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A new Google Page Experience update is coming: What this means for SEO

A new Google Page Experience update is coming: What this means for SEO

Back in May 2020 Google announced plans for a new ranking algorithm for their search tool which would be designed to judge web pages based on how users experience and interact with pages. It has long been debated whether the page experience for users actually affected ranking positions, but it looks like the debate will go on no longer. Launching in May 2021 the Google Page Experience update will take into account a set of metrics to determine the user experience and alter ranking scores accordingly.

What is page experience?

Page Experience is how users perceive and interact with a specific web page, which Google evaluates based on a set of signals.

You may be thinking that experience is subjective and generally stems from feelings developed at a particular moment in time. You may also be wondering how a user’s experience can be measured with data.

Well, it’s actually relatively simple. Over years of testing, optimisation, and learning, the digital world has developed a criterion of metrics which inform good or bad page experiences. Google has shared the full list of page experience criteria – known as Core Web Vitals – but in summary they’re a measure of the metrics that either help or hinder users from finding what they’re looking for more easily and quickly.

Good experience indicators

  • Fast page loading speeds
  • Mobile responsive design
  • Runs on HTTPS

Bad experience indicators

  • The presence of multiple intrusive ads
  • If content jumps around as the page loads (known as Cumulative Layout Shift)
  • Malicious content

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How does this affect SEO?

While the metrics being used to measure Page Experience already exist and have been in use for years already, the Page Experience update will bring something new to the floor.

Google are planning to include visual indicators on search engine results pages (SERPs) to inform users when a ranking page will offer a great experience. We foresee this new addition as one that increases competition on SERPs, with it being yet another SERP feature web pages will compete for on page 1, and additional optimisation that organisations will need to implement for success.

With this addition, it’s clear that you’ll want to optimise your pages and be rewarded with such a user indicator.  The alternative being that your page appears poorly in comparison to those which Google does determine to offer a great experience.

“We believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit. On results, the snippet or image preview helps provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide. Visual indicators on the results are another way to do the same, and we are working on one that identifies pages that have met all of the page experience criteria” Google said.

What next?

With around 6 months until launch, it’s important to start preparing for the Page Experience update. We recommend reviewing the Core Web Vitals that will determine a great experience, run tests on your website, and start by optimising those pages that are most valuable to your SEO strategy.

Interested in a free audit of your website? 

Contact us and a team member will get back to you shortly! 

    Jack Kennedy

    Jack is the founder of Invanity marketing and has worked in digital marketing since the age of 17. Having been involved in both the client-side and the agency side of the process he is building Invanity with a vision of creating a marketing agency that truly delivers on the results it has promised.

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