There is a new Google algorithm update coming in May 2021 and it is one that your business or institution is most definitely going to want to prepare for. As the pandemic continues to teach us new ways to market to one another, the Google Page Experience Update shows us how we can improve the experience that our users have on our website and with that, boost its search engine rankings. Learn more about this update and the steps you can take to benefit from it.
What Is the Page Experience Update & Why Should You Care?
In a nutshell, this Google update measures how users perceive their interaction with your website in a variety of aspects. Why should you care? This algorithm has a direct effect on how visible your website is on search engines. If you take the proper steps to improve visitor experience, Google will add visual cues to help guide visitors to your page, increasing the amount of clicks it receives.
Steps to Cater to This New Google Algorithm
By spending the time to learn more about this new update, you have already taken the first step towards following its best practices. So, how exactly will Google measure webpages with this new algorithm? The three main metrics crawlers will search for are: loading speed, user interactivity and visual stability. Explore our tips to exceed in these areas so you can benefit from Google’s update:
1. Focus on Mobile
The idea to focus marketing on mobile devices is not new. Google has actually had a “mobile-first” indexing policy since 2016 and this upcoming update does not stray from that focus. “Mobile-first” simply means that all of Google’s algorithms primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank online pages. Therefore, it’s not only critical that your marketing efforts cater to mobile users, but your design should as well. Having a simple design that can automatically size to adjust to mobile screens, while showing all of your content on mobile devices ensures your website is mobile responsive and optimized for SEO. If you’re unsure if your website is mobile-friendly, take a free online mobile friendly test or perform manual testing.
2. Speed Up Your Webpages
Even a loading delay as small as a second can decrease conversion rates by 70%. Loading speed is a huge factor in a user’s experience with your website, which thanks to Google Page Experience, can have a direct impact on your rankings. As a rule of thumb, strive to have yours site’s LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load and keep its First Input Delay at less than 100 milliseconds. Other ways you can speed up your page is by combining files to minimize HTTP requests, compressing images and shortening the amount of time it takes your webpage to render. Your hosting environment can also impact your page loading time.
3. Optimize Calls to Actions (CTAs)
Surprisingly, even the placement of your call to actions can interfere with your user’s experience and ultimately your search ranking. For starters, the call to action (or CTA) needs to be visible. Don’t hide it at the bottom of the page or have it contain small text. Keep the design eye-catching and simple for your visitor to read so they can interpret their next steps. To master the art of CTAs, you must first put yourself in the position of the user. For instance, rather than including a “Join our Email List” button on your auto loan page, it would be more beneficial to include a “View Rates” and/or “Apply Now” CTA. The same calls to action should also be woven into the page content to encourage conversions as the user engages with the content. That way, all questions your visitor has regarding how to obtain an auto loan, are answered at the top of the page as they scroll further.
4. Revamp Your Design
Design is another huge part of a user’s experience and is measured in Google’s newest update. It’s important to make your design simple yet on trend with what has proven to be effective for competing websites. A great way to determine which design approach would be best for your target audience, is through usability testing. Usability testing helps you determine what users like and don’t like about your website, so you can make the necessary changes. You may also consider heatmapping tracking. Another great way to ensure your design is meeting the needs of all users, including those with visual or other disabilities, is by adding alt tags for images. If you are unable to provide an image description for users who rely on screen reader technology to understand a page’s image, you will hurt their user experience. These tags are not only critical for ADA, but they are also used by search engine crawlers to index the page, which helps to improve rankings.
5. Edit Content for SEO
The last area of focus, and arguably the most important is content. In order for your page to be seen as having good content, the text must match the intent that your user searched for to get there. Google will never shy away from caring about the content of its pages, so this focus will always remain its biggest indicator for how to rank your page in search engines. Google recently released that while following all the above steps will help with page experience, if you fail to have good content, then you will not obtain as great of an effect as possible. Meaning, it’s critical that you follow each of these 5 steps (with an emphasis on content) to maximize the positive impact you receive from the Google Page Experience update.
Update Your Website to Cater to Google’s Update
If you’re looking for new ways to improve your organic rankings or are nervous about how new algorithms like this one can alter them, take a look at your website and see if it adheres to the 5 guidelines listed above. For assistance, ZAG Interactive specializes in SEO and is happy to perform an SEO audit to locate areas of improvement and help assist them so you can adhere to Page Experience and other Google updates.