User Experience to Become a Google Ranking Factor for SEO

Web Design

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, Google announced that a user’s page experience will become a considerable ranking factor in their search algorithm. Another way to think of this is that, once these changes roll out, if you have good UX, you will rank better in search results than those who have poor UX.

I know I’m biased, but it kinda blows my mind that we’re only getting here now. Regardless, here’s what it means for you and what steps to take now.

What Does This Mean for You?

What this means is that, if you’re part of a web team or responsible for your company’s web properties – and you care about SEO (who doesn’t?) – it’s critical to evaluate where your site lands in terms of user experience, and if it’s lacking in some of what Google dubs Core Web Vitals, start putting together a plan to address the issues.

“A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”

Core Web Vitals, to quote Google, “are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!)”. In a nutshell, they entail the following:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint measures perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded
  2. First Input Delay measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.

What Should I Do Now?

It’s important to note that these ranking changes will not happen before next year, according to Google, and they will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out. That said, when you factor in the time to assess fixes, get work approved, do the work, test and launch the updates (be they small, or entire new websites), that time will go very fast. So, get started ASAP.

So, step 1 is to do a quick assessment of your site to see how it is from a high-level performance and user-experience level. To do that, you can install the Web Vitals extension if you’re a Chrome user and run that, and/or use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool (which has now been updated to surface Web Vitals info).

Once you get the data from the audit tools, package it up and share it with your website design & development firm or internal web development team, and discuss the results. You’ll want to understand the issues, create a recommendation list, and understand the priority level and effort required to address those recommendations.

From there, run it like any other project. Get a budget and an estimate, a project plan, and get to work. If you require help, feel free to drop us a line or explore our more comprehensive site audit service.

Related Posts

  • Wondering what your options are for funding your app idea? What about monetizing it? From various funding models to the most common monetization strategies, the Guide to Funding & Monetizing Your App has the answers you're looking for.