New Page Experience Metrics Soon To Be Introduced Into Google’s Search Algorithm

Revamped Search Ranking Algorithm Makes Website User Experience A Priority

Google symbolAt the end of May, Google formally announced that they will be introducing new user experience metrics into their algorithm which evaluates and then ranks website pages in the search results. Measuring user experience is not new for Google when it comes to ranking, indeed factors such as page load time and mobile-friendliness have been around for a few years.

However, Google is upping the ante again and introducing a new set of web page “Core Vitals” to work alongside the existing page performance metrics. This suite of tools will allow them to automatically assess and then rank web pages based on how satisfying they are likely to be for users; in their words checking how “delightful” a website is for users across a range of browsers and devices. The pages which they deem to be best will outrank others in the search results simply because they feel that this offers a better user experience and ability to transact seamlessly.

What does it mean for your website?

Readers of this blog and clients of our services will know that we are very keen on form and function when it comes to website design. This ensures that those features which Google already examines, such as speed and mobile-optimisation, are built into the sites we create from scratch. This gives those websites the best possible start in the search results.

As we’ve discussed previously, most dental website designers don’t treat the technical function of sites with any degree of importance and end up with something where form is the only thing which is prioritised. This leads to websites which might look quite pretty and be full of “bells and whistles” but actually perform really badly. This is typical of the bloated WordPress sites you see which are built from templates. Even worse are the awful sites built on the likes of Squarespace and WIX – so please avoid these. When you check these types of websites using the official Google performance tools, invariably you see how badly they perform; but what you should also realise is that Google is also picking up on these metrics and using them in search ranking assessments.

Moving forwards, we can see that Google is increasing this type of analysis and giving us fair warning that it will be used to guide where websites appear in the search results.

Here are a couple of pages from the Google blog discussing the changes – perhaps given the second reference a miss as it’s not that interesting unless you are into website usability metrics!

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

https://blog.chromium.org/2020/05/introducing-web-vitals-essential-metrics.html

When will this happen?

Google has identified that it is not really appropriate to introduce such significant changes at the height of the current pandemic and so the changes are being held back for a while – potentially 6 months or more. The fact that they’ve identified that businesses currently have enough to contend with suggests that what they have planned might actually be quite a seismic change. When Google announces things like this, it usually means something significant is around the corner and that we should take note!

What you need to do

Google is giving fair warning that something significant is coming down the tubes in terms of website performance and its impact on search ranking. So we should be acting accordingly.

As a minimum you need to start evaluating your website for the existing performance metrics which Google uses, for example load speed and mobile friendliness. Without these basics in place, you could well struggle as Google progressively introduces more sophisticated analyses. You may wish to do this yourself using freely accessible website performance assessment tools; preferably those endorsed by Google.

Alternatively, if you would like a professional assessment completed, including the status of on-site and off-site search optimisation, the team at Dental Media will assist. We will also undertake an assessment of how your existing website is positioned with respect to the upcoming changes discussed above and your current ranking status relative to your competitors. This service is available free-of-charge.

Don’t delay in preparing for the new Google “Core Vitals” search algorithm update. Book your free website health check by calling the Dental Media team on 01332 672548.