Google’s Search Algorithm Update May 2021: The Tools You Need

Last year, Google announced plans to roll out a search algorithm update, with a new ranking factor that goes by the name of ‘page experience’. This update to the search algorithm is now being rolled out, so here’s a rundown of what you need to know.

What is Google Page Experience?

Google Page Experience is all about user interaction on a web page. It includes all aspects of how a user interacts with a web page; pairing existing search signals (such as mobile friendliness and safe browsing) with new “core web vitals”. This will be combined with hundreds of other signals that are already a part of Google’s search algorithm.

Google Page Experience

Core Web Vitals

Here’s a breakdown on what the Core Web Vitals are, as well as some tools so that you can test your website for each of them. It’s worth noting that Google has already stated that these metrics will evolve over time.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This is entirely down to ‘loading performance’; the time it takes for the largest image or block of text on the page to load, relative to when the page starts loading.

Ideally, this will take 2.5 seconds or less.

First Input Delay (FID)

This looks at interactivity on your web page; the first impression of your site from a user perspective. How fast does it load, and how responsive it is when they interact with it.

It’s recommended to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This is the ‘visual stability’ of a page, taking into consideration any unexpected layout shifts or movement on the page.

Sites should strive to have a CLS score of 0.1 or less.

 Tools to Measure Core Web Vitals

Google has announced that multiple tools will support measurement of the Core Web Vitals, so that web and business owners can actively monitor and fix any areas of concern to improve user experience.

Here’s a breakdown of those tools –

tools to measure core web vitals

As with any Google update, it’s important to monitor the impact on your website as the changes are rolled out. Make adjustments where necessary in order to ensure your website is best optimised from a user perspective.

For more information or if you need help with your Search strategy, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Sophie Burrows
As a Senior Digital Strategist, Sophie's role is focused around working with clients to achieve their business objectives, through a mixture of digital marketing channels. Having worked closely with clients in a variety of disciplines over the last five years, Sophie has gained an invaluable insight into what makes for a successful campaign. Applying a strategic process along with deep analytics insight has made Sophie an in-demand digital strategist.