How search engines rank your website’s pages for particular organic terms and enquiries depends on numerous factors.
We’ve talked about elements of SEO – but some are so nuanced that even Google staffers struggle to explain them definitively.
Typically, when a major algorithm update rolls out, a bunch of people complain they’ve fallen foul of a new ranking signal.
But one way to keep your website in Google’s good books is to give your users the best possible page experience.
Google page experience update 2021
Since May this year, this newest iteration has been applied, with a focus on judging pages based on how users rate their interactions with them.
If yours aren’t up to scratch (based on criteria including Google’s core web vitals among others), you’ll potentially see a slight drop in rankings.
While Google themselves said not to expect any “drastic changes”, if people have bad experiences on your pages, your traffic and conversions could be impacted.
So how is your page experience judged?
Although there’s no way to know precisely how much weight Google places on each factor, there are five core Page experience signals:
1. Core web vitals (speed)
Using the above link, you can check your own URLs and receive a report on how your pages perform using real world data.
The report will focus on three key areas relating to speed and responsiveness of on-page elements.
These are hugely important, as page speed has a direct effect on bounce rate, which can affect your rankings.
Google calls these vitals “user centred metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience” – so ignore them at your peril.
2. Safe browsing
No malicious or deceptive content such as phishing malware or harmful downloads should be present.
You can check a comprehensive list of potential safety issues via Google’s own Security Issues Report, such as:
- Whether your content has been hacked
- Social engineering content
- Unwanted software designed to harm users and devices
3. Mobile friendliness
You know this one, it’s nothing new: how your pages work on mobile devices has been a major factor for several years.
Even if your site is mobile friendly, there are technical SEO steps to take to further benefit from mobile first indexing, like:
- Optimising titles and meta descriptions for smaller screens
- Incorporating structured data markup (schema)
- Tailoring certain content for local search results
4. HTTPS security
Similar to mobile friendliness, Google’s intention to favour HTTPS sites over HTTP isn’t a new announcement.
But by now there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be serving your site up with enhanced encrypted security for users.
If you’ve not yet incorporated this extra layer, give everyone peace of mind by getting started at Google Search Central.
5. Intrusive interstitial guidelines
Don’t use popups or standalone ads that prevent users from being able to access content on a page easily.
Of course, by definition there are such things as ‘non intrusive’ interstitials – and knowing what’s ok and what’s not is tricky.
Ones that shouldn’t get your pages penalised could include:
- Popups you’re legally obliged to include
- Content that doesn’t dominate the visual space and allows access to other content on the page
- Content only available to certain visitors, e.g. previously signed up members
How do I ensure my pages give the best user experience?
It’s estimated that there are over 200 ranking factors that Google uses to determine where a page ranks.
So, while there are no guarantees, the bottom line is that you give users the best possible experience in terms of safety, security and convenience.
The easiest way to get started is with an SEO website analysis (available from Door4), which will give you peace of mind – and give your customers nothing to worry about.
You’ll get a clear picture of your performance in line with this summer’s update – plus comprehensive data on how to improve speed and load time.
And this, combined with informed Conversion Rate Optimisation and intuitive design, will mean your pages offer an unrivalled user experience.
Get in touch today and ask how we can help. If you know someone who might be interested, share this content and spread the love.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
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