Google’s New Page Experience Algorithm Explained
3rd June 2020
Google has announced a future update to its algorithm that increases the importance of UX to SEO.
In recent years, Google has added a range of user experience criteria to its algorithm. Including page speed and mobile optimization. Building on this they are now working to provide a ranking change that includes a variety of page experience metrics.
What is Page Experience?
This new page experience signal will measure how users interact with a website. Earlier this year Google launched their Core Web Vitals. These are a new set of metrics for 2020 which focuses on three aspects of the user experience—loading, interactivity, and visual stability. By optimising a website for these factors, users have much more enjoyable experience. Ultimately, this helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. The full Page Experience algorithm update won’t come into effect until 2021. So you have 6 months to make sure you are prepared.
Why is Google introducing this update?
Very simply, Google wants to rank sites that users love the most. Most websites aren’t attached to large brands. With this algorithm, smaller sites can still rank highly. The aim is that user engagement will improve as experiences on the web get better. Year on year they want to continue to identify ways to measure page experience to improve SEO.
Content is King and Page Experience is a very close second
We all know content is king and it looks like that is here to stay. Google has said:
“While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
However, it seems that in situations where multiple pages across multiple websites have similar content, Page Experience will be used to determine which is more important. So when it comes to having the edge against your competitors in search results it’s time to make sure your UX design performs.
Where to start?
An important part of user experience is page speed. By optimising the load speed of a page the better experience your users will have. Alongside this, you want to ensure there are no broken pages.
See how you compare to your competitors. As we mentioned earlier your page experience could be the tiebreaker to get you ranking higher. How is their user experience? Is their content better than yours? When evaluating your competition’s user experience, keep in mind how they are delighting people who search for any keywords you also target. Neil Patel has a great free tool that you can use to help you with this.
Finally, you want to analyse your current design. You might like how it looks but is it also performing the way your users want. You may be surprised to find friction points that affect the user’s experience. It’s actually easier than you might think to understand how users are interacting with your website. A heatmap is a visual representation of behavioural data. It lets you know how people engage with a specific page on your site. What that click on, how far they scroll and what other actions they take. We have a blog on this that you might find helpful here.
These updates are coming into effect until 2021, but they are here to stay. Google plans to keep updating the algorithm to promote websites that offer an excellent experience. If you need help optimising your page experience then get in touch. We consider every interaction, every touchpoint of your customers’ journey in order to enhance the perception of their encounter with your business or brand.