How Will Google’s Page Experience Update Impact my Business?
As a digital marketing agency, this is one of the most frequent questions asked by brands in recent months. In November 2020, Google announced it would now take into account User Experience (UX) when it came to their search engine rankings. The update is scheduled to go live in mid-June 2021 as part of a gradual rollout. It won’t start impacting the rankings until August 2021. It’s a highly unusual move for Google simply because most major search engine updates hit with little to no warning whatsoever. Should businesses be panicking with this significant update on the horizon? No, the truth is user experience has had an indirect effect on page rankings for years. But you should be working to improve your experience and poor user experiences will hurt your site more than ever. People that have a bad experience on your website will leave instantly, which can up your bounce rate, lower total number of pages read and decrease time on site. All of these factors will contribute to a lower page ranking. According to Google: “The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.” The big change is that page experience signals are now a direct ranking factor. Improved user experiences will give underdogs, aka sites with lower domain authorities, the opportunity to rank higher for search results than a site with a higher domain authority but poorer experience. Here at Estes Media, we’ve examined every aspect of this update to tell you what we’re doing to help our clients grow and adapt to the new SEO reality.
1. Prioritize User-Friendly Browsing
Targeting is really the first place you should look when trying to improve on your current Instagram ads. Many people understand targeting to an extent, but something we see a lot of is ad targeting with too narrow of an audience and not reaching enough people. Too many brands will cast a net that is either too wide or too narrow but struggle to find that sweet spot in between the two. Example of what to do: if you are a brand who is selling men’s ties, you don’t want to just be targeting people like bankers and financial advisors right? You want to be targeting their significant others, people who have big life events coming up, people who are in peak wedding season, etc. Figuring out how large to cast your net as well as other factors such as where to cast your net (location based targeting), who to target (different demographics) and how these people act (behavior based targeting) all help you fine tune exactly who you are targeting.
2. Be Aware of The Page Experience Score
Not many people are aware of how many useful tools and reports Google provides completely free of charge. One such tool, Core Web Vitals, will now create a broad, direct signal known as “page experience.” Going forward, this has to be a priority for your site. This is arguably the biggest change brought in by Google. Although metrics like viewing time and bounce rate have always mattered, they have now been combined into an overall page experience score. We recommend using Google’s Developer Tools to help you assess your site and determine where to make changes. Some of the top tools we recommend include:
All these tools will help you to figure out where your weak points are. It might seem like one big hassle, but the fact is, if you want to rank for your chosen key phrases and get more online business getting your SEO right is a requirement.
3. Optimize Your Page For Mobile
The mobile experience has often been considered a secondary priority for organizations. They say that as long as your website is responsive, then you don’t have to do anything else. Not anymore. There are multiple error notifications you might receive when performing Google’s mobile-friendly test. Some errors you could see flagged include:
Text is too small
Content is too wide and cannot be seen without rotating the screen
Incompatible or broken plugins
Not running on HTTPS
It’s well worth trying out every aspect of your site on several mobile devices to ensure there aren’t any problems. You’d be surprised at the number of entrepreneurs that don’t perform these rigorous tests and just assume that all is well.
4. Focus on Quality Content
There were a lot of rumors after the page experience update came into being that user experience would trump everything else. Google made it clear in its original announcement that its rankings will continue to prioritize websites with superior content. Although user experience is about to become a major factor in the rankings, this does not mean that you can ignore creating quality content. Content is king. Customers want their expectations to be met when it comes to content. Are you providing that?
5. Top Stories is More Important
The “Top Stories” box that appears on mobile has always been a highly coveted position. Previously, this was a mere news aggregator that prioritized pages made using the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) formatting platform. This new update has opened up competition from non-AMP pages. It’s great news if your organization wants to compete in this area of the search engine rankings. Many creators loathed using it due to its restrictive framework. The change won’t penalize currently linked AMP pages, but future competition is expected to grow because there are now no restrictions on who can compete for these valuable positions.
6. Make it About the Customer
A/B split testing is a tried and true method that has been around for much longer than social media advertising. Split testing is a great way to make minor changes in real time and fine tune your social media strategies. The question most people ask is “Will what other people are doing work for me and my brand?” This is exactly what A/B testing is for, splitting audiences into two separate groups and testing a small variation in each post. Whenever new updates come out, the less technically inclined often find the jargon confusing. It can be a lot to take in and understand. Refrain from getting bogged down by the technical side of SEO. Google’s ultimate business goal is to deliver the best search results to the right users at the correct time. Focus on this in your SEO, and you’re bound to succeed!
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