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Google 2021 May Update | Infinity Nation

In May 2021, Google announced a significant update to the Google algorithm that would bring a wide variety of metrics known as Core Web Vitals to form a page experience ranking signal.

12th May 2021
Sam Smith SEO Executive 12th May 2021

Planning for the Google Core Web Vitals 'Page Experience' update.

The following blog gives you an in-depth overview of when Core Web Vitals will come into effect, how the Core Web Vitals update is likely to impact your website as well as help and advice as to what you can do to reduce the impact of the Google update. 

Let’s start at the beginning; in May 2020, Google announced a significant update to the Google algorithm that would bring a wide variety of metrics known as Core Web Vitals to form a page experience ranking signal. These page experience signals would be included in their Search ranking. 

The 'page experience' signal combines Core Web Vitals with the following signals:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Safe browsing 
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

 

Contact Us today to see how well your site is prepared for this Google update. If you are already working with us, speak to your Account Manager to see what we are proactively doing. 

What are page experience signals?

Google defines 'page experience' as a set of signals that measures how "users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its information value." 

It includes Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing Search signals: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. We have broken these down further below.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals makes sure that a webpage provides a good user experience. Focusing on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric reports the render/load time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport, relative to when the page first started loading. To provide a good user experience, you want this to happen in less than 2.5 seconds. 

First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures the time from when a user first interacts with a webpage (i.e. when they click a link, tap on a button, or use a custom, JavaScript-powered control) to the time when the browser is able to begin processing event handlers in response to that interaction. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability. CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.

A layout shift occurs whenever a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.

Mobile Friendly

This signal checks to see if the page is mobile-friendly. You can easily and quickly check if your page is mobile-friendly with Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.

Safe Browsing

This signal checks to ensure the page doesn't contain malicious (for example, malware) or deceptive (for example, social engineering) content. 

HTTPS

This signal checks the page is served over HTTPS. Check if your site's connection is secure. If the page isn't served over HTTPS, contact the team to see how we can help to secure your site with HTTPS

No intrusive interstitials

This signal reviews the content on the page to make sure it is easily accessible to the user. Discuss with the team how interstitials can make content less accessible. 

Why are page experience signals being included in Search ranking?

Page experience signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to Google's ongoing work to ensure people get the most valuable and enjoyable experiences from the web.

When do Core Web Vitals come into effect? 

The first-page experience update will gradually be rolling out in mid-June 2021, and will be complete by the end of August 2021. Google is encouraging all web owners to get started evaluating their sites.

Not sure where to start? Contact the Infinity Nation team today to help you understand what this update will be for you. We can help you understand the data or provide complete assistance and strategy.

How will the Core Web Vitals update impact my website?

As with any Google update, it will take a few months for the true impact of this update to be seen and fully understood. Once the rollout has happened, currently to be started mid-June 2021, page experience will join hundreds of other signals that Google considers when generating Search results.

While page experience is essential, Google will still seek to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is unsatisfactory. As we all know, a great page experience doesn't override having great page content. 

The most significant impact will be felt in cases where there are many pages that may be similar in relevance. In these instances, page experience will be much more important for search visibility.

Google has also stated that they plan to release visual indicators alongside some pages in SERPs. These visual indicators will reflect how well a page/site is performing against the Core Web Vitals, and this could change user perception of a site and ultimately impact their choices to visit it. 

How is Infinity Nation reacting/managing this update?

We are already looking at ways to improve any underperforming pages and have factored Core Web Vitals into our strategies for our current clients. If you would like to know more, reach out to your Account Manager.

Using a range of tools, we can proactively review your website status to identify any areas for improvement to make sure that your sites isn't significantly affected by not meeting the various user experience signals.

These tools include:

GSC (Google Search Console) - We can screen your site's present status in the Core Web Vitals Report of the GSC. With this tool, we can discover your pages' presentation categorised as "Great," "Need Improvement," or "Poor." Google has also released a new report in GSC called Page Experience.

Page Speed Insights (PSI) - We can use PSI on the pages that need improvement to analyse and recognise clear issues.

Lighthouse and Chrome DevTools - We use these to quantify your pages' specifications and help know what necessary changes are needed for fixing issues on your site and what steps to take to fix them.

Web Vitals Chrome Extension - We use this extension to screen the core web vitals of your pages in real-time on your devices progressively. It can give us an overview of how different pages across your site are also performing. We can also use it to review your competitors to make sure you have the edge on them.

For any new/prospective clients, we are reviewing these signals as part of our initial audit and will flag any noticeable or immediate issue. Once the onboarding is completed, or we are given access to Google Search Console account - we will and do sign NDAs - we can then run a more thorough investigation.

Although we are proactively working to improve your site Web Vitals and Core Web Vitals represent the best available signals developers have today to measure the quality of experience across the web, but these signals are not perfect, and future improvements or additions should be expected. 

That is why as part of our service, we will monitor your site and report on any steps that need to be taken to safeguard your site in the future.

What can I do to reduce the impact of the Google update?

Check your websites using the tools mentioned above or speak to your web developers or SEO agency to see what they have planned. If you are still unsure, Contact Us to see how well your site is prepared for this Google update. If you are already working with us, speak to your Account Manager to see what we are doing.