In mid-May of 2021, the Google Search team announced they would be introducing Page Experience Ranking. Coming first to mobile in mid-June and then spreading out to desktop at some not-yet-defined point in the future.
Although the new page experience ranking update is really a new package for a range of user experience metrics that have already played a part in ranking, this package and how you perform against it will impact your search results.
Rather than being consumed by panic when your rankings start to shift, it’s better to get ahead of it now. A simple site health check against these pillars is a logical place to start.
Pillars of the page experience
Most will be familiar with the elements that make up page experience, but for a refresh and confirmation of what Google is highlighting for this new ranking update, the key page experience elements are:
- User annoyance
- Security and privacy
Notably, as mentioned, these are all elements that have been highlighted as important ranking criteria in the past, but there are some changes which you will need to consider ahead of the update.
In the update, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and First Input Delay (FID) will be used to measure the page speed, loading performance and interactivity. You want LCP within 2.5 seconds of opening the page, and FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
The user annoyance considerations are forcing pages to eliminate annoying content. Thank goodness! To measure this, they account for visual stability using a Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). The CLS measures how often users experience layout shifts unexpectedly (which would be annoying). As such, businesses need to shoot for low CLS score to make for a smooth site experience.
As for security and privacy, not much is changing here. Google already introduced HTTPS in 2014 and will continue to favour secure pages. Most businesses shouldn’t need to take any specific action on this.
Accessibility then relates to mobile friendliness, which will obviously be a big point in the mobile update. Everyone should be working on this already as it’s already a major factor in ranking, also introduced back in 2014.
Where attention needs to go is to LCP, FID and CLS. If you do not measure well on these scales right now, you need to get ahead of this update.
Act now, avoid reaction in the future
We get that all these Google updates can cause a kind of action fatigue. To act or not to act, how can one know the answer? Well, we’re telling you for this one, you want to act now.
Australian businesses are often quite reactive when it comes to changes related to organic search, but inaction on this one could cost businesses millions scrambling later if they don’t get their website ready for this change.
As mobile is coming first, focus there, then work your way onto desktop. With these under control, you can kick back in confidence waiting for the update.
If you need a helping hand to determine your site’s performance and which areas need action, the team at Next&Co can help. We are search experts, able to advise you on what matters, what doesn’t and what will help you thrive.