SEO Tips - Google’s new UX rankings
Posted by James Scott on the 24th of August, 2020
Google will be introducing a new UX rankings algorithm in 2021. In the past, the user experience elements of an SEO score relied heavily on page load speed. However, with the new update websites will find their sites user experienced more evenly weighted to include metrics such as;
- Does the page run on HTTPS?
- How quickly does the page load?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Are there intrusive ads?
- Does the content jump around the page during loading?
These metrics all form part of the technical side of page experience. We have a great guide on content formats here to help you with the more creative side. For more on Google’s update, here’s what you need to know.
Google uses an algorithm to score page experience. One of the first things to consider is whether a page has an HTTPS certificate. Security is at the forefront of every online user’s mind and Google will start adding security certifications to user experience scores.
Page load speeds are still very important. Users today expect lightning-quick load times so improving your site speed with optimisations can reduce your bounce rate and improve user experience scores, future-proofing your site for years to come.
Mobile-friendly pages also improve user experience. With a large majority of searches originating from mobile search, optimising your page and content for mobile screens is a must. It’s also worth noting that AMP will not be required to reach the top pages on mobile.
Another consideration is ads. We all hate them but ad revenue is what sustains the internet. The new Google update doesn’t look to stop advertising completely, just reduce intrusive adverts like excessive pop-ups.
Last but not least to the new rankings is the ease with which users can see the information. For example, if an article is presented as standard with a heading and content and then suddenly the content is knocked down the page by an advert or pop up video, it may negatively affect the site’s score.
This prevents using devious tactics to con users into clicking ads or keeping them on-site by jumping through hoops to get to content.
Core Web Vitals
Google’s update will use core web vitals to measure these criteria. But what are core web values? These values are a set of three metrics used to score pages. The values represent three page facets namely;
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) = Loading
- First Input Delay (FID) = Interactivity
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) = Visual Stability
While there is no official release date yet Google have provided users with ample time to optimise their site before the new measures come into effect.
A note on timing: We recognise many site owners are rightfully placing their focus on responding to the effects of COVID-19. The ranking changes described in this post will not happen before next year [2021 at time of writing], and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out. We’re providing the tools now to get you started (and because site owners have consistently requested to know about ranking changes as early as possible), but there is no immediate need to take action.
- Sowmya Subramanian, Director of Engineering for Search Ecosystem (Google)
In closing, Google hopes that these new rankings will result in ‘more delightful user experiences’ and improve the online environment for users and creators.