5 Tips to be Ready for Google’s May 2021 Page Experience Algorithm Update

20 April 2021

What Will Stay The Same? 

As of now, factors contributing to the evaluation include mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, safe browsing, and intrusive interstitials:

  • Mobile-friendliness: the website is responsive on mobile devices. With over 52.2% of traffic coming from mobile phones in the last year, it is more important than ever to design your website so that it performs well on all devices (source)
  • HTTPS: HTTPS allows for secure communication widely implemented in browsers
  • Safe browsing: checking in case of malicious hardware and notifying the user 
  • Intrusive interstitials: There is no use of pop-ups or other features blocking users on the page

(source)

What Does the Google Algorithm Update Entail? 

Besides taking into account the above-mentioned factors, Google is also updating its Core Web Vital metrics, which can be analyzed and reviewed on Google Search Console. 

What are the Core Web Vitals? 
Google’s Core Web Vitals focus on page loading speed, the main page’s content download and interaction time; interactivity, defined as the time between the users’ first interaction with the page and the registration of that interaction; and visual stability, which looks to prevent unnecessary movement on the page (source). More on each below: 

  • Page loading speed (Largest Contentful Paint): LCP measures when the largest component of the website page becomes visible, then used to determine when the main content of the page has rendered on the screen. Ideally, a good LCP occurs in the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load. To learn more about optimizing your website’s speed, check out our blog on Technical SEO
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay): FID is defined as the time between the users’ first interaction with the page (can include clicking a button, a link, or any other type of action) and the browser’s response to that interaction. To provide a good user experience, the FID should ideally be lower than 100ms. 
  • Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS measures the level of unexpected movement on a page, which usually can happen when resources are loaded asynchronously. Ideally, the value should be lower than 0.1 to guarantee an optimal user experience.

Google is also suggesting adding icons in the search results to indicate the experience of the website page. If you are doing well in UX and results are high, this algorithm update can considerably increase your click-through rates, although it might severely limit them if the performance is lower than that of your competitors. 

Why Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

As search results are slowly evolving into search experience, Google’s page experience update aims to increase user experience’s efficiency. New interactive rich-media experiences such as videos, questions & answers, voice search, and interactive carousels demonstrate the evolution of the search engine’s result page and rapidly-changing digital trends. 

Mobile-friendliness, fast and high-quality content and a strong focus on user experience will thus cover an increasingly important role for businesses. Websites and mobile applications will need to adapt by ensuring web pages send strong signals to Google. The latest page experience article from Google provides further insight to understand how the new ranking algorithm will affect search results.  

Google is also expected to roll out shortly the SMITH algorithm, which has shown to outperform its predecessor Google BERT, currently in use, by better understanding long content. Read our latest blog article on the Google SMITH algorithm update.

How Will The New Google Algorithm Update Impact Your Business and What Actions Can You Take?

Until the Google algorithm update is rolled out, it is hard to fully determine its impact, as well as how much weight each of these factors is going to have. However, it is clear that the Google update will impact website rankings. 

Hence, here are some tips to avoid being left behind and lose website traffic due to the update: 

  1. Pay greater attention to user experience on your website, as even small improvements can have a great impact
  2. Make use of Google Search Console, which provides a thorough analysis of the aforementioned indicators in its “Core Web Vitals” report to find improvement points
  3. Follow SEO best practices, continuously optimize your key pages, and providing high-quality content
  4. Don’t forget to optimize for mobile, improve page loading speed, image alt text, and your website’s call to action
  5. Conduct an audit of your website to identify improvements, prioritize them, and start fixing them!

If you have any questions about new algorithm updates or would like to get our help in preparing your website strategy, conducting an SEO audit and ensuring your website is ready for the algorithm roll out then do reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you with our SEO Consulting services!

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