What role will user experience (UX) play in Google SEO in 2024?

Discover the role of user experience (UX) in Google SEO
You may have heard about it: from May 2021, Google is launching a new Google Page Experience update to give greater consideration to the user experience (UX) of websites in SEO.

But before we look together at what this new update is all about, it’s a good idea to review what Google SEO is all about, and by what criteria it achieves its rankings.

What is SEO?
Simply put, Google search engine optimization is the ranking of your website on the page. In other words, sites that appear on the first page of your Google search are those with the best ranking. In fact, 91% of user clicks are made on sites appearing on the first page. In other words, if your website isn’t listed among the first, you don’t exist.

On the Internet, there are two types of referencing: SEO (natural referencing) and SEA (sponsored referencing). A website can base its referencing on SEO alone, or it can combine SEO and SEA. However, relying solely on paid (or sponsored) referencing is not viable.

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a set of techniques that will enable your website to appear among the first in a Google search. To do this, you need to follow the SEO criteria developed by Google, which we’ll look at later.

There are two types of SEO: On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO.

On-site SEO is the optimization of all technical elements internal to the website (technical structure of the site, content, and from 2021 the UX (Customer Experience)). In other words, for your site to be well-referenced in SEO, it must be well-constructed and bug-free, and its content must be coherent and optimized.

Off-site SEO is the optimization of all technical elements external to the site. As a general rule, this involves net linking. This technique consists in optimizing all external links on the web that lead to your website. The more links there are on different media (sites, articles, posts, etc.) leading to your site, the more value Google’s search engine optimization algorithms will place on it, and the higher its ranking will be.

What is SEA?

SEA (Search Engine Advertising) is the set of paid search techniques that enable your site to gain in popularity. This is achieved primarily through advertising.

How is Google search engine optimization built?
The referencing of websites on a Google search page is built in a pyramid on three layers: technical structure (the site must be correctly built), content and popularity (the noise the site will make around it).

Page Rank
We were just talking about SEO and netlinking. Well, this referencing based on the number of links propagated around your website is managed by what Google has called: Page Rank.

This algorithm measures the popularity of a website according to the number of links that lead to it. However, the algorithm doesn’t stop there: in addition to measuring the quantity of links pointing to your site, it also studies the quality of the links according to the popularity of the sites from which they originate. What’s more, Page Rank has recently added a new selection criterion: the theme of the pages. In other words, the site from which the link to your site originates and your site itself should share a common theme.

Unfortunately, if you’re curious, you won’t be able to find out your exact Page Rank score, as Google never provides this information.

Google Panda
This algorithm, originally introduced by Google in 2011, evaluates the quality of a website’s content. It can be used to downgrade sites whose content is not sufficiently relevant.

Google Penguin

Introduced for the first time in 2012 by Google, Penguin is, like Panda, an algorithm designed to downgrade websites that don’t comply with Google’s rules for buying, creating or networking links.

In other words, Google Penguin fights against over-optimization and spamdexing. In simple terms, Google Penguin fights against four techniques:

Abusive repetition of the same link anchor, which is the text under the link visible to users and the search engine.
Abusive use of keywords within a domain name.
Abusive use of keywords in external links.
Poor-quality links from poor-quality sites.

The arrival of user experience (UX) and Google Page experience
As we saw earlier, Google has just developed a new algorithm which will come into operation around May 2021, and which will aim to evaluate the good customer experience of a website.

What is customer experience?
UX, or user experience, evaluates the quality of the experience offered to a user by a website. This experience can be measured by various criteria:

Interface quality
Quality of navigation
Structure quality
Design quality
Quality of response to a need
Quality of ergonomics
Quality of accessibility
Respecting all these criteria ensures an optimal experience for your site’s users. As Jean-François Nogier (a computer engineer who has written numerous books) put it so well in an interview transcribed on the Usabilis.com website:

In concrete terms, UX can be broken down into three stages: Analysis, Design and Evaluation.

The analysis stage consists of observing, interviewing and analyzing the behavior of real product users. This stage is also known as User Research.

What is Google Page Experience?
To get you started, here’s a little diagram provided by Google to help you better understand the Google Page Experience criteria:

Google Page Experience is an algorithm developed by Google to monitor and measure a site’s UX. To do this, it relies on criteria that are already well known to Google, such as ergonomics, navigation security, https, etc. But the main update to Google Page Experience, which will be used from May 2021, will add CORE WEB VITALS criteria:

LCP (loading time)
FID (page interactivity)
CLS (visual stability of a web page’s interface)

What’s more, Google has come up with a concrete way of rewarding websites that offer users an excellent customer experience. In fact, the search engine is planning to introduce a visual indicator. As Creanico.fr explains in its article on the subject: “Google plans to create a visual indicator appearing on SERPs, like the little lightning bolt for Accelerated Mobile Pages.”

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