Published on by Pat Ramsey, Director of Technology
The Google Update has been moved back to June 2021.
Digital transformation continues to evolve, requiring websites to be responsive, interactive, and most importantly, deliver a highly performant page experience for their users. User experience is the driving force behind the success of digital platforms in the new economy, and Google plans to reward brands that can deliver these elevated digital experiences.
This June, Google is updating its search ranking algorithm to include a web site’s page experience as part of how well a page ranks in search results. Page experience includes factors such as mobile-friendliness, whether a page uses HTTPS or not, and how intrusive popups and alerts are on the page. It also includes how fast a page loads, measured by factors called Core Web Vitals. If you’re reading this and thinking that many of the pages you visit on your phone don’t match these factors, you’re not alone. And if you’re thinking, “My website doesn’t meet some of these factors,” then it’s time to get to work. Because with the new Google update, your search ranking will be directly affected by the speed and experience of your website.
What Does Page Experience Mean?
Page experience is how a user perceives a page when it loads and when they try to use it. For example, pretend you’re on your phone and you pull up a web page for something. Maybe you’re out and about and you want to buy a ticket for a movie. Or you want to see a restaurant’s take-out menu. Perhaps, you’re outside and you need to find the trash delivery schedule for your neighborhood because it’s a holiday week and you can’t remember if it’s on the same day or the next. It could be any number of reasons and you’re more than likely using your phone - not a desktop or laptop computer. This is the point of the update.
A good checklist to use for ensuring optimal page experience:
- When you load a page on your phone, how long does it take until you can make out what’s on the screen?
- When the page loads, how much does what you see jump around as the pieces of the page show up?
- Is the page loading over https or http?
- When the page loads, is the screen taken over by a bunch of popups or slide-down boxes that you have to touch to make them go away?
- How long does it take until you are able to interact with the page?
- Are you able to read what’s on the screen or is the text tiny? Are the buttons and links too small to touch?
These are what Google calls the page experience signals. These are the metrics you want to use as you test your page. It’s easy to test. Pull up a page on your phone and see how long it takes. Is it fast? Now turn off WiFi on your phone and try it again on cellular. Is it the same?
Why Should You Care About Site Experience?
Your website is the door of your business, open to the world 24/7. You want people to come through that door and buy your goods, read your content, sign up for your newsletters, take your online courses, and continue to visit in the future. The easier it is for them to get through that door, the more opportunity there is to provide value. The more value provided, the more loyal the customer base and the easier and cheaper it is to acquire new customers. It is that simple. Everything about your website should be focused on attracting and retaining visitors, and turning them into customers. If a website has a poor page experience, you are making it harder for people to interact with your brand, resulting in less traffic, less conversions, and less revenue. Excellent user experience is at the core of an optimal page experience.
How Do You Get an Optimal Page Experience?
An optimal page experience takes some work to deliver., but is attainable and a “must” to thrive in the 21st century economy. This is technology, after all, but that doesn’t mean it requires an overly complicated effort. Some parts of a good page experience can be done with relative ease. Depending on the current state of your site, the remaining effort might not even be that involved. A good example of something that can be taken care of with relative ease is HTTPS. Many hosts, and most major hosts, offer free HTTPS certificates and should you need a stronger certificate, they can help you purchase and install it on your site. That one move, of ensuring HTTPS on your site helps with your page experience requirements.
Many brands are already on their digital transformation journeys. Updating their digital presence, integrating multiple platforms for ease-of-use and cost savings, and improving their user experience all around. Prioritizing the user experience to create a positive and differentiated page experience will accelerate your brand, helping solidify a competitive advantage on Google rankings over the competition.
A user’s page experience is the most important part of the digital transformation journey- just ask Google.
At Crowd Favorite, our “bread and butter” is doing the work to elevate the future of the digital experience our partners need. We bring established and scaling brands to digital optimization through our renowned digital strategy, design, development and digital support services. If you’d like help with getting started or need a partner to work alongside you through your digital transformation, please reach out to us.