERPs. That’s why it’s important to choose an SEO agency that has a kick-ass web design department in-house.
Google wants to serve its users in the best way, so the faster and more user-friendly your site is, the more Google will love it. Past algorithmic updates were made to ensure that websites are always relevant and content-rich. The new Page Experience update takes it to the next level by making sure websites are fast and user-friendly too.
Choose an SEO agency like ours that understands how the 2021 Google Page Experience updates will affect the SEO and web design of your website. Sign up for your free strategy session now and let’s talk today.
SEO N2Q Consulting