If you have any experience with Google, you know they are in the business of change. Since its inception, they’ve had one goal in mind: to improve the user experience. That means they provide periodic updates to make improvements to the way people view results.
Welcome to 2021. Google’s at it again. And it may have an impact on your results. Yet Google is handling this change in a slightly different manner than in updates past. In Google’s own words, it stated:
Our vision for page experience is to build a web ecosystem that users love—together. We’re hard at work to make sure that you have the right tools and resources available before the ranking rollout starting in mid-June 2021.
That makes now the perfect time to ensure your web presence is ready for the coming update.
Google’s Page Experience – it’s about more user-friendly browsing
Google has always had a goal of making its products more user-friendly. They want the best experience possible for each and every person who uses their tools.
This update is no different. This update focuses on the user experience no matter what device is in use. Over the past few years, all updates have pushed for better mobile experiences. They’ve increased browsing safety, shopping safety, and given improved metrics so site owners can measure how well their sites perform.
This update takes it a step further. This update won’t be about content; it will be about what the user sees. The new page experience update will be looking for things like:
- Mobile-friendliness – does your site play as well on a smart device as it does on a desktop?
- Safe browsing – do the pages within your site include any malware, harmful downloads, or other similar problems?
- Core web vitals – are you paying attention to these performance metrics that create better user experiences?
- HTTPS usage – does your site have a valid SSL certificate and use the HTTPS?
- No intrusive popups on mobile – do your call-to-action popups display on smaller screens? If a popup prevents action, Google’s going to notice.
Think about your own searching experience for a moment. What annoys you? What do you love?
Content is important. We make first impressions based on how a site looks and what it has to say. But increasingly, people also want sites that deliver on expectations. Have you ever pulled up a site on a phone, only to find a popup blocking a button you wish to push? Frustration sets in, and you quickly look for the X to leave the site forever.
Google knows that’s a frustrating experience. It no longer wants to rank that site well.
With the new Page Experience update, it won’t.
How many pages do you have?
It’s important to note that this update is about page experience, not website experience. Many sites are currently doing very well in rankings, and are giving people exactly what they want. Imagine having a site in which dozens of pages are ranked in the top ten search results, and people love the information.
Should one page error impact the rest of the site? That’s not Google’s intention. Instead, Google wishes to rank each page based on the experience it delivers.
As you create new content, it’s important to optimize it for relevance today. That means the landing page you’re putting together for a campaign you’ll be running soon should meet all of these criteria.
Of course, if you have a lot of errors throughout your site, it will continue to weigh you down. It is worth the time to move back through your site and ensure an optimal experience. But for now, make sure everything you produce from today forward is in top shape, and make improvements to the rest of your site over time.
Page experience or page relevance, which wins out?
This update isn’t about content. If you’ve done any research on digital marketing, you know that content is king – still is. This update may not focus on content, but the preference for high quality content will always take precedence.
If Google is trying to place two pages in a rank, one with relevant content related directly to the user’s search, the other with a far superior user experience but lower quality content, the relevant content will win every time. In Google’s own words:
While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.
Know your reader. Know what they want. Give them content they’ll love, and present it in a way in which they can take full advantage of what you bring. That’s it.
The first way to get that is to work with a digital marketing company that ensures you’re doing it right. You’re the expert at what you do; why not trust a partner to give you the right results every time?
The second way is to focus on every page you produce.
Start with great content. That’s a given.
Then use that content to produce a page on your site that delivers a great experience.
Do you know how fast your site is? If you’ve never performed a health check on your site, it’s a great first step. A health check will take a look at site speed, and produce a report that shows load time of every piece of content on your site. The faster, the better. Pay attention to both desktop and mobile. Both matter.
You can also compare the experience you’re providing with that of your competition.
As stated earlier, Google will now weigh your content against others who rank well for keywords. Content may win, but only by a small margin. Page experience will be given a big boost in rankability factors, and when the two are close, the edge will go to the one with the better experience. Why not deliver on both?
You should also pay attention to design. Those popups may have worked well for you before. Are they still? Moving to a modern platform may provide you with better visibility, better call to action items, and a better experience overall.
Viewers’ expectations are changing. Are your site results changing along with it?
If you keep up with Google’s Page Experience criteria, you’ll remain ranked well in the search results, and do better in the eyes of your customers.