How to Prepare for Google’s May Page Experience Update

How to Leverage Google’s May Page Experience Update (Now June!)

I am updating this recent article to let you know that Google has pushed back its Page Experience Update to June.  This will give practices a little extra time to prepare and leverage this important update.  The original information is still relevant so read on . . .

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Roughly a year after announcing the Page Experience Update, Google is rolling out a new ranking algorithm in May 2021. For practices that are investing in and relying on Google organic rankings, knowing what this update means and preparing for its effect on search rankings will be vital in keeping your pages ranking at the top.

The Page Experience Update introduces a new ranking algorithm; one that takes user page experience into account when ranking pages.  Therefore, if Google thinks that users may have a negative experience on your site, this could cause your page rankings to drop. Understanding how to optimize page experience will become increasingly important as this update rolls out.

What is Page Experience?

Google evaluates page experience, or how a user perceives a page, with a set of signals. These signals include Core Web Vitals, as well as a few other metrics that indicate page experience. Core Web Vitals involve how quickly the page loads, its mobile-friendliness, secure HTTPS compatibility, presence of intrusive ads, font readability, the manner in which your content loads, etc.

This all may sound new to practices.  However, Google has been gradually incorporating these types of user experience elements as search ranking factors for some time.  This includes previous updates like the mobile-friendly update, HTTPS ranking boost, page speed update, the intrusive interstitials penalty, and the safe browsing penalty. Core Web Vitals are also used to gauge speed and usability, focusing on three main facets: loading, interactivity, and visual stability. Optimizing your site for these factors can greatly improve a user’s experience on your page and even improve metrics like bounce and conversion rate.

Although Google has been incorporating user engagement (UX) signals through these previous updates, the Page Experience Update will likely have a bigger cumulative impact than each of the independent updates.

Visual Indicators of User Experience

Google has indicated that once the Page Experience update goes live, they will test ways to display the expected page experience in the search results. This type of visual indicator has been seen before in slow labels, mobile-friendly labels, and AMP icons. A page experience indicator would give users an idea of the quality of page, helping users choose which sites to click on from the SERP.

Who Will Be Impacted from UX Ranking Factors?

Google does not say exactly how much weight it will put on each of the Core Web Vitals, so your practice should likely look at preparing for all of them.  The websites that will likely be negatively impacted by this update are going to be older websites with moderate to high rankings driven in large part by their domain equity and good content but have never addressed these user Core Web Vitals.

For instance, many high-ranking websites in competitive markets like New York City are slow-loading sites.  It will be interesting to see what impact this Google update has if they don’t make updates to their websites. We will share a case study of results after the rollout starts impacting search results.

How Can I Prepare for the Page Experience Update?

There are various steps that Google recommends taking to optimize your page experience. Some of these include:

  • Learning about the different tools that can assist in measuring Core Web Vitals
  • Checking the mobile-friendliness of your page with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
  • Using the Security Issues Report to ensure your site does not have any safe-browsing problems
  • Checking the security of your site’s connection and securing over HTTPS if you have not already done so

Understanding the page experience optimization factors that Google already has in place is a great first step in making sure that your search rankings are not negatively impacted by the Page Experience update. Our dedicated marketing team at MedShark Digital works hard to keep up to date with our SEO tactics so they align with any changes to Google’s algorithm. Request your Page Experience Audit today to see how you can enhance your web performance and online presence.

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