In May 2020, a new Google algorithm update was announced: the page experience update. Any time a Google algorithm update is announced, it shakes up the SEO world – as ranking metrics shift, so do hard-earned website rankings.
Introducing upcoming ranking signals for Google Search based on various aspects of page experience–combining Core Web Vitals and previous UX-related signals.— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) May 28, 2020
Read our pre-announcementhttps://t.co/L3IrB2dOnM
Why is Google making an algorithm update?
This update shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. User experience has been Google’s focus for a while. It makes sense – the people who use the search engine giant to look for information are Google’s customers. To remain the dominant search engine of the world, Google must show these people the most relevant sites, where it’s easy for them to get whatever they came for. This update was made to ensure sites that users hate to use won’t rank near the top.
Imagine this: you click on a website on Google. It’s taking forever to load. Just as you’re about to bounce right off, a pop-up appears. You click on it accidentally and get taken to another slow-loading page.
It’s the worst, right? So, the fact that these type of pages will have a disadvantage in rankings is good news. But, what will the page experience Google algorithm update mean for businesses working hard to boost their rankings?
Page experience Google algorithm update – what you need to know
As is evident by the name, the page experience Google algorithm update puts user experience at the forefront of ranking factors. How users experience and interact with a site becomes a core focus on Google’s search results pages. However, there’s not a whole lot of new substance in the page experience update.
It covers many existing page experience ranking factors, including:
- HTTPS ranking boost
- Mobile-friendly update
- Page speed update
- Safe browsing penalty
- Intrusive interstitials penalty
The fact that all these factors remain within the new update means that some have called this update more of a “re-brand” of the same information. That doesn’t mean you should ignore this update, though.
Competition for Google rankings is intense, so anything that makes your website better than the competition is a plus. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to surpass your opposition, this might just be your chance!
How this Google algorithm update will change SEO
Having an AMP not a top-story requirement anymore
Perhaps the biggest change for SEO is the fact that the AMP (accelerated mobile page) requirement for Top Stories eligibility will be removed. And guess what’s taking its place? Page experience metrics, of course!
An AMP is pretty much a second version of your website, specifically made to load fast on mobile. After the algorithm update, content publishers likely won’t bother to maintain the AMP versions of their content.
Of course, mobile-friendliness is still extremely important. Google is just allowing for a different way to get there.
Users first, Google second
In the olden days of SEO, webmasters would do nearly anything to get rankings: keyword stuffing, doorway pages, hidden text and links… and some still do! However, as user experience is emphasised more and more, these black hat SEO strategies will hopefully become obsolete.
While user experience is something many SEO companies tend to neglect, it actually makes a whole lot of sense from a business perspective. After all, the users are what we have websites for! What good would it be to rank on Google, if people can’t find what they’re looking for once they click through to your site? At the end of the day, the goal of SEO for businesses is to get more leads, sales or bookings.
Time to get ready for this Google algorithm update!
As stated before, this Google algorithm update isn’t quite as ground-breaking as some of the previous ones – most of it is already SEO best practice. But, in a competitive space, it always pays off to stay ahead of the curve!
Due to Covid-19, Google stated that they will give another announcement 6 months before rolling out the update, so we all have time to get ready. But, making these changes will take time, so why not start now? It pays off to be prepared and you may well convert a whole lot more customers in the meantime.