Google has an algorithm update coming in the next month and it is going to be a big one. Google is always making updates to their algorithm and most of the updates are are smaller and largely go unnoticed. With other updates, they let people know ahead of time that a big change is coming so that we can can all prepare. This is one of those bigger situations and this update is being called the Page Experience update.
As an agency that provides hotel SEO, we encourage you to better understand what this update means and make any necessary changes to your websites.
Why Page Experience?
First, page experience is simply the experience that a user has when they are on one of your pages. Why is Google looking at this? Google is always trying to evolve and keep up with measures that are important to users. This helps them make sure they are serving the best results to people who are searching on Google. If Google serves up a particular website and then that page experience is poor, the user gets frustrated and it reflects poorly on Google. So it's important that Google is looking at these types of things and trying to make sure the results they are sharing are ones that present a positive experience to users.
How is Page Experience Measured?
There are a number of signals that Google has looked at for a long time that fit under the umbrella of "Page Experience". Here are some of the specific signals they have considered for a while:
- Mobile friendliness: Does your site work across all devices? This is definitely going to dictate or determine a positive page experience.
- HTTPS: Making sure you have an SSL and your site is secure.
- No Intrusive Interstitials: Be careful with popups and other site features that fly in or take over the user's screen.
The new Page Experience items that Google has added are being called Core Web Vitals and there are three main measures or metrics that fall under this. Here is what they are:
All of these have more technical acronyms — LCP, FID and CLS. These acronyms will make more sense to someone in the web developer community.
However, for end users and us marketers, it's really about loading, interactivity and visual stability (noted in parenthesis above). For all of these measures they give some guidance in terms of the speeds that you should be aiming for. Loading is pretty self-explanatory, how quickly does your site load, does it load quickly? Interactivity is essentially, once the site has been loaded, how quickly does the site respond to requests from the user? If a user is clicking a button to pop up more information or maybe using a gallery, how quickly do those images shuffle through? Lastly is visual stability. This one is a bit more tricky but here is an example from Google. This was in the video above but in case you missed it or weren't able to follow along:
If you look at this example, this is someone who is about to place an order and when they try to click "No, Go Back" a "tip" pops up along the top of the page and pushed the "No, Go Back" button down, causing the user to accidentally click "Submit My Order". This is visual stability—don't change things on the page when it is not expected from the user.
There are a couple of tools that you can use to review your site and see how you measure against these newer signals that Google is considering. The first is Google Page Speed. With this utility Google will report back on many speed related issues, including these specific Core Web Vitals metrics. Here is an example:
You can dig into each of these categories and get more details on how to fix those issues. This is a publicly facing tool where anyone can check any site.
The second utility is called Google Search Console and this is something that you can only access after validating yourself as the website owner. Once you've established ownership there is a portal with many different reports summarizing Google's findings of your site. Here is an example of the Core Web Vitals report:
In the Core Web Vitals section, along with most of the other sections, you can click in and get all sorts of more detailed information about mobile and desktop performance. You can get specifics about what pages might be causing issues that you need to get cleaned up.
We're in the process of helping all of our clients look at this and advising them on what steps need to be taken. If this Google update is something you want to try to prepare for in the next month, or if there something we could potentially help you with, please get in touch with us today.