Impact of Google’s Optimisation for User Experience on Your Website.
By Stacy Ketiku
SEO experts now have a lot more going on for them. With Google’s constant algorithm update, more than ever before, the satisfaction of searchers is now the focus. It is no longer about using keywords to create content that is relevant to their searches. Ranking high on search engines (especially Google) involves more deliberate work. Since their goal is to make the web more delightful, they have decided that optimisation for User Experience is the way forward for website owners who which to enjoy the benefits of being visible on search engines.
Understanding User Experience
If all you did in the past (in terms of on-page SEO) was to saturate your web pages with keywords, then you have a lot of fixing to do. Before we get into understanding how Google’s optimisation for user experience impacts your website, it’s a great idea to understand the concept of User Experience (UX). Don Norman, a cognitive scientist in the 1990s defined user experience as a concept that encompasses all aspects of the end-users’ interaction with a company, their services, and products. This definition remains valid in this era of digital products. Don’t forget that a website or application is also a digital product.
User experience on your website could either be positive or negative depending on how some factors work together. Remember that a great user interface can contribute to the general experience a user has on your platform. But that’s not all. To ensure searchers aren’t only displayed content that is relevant to their searches but also websites with great UX, Google has taken a step to introduce signals that rank high sites with brilliant user experiences in search. Let’s break that down. So apart from great search engine optimisation tactics, search engines will get signals on websites that are optimised for UX.
The Five Major Google Optimisation for User Experience Signal
From your observation, more people are browsing the internet via their mobile devices. This means their experience on this type of device must be enjoyable. We aren’t saying that people no longer use PCs and other tablets, they actually are. Using the mobile-first approach helps you ensure that apart from developing a responsive website, your mobile version stays top-notch. You don’t want to turn off the large traffic that is likely to come to your site from mobile search. Ensure you carry out a mobile-friendly test to determine where you truly are and how you can optimise it for an improvement in your result.
Is your website safe enough for people to land on? More than anything else, people are wary of cybercrimes as well as the invasion of their privacy. You should assure them that browsing your website isn’t the worst thing that will happen to them. You can use the security issues report tool to check the safety of your website, discover hacked content, malware and unwanted software, or social engineering.
This acronym means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and it protects the confidentiality of data exchanged from a person to your website. It is extremely important to have a secure website if any form of transaction or data gathering will be happening on the site. To start enjoying a secure website, an appropriate regulatory body must first assess your website, confirm your ownership, then issue you a security certificate. For expired certificates, contact the certificate authority that initially issued it or speak with your web developer.
4. No Intrusive Interstitial
This is another signal that prompts Google to show a web page with impressive user experience in search results. Let’s simply say that this ranking factor makes content easily accessible on mobile. A perfect example of less accessible content includes those annoying pop-ups you see on some websites. You can get a broader understanding of what intrusive interstitials are and are not here, as well as learn how they affect the optimisation for user experience on your website.
5. Core Web Vitals
These Core Web Vitals is Google’s way of using some signals to mark out website’s with great UX. At the time of creating this article, the 3 main metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals include loading, interactivity, and visual stability. They went ahead to create thresholds for each metric stated above. Let’s look at each carefully:
i. Loading Time
When was the last time you spent over a minute waiting till a web page opens up? You probably ran out of patience and moved on quickly the moment it took a little longer for the site to come up. No one wants a sluggish website. The threshold to ascertain a website’s loading performance is called the ‘Largest Contentful Paint’ (LCP) which ranges from good to bad. A good load time occurs within 2.5 secs of visiting a page, a poor one occurs with 4.0 secs, while any duration in between requires improvement.
If you are interested in your site’s optimisation for user experience then you need to go back to check your loading performance. You can do this by running a speed test on your web page using the PageSpeed Insights tool. Simply paste the website URL there and click on analyse. After running several tests on the site, it comes up with a result for both the mobile and desktop view of the site. The interesting part of this tool is that you get recommendations on how to improve your site’s speed and performance.
First Input Delay (FID) is set up to measure responsiveness and interactivity on your website. It is good to achieve an FID of less than 100 milliseconds (ms), a duration higher than 300ms will be said to need improvement, while above 300ms is a poor interactivity performance.
iii. Visual Stability
To measure this, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a metric which helps you ensure you do not get a score of less than 0.1.
Just before we go, carrying out all the tip for ensuring the optimisation for user experience on your website won’t improve your search engine ranking. Since Google is still particular about presenting searchers with the most relevant search result, having a top-notch user experience is just the extra-topping you might need to appear on the first Search Engine Results Pages. While Google has promised to make an announcement before these updates are fully implemented, now will be a great time to start auditing your website. Find out how well you are performing in terms of SEO as well as UX. Run all the tests you need and apply SEO strategies that work. You won’t want to find yourself overwhelmed in the next few months when the update is finally launched and other SEO experts are just starting to learn about user experience.