Google’s Page Experience Update, Core Web Vitals and Your Next Steps

In mid-June or there-abouts, Google is expected to role out their “Page Experience Update”. The idea is much what it’s always been; to ensure that website owners are providing visitors with the best experience possible once they hit the page. Specifically, it focuses on Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that Google has pulled together to help webmaster figure out how to provide that best experience.

What is the Google Page Experience Update?

The link above gets pretty technical, but if you have a mind that absorbs knowledge quickly, it’s worth the read.

In short, Core Web Vitals are metrics for understanding and delivering a good page experience. At this time, they focus on loading, interactivity, and visual stability. They answer the questions:

  • How fast does it load?
  • How long does it take to be able to interact?
  • How much does it move during the load?

Poor performance means possibly losing out when it’s time to rank for your term. More importantly, it means possibly losing a visitor before you ever really had them.

Google’s Page Experience update focuses on how well your site matches up against the Web Vital metrics. It’s called a “tie-breaker” factor. If two sites are the same, they’ll use Page Experience to figure out which site should rank above the other.

Panic time?

Not at all. Too often, when the big daddy of search engines mentions an update, one of two things happens:

  1. everyone panics, throws what they’re doing out the window, and pushes all their focus into whatever the update targets or
  2. ignores the update completely

Neither option is the correct one.

Taking the Middle Road

The Google Page Experience update is just one more added factor to ranking. It’s not the factor for ranking. Therefore, while it’s worth spending time on and paying attention to, “optimizing for the Page Experience update” isn’t a deal breaker.

Should Core Web Vitals be something that is factored into your marketing budget? Unequivocally yes. Should it be moving to the top of your project list? Probably not.

So, in the face of this June update, what should you be doing?

Here are a few steps to take:

Business as usual

Keep the panic to a low. It’s not necessary. This is just a case of “business at usual”. Google pinpoints an issue and Google updates the algorithms. A calm, level head is always the best response; don’t let someone convince you that you have to drop everything to optimize for the Page Experience update.

Review your marketing budget

What have you spent, and what do you have to spend for the quarter or year? Do you have the ability to stretch out a little more, or do you need to keep it reigned in? Budget is important, because what you have available changes what you’re able to do with your site.

Review your marketing campaigns

What do you have going on right now? Is there room to incorporate some changes to your site, if an audit suggests that you do so? If budgeting and your campaign doesn’t have any flexibility, you need to set a plan to revisit Core Web Vitals 6 – 12 months in the future. Not too long, however; remember that it’s about performance, and performance is always better handled sooner rather than later if you can manage it.

Get a website audit

If you haven’t had a website and content analysis in the past year, it’s time to get a refresh. If you have had a website audit in the past year-to-six months, review and make sure that the Web Vitals were part of it. If they weren’t, have a website optimizer review your site specifically for Web Vitals and add that to your audit report so you have it on hand to refer to.

Finish your current campaign

Audits are complete in a day – especially comprehensive ones. If you only have a few months left, take the time to finish out your current marketing campaign. While you can have several going at one time, the point is to not just drop one to move in another direction. Knee-jerk reactions can be a larger cause for traffic and ranking loss than an update.

Geared Up for Google Page Experience

Once your budget and marketing reach has room for it, look at your website analysis. By all means, look at your website performance if it’s lacking. While it might not push you up to #1 from #30, it can make the difference between #1 and #2. Not only that but, more importantly, when visitors do reach your site, you offer them a pleasant experience – and in our modern “everything in 2 seconds or less” world, that’s a big plus.

However, it’s never bad to prioritize what needs to be done on your site. Start with the big stuff. For example:

  • Are your pages optimized?
  • What about your CTAs?
  • Can people find you online through your social channels?
  • Is your online reputation favorable?

If your site is really slow, or moves around a lot, this is the time to move page experience up to the top.

Conclusion

The point is, never drop everything and address an update just because there’s an update. There’s always going to be updates. Many look at X update and think their site won’t measure up. They panic and start changing things with any evidence that substantiates that thought.

Don’t do that. Do your research. Plan your next steps. Grow deliberately.

Lost in today’s ever-changing marketing rules, updates and issues? Contact Level343 to get you on the right path. We’ve been in marketing for over 20 years, and have the experience to help you grow.

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