Why you need to prioritise User Experience (UX)

Friday, 14 May 2021  |  Posted in: Most Recent, News  |  5min read

In early 2020 Google announced that they will incorporate Core Web Vitals and existing user experience signals to aid how it evaluates the overall on-page experience to introduce it as part of their ranking signals. Their goal is to enhance the overall web browsing experience on both mobile and desktop.

Google was initially set to launch their ‘page experience update’ this May, but site owners can let out a collective sigh of relief as they now have a little bit more time up their sleeves after Google announced the update will now gradually roll out starting mid-June.

Google’s upcoming algorithm update is all about UX

This update is designed to highlight web pages that offer a great user experience (UX) which is a growing focus of Googles. The algorithm will seemingly focus on page-level, meaning if one page has poor experience but another good, Google won’t reduce the ranking of your whole website (and vice versa).

Trickles of the update will start mid-June. Google will commence using page experience as part of its ranking systems; however, it will not play its full role until the end of August.

Good UX holds significant importance and priority to any website. If you aren’t focusing on how the user interacts with your company, services and/or products then it is very likely that you have gaps in your website, as it is not operating to its full potential and hampering your growth.

3 Factors that contribute to good UX include:

Google’s Core Web Vitals via Evaluating page experience for a better web

  1. Content is well structured and organized on the page (this refers to copy, video, images, buttons and so forth).
  2. Page journey is clear and easy to follow, the site has been designed around the needs of users’– users’ do not need to jump through hoops to find what they want nor is their experience hindered by things like 400 error pages.
  3. Content is useful – it serves the users’ needs.

There are over 200 indirect and direct ranking factors Google considers. Such as backlinks, relevancy, content quality, freshness, and search intent. Each has varying levels of importance depending on your type of website.

Important takeaway: The update is impactful; however, it is important to note that this should not diminish your ability and focus to produce high-quality content. Content production remains supreme as stated by Google. E.g. It will prioritise a page that provides users with the best information, even if the page experience is slightly worse than a page with lower-quality content.

Break down of page experience signals

Core Web Vitals (CWV)The results of loading, interactivity, and visual stability on a page. This can be reviewed on tools such as Googles Page Speed Insights.

CWV is broken into 3 components:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): Measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.
Mobile-friendlyIf a page is not mobile-friendly it is difficult for users to view and navigate on their mobile devices. A website should be optimized for all device types.

This can be measured on Googles mobile-friendly test.

Safe-browsingThe page is free of critical security issues that endanger users. Such as malicious or deceptive content.
HTTPSThe page connection is secure.
No intrusive interstitials Content on the page is easily accessible and free of intrusive content (such as popups that occupy the entirety of the space).

 

Google’s new Search Console page experience on mobile via More time, tools, and details on the page experience update

New page experience report in Google Search Console

Google Search Console will now encompass a page experience report (which at this stage will only show results for a URL in Google Search results on mobile devices). This will give page experience a prominent analytical position.

We suspect that other, paid software’s will incorporate page experience data and comparisons in due time.

User experience has indirectly contributed to page rank in the past, now, the new page experience signal will serve as a direct ranking factor. A positive page experience will improve ranking, whilst a negative page experience could cause a page rank to drop.

With anything, the more accessible data is to you, the more likely you are going to respond to it. This new report will give something website owners can act on. This is just as important for you as it is to your competitor, magnifying the need for you to prioritise it.

Actions to take

The user experience should be a consideration at the forefront of your decision making, if it isn’t, then this update serves as an appropriate reminder of its importance.

If there are areas of UX that your website is lacking in, or you have read this article and are unsure if there are components you have implemented, then now is as-good-a-time-as-any to give them attention. Google doesn’t usually give advance notice, so the fact that we were made aware of the update and the delay is an opportunity we should take advantage of to fix any issues.

To improve your ranking, you should always focus on creating the best possible content and optimize your website to ensure you provide a good user experience. The difference is now, the parameters are more specific and the potential impact of not doing so, even greater.

 

 

If you want to review or make changes to improve your websites UX, contact the Digital Embassy UX team.

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