Did you know the latest Google algorithm update has been fast-tracked and is currently being rolled out? This update is huge and will impact all unprepared businesses who have websites, due to Google further changing how they rank web pages within search results, writes Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth at digital marketing service provider Localsearch.
If you’re noticing your web pages are either dropping, or disappearing completely, from search engine results, and enquiries through your website are drying up, you may already have been affected by this update and it’s crucial you act fast.
Unpacking the Google Page Experience Update
Originally scheduled for June 2021, the latest major Google algorithm update — known as the Google Page Experience Update — will require all websites to provide the search engine’s users with the best experience across usability and provide the best possible answer to a query.
What is the Google Page Experience Update?
The update incorporates three new ranking factors – the speed a webpage loads, its stability and how it responds to a user’s first interaction. Combined, content on a website being an exact match to a user’s search query will be the most crucial success factor for ranking on Google.
This is the first time Google has set these new ranking factors (taken from Google Chrome’s Core Web Vitals) requiring small businesses, in particular, to ensure their website is optimised for user intent.
Google has said if the page does not match the Core Web Vitals speed requirement, but matches the user purpose of visiting the page as best as possible, it will not penalise the page or site.
This means SEO really needs to concentrate on improving page content site-wide with keeping the intent of the user in mind – reducing load speed, ensuring the website is mobile friendly and matching user intent with user experience.
What to Do If Your Website is Impacted by the Google Page Experience Update
1. Perform a website audit
The first thing you need to know if you believe your website has been impacted by a Google Update is to find out why, so you can create a plan of action based on:
- Assess content quality, quantity and freshness
- Check page speed and stability
- Audit backend for unnecessary code
- Analyse on-page elements, like pop-ups, images,
2. Create a strategy
Once you know why your website is impacted by a Google Update, you want to create a list of fixes and action them, including:
- Publishing and updating quality content regularly
- Optimising your website to improve speed and stability, including working on images, code and more
- Updating plug-ins
- Ensuring the SSL is current
- Optimising the layout of the website for user
3. Assess your results, rinse and repeat
Ensuring your website isn’t impacted by Google updates is unfortunately a never-ending task. So, once you’ve implemented some changes, monitor your results and adjust as needed. Results can take time to be seen (sometimes three or more months), but by using evergreen strategies, you can help ensure your website doesn’t get impacted, and could even benefit from updates.
SEO experts exist to deal specifically with situations like this. The Google Page Experience Update is coming (if not already here for most of us) and it will impact every website, either positively or negatively.
What your business does in the coming weeks to step up to the requirements will be important for how your website performs when the update fully rolls out and becomes the norm.
Further details on the Google Page Experience Update:
First used by Google Chrome and now being rolled out by Google more broadly, the new set of measurements adapting to the update are known as Core Web Vitals [largest contentful painting (LCP), first input delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)]. These factors look more closely at page speed, visual stability and other ways for website owners to measure the user experience of each web page.
To meet best practices for a better chance of ranking well on Google, website owners need to ensure their website is built for existing updates, as well as for these new user-focused updates. To best comply with the update and ensure websites have a better chance of not being penalised by Google, web pages should aim to load as close to or below 2.5 seconds, the browser will have to react no higher than 100 milliseconds of a user’s initial reaction on it, the content on the site should best match the searcher’s query and the stability of the website will have to be as seamless as possible.
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