Google updates its search algorithm 500 to 600 times a year on average, with some updates occurring twice a day. While the majority of these changes will have little impact on the digital marketing landscape, there are a few that are worth noticing.
In May of 2021, Google revealed that a new ranking algorithm, meant to score web sites based on how visitors perceive the website’s experience, will be released to the public. In layman’s terms, this means that if Google considers a website’s user experience (UX) is poor, it will not rank the site as highly in search engine result pages. The Google page experience upgrade is the name of this update.
For mobile users, the update was handed out in June 2021. Since 2015, mobile friendliness has been a ranking element in SEO, and mobile-first indexing has been the default since 2018, and now mobile friendliness will be a major factor in the page experience update. The page experience update was originally intended for mobile, but it was just stated that it will be implemented to desktop in February 2022, providing digital marketing a whole new spin in 2022.
What is The Page Experience Update?
Google will always aim to provide the most useful and accurate content to users, necessitating frequent revisions. This page experience update aims to better understand how a user would view a certain web page’s experience in order to make it more user-friendly.
The update takes into account things like:
- If the page is secured with HTTPS,
- Whether or not the page contains obtrusive advertisements
- The speed with which a page loads
- If the page can be viewed on a mobile device, it is considered mobile friendly (applicable for mobile page experience update)
Google has already provided a thorough explanation of the page experience criteria, but in brief, the upgrade consists of multiple existing search engine ranking variables (as mentioned above) as well as enhancements known as Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are user-centered metrics that provide scores on features of a web page such as loading time, interaction, and content stability as it loads. The following are the metrics that can be defined:
Largest Contenful Paint (LCP)
Loading performance is measured using the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). LCP should happen within 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load to ensure a decent UX.
First Input Display
Interactivity is measured using the First Input Display (FID). Pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds to give a decent user experience.
Culmative Layout Shift (CLS)
Visual stability is measured by Culmative Layout Shift (CLS). Pages with a CLS of less than 0.1 should deliver an excellent user experience.
This page experience is created by combining all of these components. According to Google, page experience is not a ranking factor, but each facet has its own weights and rankings in the overall Google ranking algorithm.
The Impact On Revenue & Conversions
- For every 1 second increase in page load time, conversion rates decline by 12%.
- The conversion rate for pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds was 1.9 percent.
- The conversion rate was 1.5 percent at 3.3 seconds.
- And conversion was less than 1% at 4.2 seconds.
This page experience improvement will make it even more difficult for sites with poor user experiences to rank well and gain visitors from the search results that matter most to them. Google will display a logo next to sites that deliver a good user experience in search results, so it will be fascinating to see how users react and whether they are more likely to ignore or avoid sites that do not have this approval.
The SEO Impact
From an SEO standpoint, optimising your website for high Core Web Vitals scores is a good idea because, as previously said, the page experience upgrade will make them a ranking consideration. Furthermore, a great user experience improves bounce rates, conversion rates, and, ultimately, revenue across all marketing channels. Users generally decide whether or not to stay on your website within the first 10-15 seconds of arriving, and if the performance of your site isn’t up to par, users are more likely to leave.
Page Experience In 2022
We don’t expect this page experience update to be substantial at Search4Local. Sites will not notice large changes in their ranks and revenue. This upgrade poses no threat to those seeking to improve their users’ page experiences but is still worth keeping close due to the effects it will have in 2022.
Contact us to learn more about how page experience and digital marketing may be influenced in 2022.