Google announced on November 2020 the rollout of page experience update on May 2021. There are at least five signals that Google will utilize in ranking and displaying billions of web pages. These are Core Web Vitals (loading, interactivity, and visual stability), mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, security (HTTPS), and no intrusive interstitials.
Put simply, Google wants to ensure that your website is usable for the users. It means creating a website with experiences that users favor. So more user-friendly websites will definitely rank higher than sites that are not user-friendly.
The question now is: how will the page experience update will impact SEO in 2021? In other words, what an SEO company in the Philippines or elsewhere can do to make their websites update-proof come May 2021? Below are some of the answers.
Improve page speed
Google prioritizes page speed; in fact, it is one of the ranking factors. The search giant favors pages that open in 3 seconds or less in search results. Research has also been consistent that even a one-second delay leads to a 70% decrease in conversion rates.
Google also provides a mobile-friendliness testing tool and offers suggestions on how to improve page load speed. And this is applicable on both website and mobile.
When the browser is loading a page, it starts rendering the top of the page elements. Use this to your advantage by putting the best elements above the fold.
Improve the mobile experience
Aside from speed, the mobile-friendliness of the website cannot be emphasized enough. It is not enough that the website is accessible on mobile devices. Instead, each element—from tappable icons to redirects—must work together to create a seamless mobile experience.
The website must be simple, responsive even on mobile screens. Site structure optimization would also help in ranking higher in mobile search. This is critical nowadays that Google algorithms are using the site’s mobile version in determining the rankability of a website.
So always think of how the users will navigate your website once there. If it confuses you, it will surely confuse them too.
Prioritize proper CTA placement
Call to action (CTA) buttons guide the users in making a decision. So it must be placed strategically. Of course, CTAs should be specific, concise, and direct, avoiding confusion on what the users must do next.
There are no specific formats to follow in creating CTAs, though several factors such as appearance (shape, size, and color), language, and position must be considered. Speaking of color, the psychology of color may guide designing a button that generates the maximum impact. For one, a CTA button must stand out, be correctly shaped, and properly positioned.
Remember that CTA buttons are there to improve interactions at the page level, leading to higher conversion rates. The bottom line is understanding the user journey by customizing the CTAs especially when users enter your website with different frames of mind.
Place security features
Google has long been displaying information on secure and non-secure websites. It also required the websites to use HTTPS, a security protocol more so when the website collects personally identifiable information from its users. Through this, the site is able to protect data integrity and confidentiality.
Some of the best practices are using robust security certificates and server-side 301 redirects. If the website can find an HTTPS certificate that supports strict transport security, the better. This is used for the automatic serving of the HTTPS website if when a user enters http.
The website owner or developer should also ensure that the certificates are not expired and registered to the incorrect website name. The content of the HTTPS website must also be the same as the content of the HTTP site.
Remove intrusive elements
Pop up advertisements may have their advantages. However, Google will start looking into this once the update is rolling out. These ads are an example of interstitials that make the actual content less accessible.
Interstitials that bear legal obligations, including age verification before entering the website and allowing cookie usage, will not be affected by the page experience update. The same goes for login dialogs since these are not publicly indexable. Again, it is covered in the data privacy protection.
Banners are still allowed, though, they should utilize a reasonable amount of screen space. These ads must be easily dismissible, which means they do not overwhelm the actual content. So, you need to be more mindful of the placement and sizing of your banner ads.
The majority of these changes are technical and not understandable to all website owners, requiring your digital marketing agency’s support. Your agency knows how updates like this will impact the online presence as well as your ranking. This is important because, historically, updates often create winners and losers. And you want to make sure that you belong in the first group.