Google Core Update: What does it mean and are you ready for it?
Updates mean change and when it comes to SEO, PPC, and aligning your Google products to your website, it’s not always a welcome sight.
So that’s why we thought it was important to give you a head’s up that this May, Google is updating its algorithm to include a factor called Page Experience.
In a nutshell from May Google will highlight search results that have a great page experience.
What is Google’s Page Experience?
This update will look at existing Google Search signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka pop-up ads), and whether content jumps around the page as it loads.
Page Experience will be made up of several existing Google search ranking factors, including the ones we’ve mentioned, as well as a safe browsing penalty, which will also refine metrics around speed and usability. These refinements are under what Google calls Core Web Vitals.
Google themselves say: “We believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit.”
What does the Page Experience update mean?
It means that for website owners, hosting platforms, digital agencies, and beyond, understanding what these changes mean and making the necessary updates is imperative.
Just a few of the top priorities is to make sure sites are optimised correctly for mobiles, improve page speeds, CTAs (Calls To Action), and Alt Text for images (used within HTML code to describe the function of images on a page).
This update also means it will take the expected user experience into consideration when ranking a website in search results. Not only this, Google is expected to test a “visual indicator that will highlight pages in search results that have a great page experience”.
How can you prepare for the Page Experience update?
You can start preparing for user experience to become a ranking factor now. The Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console is an excellent place to start getting a sense of how your site is performing in these areas.
How much of an impact this will really have on rankings isn’t clear yet. Many SEO experts expect it will be relatively minor since many of the Page Experience signals already factor into Google’s search algorithms. However, the visual indicator Google announced today will give SEO experts a bigger voice to advocate for their companies to pay more attention to Core Web Vitals and other experience signals.
As Google points out in its blog: “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.” Google is pretty clear about the increased importance they’re going to give to page experience. After all, a great page experience lets people get more done and increases engagement.
It seems evident that those pages which fall below the new benchmarks are going to be left behind in the rankings which will, in turn, mean a significant drop in traffic.
Google already considers hundreds of aspects to determine rankings. The inclusion of Page Experience lets them guide people, so they can access information more easily and enjoyably.
So, what can you do now?
There are a couple of immediate things that can be done to make sure your site is ready for the update. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- – Optimise your site for mobile search
- – Improve your site’s page speeds
- – Make sure you have separate CTAs (Calls To Action)
- – Use Alt Text for images
- – Focus on the content
- Not sure where to start? We’re techy experts for a reason. If you need help with your website or want to make sure it’s ready for this Google update, get in touch with us today!