Always. changing. These two words sum up search engine optimization (SEO). In a constant effort to improve its services, Google, the largest search engine, updates its search algorithm numerous times a year.
While most of the changes are minor, Google also releases major updates from time to time. Even if many time-tested SEO rules continue to be relevant after the updates, there can also be changes that can potentially drag a top-ranking site to the bottom of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is why digital marketers and SEO specialists should be aware that Google is set to roll out its latest major algorithm update this year. Set to be in effect around June 2021 is the Page Experience update.
What is in store regarding the Page Experience update?
Google recently put out the following statement about this upcoming update:
“We’ll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won’t play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as if you’re adding a flavoring to a food you’re preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we’ll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
The idea here is to ensure that websites appearing at the top of the SERPs are the ones offering the best usability. Aspects that affect usability include page loading time, website interface, mobile-friendliness, security, and web design. In the new algorithm update, Google called these ranking factors the Core Web Vitals which evaluates a site’s performance, responsiveness, and visual stability.
With this update, Google is encouraging website owners to implement changes and add functionalities that will make visiting their site a pleasant experience. At a glance, the Page Experience update seems entirely focused on the benefit of the users. However, since improving the user experience of your website will likely entice visitors to stay longer, visit again, and even recommend it to others, you can see that businesses are the ones to get the most advantage in the long run. In a sense, the Page Experience update is a way to gauge if a website is indeed helping a business achieve its goals.
How to prepare your website for the Page Experience update?
Preparation is key in overcoming any sudden change. For your site to continue thriving even after this update, here are some things you can do:
1. Optimize page loading speed
As people get used to quick solutions, it just makes sense that the fastest site wins. With immense options available, you cannot expect users to stay around too long in a slow-loading website. To keep up with the standard, a webpage should not take more than 2 seconds to load. Fixing 404 errors, compressing images, and updating the web servers are some of the ways to improve page loading time.
2. Use the Google search console
If you are not yet using it, it is time to explore the Google Search Console. This platform can help maintain a good user experience in your website because of its new Page Experience report feature. The Search Console tools and reports can help you measure your site's search traffic and performance, as well as fix issues.
3. Check your bounce rate
What prompts the users to leave a page and what can you do to convince them to stay? You want to know the pages that users cannot wait to abandon. Identifying the pages with the most bounce rates will give you an idea of the things to improve on the site. Publishing compelling content and limiting external links are some ways to lower bounce rates.
4. Be mobile-friendly
Smartphone usage is just bound to increase in time, so you have to assume most of your visitors will view your site through mobile. To ensure a smooth user experience, you want a mobile responsive web design that users can easily navigate regardless of the device they are using. You can use this Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your site is mobile-friendly.
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