We’re sure you’ve heard about Google’s announcement this summer. Yes, they’ve made another one. In brief, they said that they’re going to update their algorithm in 2021 to include a factor called Page Experience. This is going to be an important element that has an impact on rankings.
As part of this initiative, they’ve launched Web Vitals – a series of benchmarks essential to measuring and enhancing the user experience on the web.
Hold on. What is Page Experience, anyway? And do you really need to add to your overflowing to-do list? Let’s take a closer look.
The page experience in a nutshell
This includes existing Google Search signals: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
It also includes metrics in Google’s Web Vitals. Currently, the focus is on three facets: loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
- Loading, in this context, measures perceived load speed. That’s the point in the page load timeline when the main content is likely to have loaded.
- Interactivity is the time from when a user first interacts with a page – a click or a tap, for example — to the time when the browser begins processing that interaction.
- Visual stability has to do with preventing annoying and unexpected movement of page content.
Visual indicators of page experienceGoogle has also stated that by next year, they will introduce a visual indicator to designate those search results that meet all of their page experience specifications.
They’ve done something like this in the past, too. You must have observed, for example, AMP icons as well as slow and mobile-friendly labels.
If this indicator is displayed prominently in search results, there are good chances that users will prefer these sites over others.
While Google is yet to announce the shape, size, and position of such indicators, it’s a mark of how seriously they’re taking their forthcoming page experience guidelines.
This means that all of us should start planning from now itself.
Hold on. Page experience isn’t everything.
Now, you may have read this far and decided that the most important thing is to fix all of the above parameters. And you’ll see your traffic zoom.
That won’t necessarily be the case. (Although we hope it is!) You see, content is still king. Everything starts with that.
However, you can rest assured that when there are many pages that are similar in relevance, your improved page experience will make all the difference in search results.
Why you should pay attention to this algorithm updateThe fact remains that the new page experience metrics should be taken seriously by developers and all those involved in optimization strategies to improve search rankings.
To begin with, if your user experience is seen as being in the top bracket, visual cues will guide consumers and browsers to your page over the others.
Google itself is pretty clear about the increased weightage they’re going to give to page experience. After all, a terrific page experience lets people get more done and increases engagement.
It seems evident that those pages which fall below the new benchmarks are going to be left behind in the rankings. This means a significant drop in traffic.
Google already considers hundreds of aspects to determine rankings. The inclusion of page experience lets them guide people, so they can access information more easily and enjoyably.
For site owners and others, understanding these signals and making the necessary changes should be a priority.
Otherwise, you run the risk of your page being ignored. You wouldn’t want that now, would you?