The Google Page Experience update launched in May 2021. Webmasters and digital marketers who want to ensure that their site remains unaffected by the negative impacts of the update need to take some steps to optimise their website.
The new ranking signals will consist of Core Web Vitals, HTTPS, safe browsing, mobile-friendliness, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
The change is to offer users great experiences of Google search. Here are the top six strategies to optimise your website for the upcoming Page Experience update:
1. Optimise your site for Core Web Vitals
According to WPO Stats, a slight increase in page load time from 1 second to 3 seconds can increase the bounce rate to 32%. The Core Web Vitals reports under Google Search Console display the performance of your website based on real-world usage data.
The report displays three metrics, namely, LCP, FID, and CLS.
- LCP stands for Largest Contentful Paint. Your LCP score should be less than 2.5 seconds. To maintain the score and to fix any LCP issues, you should check the loading time of your page. Identify the images or videos that are taking the maximum time to load and increase their load times. One of the best fixes is to create AMP pages and implement all the suggestions returned by the Google Page Speed Insights tool.
- FID stands for First Input Delay. It measures the time taken by the user to interact with the page. The FID should be less than 100 ms. You can optimise your FID score by reducing third-party codes and minimising the main thread work.
- CLS stands for Cumulative Layout Shift. It measures unexpected layout shifts that occur for the entire lifecycle of the webpage. The CLS should be less than 0.1 seconds. You can eliminate layout shifts by reserving the spot for every element. For example, in the case of ads, you should allocate a slot size for both content or banner ads.
You can check whether your website is affected by any of the above issues by logging in to your Search Console. You will also find the pages that are causing any of these issues along with suggestions to fix them. Once you implement the recommendations, click on validate fix to keep your website in line with the Core Web Vitals algorithm.
2. Ensure your site is safe to browse
Google takes site security very seriously. If your site is infected by malware or if someone is using your domain for phishing attempts, then you will be notified by Google via the Search Console.
If you don’t see any messages in your account, then your site is safe to browse. Make sure your site security is not compromised. You can check whether your domain contains any malicious content by using the Google Safe Browsing Site Status tool.
However, if you find that your site is compromised, then you need to fix the issue as the earliest. Here are the guidelines to follow. Once you have corrected the problem, you can request a review.
3. Move your site to HTTPS
HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It protects the transfer of data between the computer and the server. HTTPS is necessary for every website and not just e-commerce sites.
If your domain is still using HTTP, then it has a higher chance of getting negatively impacted by the Page Experience Update. Move your site to HTTPS and use server-side 301 redirects. Use the URL inspection tool to check if Googlebot can access the new URLs easily.
4. Take the mobile-friendly test
Around 80% of users used a mobile device to browse the internet in 2019. The number is increasing every year. Hence, mobile browsing is something that you can’t ignore. Your website should be easy to browse on every mobile device.
The Page Experience Update will negatively impact sites that are not mobile-friendly. To check whether your web pages are mobile-friendly, you can take the mobile-friendly test.
In case, the page is not mobile-friendly, you can implement the suggestions offered by the tool and check again to see if the fixes work. You can use the Google Search Console to identify pages that are not optimised for mobile. Once the issue is fixed, you can validate fixes and wait for Google to recrawl the pages.
5. Make your content easily accessible
Page experience is all about offering the fastest, safest, and the best browsing experience to your visitors. Hence, you should make your content easily accessible to all. Here are some ways to create accessible content:
- Create proper HTML and XML sitemaps.
- Include descriptive ALT text for every image.
- Add relevant transcripts and captions to your videos.
- Use WordPress themes, having accessibility-ready tags.
- Use the Web Accessibility Toolbar to check your pages for various aspects related to accessibility.
- Create AMP pages to load your web pages faster on all devices.
6. Improve CTR, time on page, and reduce bounce rate
There are a few metrics that can quickly tell you how the users feel while interacting with your website. These metrics are:
- Click-through rate (CTR): It is a percentage that measures the number of times users click on your website divided by the number of times it is shown to the users. Higher CTR means a better page experience. You can improve CTR by improving the relevancy of your page, targeting keywords based on user intent, and leveraging copywriting to prepare click-worthy title tags.
- Time on page: It is the total time the user spends on the webpage. The higher the time, the better the page experience. You can optimise the time on the page by using gamification or by adding videos on the site. When people start to interact with your page, they are more likely to spend more time.
- Bounce rate: It is a percentage that measures the number of times users leave your website without clicking on any other internal link. The lower the bounce rate, the better the page experience. You can optimise the bounce rate by adding lots of contextual or navigation internal links.
You can view and optimise these metrics via Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Take every effort to optimise these metrics because they can positively impact the user experience.
Google Page Experience is a measure of how the users are interacting with your website. If the experience is good, then you don’t have to worry. But, if the user experience is poor due to any of the above issues, then Google might temporarily lower the organic rankings of your website until you fix the issues. Follow the strategies discussed in this article to optimise your web pages for the Google Page Experience update.
Nick Brogden leads the company as Founder and CEO of Earned Media, acting as Chief SEO Strategist and primary client contact. Nick provides clients with personalised and expert SEO guidance that aligns with the industry’s best practices and has over 12 years of hands-on SEO experience. Have any SEO questions you’d like to ask Nick? Drop him an email at email@example.com.