May 2021: Google’s Page Experience Algorithm

May 2021: Google’s Page Experience Algorithm

It’s official: Google is planning to launch the new Page Experience Algorithm by May 2021. This new algorithm will centralise existing ranking signals, add new signals and we could also end up seeing visual labels or indicators on the SERP to indicate fast and slow websites. 

So what specifically does this new algorithm do? How can you optimise your website for Page Experience? Read this blog to find out!

What is the Page Experience Algorithm?

As the name suggests, the Page Experience Algorithm is a new algorithm by Google which will score a webpage based on its user experience. It incorporates metrics that are currently already incorporated as ranking signals, such as:

  • HTTPS Certificate
  • Mobile responsive
  • Website speed

So from this, many SEO experts in Manchester are already advising that will not result in a major change in a website’s rankings, since most of the things the new algorithm will look for are already used as ranking signals. The major changes that comes with this new algorithm is the fact that we now know what Google is specifically looking for when measuring website speed: Core Web Vitals. In addition to this, Google have already stated that they are looking into using labels on the SERP to identify websites that score poorly (bad) and highly (good) according to Page Experience – which can heavily impact your traffic without having to change your rank.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

The Core Web Vitals are made up of three key metrics which are used to measure the overall speed and experience of a page. These three metrics are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (Speed): How long the biggest element on your page takes to fully load.
  • First Input Delay (Responsiveness): The difference in time a user tries to interact with your page vs how long it actually takes for your page to become interactive.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (Visual Stability): A measurement of unexpected shifts or changes in the overall layout of the page.

According to the official website for Core Web Vitals, this list of metrics can change and be added to overtime as the web continues to evolve – but the principles will always be the same: make sure your website is fast (especially for mobile users) and provides a good user experience.

How to optimise your website for Page Experience

You can quickly find out how to optimise your own website by testing it with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. The most common and necessary steps of optimisation include:

  • Minify CSS & JS files to reduce file size.
  • Aggregate CSS & JS files to reduce HTTP requests.
  • Defer non-critical CSS & JS to load after HTML has rendered.
  • Inline critical CSS to reduce HTTP requests.
  • Utilise lazy-loading on images.
  • Compress images and serve them in next-gen formats such as .WebP.
  • Remove unused/outdated CSS & JS code.
  • Reduce reliance on plugins, or find light-weight alternatives if possible.
  • Preload important assets and files.
  • Use a CDN and caching.