Google has finally begun rolling out a much-feared tweak to its search engine that will penalize websites that are slow to load, by pushing them below other relevant websites (opens in new tab) that load faster.
Reporting on the announcement, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says Google’s parent company Alphabet will roll out the new page experience feature (opens in new tab) to all users by the end of August.
“It’s very rare that Google releases such a huge update for user experience. “It’s very rare that Google releases such a huge update for user experience,” Asaf Shamly, co-founder and chief executive of Browsi Mobile LLC, which uses artificial intelligence to optimize ad placement on publishers’ websites, told the WSJ.
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When confronted with two websites with content relevant to the user’s query, the new feature will ensure that the website that loads faster and offers a better interaction experience, will be positioned higher in the search results.
Survival of the fittest
Google’s long-set criteria for rating websites relied on a website being mobile-friendly, using the secure https protocol, and the prevalence of intrusive elements such as pop-ups.
Going forward, Google will also rate a website’s user experience based on three metrics, known across the industry as core web vitals (opens in new tab).
Despite being announced last year (opens in new tab), a recent SEO (opens in new tab) research suggested that a majority of the popular sites could suffer a drop in their rankings (opens in new tab) as they didn’t meet Google’s defined thresholds for the new criteria.
A number of online businesses that WSJ spoke to were upbeat about the new changes as they had taken the lead time to ensure their website conform to the upcoming changes.
Calling the update a “wake-up call to publishers,” Shamly believes that while e-commerce websites (opens in new tab) have focused on delivering a refined user experience to improve sales, content publishers usually rely on clunky online advertisements (opens in new tab).
However, focusing solely on overloading the users with ads will now have a detrimental impact on their search engine ranking, which will result in less traffic and a decrease in revenue.
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Via Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab)