2021 Page Experience Google Update. What You Need to Know

No one can say for sure when the next Google update will take place and what immediate constituents it will contain.

In fact, during the last 20 years of Google updates there were just few mentioned to the public prior to their releases. Why? Google needs to make money and Google Ads still remains the major income source for the multi-billion corporation.

Does Google revenue depend on organic search? Absolutely, yes! If Google starts to deliver bad search experience, people will refrain from using it as a search engine in the first place. But Google heavily relies on the content that it ranks. In other words, it is webmasters who need to stay alert in terms of Google guidelines, best practices, usability, mobile-friendliness and etc.

That is why before huge changes to the core algorithms Google makes its plans public. Page Experience Google Update is the exact case when Google speaks directly to webmasters saying that it is high time to act before it is too late.

So what is this Page Experience Google Update that is scheduled for 2021 all about?

Let's start with the basics: when Google launches a Core update it means the changes to the search environment are felt globally. It doesn't matter if you run a multi-million dollar car dealership in Canada or you are involved in providing duct cleaning services in GTA – all of websites will get affected.

Some will be rewarded for adherence to Google guidelines, for providing better user experience, some will have to lose their brilliant rankings they previously had for a decade simply because they stagnated and stopped developing.

The main thing is to understand that the whole battlefield will change. And seems like Page Experience Google Update will be the most severe update ever in Google history. Why? Simply because it will deal with user-experience that is something much greater than traditional approach to defining search engine optimization.

Page Experience and Core Web Vitals

Google is very straightforward about Page UX:

"The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction. Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don't accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger - how annoying!)."

More here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2020/05/evaluating-page-experience.html

Neil Patel in his article about the upcoming Page Experience Update shares some ideas about how to make your website compliant. Unfortunately, his suggestions include the "surface" of the website and competitor analysis.

But what if you have tons of new content every day and all your competitors do not pass Core Web Vitals assessment? Don't you think that if they don't care about the structure, backend, speed optimization and other technical backend and partially front-end stuff then you don't need to trouble? Quite the opposite: if this update hits them your website won't stay unaffected. What will you say if all your traffic just vanishes overnight just because you or your webmaster overlooked some things that were considered "unessential" from the very beginning?

It is no longer about mobile-friendliness. Fortunately this Mobilegeddon ended back in 2015 and only small dinosaurs are left who still do not have a mobile version of their website or they still hope to survive just with the responsive version.

What matters now and will be absolutely a must in 2021 is the page load speed. No wonder that this parameter occupies the central part in the new age Google requirements. Times when people waited 10 seconds to load the website have fell of the edge of the earth. 1-2, maximum 3 seconds is the okay time to load a page. Otherwise you are losing more than a half of your potential customers, as simple as that.

Core Web Vitals is a set of parameters that are of purely web-development origin:

  • Loading,
  • Interactivity,
  • Visual stability.

In a nutshell Page Experience Update is about "judging web pages based on how users experience and interact with them. It encompasses numerous existing Google search ranking factors, including the safe browsing penalty, the intrusive interstitials penalty, the HTTPS ranking boost, the mobile-friendly update, the Page Speed update and Google's Core Web Vitals."

In other words it means a complex analysis of each specific case from web development, SEO, SEM, CRO and UX point of view. It is no longer about installing WP Rocket plugin and speed up your beloved Wordpress and say "I'm prepared to a page speed load update". It is a huge project to first identify the issues, to determine the scope of work, hiring proper production human resources from the departments mentioned above and get the work done.

In my humble opinion, which might be not shared by others I consider this upcoming update to be a virtue rather than a curse. After all, we do want to search for the information and get relevant and up-to-date results. Besides the overall search intent satisfaction we need the relevant information right away and our search experience must be close to perfection. This is what Google awaits from site owners and those who comply with the new rules of the game will be definitely rewarded when the finals break out. Those who think that already achieved everything and historically been getting lots of traffic without improving content and user-experience on their websites, will most likely be lost in oblivion.

If you want to make sure your website passes the preliminary SEO/UX assessment requirements which will be central part of 2021 Page Experience Update, contact our experienced team today!