Great Expectations – Google puts the focus on user experience

Posted on:
May 26, 2021

In its regular algorithm update, Google is planning in May in 2021 to include a factor called Page Experience which will include existing Google Search signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and what is known as intrusive interstitial guidelines. It also includes metrics in Google’s Web Vitals to do with a site’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. 

In a nutshell, Google doing this for two main reasons; the first is to increase Google’s emphasis on user experience. If users enjoy a good experience on a webpage, Google aims to rank this page higher; secondly, Google wants to make it simpler for website owners and businesses to understand website performance and improve the user experience. 

To understand the philosophy behind this move, it’s important to understand users’ expectations are changing. We all want to enjoy high-quality content as smoothly as possible wherever we are. But we all know how frustrating it is to quickly search for a news article only for the page to take forever to load and when you finally get there and scroll or click on something the page shifts as an ad banner tries to sell you something.  

The Google Core Web Vitals update is in many ways a response to websites not living up to user expectations. It’s a clear message to website owners that not putting users first may have a negative effect on rankings. This is no bad thing.  

Core Web Vitals are an extension of Google’s page experience signals, which include elements like mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, and HTTPS. They assess how positive or negative the user experience is for a webpage. For example, if a website is considered not mobile-friendly, it is quite likely that mobile users will not have a great user experience. 

Website technologies it might be argued have not kept pace with user expectations resulting in this move. They are not often optimized for the best experience – having to load all elements before displaying in mobile means things can be slow. The plug-in fixes for platforms like WordPress can also add to that slowness. Dynamic content too can disrupt an experience if it is not implemented efficiently. Google is attempting to make its performance metrics more transparent, platforms and CMS systems like WordPress, Squarespace and Wix need to work together with businesses to help make it easier to optimize website performance. 

For site owners and others, understanding these signals and making the necessary changes should be a priority. We have our own diagnostic tools you can use but whatever your reliance on your website for business, understanding these signals and making the necessary changes should be a priority. 

I hope this blog has been useful and you have enjoyed good loading time, some interesting pointers and an uninterrupted read. All of which brings me to my last point which is, ironically, an ad. If after reading this you want to know more of the detail behind these changes and how we might help you optimize your site, then please get in touch