Last week, Google announced that they will start evaluating websites’ user experience and apply it as a ranking factor in a later algorithm update. Let’s break down the details.
What, When, and Why
Google is going to be launching an algorithm update in the near future, and you’re invited. Check out the details of your invitation below:
- The what: User experience is going to become a new ranking factor in an upcoming Google core algorithm update.
- The when: As soon as 2021, Google says the update will rollout, which gives you time now to prepare your website as we are already halfway through 2020.
- Why you should care: This is a unique announcement as Google rarely shares details about upcoming algorithm updates, as well as what factors they use to determine website rankings. This gives you the upper hand now to take action so your website is in the best position possible when this algorithm update rolls out.
What Is User Experience?
For those unaware, user experience, also referred to as UX, encompasses various technical and design aspects a user encounters when interacting with your website. Google has various metrics they use to grade the pages on your website, some of which include:
- Content layout
- Page speed
- Site security
Others include Core Web Vitals, such as largest contentful paint (LCP), first input delay (FID), and cumulative layout shift (CLS):
“Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!)”
Source: Google Webmasters Blog
Understanding Current Search Factors
As we touched on, Google often doesn’t give out direct details on algorithm updates or specific factors that they use to determine rankings in search. However, you should take this time to ensure you are doing all you can to understand the search factors Google uses to decide results.
Start Improving UX Now
Check out this detailed blog post itemizing things you can do to improve your website’s user experience. Here are some high-level things to note:
- Increase usability and organize your pages by evaluating whitespace, ensuring copy remains consistent, and utilizing headers
- Troubleshoot various issues such as page speed, 404s, and mobile usability
- Create ways for users to interact through interlinks, calls to action, and optimized images
Prepare for the 2021 UX Update with These Posts
- 9 Things You Miss While Doing a Website Audit
- What Is Mobile-First Indexing?
- Are Third-Party Codes Slowing Down Your Site?
- Is Your Website Speed Time Hurting Your Inbound Marketing Campaign?
And don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert web development team if you need assistance improving the user experience on your website. We can help you prepare for the update and, as a top-rated digital agency, can also maintain your site.