Google is giving us a warning. The search giant has had enough of rubbish online experiences, and it wants websites to improve.
In mid - June Google will release its page experience update and will start looking at new factors on all websites, including yours. If Google doesn’t like what it sees, you could find eventually less traffic coming your way from search results.
Anything to do with Google’s technology can sound daunting. To help you get ready for Google’s page experience update and navigate the changes, this blog post will cover these seven simple steps:
Don’t worry if you’re not confident with tech – this post is for you!
1. A quick refresher on how Google works
Before we get into what’s changing, think about the last search you did on Google. The chances are, you received millions of results in under a second.
Behind the scenes, Google crawls through every website and examines the content and code. It looks at hundreds of different factors, and these are known as ranking signals. They combine to form Google’s search algorithm. Remember these terms, as we’ll be coming back to them!
It’s this complex tech that works out which websites you see in search results, and importantly, in which order.
2. What is Google changing?
Everyone prefers websites that are easy and quick to use. This is known as a great page experience.
Google already looks at several factors that measure a site’s page experience. These include:
Offering safe and secure browsing
Avoiding intrusive pop-ups.
Now Google is going one step further. From mid-June it will introduce its page experience update, and it’s a big one. It introduces three new ranking signals to help Google better understand your site’s page experience. These changes should be fully rolled out by the end of August.
Called Core Web Vitals, they include:
Google is already interested in how quickly pages load. Now, the search engine is looking at how long it takes for a page’s largest image or text block to become visible. What does Google want? It recommends the image or text becomes visible within 2.5 seconds of a page loading. This metric is known as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
This measures the time it takes between someone interacting with something on your site – such as a link or button – to when your site responds. What does Google want? Google is looking for a time of under 100 milliseconds. This is known as First Input Delay (FID).
This focuses on the stability of content as a website loads. Have you ever tried to click a button, only to find it moves? This is one of the problems this signal will tackle, and it will score your page.
What does Google want? For a good page experience, your score should be under 0.1.
This is known as Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
3. How will Google’s changes affect your business?
Until the update happens in mid - June, no one knows exactly what impact it will have.
Judging by hints from Google, when the changes start to roll out, you may see a slight shift in your search result position (for better or worse). But it is likely to be more noticeable over the longer term.
Google loves websites that offer quality content, and it rewards those sites with juicy search results positions.
However, as more websites offer equally enticing content, Google needs other ways to determine which site is best. So these new page experience ranking factors are likely to become even more important.
4. How to improve your website’s page experience
The good news is that you can check your site’s page experience now, and easily see which areas you need to improve.
To find out how, I spoke with Alpa Cox, the founder of project management and digital solutions specialist, PM Getting It Done.
Alpa explained: “These new changes may sound daunting, but they provide a perfect opportunity to assess your website and determine if it’s properly serving you and your customers.
“Start by looking at Google Search Console. This is a free tool that lets you monitor your website, and it can be used with any website platform. It’s similar to Google Analytics, which many businesses already use. However, Search Console displays lots of additional information.
“Once you’ve logged in to Search Console, look for the new Page Experience report. This is simple to use and will tell you exactly what your page experience is like, and where you can improve.
“Addressing these issues will require effort. You’re likely to need the help of a web developer – unless you enjoy coding! I recommend prioritising pages that rank best in search results, and those that generate most of your traffic.
“It will be worth it, as you will improve your website for your users, and help boost your search results ranking.”
Start Up Marketeer is now collaborating with Alpa to create websites for our clients. We’re delighted to have her on board, as she is a fount of digital knowledge!
5. Don’t forget about great content
Google has stressed that good website content should still be your main priority. Even if you perfect your page experience, it won’t be enough to hide poor content.
Now’s the perfect time to plan your website’s content strategy!
6. Is it really worth changing your website?
Definitely. Google has said it wants to help everyone with a website “to improve and deliver more delightful user experiences.” While this may sound cheesy, there is solid business sense behind it.
Never underestimate the effect a clunky website can have on your business. Google’s studies show that slow pages heavily impact bounce rates. This is when people leave your site after visiting just one page. Never good!
If page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 32%.
If it increases from 1 to 6 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 106%.
If you’ve been ignoring your ancient, creaking website, now is the time for an overhaul!
7. How to transform your website
We are excited to be working with PM Getting It Done to create websites for our clients. They are incredibly welcoming, effective and well designed.
If your site is slow, doesn’t work on a mobile, or needs an overhaul, we’d love to help.
We can support you by creating a content strategy and crafting new content, including web pages, blog posts and more.
Are you ready to perfect your website’s code and content?