Google’s Page Experience update will launch in May 2021, and this critical search engine optimization algorithm change may have a dramatic impact on your website’s online rankings in search results.
Page experience refers to how users perceive their online interactions with the pages in your website. Google is implementing a series of new benchmarks to quantify, measure and reward exceptional user experiences. These new Core Web Vitals include loading time, interactivity and visual stability, and they will directly impact your website’s ranking determinations. Since Google has adopted a mobile-first indexing approach, these metrics will be based entirely on the mobile friendliness of your dental website. This is why it’s so important that your website design is mobile optimized. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for the changes so that your practice website stays visible and outperforms the competition.
Why Google’s update matters
Current SEO strategy focuses on readability, but now, SEO strategists must also include functionality, which means Google is rewarding dental websites that act more human. In a nutshell, if your page experience (for instance, your website’s relatability and interactive ability) rates high, Google will direct more patients to your website by placing your site at the top of search results, and could lead to enhanced visibility, increased organic traffic and, ultimately, increased bookings and production. A bad mobile user experience, on the other hand, will produce the opposite effect, and may lead to a decrease in rankings, exposure, traffic and bookings. To put things in perspective, past algorithm updates, such as Panda, impacted more than 12% of all online search queries, so this critical SEO update is something you cannot afford to ignore.
How to achieve a great mobile page experience
There are many factors that affect a user’s experience on your website. For instance, nothing delights a site visitor more than quick load times and an easily navigable content structure that intuitively guides them to the information they seek. Further, nothing is more frustrating than layout elements that unexpectedly shift and change shape while they are attempting to interact with your site. These baseline fundamentals are encapsulated by Google’s Core Web Vitals, which include these three factors:
- Page loading times: Website loading performance is measured as the time it takes to render the largest content element on pages within your website. This should not exceed 2.5 seconds, which is the accepted standard for a good user experience. Pages that load quickly not only generate higher user satisfaction, but also give patients more time to consume your content and convert. Google’s own research also indicates that conversion rates can drop up to 70% for every extra second of load time.
- Site interactive responsiveness: Website responsiveness is measured as the time the browser takes to respond to a page event, such as clicking a link or tapping a button, and is critical to maintaining high user engagement. A delay of less than 100 ms is considered optimal and is especially important for calls to action, such as when a patient requests an appointment or submits an online registration form.
- Visual Stability: The interactive stability of pages within your website is the degree of shift that occurs in the page layout during the loading phase of each page. This is important so patients don’t accidentally tap a button that shifts unexpectedly under their fingertips. Stabilizing the movement of page content as it loads and preventing the layout from shifting is what Google is looking for when ranking your website.
Put simply, the delivery of an exceptional page experience within your website should enable patients to interact and engage more deeply. Google’s update will serve to reward pages within your website that demonstrate the core fundamentals of rapid load times, page stability and dynamic responsiveness of all interactive elements. These search signals will be measured against the mobile version of your website and added to the growing compendium of key indicators that determine your position in search results. You can use Google Search Console reporting tools to analyze your website’s performance across these metrics and take immediate action to ensure your website does not experience a drop in rankings when the update launches.
Looking for help?
PBHS is the exclusively endorsed provider of dental marketing, website design and SEO services for ADA members. If you’re ready to create a great user experience that ensures your continued online visibility and rankings, contact us today at (800) 840-5383.
About the author
Mr. Levine is president of PBHS, the endorsed marketing services company for ADA members. For more information on PBHS dental website design and marketing, visit PBHS.com.