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The Google Page Experience Algorithm is set to roll out on May 21st 2021 and is set to make major changes to the traffic visiting your pages. Your traffic will alter, either positively or negatively, depending on the experience your visitors have when viewing your pages.

In their own words what Google say is :

The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.

The purpose of this update is to make sure that sites that rank at the top are creating pages that users love. Visitors will stay on the page longer, interact with it and receive the information they needed when they entered their search terms.

This post will help show you what you can do to prepare for it.

Why is this update so important?

Simply put, this change is the beginning of a big shift in SEO.

Google is now going to rank those sites where visitors have a good experience at the top of the search results.

However, there is a caveat which I think is very important. This concerns the matter of large brands.

When people search for something they are looking for, very often they enter a brand name in order to find the best match for their query. For instance, people may search for Apple phones or Adidas running shoes. Obviously, these brands attract large numbers of users and for this reason, I believe there will hardly any movement in search ranking position for them.

This will also apply to your brand – as your business grows so will your SEO traffic. This has always always been a part of Google’s algorithm and will continue to do so. Google will recognise the efforts you are putting in to build your own personal brand and will reward you for this. After all, in order to grow your business, you have to provide content on your site that your visitor loves in order to attract their business.

 

However, if you are a much smaller business, you are still able to rank highly within the search engines.

But to rise in the listings you now have to show Google that you are providing content that users love. If it is, then Google will reward you.

 

 How do you optimize your user experience?

 

So, how do you optimise your site for user/website experience?

It is important to understand the fact that Google will not assess the entirety of your website but will apply this algorithm on individual pages.

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It doesn’t mean that your whole website shouldn’t have a good user experience, but instead, I bet they are going to focus on their algorithm from a page-level basis.

This is because if 99% of your website offers an excellent experience, then they are not going to penalise your whole website because of a few pages that come under par.

? Ways to optimise your user experience.

 

1. Compare your website’s experience to that of your competitors.

For sites that are ranking above you I suggest you go through their top pages and see what they’re up to. Yes I want you to spy on your competitors because believe it or not they are spying on you as well.

Take a look at what they’re doing and for those bits you think are interesting or/and  have high quality, simply raise your pages to a level that is above theirs.

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Step #1: Optimize your speed and reduce 400 errors

The faster your website loads, the better experience you’ll have.

Go to this page and enter in your URL.

You’ll then see a report that looks like this

You’ll notice two important aspects of that report that impact user experience that I’ve highlighted in the screenshot above.

In the health checkbox, you’ll want to make sure there are no broken pages. Broken pages create bad experiences.

In the site speed box, you’ll see the load time of your site. The faster your site loads the better. Try to get your website load time for both desktop and mobile under 3 seconds.

Ideally you should be in the 1-second range if possible.

STEP2

Step #2: Compare your experience to your competitions’

You may think you have an amazing user experience, but how does it stake up to your competition?

So go here and type in your biggest competitor.

I want you to go into the navigation and click on “Top Pages.”

I want you to go through their top 50 pages. Seriously, their top 50 pages, and look at the user experience of each of those pages.

What is it that they are doing? How does their content quality compare to yours? What are the differences between their website compared to yours?

The Top Pages report shows the most popular pages on your competition’s site from an SEO perspective. The pages at the top are the ones with the most SEO traffic, which means they are doing something right.

I want you to go through their top 50 pages. Seriously, their top 50 pages, and look at the user experience of each of those pages.

What is it that they are doing? How does their content quality compare to yours? What are the differences between their website compared to yours?

For each page that ranks, I also want you to click on “View All” under the “Est. Visits” heading. This will show you all of the keywords each page ranks for.

You’ll notice two important aspects of that report that impact user experience that I’ve highlighted in the screenshot above.

In the health checkbox, you’ll want to make sure there are no broken pages. Broken pages create bad experiences.

In the site speed box, you’ll see the load time of your site. The faster your site loads the better. Try to get your website load time for both desktop and mobile under 3 seconds.

Ideally you should be in the 1-second range if possible

When evaluating your competition’s user experience, keep in mind how they are delighting people who search for any of those keywords. This will give you an idea of what you need to do as well.

But your goal shouldn’t be to match your competition, it should be to beat your competition.

Step #3: Analyze your design

Remember the graphic I showed above of what Google doesn’t want? Where the user tried to click on “No, go back” instead of “Yes, place my order” due to design issues.

In most cases you won’t have that issue, but you will have other usability issues.

The way you find usability issues is through heatmaps. Just like this one:

 

 

Step #4: Install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension

Step #4: Install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension

If you haven’t already, install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension.

Here’s why…

When you do a Google search, you’ll see data on each ranking URL.

 

 

When you are naturally using Google throughout your day and searching for keywords related to your industry, I want you to look at 2 main metrics in Ubersuggest:

  1. Domain score – the higher the number, the more authority a website has.
  2. Links – the more links a website has, usually the higher it will rank.

So, when you are doing searches, look for sites that have a lower domain score and fewer backlinks than the competition, but yet still rank high.

Chances are, they rank high because of things like user experience. Maybe their text is more appealing than the competition, maybe their bounce rate is lower… it could be a wide variety of reasons, but these are the sites you want to look at and analyze.

In the image above, you see that the result from the AMA ranks higher than Hubspot yet they have fewer links and a lower domain score. So, if you were trying to rank for that keyword, you would want to spend more time analyzing AMA because they are doing something right.

 

 

Conclusion

User experience is going to be more and more important over time.

If you love a site and everyone else loves that site, Google will eventually want to make sure that the site ranks high.

On the flip side, if everyone feels a website has a terrible user experience, then Google won’t rank that website as high in the long run.

Just like any algorithm update Google does, expect to see multiple revisions over time. As they learn, they adapt to make their algorithms more effective over time.

But what is unique about this update is you have advanced notice, which is nice. So, take the opportunity and fix any usability issues you may have.

What other ways can you make your website more usable?