After a full year of getting to grips with Core Web Vitals, battling ever-changing metrics and optimizing and re-optimizing pages that are in the green one day and red the next, it’s finally happening: Google’s long-awaited Page Experience Update has arrived. This comes just as the first half of the latest algorithm update, the June 2020 Core Update, completed its rollout. The update combines existing user experience ranking signals – HTTPS, Safe Browsing, no intrusive interstitials and mobile-friendly – with Core Web Vitals to create a brand-new ranking factor.
When Google said Page Experience would be launched in mid-June, it meant it. Last Tuesday, 15 June, the announcement landed that Page Experience’s gradual release was in motion. As part of the update, Top Stories began using the page experience ranking signal on Thursday, but other changes won’t happen so quickly.
Because the rollout is happening over several weeks, Google has said we shouldn’t expect any drastic changes. The page experience ranking factor will only fully be a part of Google’s algorithm at the end of August. So, we have a while to go before we can definitively know whether this update is indeed the “tiebreaker” Google said it would be or if it’s something more alarming.
On the plus side, Google’s rollout announcement hasn’t introduced any previously unknown information, so there’s been no need for any last-minute scrambling. But even so, this rollout is a slow, sinister burn, and all we can do over the next few weeks is keep a close eye on our rankings.
If you’re feeling a sense of panic, remember a few things:
- The majority of page experience signals already factor into search algorithms: They’re nothing new, we know they exist and we should have been optimizing for them long before now.
- The change shouldn’t be earth-shattering: While it’s normal for SEOs to stress out about any new algorithm change, this update should not cause major headaches. Google itself has said as much, going so far as calling it a “tiebreaker” between two similarly ranked pages. And bear in mind that any changes you’re seeing already are likely a result of the June 2021 Core Update, not Page Experience.
- It’s not too late to start optimizing your site: You might feel like you’re behind, but you’re not. A few weeks ago, Google’s Martin Splitt said optimizing for Page Experience can be a long-term goal that could still get you the results you want months down the line.
If you haven’t begun optimizing your site for Core Web Vitals, now is the perfect time to start. Let your optimization be slow and steady, just like the Page Experience rollout itself. There are several resources available, and a reliable Google Page Experience Guide could help you be one of the lucky websites that benefits from a boost on search engine results pages (SERPs). After all, whether the update is minor or major, we should all grab any opportunity to perform better on SERPs and get more organic traffic.
More SEO News You Can Use
Here’s What Google Is Saying About Changes to Its Top Stories Carousel: As we already mentioned, there’s one aspect of the Page Experience update that will be felt instantly. Top Stories has already begun using the page experience ranking signal. As of Thursday, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is no longer a requirement for eligibility in the Top Stories carousel. With previously ineligible content now able to be included in this section, competition is about to get a lot fiercer. Google has shared some Top Stories tips for SEOs in its “Getting Started With Page Experience” video series. To stay competitive and snatch one of those Top Stories spots, Google recommends publishing relevant content, optimizing for Core Web Vitals and following Google’s guidelines. For more helpful insights, it’s definitely worth it to check out the full video.
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John Mueller Explains Why Google Search Console Shows Crawl Errors When a Page Loads: There are instances where GSC shows crawl errors on a page that loads fine in the browser. During the latest Search Central office-hours hangout, a viewer asked Mueller why this issue would occur. The viewer said pages that seemed in good shape otherwise were refusing to validate. Mueller explained that when Googlebot checks the page and finds a server error, there is definitely one present – it’s not a bug on Google’s side. If you’re experiencing the same issues, the fault probably lies with your hosting server. Search Engine Journal’s (SEJ) Roger Montti provides some additional advice in a blog, so be sure to give it a read if you’re experiencing unexplained GSC errors.
Mueller Addresses Google’s Perspective on Link Building: Mueller has spoken (again) – and this time, the topic is link building, an old favorite among SEOs. During the same office-hours hangout, a viewer asked for Mueller’s opinion on link building best practices. As any site owner knows, this is simultaneously one of the most difficult and most important aspects of optimization, so we’ll take any bit of advice we can get. The viewer’s main concern was that Google seems to reward websites engaging in black-hat practices to earn backlinks. Predictably, Mueller warned against paying for links, saying that if Google catches wind of any nefarious activity, it will result in a manual penalty, an algorithmic penalty or all questionable links being ignored. Mueller said sticking to Google-approved link building tactics is the best and safest bet for SEO. But whether we’ll listen is another story.
Avoid an SEO Disaster During a Website Redesign With These Actionable Tips: In a mega-viral SEJ post, SEO expert Corey Morris provides a thorough checklist for one of the most terrifying SEO undertakings: website redesign. Any website will need a refresh every once in a while, but doing this without compromising your SEO along the way can seem like an impossible feat – so impossible that many site owners would rather avoid it altogether. But armed with the helpful tips in this article, from pre- to post-launch of your shiny new site, you won’t have to! Morris takes us through each stage of the website refresh, relaunch or migration process, reminding us about the things to keep in mind and the steps we need to take to ensure years of SEO progress isn’t lost. Quick! File this article away for when you need a helping hand at a later date.
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