In June 2021, Google is finally launching the Page Experience Update that is aimed at assessing web pages based on how users perceive the experience when interacting with the web page. The search engine giant has been planning an update built around webpage experience since May 2020, and have presented several other algorithm updates based around the concept of a positive page experience for users. To measure the user experience your webpages give, Google is using a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals, in addition to several other current ranking factors.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core web vitals are presented in a report that shows how your webpages perform, based on real world usage data provided from the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report. The CrUX report gathers specialized status metrics from users visiting your URL. There are 3 scores that the Core Web Vitals report gives your site including:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures how your website loads and if the load time is within a Google’s recommended 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): measures a webpage’s ability for a webpage to respond to a user’s input, with an FID time of less than Google’s recommended 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures your site’s visual stability which should maintain less than Google’s recommended 0.1 score.
Other Ranking Factors
There are a variety of other factors that Google uses to determine the quality of a site’s page experience, including several factors that have already been in place. In addition to your website’s LCP, FID and CLS, Google tracks:
- Mobile-Friendliness: because mobile devices are used more to access the internet, Google is requiring websites to be mobile-friendly in order to continue to improve organically.
- Safe Browsing: Google regularly checks to make sure your site doesn’t contain malicious links or deceptive content. You can also check this with the Security Issues report within your website’s Google Search Console.
- HTTPS: When your website is served under HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), it provides secure communication and ensures users that your website is authenticated for optimal privacy and integrity protection.
- Intrusive Interstitials: webpages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poor experience to users and prevent users from easily accessing content.
- Page Speed Insights: Google’s PageSpeed tool shows in real-time how fast your webpages load, which is based on Fast, Average, and Slow speed levels.
What Does this Mean for Your Site?
Much like Google’s other updates, the Page Experience update is meant to give users the best experience when they visit your website. Over the years, website developers have used a variety of “white hat” and “black hat” techniques to attract users to their website. Google’s Page Experience update is another way that Google is helping developers to establish healthy (white hat) practices to rank better on search engines and give users a positive experience when visiting websites.
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To check your website’s Page Experience score, visit your site’s Google Search Console. If your website’s page experience score is struggling and you would like to set up a time to review your options, contact us today!
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On June 2, 2021, Google started rolling out its June 2021 core update, which is expected to continue until mid-June. Google also plans on delivering a second core update in July 2021, but have provided little details on that update.
Aside from Google’s two core updates in June and July, the search engine giant is also expected to roll out a page experience update in mid-June, which will include a new ranking algorithm designed to judge web pages based on how users perceive the experience when interacting with the web page.
Core Update Responses – SEMrush
According to the SEMrush, the top 5 industries that saw extreme volatility at the beginning of the June update rollout are:
- Pets & Animals
To determine who is affected by the updates, SEMrush utilizes their sensor tracking tool, which follows search results with a fixed selection of keywords on a daily basis and measures how much has changed at the end of the day. A “high” or “very high” score means that your website has a higher chance of moving significantly higher or lower in SERP rankings; on the other hand, a low score means your rankings are unusually stable. As of June 10, 2021, categories with a high score (5/10 or higher) are:
- Arts & Entertainment (6.5)
- Beauty & Fitness (5.0)
- Business & Industrial (5.0)
- Games (6.5)
- Internet & Telecom (5.7)
- Jobs & Education (5.2)
- News (8.5)
- Online Communities (5.7)
- Sports (6.8)
- Shopping (5.4)
It’s very likely that these numbers will change as the June update continues to roll out. You can track your industry’s progress with the sensor tracking tool.
Core Update Responses – Searchmetrics
According to the SEO tool Searchmetrics, one of the biggest targets from the June 2021 Core Update was in the travel industry. To be specific, airport websites have had numerous reports of random webpages being added and deleted on airport sites and directories.
Core Update Responses – Sistrix
Some SEO sources have reported significant movement in Google SERPs in the few weeks before the June 2 Google core update rollout. According to Sistrix, saw a lost of significant visibility with the travel, finance, and news industries.
Was Your Site Impacted By The Update?
Don’t see your industry on any of the above hit lists, but are still seeing a drop in your traffic this month? It’s very likely that your site is experiencing some effects from the core updates. Google has provided some tips on how to work around core updates to benefit your site.
Follow the Intertwine Interactive blog for more information on upcoming search engine updates!
In October 2020, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 states filed a landmark lawsuit against Google, arguing that it used revenue to unfairly maintain a dominant position in search and search advertising, and block out competitors. According the DOJ, the U.S. government is finally stepping in to protect access to a free market for customers and Google’s competitors.
Is Google Guilty?
The Department of Justice’s case argues that Google’s anti-competitive practices are harming three groups:
- American consumers who are forced to accept often-controversial privacy practices from Google
- Advertisers who have to pay a fee to Google to reach their customers
- Competing tech companies who can’t succeed amongst Google’s overbearing search shadow
It’s not a secret that Google strives to be the top search engine in the world. Like most companies, one of the top goals is to beat out competitors in your industry. Google search comes preloaded on devices using their Android operating system; and Google pays billions of dollars to competitors Apple, LG, and AT&T every year to be the default browser on their devices.
The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) outlaws companies from every contract, combination or conspiracy to monopolize.
Federal Trade Commission
The DOJ also claims that Google uses exclusive business contracts to limit rival companies’ ability to put their products on Google’s Android devices, which the DOJ argues to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Google’s Response to the Lawsuit
Legal representatives of Google have rebutted the basis the lawsuit and have argued that consumers can easily use other products. Google and other major tech companies have been targeted by the the US government in recent years; President Trump even signed an executive order to bring social media companies to heel.
“Like countless other businesses, we pay to promote our services, just like a cereal brand might pay a supermarket to stock its products at the end of a row or on a shelf at eye level,” stated Google in response to the DOJ complaint.
How This Might Affect Search
If the DOJ’s lawsuit gets traction and Google has to change it’s business strategy, the result could create a different search experience for consumers. If Google has to change its advertising strategies, it might mean an increase in advertising fees for companies.
If a judge rules against Google and they have to split up their company and/or change how the system is operated, it could mean big opportunities to search rivals like Microsoft (Bing), Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. Instead of default searches going to Google on your mobile devices, consumers could see different search options.
This is the first time the DOJ has pushed a lawsuit against a large tech company. In a 1998 DOJ lawsuit against Microsoft, a judge ruled that Microsoft violated parts of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the corporation had to divide the company in half and create two separate entities: one for the operating system and the other for the software.