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Google Algorithm Change to Target User Experience

Google has announced that it’s preparing to add a new algorithm to its arsenal, this time based specifically on people’s experience with web pages.

The good news is that the algorithm won’t take effect until some point in 2021, so you have plenty of time to get ready.

The new algorithm is called the Google Page Experience update. It incorporates several ranking factors Google previously announced, with some new considerations thrown into the mix.

Existing Factors

The existing ranking factors that will make up the Google Page Experience are:

  • The mobile-friendly update, which gives a boost to pages that are viewable on all sizes of devices
  • The https update, which gives a boost to pages that are secured with a special certificate
  • The page speed update, which gives a slight preference to pages depending on how fast they load
  • The safe browsing penalty, which triggers warnings for unsafe sites and dangerous downloads
  • The intrusive interstitial penalty, which negatively impacts pages that have too many annoying pop-up ads

New Factors

The new factors center around page speed and page behaviors and are known by the following jargon:

  • Largest contentful paint, which represents how quickly content loads. It should be less than 2.5 seconds.
  • First input delay, which revolves around interactivity. This should be less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative layout shift, which focuses on visual stability – whether page elements jump around. This measurement should be less than 0.1.

Google has dubbed these three factors the Core Web Vitals. Taken with the existing factors, the Core Web Vitals create a picture of how easily people can interact with your website.

Interestingly, Google says that strong content will continue to be the mainstay of its algorithm. It will rank pages with outstanding content above pages that score better on Google Page Experience measurements. But if two pages have equivalent content, the one with the better page experience will get the nudge and the higher ranking.

Game Plan

So, what does this mean for your site?

First of all, make sure your site is full of great content. Review your website – if you find outdated information or pages that are a little light on facts, revise them now to make sure every page is putting its best foot forward.

Secondly, make sure your website operates on https – your developer or web host will be able to help set this up.

Your developer also can help you make sure your website is speedy enough. Check out our previous blog post on why fast sites are important and what you can do to increase your site speed.

The Google Page Experience update doesn’t have to spell doom for your corporate website. Contact us today for the help you need to succeed.

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