Several months ago, Google announced a new ranking algorithm, judging websites on their UX (User Experience) and perceived quality as provided by the searchers. Those ranking factors are summed up as the Core Web Vitals, and the related update is the Page Experience update.  

A couple of months ago, back in early May 2021, we prepared a comprehensive article on this new update and the Core Web Vitals changing for Law Firm SEO. All these are now coming to fruition as Google has started rolling it out. On June 15, 2021, the internet giant announced that the Page Experience update is gradually implemented in slow steps and will be complete by the end of August this year. Let’s find out what’s changing and what we can expect in the near future. As always, we’ll keep updating the article as more news and information become available.

The page experience update is now slowly rolling out (Top Stories will begin using this new signal by Thursday). It will be complete by the end of August 2021. More here:

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) June 15, 2021

To clarify things and set clear expectations, this is not a core update. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked.

  1. Google top stories are among the first that will start using the new Page Experience for eligibility. That’s not the most relevant Google feature for law firms, but it’s still a meaningful change that you need to consider. In some instances, it could be helpful, such as for potential involvement with big cases or significant wins that attract media attention. That update has been live since June 17.
  2. The AMP badge (often used on landing pages for speed purposes) will go away, but that doesn’t mean page speed decreases in importance. On the contrary, with Core Web Vitals and the new Page Experience update, speed is becoming more critical than ever in contributing to long-term success.
  3. Security is the epicenter of the overall Google initiative, and this initial rollout included HTTPS protocol changes. Experts expect to see it in this first wave of updates, and it’s a real game-changer for any law firm that wants to be on the winning side of Google results. If you haven’t already transitioned to HTTPS, now is the time to do it. It’s potentially one of the last opportunities to do it without any negative impacts on your website ranking or its performance on the SERPs.
  4. On the same note, the mobile-first Core Web Vital requirement is coming to the spotlight and as one of the most crucial parts of this update is one of the first components of this partial rollout. If your law firm’s website isn’t mobile-first yet, please ensure that it’s at least mobile-friendly, and we’d strongly recommend looking into the possibility of an upgrade in the near future.
  5. Another major part of the new Google Page experience is the intrusive interstitials. These are vital for accessibility and overall UX, and they seem to be prioritized in this gradual rollout. Google singled them out as problematic a couple of years ago, and now they are acting on it, making them an important ranking factor. If you are unsure of any of your website’s components, you can run the related report.
  6. On the reporting side of things, Google is introducing the Page experience report in the Search Console. That will help you identify any potential issues, make improvements, and stay on top of challenges around Core Web Vitals. Additionally, they’ve added the Search Performance Report, allowing you to see how your traffic changes over time, understand mobile traffic and queries and single out the top and worst performing pages in terms of CTR (click-through rate).
  • What’s next?

Keep in mind that these are just the first of multiple changes and updates related to the Page Experience. We expect the main Core Web Vitals to be introduced gradually in July and August. LCP, FID, and CLS are what will determine your overall score once the update is over, so keep an eye out for updates in this article and our Social Media accounts, where we will let you know as soon as things move forward.

Time for our takeaways:

  • The Core Web Vitals and the Page Experience update started rolling out on June 15 and will gradually move forward until August 2021.
  • The first updates are already confirmed, and include changes in AMP and UX factors (speed, security, mobile). They’ve already been added to the verified updates.
  • Don’t forget about the reports in the Google Search Console. They will help you identify your pain points in Core Web Vitals and find opportunities for improvement and better conversions.