The Next Organic Algorithm Update is Coming: Google Page Experience Update
Over the course of several core algorithm updates, Google has announced and emphasized more sophisticated approaches to assessing and ranking web pages. In recent months, Google has announced that a new update, expected to roll out next year, will focus primarily on users’ perceptions of and interactions with a page.
Read on for an overview of information available so far, as well as proactive steps for improving your site and position on various user experience metrics across SEO , UX, and Web Development.
New Update Details
The Google Page Experience Update is expected to have a significant impact on organic rankings, based on a continued emphasis on how effectively and efficiently users are able to interact with a page to get the desired information. While no definitive rollout date has been confirmed yet, the update is not expected until 2021.
The most impactful change from this update is Google’s continued work on Web Vitals with the purpose of understanding how users perceive and interact with a web page. If Google’s metrics suggest a poor user experience, it could potentially negatively impact current rankings.
What are Google Web Vitals?
These are a set of Google’ user-centric performance metrics that have been developed to help inform human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX). Metrics include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (Loading): the largest piece of content (such as video elements) on a page should render in 2.5 seconds or less to be deemed as “Good” by Google.
- First Input Delay (Interactivity): a page should become interactive (links & menus can be clicked, a text box can be selected, etc.) in 100ms or less to be deemed as “Good.”
- Cumulative Layout Shift (Visual Stability): this is a new metric that assesses the shifting of visual page elements as a page is loading. The measurement is a score developed by Google that suggests the distance and impact of these shifts. Scoring <0.1 is “Good.”
Note: “good,” “needs improvement,” and “poor” thresholds for each Core Web Vital are based on HCI research, UX research, and practical achievability.
Additional Page Experience Metrics:
These metrics work in parallel with the Core Web Vitals to paint a more robust picture of users’ experience and interaction with web pages, ultimately helping Google interpret user perceptions of a page for ranking purposes. The scoring of these metrics are generally pass/fail. Metrics include:
- Mobile-friendliness: a mobile version of a site should exist that displays an easily usable version of various pages that are optimized for a smaller screen, scrolling capabilities, etc.
- Safe-browsing: pages should not present any malicious or deceptive content.
- HTTPS: sites should be served to users over HTTPS to ensure a secure connection.
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines: content should be easily accessible to users and should not be visually obscured by pop-ups or other obstructions that prevent users from viewing the information they are seeking.
Measurement & Preparation
It is too soon to predict or anticipate the magnitude of impact that the Google Page Experience Update will have. However, based on the information outlined above, there are several ways to begin preparing a site for the impact. Reach out to Rise for more information from our SEO experts about getting set up for success.