Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Get your website ready for major Google update, expert urges

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Martin Jarvis

 

Google is planning a significant change to the way it prioritises websites, and those not making the grade could lose out in the rankings, warn Wiltshire web development experts.

The Google Page Experience update, planned for roll-out in May, will see the search engine giant giving precedence to websites offering a great user experience, making it even harder for those giving a poor user experience to rank well.

Martin Jarvis, who heads up DMJ Computer Services – which specialises in creating, hosting and supporting Wordpress websites – says now is the time to make any necessary changes to websites to ensure they meet Google’s Page Experience criteria.

“Google is going to start including page experience as a ranking factor. As usual with Google, and quite reasonably, it won’t say how much of an influence page experience will have on ranking,” said Martin.

“What Google is saying is that various ‘experience’ signals are going to feed into the ranking algorithm.”

These signals will include mobile-friendliness, whether sites are secure and safe to browse (carrying the SSL certificate, displayed as HTTPS in the browser) and whether they have intrusive interstitials.

Interstitials are the pop-ups and slide-ins that can range from being helpful to being a nuisance.

“Some of these factors won’t be new to website owners. For some years, they’ve needed their sites to be mobile-friendly to have a chance of being ranked well,” Martin said.

“However, Google will be clamping down on interstitials. It effectively began imposing mobile interstitial penalties in 2017, but it may get more serious with the 2021 Google Page Experience update.

"Although mostly aimed at intrusive popups and other distracting elements on mobile devices, it’s fair to say some website owners overdo it for their desktop visitors too.”

Martin’s advice is for website owners to prepare for the Page Experience update by ensuring their sites have a properly installed SSL certificate, they are mobile-friendly, they load quickly, have a clear and easy to follow call to action, and don’t carry intrusive interstitials.

“The Page Experience update makes sense, because it will encourage website owners to make changes to ensure their site gives visitors a straightforward and enjoyable experience, allowing them to do what they came to do with the minimum of fuss,” said Martin.

“But content is still king and Google has reiterated this. The fastest, cleanest, most interactive, most secure web page in the world still won’t get traffic if it has nothing to offer visitors.”