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Written by Finn Ruijter, 22 January 2021

Prepare for the Google page experience update in 2021

This year Google is coming out with a major update regarding “page experience,” or the page experience of website visitors. This causes an improvement in the search engine’s algorithm, changing the organic ranking of websites. In the new update, the expected user experience on a Web page plays a big role in ranking in search results. As a result, this update could affect any website. Fortunately, it is possible for everyone to prepare for the update. In this blog, we’ll tell you exactly what the update entails and how you can get started updating your website right away.

Page experience

The Google page experience update focuses on website user experience. So a bad experience can have a negative effect on your website’s ranking in Google. Page experience consists of many different factors that combine to determine the complete experience. For example, you can think about the mobile-friendliness of a website, the page load time, the amount of pop-ups and ads and having a security certificate. All of these factors determine whether a visitor can navigate a website in a pleasant way.

In the Google update that goes into effect in 2021, all facets of page experience are going to weigh more heavily in ranking search results. These are all factors in a nutshell:

Load time: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Web page load time plays an increasingly important role in page experience. It was previously known that load time and user experience affect each other. The Largest Contentful Paint (LPC) is the point at which the most content on a page has been loaded. From that point, a visitor can use the website. The LPC should ideally be reached within 2.5 seconds of clicking on the page.

Interaction: first input delay (FID)

By First Input Delay (FID), we mean the time between the user’s click on a website and the browser’s response. When a visitor interacts with your website, there should be a response within 100 milliseconds. If this takes too long, it may cause frustration for the visitor and thus rank this page worse.

Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

A page must be displayed stably to be pleasant to read and navigate. The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) deals with the stability of the page when a user interacts with the Web site. Elements should not jump on the page when a visitor clicks a button, for example.

Mobile-friendly

Every website should be easy to use on both desktop and mobile. The mobile website weighs most heavily in this regard, as by far the majority of websites are viewed via mobile. You can make a Web site responsive, which means it scales with the size of the screen. It is also an option to develop a complete mobile version of the website: a mobile first web design.

Security: HTTPS

Make sure your website uses “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” in the URL. This is a security certificate (SSL). This shows both Google and the user that the website has a secure connection.

Fraud: safe browsing

For years, website security has been a major issue. Not only should the technical side of a website be properly secured, but also the content it contains should be “safe. Privacy violations, phishing, deception or other forms of malware is disastrous for your Google ranking.

Banners, pop-ups and ads

A pop-up, banner or advertisement that blocks a (large) portion of the content on a website is seen by Google as not user-friendly. Especially on mobile display, this can be a problem. Therefore, take a more subtle approach.

Customer journey

In addition to the above factors, it is important for page experience to look at the customer journey of your visitors. A customer journey, or customer journey, is a representation of a visitor’s interaction with an organization within inquiry, application and service processes. It clarifies the extent to which a process is successfully established. An important part of this is the user experience. A website that is easy to use has a positive impact on the customer journey.

Few organizations still make full use of customer journeys. More often than not, they stick to improving customer contact through one communication channel, or focus too much on the organization itself. It is important to note here that the combination of relevant, quality content and a user-friendly website still works best for both the customer journey and search engine ranking. Thinking out your SEO strategy is therefore essential.

Prepare: Getting Started with SEO

The importance of search engine optimization (SEO) again comes into focus with this Google update. If you want to continue to rank well in search results, you need to work on the page experience factors. Focus on a good SEO strategy to optimize visitors’ user experience:

  • Publishing quality content is still paramount. All content should add value to your visitors.
  • The website must be technically sound.
  • Keep working on a natural profile of quality backlinks.
  • Check the website’s internal link structure and verify that the navigation makes sense to visitors.
  • Track website statistics and review performance over time through, among other things, visitor numbers and number of conversions.

All in all, we already knew many factors affect Google rankings. Now is the time to expand the SEO strategy and get started. Need help? We are an experienced full-service Internet agency. Our team of specialists will be happy to help you. Schedule a no-obligation call, or get inspired in our knowledge center: