Google is constantly updating and improving its platform to bring users the most relevant search results and advertising on the market.  With their latest update, the June 2021 Page Experience Update, search ranking results will be directly affected by new factors considering a user’s “page experience” while visiting a website.  In this article, we’ll go over some of the latest announcements, what to expect, and a final review of our thoughts.  

Eligibility Requirements For Top Stories

Those familiar with Google’s early attempt to modernize the web for mobile will recognize AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages.  In order to show on Google’s Top Stories carousel on their home page, your website would need to have an AMP version.  According to Google, that’s no longer the case.  As of May 2021, your website will be eligible as long it meets the Google News Stories requirements.

Core Web Vitals

Core updates to the Google Search platform happen pretty often, usually every year.  But don’t confuse this with Google’s Core Web Vitals, a metric of statistics used to determine user experience when visiting a website or application.  Core Web Vitals are broken up into three areas.  These areas affect performance and usability for the user and serve as the starting point for improving your website’s usability. 


LCP – Large Contentful Paint

How fast your website loads depends on several factors, but one of the most important ones to consider is large contentful paint.  This includes images, videos, or anything that takes a considerable amount of time to load.  If you’re using a CDN (content delivery system), it can drastically reduce the load time for assets on your webpage.  The best way to optimize for this is to reduce the number of assets your website uses, only use compressed or optimized files, and use a CDN when available to deliver content faster.  Try to get your LCP score below two seconds for best results.  


FID – First Input Delay

First input delay refers to the amount of time it takes before your website is responsive or interactive to the user.  This is usually not a major issue with most websites that are properly optimized, but if your layout is complex or complicated, chances are users are waiting to see results after they click something.  


Input delays happen because the browser’s main thread is processing too much and can’t respond to the event.  Once a user clicks a button or link, the browser has to interpret that event and parse the correct data or execute the correct action.  If it’s busy processing a complex layout or background script, it can’t deliver the interaction in a timely manner.  And this is what looks like latency on the part of the server.  In reality, the browser is overloaded and can’t keep up!  


To correct this, there are a lot of different things you can do.  Making sure your website has a simplistic layout will help reduce the load, as well as reducing background scripts.  Some of the backend solutions are quite technical, so we won’t get too far into it.  Keeping a simple layout with minimal code processing is the nominal approach.  Aiming for an FID score of 100ms will help your website pass the test.  


CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift

When you click a link on a website, does it shift around or move elements around on the page?  This is called layout shift, and it happens when different pages have different CSS styles, frameworks, or coding structures.  That’s why keeping a simple, consistent layout is so important.  Not only does it deliver a smooth experience, but it helps keeps things stable and visually pleasant.  Try to shoot for a CLS score of under 0.1s (seconds) for best results.    


Page Experience For Small Businesses

Although most of us will be hearing a lot about page experience, some businesses may choose not to focus on the page experience.  And that’s okay, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it will affect search results to an extent.  Not to mention, Google has been focusing more and more on usability and user experience.  If you’re serious about marketing your business on Google, following these recommendations will ensure your website’s visibility has a chance in the growing market.  

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