Google Page Experience Update

Google have long made clear that brands should optimize their sites and content for people, not for search engines. In a move which takes this a step further, Google has announced an algorithm update that focuses on page experience, which will be a big ranking factor.

SEOs have long questioned how much page experience plays a part in Google’s algorithmic ranking factors, which Google have been historically vague in answering. This update, due to roll out in May 2021, changes that – in a big way.

How do we know it’s going to be big? Google is notorious for updating their ranking algorithm without any notification. This advance notice is demonstration of the expected significance of the update for websites – both good and bad.

Those already savvy may know that the announcement of Page Experience updates was first made in a Google Search Central blog post from May 2020. Recently however, the rollout was confirmed for May 2021.  

So how will this update impact the SEO landscape, and what should you do to make sure your website doesn’t lose Organic visibility?


What’s Changing?

Google will now be using their Core Web Vitals metrics, first introduced in April 2020, as a ranking factor.

These are technically a subset of a more general group of Web Vitals, “ … quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.” Core Web Vitals however are most important, and measure three key usability factors:

·       Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the load time of a page’s largest assets (video, images, text blocks, etc…).

·       First Input Delay (FID): Measures the time it takes for a web page to respond to user interaction (submitting a contact form, interacting with a live chat function, etc…).

·       Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures the amount of element ‘shifting’ that occurs on a page (ever accidentally tap on an ad or link that suddenly appeared on a mobile page? Yeah…).



The impact of this update may also play a part in the performance of paid campaigns driving to your website. The changes made to your site in supporting this algorithm update should also directly feed into Paid Campaign landing pages.

What Should You do Now?

This update is an added layer to some of the technical foundation items brands should have been focusing for the last several years: Security, Mobile Friendliness, and Speed. Core Web Vitals should be a major focus for your SEO strategy in 2021. Ignoring this update could result in your website losing SEO value and your competitors outranking you in organic search.

We recommend getting a pulse check on your website’s Core Web Vitals ASAP. Use the Enhancements report in Google Search Console to find out which desktop and mobile pages are performing well, and which have room for improvement. Working with your SEO and Development teams will be critical in addressing the noted issues.



Contact us to start preparing your website for the Page Experience update.