As 2021 is drawing near, you need to prepare for your website’s new search engine ranking strategy.
Google, the search giant, has recently declared a new ranking algorithm that can judge web pages based on how users judge their experience when interacting with a web page.
The search giant has created a new set of metrics called Core Web Values that measures Google user experience with web pages. If the metrics find that users have a poor experience, Google may not rank those pages as highly as it does now.
The algorithm update is called the Google Page Experience, which is likely to go live in 2021.
What is Page Experience?
Google has briefly stated the metrics that dictate the page experience criteria. The essence is to understand how a user will perceive his experience with a particular web page. The consideration factors are: does the page load quickly? Is it mobile friendly? If intrusive ads are present? Whether it runs on HTTPS? And whether content jumps around during page loading?
You can also regard the page experience as composed of some of the existing Google ranking factors, such as the mobile-friendly update, Page Speed Update, the HTTPS ranking boost, and the intrusive interstitials and safe browsing penalties.
These are refinements around usability and speed. And Google calls these refinements as Core Web Vitals.
Know More about Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals comprise user-centered metrics that assign scores on different aspects of web pages, like load time, interactivity, and content stability during load time.
Although good user experience comprises of many aspects, yet Google has chosen three essential elements that every website must have:
Loading Experience: With the metric “Largest Contentful Paint” (LCP), Google measures the user’s perceived load speed. LCP indicates the specific point at which the entire main content of the page is loaded.
Interactivity: The metric “First Input Delay” (FID) measures users’ flexibility in interacting with the page. FID measures the degree of responsiveness of the page. It is one of the most calculable measures of how the user feels while performing actions on the page and navigating.
Visual Stability: “Cumulative Layout Shift” (CLS) is a metric that Google uses to measure the page layout’s Stability. And that means by what amount the layout changes unexpectedly for the user.
When to Prepare for the Update?
The good thing is that you need not hurry as there is ample time. Google said that the update would go live sometime in 2021. And Google also said that it would give a six-month notice before making the update live.
You might wonder why the search giant is giving you so much time. It is not only because Google usually gives some time to prepare for its updates but also due to the unstable business environment due to the COVID19 pandemic.
So, in the meantime, you can go through the new Core Web Vitals report, which Google has released.
Takeaways from the Expected Google Update Information
– Content is Still King
Great content will continue to rule for Google’s website rating. The search giant has said that web pages with great content will rank high in Google search even if the page experience lacks.
In the context of a website’s ranking in Google, the search giant said it would rank pages with great and relevant content higher even if some aspects of page experience are below par.
– Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Although you no longer need AMP for inclusion in the Top Stories section in the mobile Google search results, you can include it in the Google mobile search results if you have AMP pages.
You need to know that your AMP pages will compete with other pages for the Top Stories section in Google. And the majority of AMP pages result in good page experience. However, there is no guarantee that all AMP pages will entail good page experience, but it will prove effective.
– Importance of Page Experience Relative to Other Ranking Factors
If you consider what Google says, then quality and relevant content remain the mainstay of the future SEO trends.
Google said that it prioritizes pages with the best overall content even if some aspects of page experience are below par. As such, you can regard high quality, and relevant content is more important than page experience.
But what does it mean to you? It means the page experience metrics will play a decisive role in ranking your pages. Say, your page and that of your competitor have similar content quality, but your page has better page experience metrics, then your page will appear high in Google search results.
How to Optimize for Page Experience?
It is no secret that Google will be putting the new page experience ranking factor into action in 2021, so it will not be wrong to say that there is plenty of time ahead of you.
Yet, it is also not a bad idea to start the preparation to be fully equipped to handle the update as soon as it is launched.
The workflow for page experience optimization, according to Google:
- Find out the groups of pages that call for attention by opening up the Core Web Vitals reports in Google search console. It will help if you firstly focus on the URLs in the “poor” category first, then the “needs improvement” category
- Share the report with your engineering team or continue with more diagnostics
- Once you finish identifying the pages that call for the most attention, diagnose the specific issues by running those pages through Page Speed Insights to contribute to low Core Web Vitals metrics that you need to address.
- Use a Lighthouse audit to run the pages or utilize the Web Vitals Chrome extension for more impactful guidance on what you still need to fix.
Google also dictates the page experience best practices, which are as follows:
- Confining the size of each to less than 500KB (page + all resources)
- Maintain the total number of resources per page to less than 50 (ideal for mobile)
- Implement AMP as that can fix any page loading issues on both mobile and desktop
It is needless to say that if you fail to make your website appear higher in search engine results, then you might eventually be out of business. As such, it makes sense for you to keep updated with the latest SEO trends and prepare for the implementation of Google’s latest algorithms.