Posted On 01 Apr 2021
Marama Carmichael

Google is planning a major update to its search ranking algorithm in May this year, which will massively overhaul the way it factors Page Experience elements into search rankings. In short, the ease with which people use your website is about to become even more important. Is your site slow? How about mobile-friendly? Depending on these factors, your website’s ranking could take a big hit come May.

Page experience is all about how a user is able to interact with a webpage – particularly how fast and easy-to-use it is. This upcoming Google update will be making the overall experience of your page just as important as keywords for ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).  So you need to know what parts of your site are letting you down (and fast!) so you can fix them before May!

 

What is Google’s main aim with this update?

 

Google is on a mission to ensure that people get the most helpful and enjoyable website experiences from their platform, and they’ve made no secret of this throughout the years. This new algorithm is designed to reward fast, easy-to-use websites. Google have already let us know this, as well as the three main areas they’re focusing on.

1. Loading Speed

This is specifically in relation to your home or loading page, and relates to the time it takes for all content elements to load fully.

2. Interactive Experience

Did you ever visit a page that took ages to action your request? Think of the time it took from your first click to the time when the browser began finally processing that interaction. It’s annoying, right? If a customer can’t get information from your site quickly, they’ll likely move on. Perhaps to your competitor! This is why Google decided to add interactivity to their algorithm.

3. Visual Stability

This facet focuses on preventing annoying and unexpected movement of page content. Things like movements in your page design, when different elements load. For example, have you got a noticeable page “shift” when a pop-up loads after the rest of your page? If you answered yes, you’ll likely fail this test.

 

What Improvements Can You Make Before The Update?

 

There are things you can do to improve your website and increase your rank in a Google search. Even if your page is rated relatively high, you should still review the page experience facets Google is planning to focus on when the update hits. If you’re looking to get lots of traffic to your site, here’s what you need to focus on.

Site Load Time

How long does it take for your main content to load? With so much information on the internet today, if you have even a one-second delay in page loads, you could lose 7% conversion and have 11% fewer page views. Google rankings have always included loading speeds. Even as far back as 2018, they announced that speed was included as part of the ranking system. A quick loading page keeps users happy and increases the odds that they’ll return to your page again. The bench mark we set with our clients is under 3 seconds. Do you know your site’s loading speed?

Review Server Performance

A fast server response time will ultimately improve page loading times. You may need to investigate your hosting server and ensure it runs on locally hosted hardware. Web hosting services are needed to get your website on the internet, but they can be an investment. And one that you might not be able to get around anymore! The downside of a cheaper host is that (most likely) they will use a shared server, which can slow down your performance and loading times dramatically.

Website Optimisation

To gain the most effective user experience, page load times and user interactivity are paramount. It’s also important to supply a mobile-friendly experience. Slower performance can also be a result of external sources like pictures, videos, and other media. Evaluating your JavaScript bundle (the language that allows an engaging user experience) can be a key to determining what is slowing down your website.

 

So where do you start?

 

Well, thankfully Google has a tool available to help diagnose potential areas for improvement that you can access below.

https://web.dev/measure

Simply pop your website into this tool. It will then run a report on your site, providing you with a range of diagnostic rankings based on how your site is performing against the above criteria.

 

And then what?

 

Basically, you need guidance from a qualified expert. If you have a relatively new site (in the last year or so) it might be just a couple of quick fixes that your web developer can help you with for relatively low cost. But due to the rapid changes in technology in this space (specifically plugin updates and changes to Javascript language), it can also mean that a website that was cutting edge just a few years ago may already need a bit of a facelift.

 

Never fear though! At Oracle Tree, our specialty is building highly functional websites focused on user experiences. We can easily and quickly review your website and provide you with a quick path to get back in front!

 

If you would like to have the team at Oracle Tree review your website and provide you with help to make improvements prior to May, click HERE to register your interest or purchase one of our two web review packages starting from just $99 (ex GST).