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27 Apr 2021
Digital Marketing

The Google Page Experience Update Explained - Rollout mid-June 2021

On 19 April 2021, Google announced that the Page Experience Update will be postponed until June. There will be a gradual rollout starting mid-June and is expected to fully rollout by the end of August.

Website speed issues and Core Web Vital metrics are high on the priority list for many SEOs and web developers, since Google announced the Core algorithm update set to launch in May 2021. But the latest developments show that this update will focus on much more than just Core Web Vitals. It will focus on the overall user experience and website functionality.

"Google has always prioritised its users' experience. With Core Web Vitals, it aims to take its efforts in enhancing page experience, a step ahead, for its users." Google

So, where does the Core Web Vitals fit into this? It’s a ranking factor, but not the only ranking factor.

In this post, you will deep dive and learn about:

  • What is Google’s Page Experience Update?
  • How to Improve Website Performance and User Experience?
  • Tools needed for improving Page Experience

What is Google’s Page Experience Update?

As mentioned above, this announced update is most commonly referred to as Core Web Vitals. However, since Google started to release more information about the additional ranking factors that will play a strong role in addition to Core Web Vitals, the proper name is the Google Page Experience Update.

5 Ranking Factors of the Page Experience Update

Website functionality and user experience are speculated to play a significant role in this update. Google categorises this as page experience, and the following factors WILL influence your website performance and visibility:

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Intrusive Interstitial Guidelines
  • Safe Browsing
  • HTTPS

Let’s deep dive into all of these five factors and see how they will impact your website once the Page Experience Update Launches.

How to Improve Website Performance and User Experience

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals or CWV are a set of specific factors considered by Google to analyse and rate the overall page experience for a user. From a broader perspective, Core Web Vitals are a small section of many metrics and factors used in sizing up the webpage’s overall UI/UX. Core web vitals comprise of three considerable page speed and interaction metrics, namely:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (loading): LCP for short, measures the loading speeds and performance of a web page. The goal is to have the LCP load within 2.5 seconds or less, as stated by Google.
  • First Input Delay (interactivity): FID, for short, measures load responsiveness – the amount of time it takes for the page to respond to the user’s interaction. One hundred milliseconds or less is a good FID score to aim for on your website.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (stability): CLS, for short, measures visual stability and how often users experience unexpected layout shifts on a page. To provide a good user experience, the CLS score should be less than 0.1.

What Should You Do to Improve Core Web Vitals?

  • Scale images to the correct placement sizing
  • Compress large image files
  • Lazy load static content
  • Apply a content delivery network to the hosting platform
  • Remove any unnecessary render-blocking resources
  • Serve images in next-gen formats
  • Remove any unused javascript

Mobile-Friendliness

With Google shifting to mobile-first indexing and mobile devices generating nearly 50% of global website traffic, a site with poor mobile experience doesn’t stand a chance. Here is what you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly:

  • Check specific URLs to see if they pass the mobile-friendly test or learn about areas for improvement using tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test
  • Ensure your website is responsive and can load well on all big or small mobile devices (tablets included).
  • Separate buttons, text, and other clickable elements to not sit too close together.

No-Intrusive Interstitial

Avoid intrusive ads and interstitials on mobile, this goes hand-in-hand with mobile optimisation. While they may generate sales, they can have the opposite effect on your website’s performance if displayed on mobile devices. With less space than a desktop, these ads and interstitials can become annoying to mobile users and hinder their experience. It can also make it difficult to find the information they want when unexpected pop-ups take over their screen.

Ensuring Safe Browsing

Google wants to create a safe browsing experience for users and also help webmasters flag and resolve security issues threatening their websites from malware, deceptive pages, harmful downloads and uncommon downloads. To check for potential issues and alerts, you can use the Security issues report under Security & Manual Actions in Google Search Console. Work closely with your web agency on resolving any issues that hinder the safety of your site & the visitors.

HTTPS Usage

Following Google’s 2016 announcement most websites already made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS, to add an extra security layer to the website and provide a safe browsing experience to the users. This has since become a common SEO practice.

It’s crucial to understand the impact that site migrations can have on website performance. If not done correctly, a website’s traffic and sales can drop significantly. While it’s common to see a drop in traffic in the first few months of any site migration, it can continue to drop if crucial elements were not accounted for upon the launch. Things like major SEO errors present on the site like broken links, broken backlinks, incorrect redirects, and more.

If you haven’t made that switch yet, now is the time! Feel free to contact team Hanabi!

Tools for improving Page Experience

  • Google Mobile-Friendly Tool – A simple tool for determining a web page's mobile friendliness. Identifies mobile usability issues and provides resources on how they can be fixed.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights – Provides reports on the speed of a website for both mobile and desktop devices, as well as a score for each device and opportunities to optimise.
  • GTMetrix – analyses a website’s page load speed and provides grades on its performance and custom recommendations.
  • Google Search Console (Core Web Vitals Report) – Google Search Console tools and reports enable you to check indexing status, measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and optimise the search visibility of your website.
  • Lighthouse in Chrome DevTools – Open-source, automated tool for measuring the quality of web pages. It audits the performance, accessibility and search engine optimisation of web pages.
  • Chrome User Experience Report – Powered by real user measurement of key user experience metrics, aggregated from users who have opted-in to syncing their browsing history, and have usage statistic reporting enabled.
  • WebPageTest – WebPageTest allows you to run a free website speed test from around the globe using real browsers and connection speeds. Includes optimisation recommendations.

Final Thoughts

As you are evaluating your web pages against these new Page Experience signals, it’s an opportune time to review other vital elements of your website’s SEO, such as on-page optimisation, content depth, internal linking, and more. The best way to do this is through an SEO and content audit.

If you don’t have the time or skills to perform an audit and analyse the data on your own, the Hanabi team is here to help! Feel free to get in touch.

"A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content." Google


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