Google is releasing a major update that will significantly impact how it ranks websites. The update’s purpose is to improve the search engine’s overall web-browsing experience, and it will do that by placing more priority on user-friendliness. Speed, safety, ease of navigation – those are all qualities set to have a big influence of page rankings.
Parts of Google’s Page Experience Update will start rolling out in mid-June, but the full set of changes won’t be fully implemented until September. An incremental introduction gives small business owners some wiggle room to make any needed adjustments to their websites. Given everything the update includes, that extra lead time is a big positive.
Broadly speaking, the Page Experience Update is comprised of three Core Web Vitals and supplemental experience signals that have been released over the years (mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, intrusive interstitial guidelines). But a closer look at those elements reveals an opportunity to boost your business’s ROI and keep customers happy.
If you prefer a quick video explanation, view our webinar recording, “How to Show Up in Local Searches,” presented by the well-known YouTube vlogger Greg Gifford, VP of Search Lab. (Skip to 15:13)
Core Web Vitals
Largest Contentful Paint is the “amount of time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL.”
What is the central visual element of your main page, and how large is It? Is it a video, a high pixelated image, or even a slideshow? An eye-catching central element is always the goal; however, you do not want to drive a customer away because your site is taking too long to load.
Google recommends a render time of 2.5 seconds or faster. Realistically, it’s considered acceptable for a page to load within six seconds. Anything longer than 10 seconds, though, means you may need to resize, replace, or eliminate some files.
First Input Delay is the “time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction.”
Google recommends 100mms or faster. So, it should feel instantaneous. Remember, this only measures how quickly the page responds to the request, not how long it takes for the new page to load.
Cumulative Shift Layout “measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.”
It’s a bit of a nuisance when a page shifts around as the user tries to find what they’re looking for. Common causes of this issue are advertisements, images without calculated dimensions, embeddings, font rendering, or animations.
Google recommends a shift score of 0.1 or lower. The less time it takes for a page to completely load, the better.
Tools to help Measure your Website’s Current Performance
Google’s upcoming update doesn’t mean you need to suddenly become a web developer. As a small business owner, you have enough on your plate. What’s important is for you to have a solid understanding of your website’s performance so you can optimize it, even if that means connecting with outside help.
If you developed a DIY website using platforms such as WIX, GoDaddy, or Squarespace, look into the support and resource options they offer. Most major website builders are aware of Google’s update, so they should be capable of helping you prepare for what’s next.
Google’s user-friendly tool will generate straightforward scores on each of the core web vitals.
This tool is a bit more advanced but still straightforward enough to give you in-depth data and calculations. It’ll also generate quick videos of what it looks like to load your website along with the calculated time.
Are you looking to share your website with more customers? Our Marketing Solutions team can connect you with tools that will help your business net more online attention.