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Google Algorithm update May 2021

Five new page experience signals will be used to assess your website, and depending on your website performance, be used to help determine your position in search results.

Page speed and experience

Google have announced an update to its search algorithms due to take effect from May 2021. This update has added strong emphasis to the customer page experience and loading speed. Five new page experience signals will be used to assess your website, and depending on your website performance, be used to help determine your position in search results.

The team at Riotspace have provided a breakdown of these five new changes to the Google search algorithm, and suggestions for improving your websites ranking.


This set of updates are a part of a larger group of changes that Google will be rolling out over the course of the year (starting mid-June 2021) which includes a new Page Experience report for Google Search Console, allowing for better insight in the health of your website.

Core web vitals

Perhaps the most significant change is the introduction of Googles Core Web Vitals. They are the measurement and scoring of the following “vitals”:

  1. Largest Contentful Pain (LCP): Measures the loading time of the largest image or text content that is visible. The time should be less than 2.5 seconds to rank well.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): How quickly your website responds to user input (for example a click). The optimum is below 100ms.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures the unexpected movement of the page after loading. For example, popups cause movement. A low score is desirable.

User Experience (UX) is a branch of website design concerned with ensuring that websites have a useable and functional experience. This is done by designing the website with consumer requirement and experience as a priority at all times.

Google have said that they are now looking for exceptional UX as a ranking factor in determining which websites are prioritised in search results. Google is measuring websites for loading speed (LCP), interactivity (FID) and visual stability (CLS).

Optimising these three new metrics will help your website to rank well in Google in the future. Our experts here at Riotspace can give you advice on how to improve your core web vitals, call us on 01258 522 118 or get in touch online.

Being Mobile-friendly

Google already assesses whether your website is mobile friendly, however this new update applies more significant emphasis on mobile experience.

A study from 2016 showed that nearly 60% of all searches now are done through mobile devices, meaning phones and tablets are the predominant way in which potential customers find your business using Google.

There is less screen space on mobile meaning that website designs need to be fully responsive to provide users the best experience possible on mobile devices. This means that your website needs to be designed in a way that it is accessible and fully functional on all mobile devices, just as they would on a larger screen device. If your website is not already mobile responsive, then now is the time to get this essential feature added to your website.

One way to improve loading times on a mobile is to develop Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). AMP is an open-source HTML framework that helps to optimise the loading times of your website on mobile devices, making for an improved experience for mobile device users when browsing websites. I should note that whilst loading times are now a ranking factor in Google’s search results, AMP itself is not a direct ranking factor. However, improving mobile loading speed certainly can’t hurt.

Safe Browsing and HTTPS

Visiting a website and being spammed with popups, socially engineered into providing personal data, or in the worst-case scenario being infected with malware, is a poor experience for visitors. Providing your website visitors with a safe experience is now a ranking factor. Google’s recent algorithm update checks websites for spam, unwanted popups and social engineering content. Websites which are found to include such content can expect to be pushed down in Google’s search results.

Google is also strengthening the use of HTTPS as a ranking signal. The use of HTTPS helps to protect users from unwanted attacks by malicious hackers by encrypting the data between the website user and the web server. Google flags websites without an SSL certificate, and websites which collect user data but are not providing a secure connection will also suffer in the rankings.

The good news is that an SSL Certificate which is required to serve your website using HTTPS is simple and easy to install and setup. Riotspace provide all our hosting and website clients with an SSL certificate free of charge. Get in touch to see if we can help.

NEW Page experience report in Google Search Console

Google search console provides website owners with a simple and easy way to measure important ranking factors and key website statistics in a simple and easy to use dashboard. If you’re not already using Google Search Console (GSC) then you are missing a critical opportunity to improve your websites search engine optimisation (SEO).

To help measure and manage the new ranking factors in relation to page experience, Google have introduced a new Page Experience report in the GSC dashboard. The report will show valuable metrics and data points about your website pages and how they rank for the new core web vitals.

Page Experience and Website Content

It’s no surprise that Googles May 2021 algorithm update has become more targeted in relation to page experience and content. We can expect these new changes to really shape the web in a positive and impactful way. Perhaps we will see the end of spammy, slow websites and clunky interfaces which offer little in the way of experience for the user.

We look forward to embracing these changes in 2021 and continuing to build fast, intuitive and responsive website experiences that rank well in Google. Content is still key and now it is more important than ever that the user can access the content with ease.

If your website needs improving to rank better in Google, then get in touch with one of our SEO service experts or call 01258 522 118.