How to Prepare for Google's New Algorithm Update: Page Experience
Page Experience is coming in Mid-June. Are you planning ahead to stay on top?
Google has kindly given us plenty of notice in regards to this new algorithm update, commonly and tenderly referred to simply as Page Experience. Nonetheless, SEO's around the globe have likely gone through a barrage of negative emotions - and more so as the Day draws nigh. Why? It isn't as though we don't share the same goals; like the Big G, we want searchers to find what they are looking for - we just prefer them to find it on our page! But truthfully, as the ever-changing winds of algorithms send the tiniest of ships out into the great squall, we can chart our course, keep our bows toward the waves and push forward. Really, staying on top is the goal, and any sea-fearing sailor knows that with a well maintained vessel, an experienced crew, and a touch of mojo, it's all going to be just fine.
So, let's be real about Page Experience. It's just the next phase in Google's anticipated trajectory. Google's mission statement says that they want to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. This update is focused on the useful portion of their goal. So, the question we must ask ourselves is, what makes a website Usable.
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Usability really means how much users enjoy your website. Perhaps you have top-notch content - unique information, mind-capturing videos, amazing images, or music that your visitors will stick around to experience. But there are also a number of technical pieces to the pie... Like these:
LOADING. The ole enemy of high res images, iframes, and embedded video... Speed. The more you decorate the house, the harder it is for people to find the bathroom. Feel me? We're really aiming at less than a second load for everything above the line, and up to a few seconds included all content and scripts. According to Google's findings, one full second of delay can decrease conversion rates by 70%. That's a Big Hairy Deal. And just when you think your website is scorching... Check your mobile site as well. They tend to have a much slower load time, and Users hate it. So take it easy on your Java, make sure to optimize photos, and beware your use of fonts. These are all speed killers.
OPTIMIZE MOBILE SITE. Here's a heartbreaker: did you know that Google generally uses the mobile version of your sites content to rank pages from that site. NBD, maybe - but all that effort into your desktop site (where most designers do their fanciest work) doesn't impress the G. The truth is that about 50% of web traffic comes from mobile (devices, not Alabama) and it is wildly important. So, again, go easy on the heavy coding, use browser caching, and reduce redirects. Most of us are building responsive sites these days, but some of us have mobile versions of our sites. Pay attention to these - Google is!
ALT TEXT YOUR IMAGES. I mean, really people. It's 2021. This has been an ish for YEEAARRRRRSSSSSS. Just do it. Add a description of your picture. They can kill your SEO if left undone, or show up on page one, even if your site does not. Label.Your.Dang.Pics. #kthanks
SECRET AGENT YOUR COMPETITION. Maybe you do this on the reg. But especially in the face of an algo update, take a trip to competitor dot com and pay attention. Good, now take a step back. Be honest. Do you enjoy the experience? Are the images crisp? Is the copy murky? Is the layout inviting? Is it cluttered? Do the colors make you vlurp? Does it load quickly? Did you learn something valuable? How can you add some of the good Usable stuff to your site?
Finally, and again: CONTENT. People will come from a landing page or social post. But they'll stay because you've hooked 'em. Mind your Calls To Action. Have several - different visitors will respond differently to different CTAs. Some will join your email list. Some might schedule a call. Some might be ready to buy. Be sure your videos are enticing and your images tell your story.
In the end, Google is doing your visitors a favor - making their life easy. And eventually it'll be better for you. Keep your chin up, make sure your optimizing for people, not bots. But keep up at it - always tweaking, always learning, always getting closer.
That's what Google does. That's what searchers do. That's what we do.
Give your visitors a world-class experience. You'll do just fine.