User experience (UX) is a focal point of the May 2021 Google search algorithm rollout. We read through the updates and picked out the ones that are pertinent to you (so you don't have to). Read below for tips on satisfying the five key areas of the May 2021 Google Algorithm: Core Web Vitals, mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitials.
What is User Experience? (UX)
User experience (UX), according to HubSpot, "focuses on the end user’s overall experience, including their perceptions, emotions, and responses to a company’s product, system, or service. UX is defined by criteria including: ease of use, accessibility, and convenience. The concept of UX is most often talked about in terms of tech, such as smartphones, computers, software, and websites." (HubSpot 2021)
Even manufacturers like you need to think about what type of experience you're giving your website visitors. You want them to feel delighted, pleased, and satisfied when they use your website, not the opposite. How frustrating is visiting a supplier's website to place an order, yet you can't find the order portal because of poor website design? That's an unpleasant user experience.
Common UX examples include:
Fast page speeds (nothing is more frustrating than a website that won't load!)
Ease of use (does this webpage help me achieve what I came here to achieve? If yes, it's easy to use)
Images, photos, videos that are relevant and helpful
Relevant and attractive calls-to-action
Helpful, working links (make sure you don't have any 404 redirects!)
Consistent branding (think color scheme, layout, tone of voice)
Optimized for multiple devices and their different viewing experiences (if your website appears the same on desktop, mobile, and iPad, then it's optimized for multiple devices)
While intangible, the above matters to your website visitors - and now it matters to Google, too! There are five major areas to satisfy the May 2021 Google Algorithm: Core Web Vitals, mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, no intrusive interstitials.
#5 Core Web Vitals
The first thing you need to rank with the new May 2021 algorithm is what Google calls Core Web Vitals (CWV). Core Web Vitals to Google are like health vitals to your doctor. They are signals that tell Google how healthy your website is - and Google likes healthy websites!
Image courtesy of Google
Core Web Vitals include:
Loading time (how fast it takes for items on your web page to load so visitors can view them)
Interactivity (clicks, views, and how long a visitor stays on your page)
Visual stability (the elements of your website are consistent from page to page)
According to The Boston Consulting Group/Google, 50 percent of B2B search queries are made on smartphones, and BCG expects that figure to grow to 70 percent by 2020. (BCG, 2017).
In order for your website to be mobile friendly, it needs to have fast load times, be helpful to searchers, have the same content as your desktop, and without serious web issues (broken links, redirect errors, etc.) like Acadia's home page.
Aim for your website to satisfy Google's mobile friendliness requirement if you want to rank higher in search results, regardless of whether or not you think your clients and potential clients are using their phones to interact with your website. Use Google's tool to see how mobile-friendly your site is.
HTTPS-security is yet another layer of security for your visitors and satisfactory part of their user experience. Would you recommend unsafe travel/vacation destinations to others? No! Google's HTTPS-security feature is just like that. They're not going to recommend websites to you on the first page of search results if it's not safe for you to visit. Look for the little lock next to your site in your search bar and "https" to see if your site is already secure.
If you haven't started the HTTPS/secure site process yet, the transition is seamless and won't affect your current search rankings. First, you'll need to purchase a set of data files to encrypt your website referred to as an SSL Certificate. Then, your webmaster will use the files to encrypt your website and make it safe for visitors.
#1 Intrusive interstitial guidelines
I'm sure you had the same thought as I did: what are intrusive interstitial guidelines? After working in sales and marketing for several years, this is the first time I've heard of "interstitial guidelines"! Let's break it down:
Intrusive (anything that blocks visitors from viewing your website content is considered intrusive. If visitors can still see your website content, it satisfies the 2021 May Google Algorithm update)
Interstitial (pop-ups, banners, and offers)
Cookie tracking notifications/agreements and small pop-ups in the corner of your screen that do not block website content are good to go! They satisfy the 2021 May Google Algorithm update because they are not intrusive to visitors.
Google created this algorithm to better serve searchers and funnel helpful content to them. Contact us to help you get started. Your goal should be to provide an unparalleled user experience (UX) for your visitors - not to outsmart Google! Rounding up this blog post, here's what you'll need:
A website that can track and report website KPIs (like HubSpot, WordPress, etc.)
Regular website audits via Google Search Console (we recommend doing so on a monthly basis)