Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm and how it ranks websites on their organic search results page. This means that businesses need to keep up with these changes in order to improve their ranking, or continue to rank highly. The new Google algorithm update has recently been announced for 2021, so this is what it means for you and your business.
Google Algorithm overview
We all know that SEO includes multiple factors and working on each of them will see increases in your search engine rankings. This includes the basic techniques such as using keywords (but not keyword stuffing), ensuring your content is relevant to the keywords and titles of the page (so no clickbait-y titles!) and having a quick loading time. These all play a part in making sure that the person using Google and entering in a search term, finds relevant information for that particular search. This could be for local services, information on certain topics or even for shopping purposes.
As the algorithm changes, the focus on these criteria also shifts. For example, in 2016 Google released ‘Panda’, an update to the algorithm that prioritised websites with good quality content. Gone were the days of keyword stuffing, duplicate content or even very little content in order to rank highly on the search results. Another massive update was ‘Penguin’, which sought to reduce the ranking for websites with irrelevant or spam links that served no purpose to the page. This meant that you couldn’t link to random websites, or pay for others to link to you, if the links did not serve a purpose for the web visitor.
Page experience update
The new Google algorithm update pushes the focus towards the page experience for the web visitor. This means that your ranking is now heavily dependent on how well users can navigate and interact with your website.
The emphasis on user experience builds on some pre-existing criteria with a few new additions. The criteria for this algorithm update include:
- Visual stability
- Mobile friendliness
- Safe browsing
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines
In the new page experience update blog posted by Google, they stated that ‘the aim is to provide a holistic picture of page experience’. This means that the more you meet all of the criteria and provide a better experience for your website visitors, the better it is for your rankings.
In essence, Google will push you higher if your overall website experience is positive- a few bad pages amongst a lot of good ones won’t see your ranking fall. However, keeping an eye on user experience is going to be key in moving up the ranks.
Some things to look into when considering these changes are the popups on your website and if they intrude on the page for a negative experience- for example, do your popups push the page down or up while the user is reading your content? Also consider if every function on your website can be used on a mobile device, as mobile traffic now accounts for over half of all web traffic.
Why is user experience important?
User experience is in fact an important part of SEO. This is due to the fact that a good user experience causes the web visitor to stay on the page longer and potentially click around more than if the experience was poor. This then indicates to Google that showing you on the results page for the search query was good. The user sticking around on your page tells Google that your website was an accurate result and a right fit for that person. Therefore, your website could be the right place for other people who search for that particular term or similar searches.
Promoting businesses with good user experience on their website pushes more websites to be improved in this area. This then increases the likelihood of web visitors converting into paying customers (or any other conversion you wish for them to take), and this will then lead to increased business success.
So not only will improving your website for user experience increase your conversion rate, but it will also boost your rankings on Google!
If you are unsure as to how to review the changes needed for your site to continue to rank well on Google, or to take advantage of these changes so you can start to, book a consultation with our team.