By Troy Anderson
Google soon will roll out an update it has characterized as changing “page experience.”
The update begins in mid-June and will continue through late August. It matters to members because it could affect your visibility in the digital marketplace.
Google regularly updates its search engine algorithms to keep ahead of efforts to manipulate search results. The updates also are intended to enhance organic internet searches.
The pending update, according to Google, is intended to “measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to (their) ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”
In other words, how well members’ websites rank on Google’s search engine results pages will now be impacted by how well your website performs for users.
This summer’s update is in many ways a follow-up to Google’s 2019 update. While the earlier update made it easier to find the best search results, the new update focuses on quality control.
While that might sound similar on the surface, it is quite different. The 2019 update was about understanding the external world of search, such as how things are phrased and how Google sorts searches by user intent and purpose.
The new update focuses on how a website supports the user’s journey beyond simply matching the purpose of a search term. The site should support what the searcher wants to accomplish based on his or her query and provide a quick and pleasant user experience.
To prepare, consider these five questions.
How fast does my site load, especially on mobile devices?
Know how long it takes for your site to load the largest images or text blocks on your pages. If it’s more than four seconds, Google considers that a poor indicator of page load time.
How quickly does my site respond to visitor interactions?
When users click a button or a link, how quickly does your site react? If your website responds in more than 324 milliseconds, Google considers that a poor indicator of page responsiveness.
Does my site use local data?
Local data (also known as localization) is the art of optimizing SEO at a personalized and local level. This means managing how your website appears in maps, business directory panels and the major review networks, on Facebook and Yelp, etc. While this process takes effort, the payoff is worth it to be sure your business is readily available through the search engine.
What kind of content is on my website?
Your business website is your digital storefront. Regardless of your content strategy, be sure to create content that provides the message you would give a customer in-store.
How well do we engage online prospects?
A mistake many businesses make is neglecting to engage users online. They have the same needs as in-person customers. Your business needs to appear everywhere people search. For example, if they are on Facebook, you should have a presence on Facebook. When they ask questions on your site through social media or by Google My Business, it’s important to provide a quick response. Whenever someone tries to contact you on your site (contact forms, email, social media), you should answer them like you would a customer standing in front of you in your store.
What to Expect Next
Google is expected to finish this update by the end of August. There have already been a series of smaller updates launched this year to prepare for the bigger changes. Now is the time to develop your game plan with your marketing team.
Troy Anderson is an SEO strategist for Fastline Marketing Group, which has been a member company since 1995. Learn more at fastlinemarketinggroup.com.