How UX Will Affect Google Search Rankings

Remember the old days of Google? When you had to type everything exactly right and memorize all kinds of Boolean operators to get a result that was relevant to what you were looking for? (If you don’t know what a Boolean operator is, consider yourself lucky.)

Google has come a long way since then, transitioning from a highly technical means of searching the internet to an intuitive, conversational search engine that you can literally just talk to and it will somehow generate the right answer.

Google has been doing that with constant updates to its algorithm, adding in conversational speech abilities and prioritizing sites that are fast, secure, and mobile-friendly. Most recently, Google has set its sights on user experience. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does Google Mean by Page Experience?

Google has released a detailed developer document about the criteria for page experience, but in simple terms, they’re looking for metrics that will help them determined whether a user will have a productive experience on a given web page. For example:

  • Does the site load well on a mobile device? Is the design adaptive?
  • Does it load quickly on both mobile and desktop?
  • Does it run securely (using the HTTPS protocol)?
  • Are there intrusive ads or popups that interrupt the user?
  • Does the content jump around as the page is loading?

Combined with other existing page rank metrics like intrusive interstitials, safe browsing metrics, and others, Google is able to quantify the user experience in a meaningful way.

Core Web Vitals

Another element of this update is Core Web Vitals, which include real-world metrics that assign scores to various features of your website. These include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): this is a measure of how long it takes for the largest element on the page to load into view. A number under 2.5 seconds is considered good.
  • First Input Delay (FID): a measure of the delay between when a user interacts with the page and when the browser is actually able to process that action. Shoot for a time under 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): a measure of how often (and how much) the elements on the page shift unexpectedly, causing interruptions or accidental button presses. A CLS score should be below 0.1.

What You Can Do to Prepare

You’ve got some time before this update rolls out, but that doesn’t mean you should wait around. A website is the core of everything you do online, and companies with old websites are being left in the dust as the web moves on without them.

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your website to a modern, clean, updated version, now might be the right time to go ahead.

Even if your website is relatively recent, it can’t hurt to run a few tests. Plug your website into the Core Web Vitals report that Google has provided to see where your page could use improvement.

You might be able to make significant changes to your site without creating a whole new site, as long as you know where to look. For example, loading times can have an enormous impact on bounce rates. If page time increases from one second to three, bounce rate goes up by nearly a third. If it goes up to six seconds, bounce rates double. Cutting out a few background processes can dramatically lower loading times and keep visitors around.

Talk to the Experts

For a full assessment of your website’s user experience and what can be done to improve it, talk to Madison Taylor Marketing today. We’ll take a comprehensive look at every aspect of your site, from resource optimization to loading times and page hierarchy, to ensure that you’re not missing out on precious web traffic. If you’re ready to start taking your web development needs seriously, get in touch!

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