As of May 2021, page experience signals will start to be included in Google Search ranking, meaning website owners and marketers have just months to ensure their site is up to scratch.
Over the years, Google has placed more and more emphasis on the user’s overall experience using a website when determining where it should rank. It’s all part of its endeavour to make sure people are not only getting the most informative, useful results, but that they also have a seamless experience doing so.
The soon to be rolled out signals will combine ‘core web vitals’ (which include loading, interactivity and visual stability principals) with the more well known signals as outlined below:
Mobile experience is more important than ever, so don’t let this be an afterthought. Google switched to ‘mobile-first indexing’ for all websites late last year, meaning it will crawl this version of your website before the desktop version. Therefore it’s so important to pay close attention to how information is displayed on smaller devices, as well as how visitors are interacting with your mobile site.
Google’s mobile friendly test is a good place to start, and will inform you of the areas that need attention.
Take advantage of Google Search Console and its security issues report. It will let you know if your site has any problems that could deem it unsafe for users such as hacking and malware, harmful downloads and deceptive pages. Once detected it can have a detrimental effect on how Google ranks your site.
Enabling HTTPS for your site means it’s secure, and that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Google has confirmed HTTPS to be a ranking signal, so if your site doesn’t yet have an SSL certificate you should look into this asap.
No Intrusive Interstitials
This is basically the technical name for popups (particularly on a mobile device), which could have a negative impact on rankings. Anything that blocks the user from accessing your sites main content can be classed as an intrusive interstitial and should be used with caution. There are some exceptions, but as a rule, be wary of using popups, overlays or banners that cover up content, annoy users, and ultimately lead to a bad user experience.
Visual indicators being tested
Google is also testing ways of informing users of the quality of a website’s experience before they click through. There is likely to be some sort of visual indicator within the search results snippet as to whether or not a site ‘ticks all the boxes’ – another reason to make page experience a priority – it could encourage users to choose your competitors before they have even ‘set foot’ on your website.
How can you prepare?
There are many tools made available by Google that can help you determine which areas of your website may be hindering ‘page experience’. If building a brand new website from scratch, ensuring it is technically sound is more important than ever.
This is where we can help. Our team of marketers and developers work together closely to make sure the foundations of your website are not likely to impact your SEO strategy. Get in touch with our digital marketing experts today and we’ll help you get prepared for the May roll out.