Google Search Page Experience Update 2021

Google is launching a Page Experience Update in May 2021. This update to their search algorithm is going to benefit sites whose on-page experience is greater than that of their competitors.

Sites with a better on-page experience will rank higher, meaning elements you might not have cared about before might cause an issue for how your site ranks moving forward. Provided that your content is optimised to rank well, a great page experience is nothing without optimised, relevant content. 

What Is Google Changing?

The update will see Google add three, new, "core web vitals" that will give Google a better understanding of your website's user experience. These new signals are not replacing the current signals, they’re going to be working in tandem in order to more accurately rank your website.

A graphic highlighting Google's search signals for page experience. They are loading, interactivity, visual stability, mobile-friendly, safe browsing, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials.

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Google’s New Search Signals 

Loading

Loading will be tested with the Largest Content Paint (LCP) signal and will measure how long it takes the main content of your webpage to load. 

A graphic explaining Google's loading page experience signal.

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Interactivity

Interactivity will be tested with the First Input Delay (FID) signal and will measure how long it takes the browser to respond to an interaction that has been triggered by the user. 

A graphic explaining Google's interactivity page experience signal.

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Visual Stability

Visual Stability will be tested with the Cumulative Shift Layout (CSL) signal and will measure the percentage of content that is impacted by movement (e.g. pop-ups).

A graphic explaining Google's visual stability page experience signal.

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Google’s Current Signals  

Mobile-Friendly

This signal determines whether or not your site is optimised for mobile devices. Google provides a tool where you can test whether or not your site is mobile-friendly. Run Google's free Mobile-Friendly test to find out.

 

A screenshot of Google's mobile-friendly test.

Safe Browsing 

This signal determines whether or not your site is safe for users. Google conducts this by running tests to identify if users are being affected by malware or phishing scams when they access your site. Run Google's free Safe Browsing test to find out. 

 

A screenshot of Google Safe Browsing site test

HTTPS 

This signal determines whether or not your site is using HTTPS when sending and receiving data. HTTP is not secure and Google will recognise if your site is secure or not. 

No Intrusive Interstitials

This signal determines if users are being interrupted by pop-ups that block most or all of the page, leading to a bad user experience.

Our 5 Tips To Improving Page Experience 

  1. Set up and use Google’s Search Console. Get friendly with the Core Web Vitals test. The report shows how your pages perform based on real-world data, using the mentioned signals. The Mobile-Friendly tool, found under the Core Web Vitals test, will also provide some useful insights. 
  2. Conduct a User Experience audit to determine potential pain points for users. Focus on improving a user's experience on every page rather than just the important ones. 
  3. Use heatmaps and other Digital Experience Analytics tools to evaluate design, track users, their behaviours, whether or not they’re completing desired actions and what might be stopping them from completing desired actions. 
  4. Optimise site speed. This can be done in many ways. Whether it's through optimising images and videos, using a content distribution network (CDN), enabling file compression and or enabling browser caching (a chefs selection out of the dozens of processes used to optimise site speed). 
  5. Optimise mobile experience. This can be done by adopting a mobile-first approach. Create better experiences for users by starting the design process at the mobile level. 

To Wrap Things Up

We hope you have found this blog helpful, and as always, if you need any assistance in optimising your website for Google's new Page Experience changes, please get in touch to book a call with our Digital Transformation Genies to talk all things User Experience.