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The Google UX Update is almost here, with the launch set for May 2021. Google will often introduce updates to their algorithm to help ensure the best pages are appearing at the top of the search results. Last year Google announced that there will be another such update, this time focusing on User Experience.
Google usually keeps information regarding algorithm updates close to their chest but due to the current climate and challenges businesses are already facing, they decided to give an insight into what they will be looking for as of May. The clue is in the name and the update will focus on whether users have a positive or negative experience when using a website. Those with a user-friendly interface will see favourable results and those without will potentially see a drop in their ranking position.
They have also mentioned a plan to introduce Visual Indicators in the search results to highlight which websites are likely to provide good experiences. This is important as it could heavily impact the number of people choosing to click on and interact with your site.
So, what are some things you can focus on right now to ensure your website is providing a positive experience for visitors?
Page Speed: Fast Page Speed is something that Google values highly and is already a ranking factor. It is proven that users will typically stay on a website longer, convert more often and bounce off your site less if the page speed is good. A slow site will provide a negative experience for the user and more often than not means they will leave, resulting in a high bounce rate and ultimately, Google pushing that site further down the search results.
HTTPS: In 2017 Google told users that they would begin flagging websites without SSL Certificates as ‘Not Secure’ and began doing so in 2018. An SSL Certificate is a technology used to protect any sensitive data submitted to your site. Once an SSL Certificate is added the application protocol (HTTP) will change to HTTPS. Those with HTTPS will often find a Lock symbol appearing next to their domain in the browser, signalling to users that the site is safe to use.
Knowing they can interact with your business safely creates a positive experience for the user and as this is something that Google has previously flagged; we think it is important to update your site as soon as possible. To learn more about this read our blog here.
Mobile-Friendly: Mobile browsing is becoming increasingly important with Mobile accounting for approximately 50% of web traffic Worldwide. With a large portion of users browsing your website on their Mobiles and Tablets, it is important that your site adapts to these platforms. Navigating a website that is not mobile-friendly can result in a bad experience for users. This is because while the site will still function, it will often shrink on the screen forcing them to zoom in and out to navigate pages and read information. As well as this, pages are often slow to load which as we have already explained is never a good thing!
Being mobile-friendly is incredibly important to Google and has been a ranking factor for a long time. Mobile-first Indexing is also in effect meaning Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking.
Site Usability: Look at your website from the perspective of a user and try to create a site that is easy to navigate. Pop-ups, broken links, buttons that do not work, and messy layouts are all things that can lead to a user wanting to leave your site. Try and create something easy to read, explore and buy from.
Content: Google has made it clear that websites with useful, relevant content will be placed above those with little to no information. We have written a blog all about how to create great content which you can find here.
While details are yet to be determined and we cannot provide an exact A-Z of what Google will be looking for after the update in May, we do know that the above are all things that they currently value and attribute to a good user experience. Getting ahead of the curve and having these elements in place before May should put you in a good position. Not only are these updates essential to staying on Google’s good side but they are also going to mean your customers can interact better with your business online.
If you have any questions about how to implement any of our recommendations, or simply want some general advice about your website or marketing please get in touch as we have a dedicated team who will be happy to help!