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It is no surprise when a big tech company makes an update or a tweak in its algorithm. And effective imminently, Google will be rolling out one of these: its Google page experience update. This move will reward websites that give consumers an optimum user experience. What exactly does this mean, and what is the impact of the update regarding Googles page experience for law firms? Read on to see if your law firm website is ready for yet another change in the digital world.
Google’s Page Experience Update 2021
Recent research by Google resulted in some rather obvious results: users prefer a great site experience rather than a poor one! This is why the company has been driven to make page experience a key ranking factor in search results. The update will end up favoring sites that provide users with the best page speed, safe browsing and a minimum of intrusive visuals (such as popups and banner ads.) The update was postponed from its original May 2021 deadline, but it is now ready to roll out.
More About Googles Page Experience Update
Page experience is only one of many factors that Google’s algorithm notices, but it will soon become more noticed. If your law firm website has been implementing improvements, it should perform well. However, if your website has not been recently tended or updated, especially for mobile responsiveness and page speed, you may see a drop in traffic by the time the update is in full use.
The Core Web Vitals
Google’s new update will assess pages based on three important metrics, called the Core Web Vitals.
- LCP (largest contentful paint): This measures how fast the content on a page loads. This is crucial, because people tend to exit sites that load slowly. The metric measures the time that it takes for the biggest image or block of text to become visible compared to the time when the page began loading.
- FID (first input delay): The next aspect of the Core Web Vitals measures page responsiveness, which is how quickly visitors can engage with the information on a page after first landing on it. From the moment that consumers tap a button or click on a link, to the time when they can actually interact with it is the first input delay.
- CLS (cumulative layout shift): The final piece of the Core Web Vitals measures the stability of site visuals, such as shifts in what the user expects from the page. Website components like ads and sliders that move and shift may often lead to a poor user experience, especially when they obstruct the view and become an obstacle in what visitors are trying to accomplish on the page. CLS is a user-focused measurement that gauges how often users encounter an unexpected shift in a page’s layout.
How Will Websites Score?
Looking at the full panorama of websites on the internet, just how are they scoring? After analyzing 20,000 sites, reports by Screaming Frog suggest that only 12-13% of websites measure up to the Core Web Vitals metrics. LCP and CLS seem to be the most challenging pieces of the Core Vitals requirements, with most websites already conquering responsiveness. If your law firm website does meet these metrics, it is clearly in the minority. To check your website to see how it stacks up, try Google’s Search Console.
How Can Your Law Firm Prepare For Google’s Page Experience Update?
You already have the desire to make your site easily found, engaging for visitors and compelling enough to turn a visitor into a potential client. This is an ideal time to examine your website more closely to see if it actually meets these goals, so ask yourself these specific questions:
- What are visitors looking for when they arrive at your website? Do they find it there?
- Can your visitors find evidence that you have helped others with similar legal issues?
- Do your visitors engage with your content and stay awhile?
Improve Core Web Vitals for Google Page Experience
With the core vitals benchmark, pages will be individually assessed as “poor”, “needs improvement,” or “good.” If your website scores “good” on all core vitals, it may see more traffic because of a ranking boost. Websites with the following characteristics may struggle to score well on the new page experience update: no https, contain malware, display a large number of banner ads, or load slowly.
Enhance User Experience in Other Ways
Besides the crucial Core Web Vitals, consider the following ways to enhance your website:
- Think Mobile First. More and more people will interact with your website on a small screen, so your website should accommodate this. Here is a tool that can test how responsive your website is.
- Let Visitors Browse Safely. Google will be cracking down on malware and unsafe sites. Even content that appears potentially dangerous could be flagged with a warning label and may repel visitors.
- Use SSL certificates. Google is encouraging websites to utilize SSL certificates to provide consumers with a safer experience. Sites that use these may get boosted in the search results, and those that do not may get flagged.
- Limit intrusions. Popups, banner ads, and other components that block the page for a visitor are called “intrusive interstitials.” (These do not include elements such as cookie popups or consent notices.) An abundance of calls to action can also be confusing to a visitor and may contribute to a downgraded user experience.
Add Quality Content
The core of a great user experience is providing what a visitor is looking for, and the Google page experience updates reward those with quality content. For law firm websites, this means you should be displaying an abundance of relevant material that helps potential clients on their legal journeys. Quality content that answers their questions, tackles their issues and assists them in searching for legal help includes:
- Posting and answering typical client questions on an FAQ page
- to provide social proof
- Displaying client stories that help visitors see how you can help them with their similar legal concerns
- Providing a call to action that helps users take the next step
- Giving visitors multiple ways to contact your law firm
- Stocking your website with up-to-date, relevant content that dives deeper into legal issues
- Bringing a variety of channels to your audience, including: visuals, social media, podcasts and more.
How Law Quill Can Help
The relevant, quality content you provide on your law firm website is the first step to providing visitors an excellent user experience. Then, be sure to tackle the Core Web Vitals, in order to be compliant with Google page experience and their new update. What do these requirements for Googles page experience mean for law firms? This can be an ideal opportunity for your law firm to examine and refine your website to maximize your message, optimize for user experience, and ultimately to stand out among the competition.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at [email protected]