What You Need to Know About Google’s Upcoming Page Experience Update
Google reportedly updates its search algorithm hundreds or even thousands of times each year. But for months, the forthcoming Page Experience update has been the source of much speculation. While experts initially believed that the update would have taken place by now, Google has announced a delay that can give businesses a little more time to prepare for what’s to come.
Whether you’re completely unfamiliar with what this Page Experience update might mean for your site or you’re looking for specific guidance on how to get ready, this post can address your concerns and safeguard your website against possible penalizations.
New Launch Date: June 2021
Throughout 2020, digital marketers and web developers were abuzz with how the Page Experience update might impact their clients’ sites. Your SEO agency might have made recommendations to you in order to get everything ready before May 2021, the expected launch time for the Page Experience update.
But by late April, Google announced that the update wouldn’t roll out according to that original schedule. Instead, the algorithm update would start to take effect in mid-June. It’s expected that the update will be fully rolled out by August 2021.
Google has stated that this more gradual approach will allow business owners time to make relevant changes while reducing the risk of drastic ranking changes. The company will also provide ongoing guidance to support website owners in knowing what to expect and how to prepare.
The Biggest Change: Google’s Core Web Vitals
Google updates its algorithm in an effort to align its search results with user intent and behavior. These updates aren’t meant to punish anyone; instead, they’re intended to provide better, more relevant results on a consistent basis. Although these updates can wreak havoc, in some cases, they’re supposed to reward sites that are providing value.
That will undoubtedly be the case once the Page Experience update takes effect. Google has always cared about the experience sites provide to visitors, but this latest update will really put those experiences under the microscope. The metrics included in the Page Experience update will address factors that could potentially have a huge impact on a web visitor’s ability to interact with a site and their overall perception of that site.
This update will address considerations that already play a role in the visitor experience, like mobile-friendliness, site security, and intrusive interstitials. However, there are other elements involved in this update you may not know as much about. Google’s Core Web Vitals are the cornerstone of this update, so it’s time to become familiar with them so you can make any necessary adjustments to your site.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): If you’ve ever been frustrated by a webpage with slow-loading visuals, you’ll understand the importance of LCP. This measures the amount of time it takes for the biggest piece of content on a page to load completely. In other words, it speaks to loading speed and performance. Ideally, a page’s LCP rate should be less than 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): When you click on a page, you’ll want to be able to interact with it right away. But if you aren’t able to fill in a field or click a button immediately, this can be aggravating. FID measures the amount of time it takes for a page’s elements to provide their interactive features. Aim to get your page’s FID below 100 milliseconds to adhere to best practices for this update.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): As you wait for a page to load, you might be thrown off by a rapidly changing or jumping layout. That’s known as a layout shift — and it can be quite jarring, especially if you were in the middle of reading some content. CLS measures the number of layout shifts in a page’s entire lifespan. With this update, you should make every attempt to alleviate layout shifts so that your CLS score is lower than 0.1.
How to Prepare Your Website
Now that you understand what Google’s Core Web Vitals are and what will matter most with the Page Experience update, it’s time to get your website ready. Here are a few steps to take:
- Prioritize mobile-friendly and accessible design
- Fix navigation issues and errors
- Test your site’s speed and eliminate delays
- Create great content consistently to support your SEO
- Improve site security and acquire HTTPS certification
- Eliminate intrusive interstitials
- Learn more about page performance with Google’s Page Experience report
By taking these steps now, your website will be ready in advance of the June algorithm update’s launch. Even better, your webpages will provide a more positive user experience now and in the future. Once you remove any existing barriers, nothing will hold you back from ranking well in search results.