Google updates often send marketers scrambling to comply with the latest algorithms. Not so with the recently announced Google page experience update, which came with plenty of advance notice with which to prepare.
Here’s what that Google page experience update entails and what you need to do to ensure your content keeps performing well in search.
The Google Page Experience Update
The changes will focus on a website’s page experience signal, which it defines as a measure of how users perceive their experience of interacting with pages on websites.
The Google page experience update is expected to roll out next year and will include two groups of components that make up that signal.
Core Web Vitals
- Loading: detects how long a page takes to load for users
- Interactivity: detects the time it takes from when users first interact with a page to when the page can begin processing that interactivity
- Stability: detects how stable the content appears to be on a page as it loads. Webpages can be dinged and if something on them unexpectedly moves, including links, text, images, videos, ads or widgets.
Existing Search Signals
- Mobile-friendliness: detects whether a page is properly configured to be viewed on mobile devices
- Safe browsing: detects whether a page has threats, such as malware, deceptive pages, harmful downloads and uncommon downloads
- HTTPS: detects whether a page can securely send and receive information
- No intrusive interstitials: detects whether something prevents users from seeing the content they want to see on a page, such as pop-ups covering up the main page or ads that users must dismiss before they access the page’s content.
What This Means for You
Why is Google announcing this change so far in advance? It’s meant to give companies time to review their on-page experiences and make changes.
Marketers should already be considering how visitors will experience content on their websites, but now there will be consequences if those experiences aren’t good. Google is one of the most popular ways people search for content, and it’s becoming a predictor of future market share as people make buying decisions based on who they find at the top of their search results.
It’s entirely possible that even if you have great content that’s perfectly optimized, you could experience a drop in search rankings if Google determines that your user experience prevents visitors from getting what they want and need.
And if your competitors know how to implement and leverage a good experience, you could very well start losing market share to them.
Audit Your Content
The good news is that your team has time to review content on your website and fix issues that would prevent visitors from getting what they want before the Google page experience update goes into effect. Here are some ideas for how to begin reviewing your site’s user experience.
- Start with high-priority content and work your way down. Begin by focusing on the most important pages. They could be the pages that perform well based on the metrics you use or the pages that support your most vital marketing goals and priorities. Starting with these pages first can help them continue performing well in search.
- Work in batches. Plan out how your team will review content so the task doesn’t become overwhelming. Choose a manageable number of pages to review at a time.
- Look for obvious issues. These could be pages that take a long time to load, delays with interactivity, content that moves when you try to click on it, issues with the mobile version of your site, and any ads or pop-ups that cover up the content or that require users to dismiss them. Then, you can review your site’s back end to ensure everything looks good.
- Address customer complaints. Customers may have reached out to your customer service department to let them know if they’ve run into errors or bugs. Look to see if you’ve received those kinds of complaints and be sure to address them.
- Update your content. If you’re already auditing pages for experience, ensure the content on those pages is correct, up to date and relevant for your customers.
Don’t risk having your great content lose market share; review and update your site to ensure people have the best possible experience on your site—and that they continue to find it after the Google page experience update.
As a Content Strategist at Content4Demand, Toni Boger partners with clients to build successful content strategies that empower their digital marketing objectives at all stages, from ideation and creation through execution and promotion. She has a decade of experience in B2B content strategy and development across several industries. Outside of helping clients take their content to the next level, you’ll find Toni learning how to paint, reading a good book, taking aerial arts classes at circus school and watching classic films.