Google’s 2021 Page Experience Update

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One of the most important things you can do in digital marketing is ensuring that your website shows up high in Google’s search results. Thanks to the last few algorithm updates, this requires more than having good content and an excellent link profile. Your site also has to load quickly. This is especially true since the 2021 Google Page Experience Update.

An Overview of Google’s Speed Ranking Factor

Google first made page loading speed a ranking factor back in 2010, but for many, this went mostly under the radar until 2018, when the company announced that mobile loading speeds would be ranked as well. By the time 2020 arrived, site owners were discovering that loading speeds not only affected ranking but also their pages’ ability to convert browsers into buyers. Now, in 2021, the same trends are continuing. In fact, some are referring to Google’s latest update as the “page speed algorithm update.”

Despite this, page speed is not the only factor that is considered important to Google. In fact, the company itself is referring to the update as the “page experience update.” Along with speed, it covers a variety of other aspects of how users experience pages on your website.

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What is Google Really Looking For?

Some of the key factors Google considers are referred to by very unclear names in the company’s own parlance. For example, it refers to loading times as “largest contentful paint,” and visual stability as “cumulative layout shift.” Needless to say, this sends webmasters looking for something more understandable. In plain English, Google is looking for a list of factors that make visiting a webpage more enjoyable for users.

Mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, a lack of pop-ups and interstitials (ads that appear between pages), fast loading, interactivity and visual stability are all mentioned by experts as core vitals in the new update.

How Bad User Experience Harms Conversion Ratio

All of these factors are related to the user experience, and this is important for marketers because the user experience is also a strong factor in whether or not people will buy from a particular web page or site. If a user comes to a page, has to wait forever for it to load, is hit by a newsletter pop-up on the way in and then is presented with a page that “jumps all over the place” as it loads up, that person is far more likely to leave than to buy anything.

This is just one example of how a bad user experience results in both a lower ranking and lower conversions. Improving your user experience is therefore beneficial in multiple ways.

Interactivity is Not What You May think

The term “interactivity,” surprisingly enough, has nothing to do with encouraging a user to interact with the site. Instead, it is a speed measure that tracks how long it takes for your site to respond to clicks and taps made by the user. It also corresponds to your site’s ability to convert, because once users hit the “buy” button, they don’t want to have to sit and wonder if your site got the message.

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Which Factor is Most Important?

Of all of these factors, page loading speed likely has the most impact on the 2021 Google algorithm update – and your site’s conversion ratio. According to SearchEngineWatch, when a mobile site takes 10 seconds to load instead of one, bounce rate increases by 123 percent. That’s a lot of lost sales!

Takeaways

  • Many signals are being considered in the 2021 Google algorithm update.
  • Page speed is likely the most important.
  • Other factors, such as visual stability, mobile friendliness and https security also count.

One of the best ways to make sure that your site gets good scores for all of the key “ranking signals” Google looks for is to work with professionals. Contact us here at Ballantine to see how we can help you not only rank in Google but convert your visitors into buyers.