Before we continue, let me just ask you some questions:

  • Has your domain been penalised in the past by Google?
  • Are you or an agency you work with utilising black hat/unethical tactics to boost your visibility?
  • Have you identified several technical issues that are plaguing your site but refuse to spend any time fixing them?

If the above does NOT apply to you, then I am here to tell you why the upcoming page experience update by Google isn’t something you should be losing sleep over.

What is the update and when does it launch?

Late 2020 whilst we were looking at last-minute Christmas dinner ideas during the lockdown, Google announced that they would be rolling out a new ranking algorithm that would enable the search engine to judge web pages based on the usability element. To put this simply; If your web page offers a poor user-experience (measured by the core web vitals metrics (more on this later) then this could result in your web pages seeing a drop in visibility. Google announced that we should expect the update to launch May 2021.

Core web vitals and page experience

The core web vitals are a new set of metrics that allow us to assess how our pages rank on a scale for user experience, with the following taken into consideration the following criteria:

  • Page loading
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability

The below diagram shows how our web pages will be assessed:

Pre-update: What are we seeing?

With the update around the corner, we can see that developers and tools are already using the core web vitals as a way of providing value to us the user by building in these metrics. An example can be seen below when running a web page through GT Metrix.

When running a site speed review for our clients, we always make sure to inspect the page elements highlighted by these metrics, as the metrics above can only give us an indicator as to what may be hindering a page/site’s performance.

Why you should not worry

Like most algorithm updates, our message to all our clients is “do not panic”. Ensuring your organic strategy aligns with best practice typically means user-experience as well as on-site content relevancy, and technical fixes has always been and will remain key to increasing visibility. Similar to previous updates in the past i.e. Page Speed Update (2018) or HTTPs/SSL update (2014), the Core Web Vitals Update (2021) should not change the way SEOs or developers approach designing on-page assets and site architecture.

What can you do?

Regardless of if you are within the infancy stage or mature stage of your organic/digital strategy, you should have been presented with a roadmap that looks at tackling the following:

  • Optimising your content and ensuring you deliver valuable content/information to the user and ensuring there are no duplicates of key pages within your site architecture.
  • Run a crawl of your site, identify any issues or bugs that could hinder performance and make it difficult for the user to navigate the site or complete the user journey.
  • Optimise your web pages for faster loading. It’s a no-brainer that pages that take forever to load often have a higher bounce rate. Ensure you are running audits on your key pages to remove any unnecessary code, and deliver key content in before the full load of the page, as that will help you retain users and potentially lower the risk of bounce rates spiking.

Despite the above not mentioning the core web vitals metrics, we can see that there are certain elements that will go hand-in-hand with the metrics used within the upcoming update. Should you require more information or like to discuss how our SEO team can help grow your sites organic visibility get in touch today.