Alright. So, it’s here!
Potentially, the next biggest event that will shake up the world of search.
Google has now revealed that their page experience signals will be rolled out in May 2021.
Now, in the search world, we’ve been expecting this news, mainly because… well, earlier in the year, Google mentioned they would be releasing this change sometime in 2021.
In May (2020), Google released their Core Web Vitals, and announced it would be part of an upcoming update of their search signals.
Now, we have a date for this release. May 2021.
There isn’t a specific release day for it, this may be revealed as we get closer to May.
Going by when they tend to release updates, this release will either be at the start of May (week commencing 3rd for example), or at the end of May (week commencing 24th).
Regardless of the exact release date, we can anticipate ranking fluctuations a month or two (and possibly longer) following the release.
OK, so what exactly are the search signals for page experience?
There are four existing aspects SEOs consider when optimizing a site.
These are Mobile Friendliness, Safe Browsing, HTTPS-security and Non-Intrusive Interstitials.
We now also consider Core Web Vitals. These are made up of 3 important metrics (Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift).
In a previous podcast, I explained what these metrics are, and why they’re important.
It’s the podcast titled ‘Why Does Page Speed Affect Organic Traffic?’
If you want a breakdown of the Core Web Vitals metrics, you can find it in that episode.
The forthcoming Google update will now consider these 5 page experience signals – the four current ones, plus the Core Web Vitals.
Now, what can we expect when this release is rolled out in May 2021?
Well, I think businesses that are already invested in SEO will most likely see little to no change.
Here’s why I say this…
Google, over the years have gotten so much better at communicating upcoming search changes to marketers – especially to SEOs.
For this updated signal release, by the time it’s released, it would be a year since we’ve known about it.
What this means is we’ve had the time and space to communicate the upcoming changes across businesses.
And hopefully, this message would have gone up to the Directors, who would have made the necessary preparations to proactively prevent huge ranking fluctuations when the release is rolled out.
The anticipated fluctuations will of course negatively impact one’s traffic, conversions and revenue.
Businesses that would have heeded SEO advice would have increased their investment in technical SEO in an attempt to avoid being negatively impacted by this forthcoming event.
For businesses that weren’t, or are still not invested in SEO, they may experience… they may be hit quite heavily come May 21.
This should serve as another reminder of why SEO is so important!
It’s not like any other marketing channel. It’s the backbone of your entire website. The lifeblood, even.
As long as you have a website that receives traffic from organic search, you need SEO.
This statement is going to be highlighted in May when this rankings update is rolled out.
Businesses not prepared for it may end up reacting to get their rankings back to parity.
And going by what Google is planning, this update may be compounded by other new releases they’re aiming to roll out in May.
Google has stated – and this is coming from their webmasters blog. They’ve said:
“We plan to test a visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have great page experience.”
This is big!
No exaggeration – this may be the biggest change to SERP CTR since rich results.
You see, up until now, the expected changes have been known within the marketing sphere.
From May 21, the general search user will have more influence on how much attention businesses pay to their page experience.
This will increase – businesses’ attention to page experience, that is!
Here’s what Google has said about this proposed change:
“On results, the snippet or image preview helps to provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide. Visual indicators on the results are another way to do the same… we are working on one that identifies pages that have met all of the page experience criteria.”
In other words, Google are working on a visual indicator that will inform searchers of pages with ‘good’ page experience.
This. Is. Huge!
Imagine Googling something and next to each result is a red, amber and green arrow, which indicates how the page matches up against Google’s page experience criteria.
You won’t even have to know the criteria, you’ll just have an indication on whether or not the page meets it.
Oh, this could shake up the SERPs.
If rolled out in May 2021, and it’s still not confirmed that it will be, by the way. Google has said it’s being tested and will only be rolled out in May if the testing is successful.
If it is rolled out in May, it could lead to not just major fluctuations, but a drastic change in click-thru rates.
Oh, I can’t wait for 2021!
By the looks of it, it’s going to be a very pivotal year in the world of search.
The changes Google are making will bring about changes in the way searchers behave.
They will bring about changes in the way marketers treat their targeted audience.
They will bring about changes in the way websites are optimised.
And this, will bring about great opportunities.
Opportunities that could see you acquiring even more traffic from the organic channel.
The better you’re able to prepare for this forthcoming ranking signals update, the more likely you are to benefit from them.