How the new Google Page Experience update could hurt your rankings.

The new Google Page Experience update is right around the corner, and it brings with it some important ranking factor changes that you need to be aware of.

These changes to how Google ranks pages mean more time and emphasis will need to be placed on your pages content and mobile optimisation than ever before. We don’t know how significant these changes will influence Google rankings going forward, but we recommend you take measures now to protect your SERP (search engine ranking positions). #industrytalk

But what are the changes? The web vitals that Google needs you to be caring about in the new update are:

That all makes complete sense doesn’t it? (don’t worry, we didn’t quite understand at first as well). Here is the simplified version for us non-techies.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This how long it takes the largest element on your page to fully load, this in most cases would be a large full screen banner image or video. This update means optimising images and videos is more important then ever, large file images are going to slow down the LCP which in turn could affect your rankings.
  • First Input Delay (FID): This is how long it takes your website to respond to the first interaction, like a button click. If you website is built on an older theme that loads a lot of junk in the background while your user is on your page, then this is going to affect the FID. You will need a fast website that loads the page so it can respond to button clicks quickly.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This is how much your website moves around; this is common in sliders where 1 image is smaller than the others so the slider area on your websites shrinks and everything moves up. It also happens on testimonial carousels in the same sense, 1 is smaller than the others so the area shrinks and the page moves. Google doesn’t want this annoying page shift to happen.

Over the last few years Google has been pushing content is king (it still is) and trying to make the users experience on your website the more important ranking factor. You want better rankings, make the experience better for users.

This update further pushes this even more.

The Google Page Experience update brings with it a range of web vitals that need to be followed to allow you to rank well, not only this, but Google has also stated that by next year, they will introduce a visual indicator to designate those search results that meet all their page experience specifications. This means if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you could have a red mobile icon next to your business in Google, this could massively influence a user’s decision to click your website over a competitor.

Here is a quick list of things to talk to your website developer about:

  1. Optimise any large banner image to be as small as possible (file size)
  2. Optimise video banners, these will slow down the LCP and your FID, two factors in the web vital update so our recommendation for SEO purposes, although these banners look amazing, they might do more harm than good not properly optimised.
  3. Look at anything that might be moving the screen around, sliders, testimonial carousels, filters that hide elements. Anything in your page that might cause the height of the page to shift can affect your rankings.

An important thing to remember is that we don’t know how much these changes will affect rankings, if you don’t optimise your header image to speed up the page load we don’t know if this might kick you out of the first page of Google, move you down a few spots, or nothing. We don’t know until it happens, but it is best to be prepared.

If you have any concerns for your website, send us a message, we love to help.

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