Google has recently confirmed in an announcement that it will be rolling out the page experience ranking algorithm in May 2021. This will run alongside existing signals such as mobile-friendliness and HTTPS, and add another layer to Google’s ever-changing search engine. This is one of the more significant changes to impact the world of Ecommerce and B2B/B2C businesses over the course of this and next year, and as such we felt it warranted some specific coverage for our existing and new clients .
What is the page experience update?
Google will now use a variety of user experience signals as part of their algorithm for ranking websites. This means that they may downgrade websites that display badly for users which might include, among other things:
- Taking a long time for the largest piece content to be visible when the site first loads (also known as largest contentful paint)
- Users being unable to interact with the page for a long time on initial load (first input delay)
- visual stability – a user may try to click on something on the page only for the page layout to change substantially. This may result on them either missing their target or even clicking on something else entirely (cumulative layout shift)
You can see this data relating to your website by going to the ‘Core Web Vitals’ section in Google Search Console. Search Console will then have separate sections for desktop and for mobile. By clicking into each, you can see a summary of any user-experience related issues that your website has:
What does this mean for your business?
Historically, sub-optimal user experiences on your website would potentially cost you some revenue, but would not necessarily have any impact on how much traffic is received through Google search. This is now changing, as Google will potentially downgrade your website if users have bad experiences as far as usability is concerned. It is therefore vital to ensure that your site is made fully compliant with Google UX guidelines over the next 6 months.
What can I do?
If you’re at all concerned by the upcoming changes, please do contact us and our experienced SEO and development team will help you ensure that both your customers, and Google, are happy with how your site works from a usability perspective!