Google recently announced that it is delaying the release of its Page experience update. This algorithm focused ranking update was initially slated to release in May 2021. However, recent news states otherwise. Google announced via a blog post update that the google page experience update will start rolling out in mid-June but won’t be completely in effect in the search rankings until the end of August.

What is the Google algorithm?

When a person searches for something on Google, the search engine enlists a list of multiple search results. These results are ranked considering various factors within a set of lists classified by pages. The way in which Google ranks websites is known as “algorithm”. It is frequently updated by google to offer the best search results to end-users.

However, 75% of search engine users tend to access search results that are directly accessible from the first page. Hence, it becomes crucial for businesses to keep track that they follow best practices to keep their high ranks among search results.

What is a page experience algorithm update?

Page experience is one of the criteria used by Google to rank websites. This criterion primarily assesses the user experience of a webpage. Simply, if a website provides great user experience in terms of loading, functionality, content, structure, navigation, etc.; then the Google will rank it highly amongst thousands of search results.

The page experience update will allow the search engine to rank the listings based on google’s core web vitals. Starting mid-June, they become one of the most influential elements in search ranking. These vitals are briefly explained as below:

  • First Input Delay: First input delay, also known as FID assesses the amount of time taken by a webpage to become responsive to user’s actions.  Such a criterion helps analyze the duration of click and search for a certain website. Google says that it's best suited if the FID of a website is lesser than 100 milliseconds.
  • Largest Contentful Paint: LCP, also described as Largest Contentful Paint is a unique element that is related to assessing performance factors. It is responsible for finding the speed of visual elements that appear on the screen after a link is clicked. A faster loading performance leads to a better user experience. An LCP that occurs under 2.5 seconds when a page begins to load is known to offer a better, cumulative user experience.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift, as the name suggests; deals with the visual aspects of a website. It is mainly responsible for assessing the stability of visual components spread across a site. A website that offers a poor URL experience to its viewers is automatically flagged by CLS for lower search rankings.

These three vitals are coupled into a single unit known as “Core Web Vitals” and are easily trackable through the google search console along with a statistical view of different evaluating factors.

What are other evaluating factors?

  • HTTPS Certified: In order for a page to offer a better experience, it must be security-friendly. HTTPS is a security protocol standard that, when assigned to a page offers a remarkable page experience.
  • Mobile Friendly: A website must always be mobile-friendly to meet the needs of most users. An error-free mobile website has designated the status of good quality.
  • Security Issues: lack of basic security norms may affect a website’s ranking. It may also possibly disqualify the website from top listings.
  • Advertisement Experiences: To offer a meaningful user experience to the customers, a website should always integrate advertisements in such a way that does not distract a user from his purpose.

All these factors come together and develop a comprehensive report after the analysis of all the links on a website. These reports are generally utilized to improvise site rankings and website experiences for the audience.

However, since people visit websites to get the right information, google says that it will still prioritize rankings with the best data; even when some other factors are below average. Google announced this update sometime in 2020 and informed that it won’t be going live until next year.

Why was the update pushed back to mid-June?

While it was initially announced that the page experience update would go live in May 2021, it was delayed. Along with this update, Google was also planning to roll out non-AMP web content for stories and switch to new Google news content policies. This delay was made in favor of preparing the web publishers for upcoming changes. A month of delay will allow website maintainers to conduct a comprehensive audit by making use of reports and fix the overwhelming issues through the medium of utilities like lighthouse and page speed insights.

Google delivers updates to its search engine in the form of signals. These signals would not be activated all at once and the system will slowly and gradually start working until the end of August. This step was taken by google for testing their experience update in real-time scenarios and give themselves an opportunity to inspect and fix any kind of bugs. It also gives an opportunity to webmasters to make definitive web refinements and check the efficiency of the new algorithm as its weight is increased over time.