If you’re concerned about the new page experience Google algorithm update, you can exhale for now since it won’t be rolling out until 2021.
On the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, they detail what this update intends to fix, what these changes mean for your website moving forward, and how to best prepare for it.
What is Page Experience?
This upcoming Google algorithm update will not only analyze how visitors navigate and interact with your website, but it’ll start combining new and existing page usage ‘signals’ together in order to “provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.”
In other words, the algorithm will now measure how user-friendly your website is, and whether or not it’ll produce a positive experience for future visitors. At the end of the day, Google’s mission is to present its users with the best search result that resolves their specific problem in as short a time as possible.
As long as you focus your attention on the right areas of your website, the algorithm should reward you with a bump up in the rankings. Pages with high bounce rates that leave users frustrated will experience a significant drop.
Why Page Experience Matters
Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to ensure that they’re continually delivering a best-in-class user experience, which is why this page experience update falls right in line with their approach to search.
Google algorithm updates are a major reason why they hold the lion’s share of the search engine market by a massive 86% (as of April 2020). For example, the now infamous Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates (2011-2013) penalized website owners who used black-hat SEO tactics to artificially boost their rankings, which led to poor, irrelevant — and sometimes malicious — results to appear at the top of search.
While website owners may think these updates only serve to benefit the end user, they also need to realize that Google is doing their best to level the playing field so that smaller businesses and lesser-known brands have an opportunity to compete with larger companies for those same top-ranking search positions.
How to Improve Page Experience
If you’re not sure how to improve page experience for the upcoming Google algorithm update, here’s a few quick tips:
1.) Improve Page Speed. The bottom line is that the average user isn’t going to wait around for a slow website to finish loading up.
In fact, 40% of visitors will abandon a website that hasn’t loaded up within 3 seconds, so you need to make sure that your website is loading up quickly, otherwise visitors will promptly back out and look elsewhere.
2.) Check Out the Competition. What does your competition’s website have to offer that yours doesn’t? Is it easier to navigate? Does it load up fast? How well is their website laid out?
If you’re not sure who your direct competitors are, try using tools like Alexa, SimilarWeb, and Owler. Then visit each website and compile a list of features you’d like to implement on your website and go from there.
3.) User-friendliness. Are your pages cluttered and distracting? Are you using too many pop-ups, interstitials, and page ad overlays? Are users getting to where they want to go with as little friction as possible?
Observe how users interact with and navigate your website. Ask for their honest feedback and implement your changes.
4.) Use Ubersuggest. The Ubersuggest Chrome extension will show you what competitors are doing right and what they’re doing wrong, so you can implement similar changes on your website.
Pay special attention to sites with low domain scores and small backlink profiles that still manage to achieve high rankings. Chances are that their sites are optimized for page experience already and you can draw a lot of ideas that way.
If you intend on increasing — or maintaining — your rankings, it’s important to stay informed on all of the Google algorithm updates.
While these updates can be a bit daunting and sometimes inconvenient for site owners, they’re absolutely necessary for Google to keep producing positive user experiences and continuing to dominate search.
If you’re a website owner that needs assistance optimizing your website for the upcoming page experience Google algorithm update, please do not hesitate to reach out.