Preparing Now for Google’s Page Experience Update
Google is preparing to roll out its new ‘Page Experience’ search algorithm update, which will incorporate its three Core Web Vitals considerations. Google shared some new details on the timeline for the roll-out, and a new tool to help website owners prepare for any potential impacts to their rankings.
The timeline for the update previously scheduled for May 2021 has a new rollout schedule. The changes will begin rolling out in mid-June and complete by the end of August.
This release introduces and reinforces “grading” based on the Page Experience and Core Web Vitals metrics. As evidenced by the revised slower rollout schedule, this update will DEFINITELY affect your Website’s search rankings. According to Google it “hopes that this adjusted roll-out schedule will help you continue to make refinements to your website with page experience in mind.” Now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this update and what it means to you as a website owner or manager.
What is Page Experience?
Page Experience is a set of factors Google has defined as “important to users” when interacting with each page of a website. If these factors are considered or addressed then users (your customers) will have a GOOD experience on your site. Conversely, if you ignore these factors then users will have a BAD experience. As we all know, BAD experience = reduced rankings on Google.
What are the factors of Page Experience?
The factors of Page Experience include the Core Web Vitals which encompasses loading performance (how fast your website loads), interactivity, and the visual stability of the page. Also included (from previous releases) are mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS (requiring SSL), and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
A brief diversion, what are intrusive interstitials?
In case you’re wondering, intrusive interstitials are any objects or graphics that take up the majority of the screen and inhibit the user from quickly seeing the content. Here are a few examples: pop-ups immediately upon entering a website or a few seconds after the page loads, a message the user has to dismiss prior to seeing the content, or a banner/graphic that takes up the majority of the “above the fold” space. These guidelines are for desktop as well as mobile screens.
A Deeper Dive into Core Web Vitals
The three facets of Web Vitals in the upcoming release to the Google algorithm are load time, interactivity, and visual stability.
- Load Time or Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric – This is the load time of the LARGEST image or text block in the viewable window. In most instances the users will see other elements loading first, that’s not what Google is timing. It’s timing how long it takes for the largest image or block of text to load for the user. A good benchmark and the number that Google is “grading” on is an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less.
- Interactivity or First Input Delay (FID) metric – FID measures how long it takes for the browser to begin processing after the user clicks on an actionable item (button, menu item, search icon, slider arrow, etc) on the site. No one wants to wait and wait for the action to happen after clicking on something. To meet this guideline elements need to respond in 100 milliseconds or less.
- Visual Stability or Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric – Have you ever been reading a blog or scrolling down the page of a site and suddenly it jumps and you lose your spot? Well, this is what CLS measures. This type of behavior happens when code is loaded in a staggered manner to reduce page load speeds, to create a personalized experience for the user, or when 3rd party services are used that load later after the page. Obviously, losing your place or having elements jump around isn’t a good experience. The CLS calculation takes into consideration the size of the screen, how far the element moved, and the impact it had on the overall experience. It’s complicated, so if you want to know the details, click the link above. End result, make sure the CLS is 0.1 or less.
What do you do now?
If you’re a hosting and/or client of Red Mango Marketing there’s nothing for you to do. We’ve got you covered! Here is what we are doing to prepare for the change:
- Over the next couple of months, we will be removing newsletter popups and placing the newsletter signup form strategically on the home page and existing pages of your website.
- Next, we will be transitioning all sliders/image banners to a format that is easily read by Google. We will use this time to work with clients to refresh the sliders.
- Lastly, we are measuring the site speeds and loads and making changes to increase speed. This is ongoing, some sites have already been updated. We expect to test and update all our client’s sites by the end of June.
In addition, each month, we review your Google Search Console Page Experience and Core Web Vital stats and make adjustments as necessary to ensure you’re able to take full advantage of Google’s algorithm.
On the other hand, if you aren’t a Red Mango Marketing client then you will need to work with your webmaster, hire a developer or give us a call. We have vast experience dealing with the ever-evolving Google algorithms and the changes necessary to avoid being suppressed in search rankings. If you are unsure of how these changes can and will impact you, give us a call.
While making the adjustments to your site to conform to these new algorithm changes make sure that you never forget the #1 rule: “Content is King!” We’ve all heard it over and over but it’s the truth. Provide relevant, helpful, and interesting content to your users above all other tweaks and enhancements that you do. In the end, your rankings will reap the benefits.