Google recently announced a major ranking factor update for 2021, and it’s going to focus on page usability. Here are all the details, and what it might mean for your website.
Way back in 2010, Google introduced site speed as a ranking measure when it came to indexing websites. It was the first sign that the search engine giant was starting to consider site design as an important part of user experience.
Google has now announced a new update that will bring UX to the heart of ranking factors for web users. The Page Experience update, set to be rolled out in 2021 (Google gave the early heads-up in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic), will pull together a range of new and updated measures to weed out websites that aren’t offering the best user experience.
Central to the update is an evolved version of the Web Vitals metrics, which were announced earlier this year. Of particular interest is the updated Core Web Vitals element—a set of metrics that focus on site speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
But what does that mean? Well, rather than simply looking at how fast a page loads, Google will now be paying close attention to how quickly (and efficiently) elements of that page become ready for user interaction. For example, if a page loads up at lightning speed, but then an ad knocks a button out of place causing a misclick, then Google will mark that page down when it comes to ranking.
Alongside this measure, Google will be ramping up measurement around mobile-friendliness, security and browsing safety.
The major takeaway here is that Google is taking UX more seriously than ever before. Where once keyword-stuffing and targeting certain terms was enough to climb the rankings, now website owners are going to need to ensure their sites are optimised for usability.
Of course, the content of your site remains crucial. But, following the Page Experience update, the on-site experience of your user is going to be just as important.
Not sure if your website is ready to make the most of the Page Experience update? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.