Google has finally confirmed its much-anticipated Page Experience algorithm update rollout. Their new website evaluation factors may cause fluctuations in ranking and website performance as its crawlers determine if your website is compliant with the new updates.
The Page Experience ranking factors will prioritize websites that provide a quality user experience to visitors. Basically, when someone is searching for a new provider and arrives at your website, how user-friendly is it?
Each page within your website has its own individual URL. Once evaluated, every URL receives its own calculated score and it’s determined if it passes or fails Google’s web vitals assessment.
The following are the five signals the Google Page Experience update will focus on when crawling and ranking websites.
1. Core Web Vitals
These are a new set of three performance metrics that focus on how performance connects to user experience. There are three metrics, as follows:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)- The number of seconds it takes for any page’s main content to load. The ideal LCP load time is 2.5 seconds or faster.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)- The amount of time it takes to load any layout shifts of any visual page content; I.e., anything that is a part of the look and feel of your website; photos, videos, etc.,
- First Input Delay (FID)- This is the amount of time it takes for your practice’s website to become interactive. The ideal load time in this instance would be 100 milliseconds.
Whether your site has issues with a mobile-friendly design, as flagged by the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool or Google Search Console.
When a website is responsive, the layout and/or content responds or adapts based on the size of screen someone is using. A responsive website has one version adapted for each screen size – tablet, desktop, and mobile.
3. Safe Browsing
Whether your site has any malware issues, harmful downloads, deceptive content (e.g., phishing), or other similar issues as flagged by Google Search Console.
Exchanged data is encrypted to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages or steal their information.
4. SSL Certificate/HTTPS
This ranking signal will determine whether your site has an SSL certificate and uses HTTPS. If you do not have one already, we recommend that you consider adding an SSL certificate to your website.
An SSL Certificate provides secure, encrypted communications between your practice’s website and your patient’s internet browser. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, the protocol that provides this encryption. SSL Certificates ensure that sensitive information submitted to your practice’s website is secure, and creates a trusted and secure connection between you and your patients! According to Google, websites that have not upgraded to HTTPS (SSL) are flagged by Google Chrome, which negatively influences rankings and traffic.
5. No Interstitial Webpage/Pop-Ups
No intrusive interstitials on mobile – whether your site displays intrusive popups to mobile users who are clicking through from Google search (AKA the mobile popup penalty, which has been around since 2017).
Any pop-up that makes it harder for users to access information from your practice’s website will ultimately hurt your website’s rankings.
If your website already accounts for these 5 traits this algorithm update is unlikely to seriously impact your rankings. However, if any are missing updates or a redesign will likely be needed in order to maintain or improve search rankings.
Don’t forget that Sesame can help! If you’re unsure about the current status of your website as it pertains to this update or you know changes are needed please feel free to contact us!
—Naomi Newell, Lead SEO Specialist, Sesame Communications