What CMOs Need to Know About Google’s Page Experience Ranking Update
In May 2021, Google will roll out its Page Experience algorithm update. This update consists of several factors — each of which we’ve written at length about in our new ebook on page experience (you can download that here instantly).
In this article, though, we’ll give a high-level overview of what CMOs need to know so they can prepare their team and their website. For a more in-depth how-to, check out our free ebook linked above.
By the way, Google has said that if you do not have a “good” rating in all areas, you will not get the Page Experience ranking boost. Out of a million websites competing for your keywords, 10 competitors will have done the work to be considered “good” across the board. If you do not, you may lose Page 1 to them. It might be time to panic.
7 Page Experience Ranking Factors
Google will combine some of the algorithmic signals you may already be optimizing for with a new set of signals to create the Page Experience update.
This new update will combine these ranking criteria you may already know:
- Safe browsing
- No intrusive interstitials
With a new set of criteria called “core web vitals”:
- Page load performance – “largest contentful paint”
- Responsiveness – “first input delay”
- Visual stability – “cumulative layout shift”
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP measures webpage load performance. More specifically, LCP measures how fast the largest image or text block renders on the webpage. You want to optimize for this core web vital by analyzing the things that negatively impact it, including:
- Server and/or software response times
- Webpage resources and bandwidth
- Browser software and plugins
2. First Input Delay (FID)
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures the formatting changes to a webpage after the initial rendering in a browser. In other words, it’s about the stability of a webpage. Think: a link or button moving on the page, causing a person to click something unexpected. To improve CLS:
- Use size attributes for images, videos and other embedded items or iframes.
- Never insert content dynamically above existing content.
- If using CSS to animate elements, prefer “transform” animations.
Creating mobile-friendliness means having a website that offers a good experience for visitors using a smartphone or tablet. Just some of the things to consider:
- Ensure the webpage fits different screen sizes.
- Configure the size of the text for mobile viewing.
- Make sure that it’s easy for mobile users to click buttons and links.
- Have fast-loading webpages.
- Use mobile-compatible plugins.
5. Safe Browsing
Hacked websites often go undetected or unmaintained. Keeping your website secure is an important job. Here, you want to be sure to:
- Monitor your website regularly.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest security measures.
- Clean up any breaches right away once you are aware of them.
HTTPS, or hypertext transfer protocol secure, secures the data that’s exchanged between a web browser and a web server. It helps to protect your website and its visitors from potential bad actors. For any site that is not secure in this way, the next step is to migrate the site from HTTP to HTTPS.
7. Intrusive Interstitials
Intrusive interstitials are webpage pop-ups that makes it hard for a mobile user to access the content they want. These create a bad user experience for mobile users. There are several steps you can take to avoid intrusive interstitials, including:
- Use pop-up banners that don’t take a lot of space.
- Make sure users can easily dismiss the pop-up.
- Apply a delay before the pop-up renders.
- Segment your pop-ups by audience to make the message more relevant to them.
- If a user closes a pop-up once, make sure that it doesn’t continue to display or follow them around the website.
- Make sure your pop-up doesn’t slow your page load time.
For a deep dive into the Page Experience update, download our free ebook instantly.
Bruce Clay Inc. works with clients to move sites to “good.” Contact us if you cannot afford to lose in SEO.