Google algorithms are composed of a complex system that is used for retrieving data from Google’s search index and delivering it as an answer to the searched query. These results are provided, keeping numerous factors in consideration such as keywords, location of the user, relevancy, etc. These results are displayed on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). From time to time, Google makes specific changes in its algorithms by introducing updates to improve its performance and functionality by adding new features. Every year numerous algorithm updates are introduced.
The most recent Algorithm update announced by Google to take place in summer 2021 is about the addition of a factor known as Page Experience. This update is considered one of the most critical updates. It will have a significant impact on the search Engine Rankings as well. As a part of this update, Google has launched a series of benchmarks called Web Vitals that are crucial for measuring user experience and enhancing it on the web.
So what is this Page Experience all about? Well, it includes a complete overview of a user’s interaction and experience with a web page. Some existing Google Search signals such as safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, intrusive interstitial guidelines, and HTTPS are included in Page Experience. Metrics are also included in Google’s Web Vitals. The main focus lies currently in three facets called interactivity, visual stability, and loading.
Interactivity is concerned with the user’s period coming in the interaction with the web for the first time till the beginning of actual processing. The exchange for the first time here refers to a tap or a click that the user makes till the time when the browser processes this interaction. Visual stability is concerned with maintaining the strength of the content on the page and avoiding any unexpected movement that might annoy the user. Loading, as the name implies, refers to the loading speed of the page. It refers to the time when the main content is loaded on the page. The load time has a direct relationship with the user bounce rate. As the load time increases, the bounce rate also elevates. On the other hand, with a decrease in the load time, the chances of users bouncing back from the page also reduce.
Google has included these essential factors in its recent update that significantly impact organic search results.
According to Google’s announcement, visual indicators will also be included in page experience to meet the specifications of page experience. This has also been done in the past. The examples include slow and mobile-friendly labels and AMP. It is expected that the sites having visual indicators will have more chances of users’ preferences over others if this feature is included in search results prominently. The size, position, and shape of these indicators are yet to be announced by Google.
Although all the things discussed above have their significance and impact on search engine ranking, content is always the most critical parameter for ranking a page or website on a search engine. Along with high-quality content, an improved user experience will play its due role in improving your page’s ranking. Google has itself stated in one of its blogs that the quality of content outshines all other factors, including page experience.
Importance of this algorithm update:
Developers and SEO experts should pay great attention to this update as it will bring many things for them. With the Page Experience update announcement, it became clear that Google is keenly concerned about improved user experience as one of the critical factors for page ranking. User experience has a direct impact on on-site engagement and driving organic traffic. Google considers a number of factors for page ranking, and page experience covers a lot of them. It motivates users to spend more time on the web and get their desired things done quickly. Keeping all this in view, site owners, page developers, and SEO experts should regard this update as a priority and get themselves ready and prepared for it. Otherwise, the risk of your page getting ignored due to less user satisfaction lies there.
How to incorporate Page Experience on your page:
Before knowing how to improve page experience for users, it is essential to know when your page needs improvement and what factors cause your page to deliver a poor page experience. Having a slow page loading speed is an aggravating factor that dissatisfies a user—having to wait long for loading after clicking on a search result results in users’ high bounce rate. They want quick products that save their time and satisfy their need.
Suppose your page has a high loading speed but a poorly designed structure; what will happen? Users will still prefer to leave your site and search for another well-organized and adequately structured website. The design of your website has an impact on how users will navigate. If you have so many pop-ups, puzzling and clichéd methods, or an improper content structure, searching for relevant information becomes challenging.
Some websites only focus on selling and ignore user engagement. However, most of the users prefer getting engaged with the site they are visiting. The likeability of a website heavily resides on the extent to which the website understands its users’ needs, communicates with them, and entertains them.
You have got enough time before the release and execution of this update to get prepared and make the most of it. Here are some steps you can take to get prepared for what is to come ahead.
The primary metrics that Google will be using in Page Experience are CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift), FID (First Input delay), and LCP (Largest Contentful Paint). You can get mastery in them using Google’s standard of measurement and explanations.
After developing an understanding of these metrics, you may conduct a site audit. You can then optimize your website for factors such as responsiveness, page load speed, mobile usability, security, and UX. You will find numerous tools for this purpose.
Lastly, it would be beneficial to bring all your stakeholders together and discuss the upcoming update with them so that they know how to handle this change efficiently. These stakeholders include UX design, SEO, and IT teams.
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