What CMOs Need to Know About Google’s Page Experience Ranking Update
Google started rolling out its page experience algorithm update June 15 and finished on September 2, 2021. This update consists of several factors — each of which we’ve written about at length in our page experience guide e-book.
In this article, though, we’ll give a high-level overview of what CMOs need to know so they can help their team and their website meet the new ranking opportunities. For a more in-depth how-to, check out our free e-book linked above.
- Page experience ranking factors
- FAQ: How does the Page Experience Update impact website rankings and what should CMOs be aware of?
Google clarified that you don’t need all core web vitals scores to be “good” in order to get some page experience ranking boost.
However, 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.
Google combined some of the algorithmic signals you might have already been optimizing for with a new set of signals to create the page experience update.
This update combined these ranking criteria you may already know:
- 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
Let’s look at each factor starting with the three new core web vitals.
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.
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.
6. No Intrusive Interstitials
Intrusive interstitials are webpage pop-ups that make 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, get our free e-book instantly.
Bruce Clay Inc. works with clients to move sites to “good.” Contact us if you cannot afford to lose in SEO.
Google’s Page Experience Update has become a pivotal factor influencing website rankings. This update reflects Google’s commitment to rewarding websites that prioritize user experience. It assesses various aspects of a website’s performance, ultimately impacting its position on search engine result pages (SERPs).
The Page Experience Update signifies a shift in how search engines evaluate websites. It encompasses several factors, including Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness, and HTTPS security. Core Web Vitals, namely Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measure user-centric metrics like page load speed, responsiveness, and visual stability.
For CMOs, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. This update underscores the significance of enhancing user experience as a part of an overarching marketing strategy. Websites that provide a seamless and engaging browsing experience tend to attract and retain users, leading to increased conversions and improved brand perception. CMOs should collaborate closely with their marketing and development teams to align strategies that prioritize user-centric enhancements.
One pivotal consideration is mobile-friendliness. With a growing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, optimizing for a mobile experience is paramount. Google’s algorithms favor responsive design and easy navigation on small screens. Additionally, the transition to HTTPS has become essential. A secure website safeguards user data and signals credibility to both users and search engines.
Intrusive interstitials, such as pop-ups obstructing content, can hinder user experience. CMOs must ensure that any pop-ups on their website are user-friendly and non-intrusive. Engaging with web development teams to implement non-disruptive pop-up strategies can prevent penalties resulting from poor user experience.
As CMOs strategize for the future, adapting to the Page Experience Update is non-negotiable. Embracing a holistic approach that combines SEO, user experience, and content strategy is key. Regularly monitoring website performance metrics and using tools provided by Google can aid in identifying areas for improvement. By taking a proactive stance, CMOs can maximize their website’s potential and secure a strong online presence.
Step-by-Step Procedure: Navigating the Page Experience Update for CMOs
- Understand the significance of the Page Experience Update in shaping website rankings.
- Familiarize yourself with Core Web Vitals, including LCP, FID, and CLS.
- Collaborate with your marketing and development teams to align strategies prioritizing user experience enhancements.
- Optimize your website for mobile-friendliness to cater to users accessing your site on various devices.
- Transition your website to HTTPS to ensure data security and enhance credibility.
- Evaluate any intrusive interstitials on your website and work with your development team to make them user-friendly.
- Monitor website performance metrics regularly using tools provided by Google.
- Stay updated with industry trends, and algorithm changes to remain competitive.
- Engage in ongoing communication with your team to implement user-centric improvements.
- Consider seeking professional guidance from SEO experts to navigate the intricacies of the update.
- Analyze your website’s user journey and identify areas for improvement.
- Prioritize page load speed by optimizing images, scripts, and server responses.
- Improve user engagement through well-designed layouts and minimal design disruptions.
- Test your website’s responsiveness across various devices and browsers.
- Use data-driven insights to make informed decisions about design changes.
- Continuously monitor user feedback and adapt strategies accordingly.
- Implement non-disruptive pop-up strategies to ensure a smooth browsing experience.
- Encourage collaboration between marketing, development, and design teams for comprehensive improvements.
- Track the impact of changes on website rankings and user engagement over time.
- Embrace a proactive and adaptable approach to stay ahead of evolving search engine algorithms.
By following this step-by-step procedure, CMOs can effectively navigate the Page Experience Update and enhance their website’s performance and visibility in search results.