If you haven’t heard, Google announced a major Page Experience Algorithm update for mid-June that could cause your website some growing pains.
According to Google, “You can think of it as if you’re adding a flavoring to a food you’re preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we’ll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
The article continues, “While this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account.”
What will it impact?
Without going into all the technical details, the update will determine if your website is meeting the secure website signals browsers now use to rank your site, such as:
- HTTPS security: If you haven’t updated your domain to an HTTPS version, now’s the time to do it. If you fail to make this update alone, your site will be marked as insecure, which will drive it down the search rabbit hole.
- Absence of intrusive interstitials: These are popups, including ads, opt-in boxes, chat features, and other items that may cover up your page content on mobile devices. Pages with these items will be penalized.
- Safe browsing status: If your site has had malware or harmful notice in the past, now’s the time to send it to the ER and have it checked out. It mostly happens with third-party app installations on your site.
- Mobile-Friendliness: There must be no mobile usability errors on the site to qualify for Good status. With Google’s Search Console, you get notified if this error comes up on your site. It can happen with WordPress plugins that no longer support mobile efforts effectively or an outdated site design.
- Images, like buttons: Increasing the amount of white space around buttons by 15-20 pixels is recommended. Also, ensuring button images are at least 44×44 pixels on mobile devices is another.
Where can I look to see how my site’s performing?
What do I need to do now?
In the best case, you may only need to optimize some graphics on your site and install a clear cache plugin if you’re using WordPress. If you do not have a WordPress site, this may be more time-intensive.
Additionally, you may need to do one or more of these steps:
- Increase page speed. Pingdom offers a free website speed test. According to Website Builder Expert, “Ideally, you’ll want your website to load within three seconds, or two seconds if it’s an eCommerce site. The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket.”
- SEO: If you have been ignoring search engine optimization for a while, it’s time to put it on the front burner and tackle it in Q2.
- Mobile-First Usability: If you haven’t checked your site’s mobile usability, use the Search Console to tackle this.
- Get the SSL Certificate: This aids in the domain’s HTTPS status. Contact your domain provider to implement this.
- Home-Page Graphics:
- If you have a series of slider images on your home page, you will want to rethink its placement, especially on mobile devices. You might even consider removing it for a more static, reduced-sized graphic.
- Video is great for social media traffic, but is it good for your home page? Save this for pages where the video will have the most impact, such as services, products, or testimonial pages.
- Large background images are also a thing of the past. If you’re using one, consider smaller images, or simply a colored background.
- Advertising: If you’re running ads that lead to your site, consider the ad effectiveness because a bad ad experience will also impact the page experience. For example, if you’re running banner ads or sidebar ads on your site, this could be disruptive for the users, which in turn causes a bad experience.
Search Engine Journal offers seven tips to improve your core website vitals, which will come in handy for you or your website developer when tackling these issues.
Avoid missing the deadline. Take stock and create a low-hanging fruit list you can tackle quickly. Then make time for the complex items for the summer months.