In a recent blog post, Google has announced the postponement of its ‘page experience update’, with a gradual rollout starting from June 2021 onwards, rather than the previous May commencement date. Here we look at what the update is about, why it’s happening and what it all means for law firm website performance in Search, together with practical steps that can be taken to prepare for the changes.
What is Google’s Page Experience Update and what do ‘Core Web Vitals’ have to do with this.
Last year, Google’s extensive research led them to conclude, somewhat unsurprisingly, that users prefer sites that provide a great user experience. And so it has been keen, as a result, to ensure that page experience becomes a ranking factor or ‘signal’, in an upcoming update to its core algorithm which affects how websites are ranked in search results.
The update is set to benefit those sites with great ‘Core Web Vitals’ (i.e. sites that provide users with speed, responsiveness and visual stability) and other attributes such as mobile friendliness, a safe browsing experience, HTTPS and no or few ‘intrusive interstitials’ (e.g. pop-up ads), as this graphic from Search Engine Journal illustrates:-
Image credit: Search Engine Journal
Why is Google doing this?
As Google notes, “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”
And it’s happening at a time when searching the internet for accurate, authoritative information has never been more important.
When is the update now happening?
Previously set for May 2021, Google has now described the commencement of the rollout as a ‘gradual’ one, starting mid-June 2021. They note “We'll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won't play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as if you're adding a flavoring to a food you're preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we'll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
What does this mean for law firm websites?
Our Digital Director, Douglas Millar, has been tracking the developments on this for some time now and shares the following insights:-
“Google has been sign-posting this change for a while and it’s something we’ve been looking at across all of our sites.
To be clear, this isn't a new algorithm but an update to the main 'core algorithm' that Google uses to rank sites. This will start to roll out soon and Google has been very clear that the initial impact of this update will be limited, particularly given that page experience is one of many factors that its algorithm takes into account.”
What can you do to prepare for this algorithm update?
“As we’ve been advising and indeed practising for years for our law firm clients, what is important is to make sure that your site is secure, shares useful information to your audience, performs well (especially on mobile and particularly in terms of site load speed) and provides a good all-round user experience.”
There are, nevertheless, more complex elements to consider as these resources from Searchmetrics explain.
Overall, we’re seeing this update as an opportunity for our clients to expand their online presence and to generate increasing levels of business online.
Dedicated to Your Law Firm’s Success
If you would like our experienced Team of online business generation experts to assess your law firm’s site in light of Google’s upcoming Page Experience Update, we’d be delighted to speak with you. Or if you’d like to discuss more broadly how we can help you achieve your goals with our new Your Law Firm Success™ product, please contact Chris on 03333 442 722 or email .