User Experience to Become a Ranking Factor

  • June 5, 2020
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user experience

Google is always looking for ways to improve itself, and to provide the most relevant results possible on a search engine results page. With this in mind, the search engine giant constantly works to reward high-quality and pertinent content.

When it comes to ranking factors, businesses and SEO specialists must always strive to understand what exactly Google is looking for in order to have your business perform better within its listings.

A significant update for Google’s ranking factor is now user experience.

What Does This Mean?

This new algorithm is designed to rank those websites which Google believes will provide a positive experience for internet users and visitors higher. Any which Google deems to have low-quality pages and which will, therefore, provide a bad experience, it will rank lower.

It’s important to remember that this could affect the pages of your business site which rank highly at the moment, as Google may consider those same pages in a different light when the update comes into effect.

What is User Experience?

This is how a website visitor will respond to your website as a whole. It should take into account areas such as:

  • How quickly pages loads
  • Whether there are any loading errors
  • If content has been placed professionally
  • Whether ads take too much precedence
  • Whether the page loads properly on a mobile device

All of the above are basic professional attributes of a good website, and should be strived for regardless of the update. However, before now, it may have been that these occurrences would not have affected your ranking.

You want your user to have a positive experience, and this doesn’t just mean with the content or information you provide. You don’t want your website visitor to be disgruntled about slow loading times or a website that won’t work on their mobile. Not only will this affect your rankings, but it’ll risk losing customers, too.

Google will use Core Web Vitals — or metrics — to understand how users are interacting with pages in this way and how it is affecting them.

Understanding Google’s Core Web Vitals

With this update, Google will be measuring metrics and analysing data in order to better understand site performance. This will include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This measures the loading performance of your site. LCP should be within 2.5 seconds of the first-page load to be considered a positive user experience.
  • First Input Delay (FID). This measures how interactive your page is. FID should be less than 100 milliseconds to be considered a positive user experience.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This measures visual stability. Pages should have a CLS of less than 0.1 to be considered a positive user experience.

When Will the Update Take Effect?

This new change won’t happen until 2021, but it’s a good idea to begin preparing your business content in advance and always have user experience in mind more significantly going forward.

What You Can Do

It’s always important to optimise your website and SEO on a consistent basis, but even more so when new Google updates are introduced. Be sure to check that your site is loading quickly and effectively on all devices, and be sure that your pages provide the best experience for any visitor.

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