Google's New Ranking Factor

It's time to concentrate on your Website UX and Page Experience and not just the content you write. Those who do this now will see the benefits in the search engine results page once Google's new algorithm is rolled out in 2021.

Google's New Ranking Factor

Google announced in May that they are releasing a new ranking factor for web pages and how they rank in search engine results, by now including how users perceive the experience of interaction with your website. 

Don't worry just yet about this update as it won't be released until 2021. What it does now mean is pages that are currently ranking may be affected if the page experience is poor, and if content is key to your overall strategy make sure you are now also incorporating the user's experience on these pages and your overall website. 

Google Page Experience

A more detailed explanation of the Google Page Experience is available on Google and the criteria required, but in general, these metrics will determine how users perceive the experience of a particular web page. 

When optimising your web pages for Google Page Experience keep in mind factors such as:

  • Page load speed

  • Runs HTTPS

  • Mobile friendly

  • No intrusive adverts

  • Content doesn't jump around the page

Core web vitals

The new ranking page experience is made up of several current ranking factors such as mobile friendly update and HTTPS ranking boost. Google have refined this further with metrics around speed and usability. Aspects such as load time, interactivity and stability of your web pages are all part of the new update and Google call this the Core Web Vitals, which can be broken down into three elements:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.

  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

These new factors alongside the current factors are now grouped together to make the Google Page Experience. Whilst Google have said that Page Experience itself is not a ranking factor, each of it's elements carries its own weight and ranking within the algorithm. 


Content Is Still Key

Content is still king for ranking and this doesn't change with this new algorithm. Without great page experience, your content can still rank well in the search engine results page. All the elements are important, however, Google will still rank informative and expert content which matches a user's search highly. What is important is when you are working within a highly competitive market where content is very similar or difficult to differentiate. This is where this new algorithm update will really take affect if you have both your content and page experience polished, you will achieve a much healthier ranking in the search engines for your targeted keywords. 

What Should I do?

You should never write content for the sake of just writing it, you should be researching what your audience wants to read about and write around these topics. If you aren't doing this, start doing so now, and start thinking about who you are targeting with this content.

If you are placing these on social media and driving lots of traffic, be careful, especially if your content isn't unique and is a topic which many of your competitors are writing about, or you competitors site has a better user experience. This is where page experience will be included in ranking your content and if you are driving irrelevant traffic, or your blog simply isn't engaging, your place on the search results page will be taken by a company which have pages that do match these criteria.

Concentrate some of your efforts now on your website UX. Those with good UX will rank higher than those with bad UX. You have until 2021 until this is released but start working on this now so your rankings aren't affected in the future.