*Update- Google’s Page Experience Update has been rescheduled for mid-June*
Next month we will see the new algorithm update: the Googe page experience update.. This means that if you haven’t already, then it’s time to start ensuring you and your website are prepared for this update.
Bille Geena has a great post about the Core Web Vitals update and breaks down the technical aspects of it.
The core web vitals fall under these page experience signals:
- LCP – largest contentful paint (load time)
- FID – first input delay (sites reaction to events – such as clicking a ‘submit’ button)
- CLS – cumulative layout shift (a measure of visual stability)
In short, the next ‘page experience update’ is all about how easy it is for users to use your website. It focuses on websites being mobile-friendly, fast and easy to use.
What this means is that if you write a piece of content that Google thinks is equally relevant to someone else’s, your content will rank higher in search IF your page is more user friendly. The new Core Web Vitals are what Google uses to perceive how ‘user-friendly’ your website is.
I’ve been doing a lot of research to figure out what I can do to improve my own rankings over the past few months by reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos. SEMrush has some great videos about it on their YouTube channel that are worth checking out.
I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been doing to help improve my own site speed. Bear in mind I am no SEO expert, I am just a blogger that learns from resources I’ve found online. There are plenty of other things that you can do to improve your website’s page experience but those are a bit technical and will require help or advice for a proper SEO, not some plonker like me.
I guess you could call this a ‘dummy’s guide to the page experience update’.
Even if you are not great at the technical side of blogging or SEO, you should be able to do the following things!
How to improve your Page Experience Update
Improve your page speed.
You can check your page speed on Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. This will give you a list of opportunities for improving your page speed and page load time on both mobile and desktop versions of your website
As you can see, there is work still to do on my mobile page score. My desktop scores 90 in comparison! You can then see the opportunities you have to increase your page speed. I have increased it by about 10 points after doing some of the suggestions already.
Luckily for us, there’s many hints and tips on the suggested fixes including Plugin suggestions.
Ensure your site is mobile friendly.
You can run a Mobile-Friendly Test to see how easy to use your website is on mobile.
Again, you can get hints and tips sent to you on how to improve this score. A PDA is emailed to you that gifts checklists of tasks to work through. Some are pretty simple to sort, others are a bit tecnical.
You have an SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate will ensure data flowing between your website and server is secure. This is to make sure it doesn’t get intercepted by hackers.
Your website should already be served over HTTPS. If it isn’t then it’s time to sort this out. Most hosting companies offer free SSL certificates with hosting. Many will even install them for you. So if you don’t have an SSL certificate, check if it is included in your hosting package.
If not, there is a plugin for that, of course! There’s a few about so have a search for one you want.
If you’re unsure why you need an SSL certificate or are not sure about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, then read this post: HTTP vs HTTPS.
The website should not contain any malware, phishing or deceptive content. Which I’m sure most blogs won’t unless you have been hacked.
You can always check the safe browsing report to make sure everything is above board.
No intrusive interstitials.
This basically means any popups that obstruct the main content or are hard to dismiss. Think of popups that cover the whole page and have a TINY x in the corner that you can barely see. This is because these things are often even harder to dismiss on mobile and ruins the user experience.
Any interstitials that are in place due to lay, such as for cookies, or to check age on an alcohol website are except for this.
So if you have popups on your website, make sure they do not obstruct all the content and you can dismiss them easily.
You can read more detail about this, which shows examples, from here: Google’s 2017 update on helping mobile users find information easily.
Web vitals report.
Google search console tool now has a core web vitals section where you can see what URLs need improving. It’s under the left-hand side of the search console tools under ‘enhancements’.
Alt text in images.
If your page fails to load an image, the user will be left with the alt text only. This is why you need to ensure your images always have alt text which describes the image. Do not use alt text for keyword stuffing. Though keywords and related keywords will help your organic search rankings.
Resize your images.
If you’ve run a site speed test already, you’ll probably see the biggest opportunity you have for increasing your site speed is to ensure your images are the correct size.
It’s a bit time consuming, but before I upload an image to my blog I use pixlr (a free photo editing tool) to:
- change the file name so it includes keywords
- reduce the width of the image to the width of my blog
- check file type is jpg and not png
- change the quality from high to medium to reduce the size
This should allow pages to load quicker! If the quality of your images is important, you may want to keep the image quality higher. I guess it depends on what you think is more important, you don’t want to compromise your image quality too much!
There are plugins you can get to optimise all your images as soon as you upload them. Most come with a cost after a certain amount of images, so I just do it myself.
It’s a massive task to go back through your old content and resize images, so I have just done those pages that already get traffic from Google or those I want to update SEO on.
Remember – content is still king here. Revelvent, quality content will always outrank poor content. Google will just rank websites higher against those with similar content if they are more user friendly.
Are you ready for Google’s new page experience update?