Google announce changes to ranking criteria for websites based on user experience. 

In a recent press release, Google have stated that their new algorithm (process to determine the position of websites in search results) will focus on factors relating to user experience. Metrics relating to speed, responsiveness and visual stability will have a greater impact on where a website appears in search engine result pages. But, what does this mean for retailers? 

What do changes to Google’s Algorithm mean for retailers? 

Put simply, your website’s user experience will become more and more important over time. 

Google knows that users prefer ecommerce sites that provide a good experience, so it makes sense that those sites appear at the top of searches. 

Google are going to begin to penalise websites if they do not meet a certain level of experience criteria. What they mean by penalising is by pushing websites further down the results page. In some cases, this will have a considerable impact on traffic to websites that don’t provide what Google deems a good user experience. Less traffic typically means less revenue so retailers need to take note.

Like with bricks and mortar retail stores, ones that are nicely designedeasy to navigatehave up-to-date technology, make it easy to pay and have good customer service are always going to be more popular than those that don’t. Google are recognising the importance of this and want users to find the best websites. 

Key Ways to Optimise Your Website’s User Experience 

  1. Improve speed – Google tracks how long it takes your web pages to load. The faster the site, the better the experience. Less than 3 seconds is good and within 1 second is excellent. 
  2. Reduce errors – Google penalises sites that bring up errors. These can be broken links, missing images or more technical issues. SEMrush is a free tool that can measure site speed and identify errors. 
  3. Look at your competitors – see their site from a customer’s point of view and take note of your experience. Compare that to your site’s experience and you may find features you want to adopt (and do better than your competitors of course). 
  4. Evaluate the design of your site – put yourself in your customers’ shoes and explore your site. Tools like Google Analytics will help you see how users are behaving on your site, what is popular and what is being overlooked. 

When will Google make these ranking changes? 

Google have said they are not planning on bringing any changes into effect this year as business owners focus their efforts on the impact of COVID-19. However, retailers should bear this announcement in mind as ecommerce becomes increasingly competitive.  

User experience should be a key consideration of all website builds and development, now more than ever. 

If you need help to optimise your user experience, our team of digital experts are here to drive your footfall, sales, traffic and conversion. Start a conversation today.