Google confirms the page experience update finished rolling out to desktop search results. Now it’s time to assess the impact.
The update started rolling out on desktop on February 22, making it a nine-day rollout concluding on March 3.
By comparison, the launch of the page experience update on mobile took two and a half months to complete.
With Google announcing the conclusion of the desktop rollout, you can start assessing the impact on your search rankings.
The page experience rollout is now complete for desktop.
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) March 3, 2022
Desktop Page Experience Update – Assessing The Impact
Positive or negative shifts in desktop search rankings, occurring on or after March 3, could be attributed to Google’s page experience update.
To determine if that’s the case, use Google’s tools to analyze your site’s page experience score.
Google Search Console has a report dedicated to evaluating Page Experience criteria on desktop versions of webpages.
Use the Search Console report to gain an understanding of how the page experience update impacts your site.
If the report shows a majority of your pages in the red or yellow, it’s likely any ranking drops occurring on March 3 are a result of being negatively impacted by the page experience update.
Should you discover your website has poor page experience scores, the next step is to find out why by looking the criteria individually.
Desktop Page Experience Update Criteria
Google’s page experience update for desktop search includes many of the same ranking factors as the algorithm that launched on mobile search last year.
Desktop page experience ranking factors include:
- Core Web Vitals (LCP + CLS + FID)
- HTTPS Security
- Absence of intrusive interstitials
If your website fails to meet any of the above criteria, you will not benefit from the page experience ranking boost on desktop.
A ranking drop doesn’t mean your site is being punished for not meeting Google’s page experience criteria.
It means sites meeting Google’s criteria might end up ranking above you, causing your pages to rank lower.
Therefore, improving your page experience score can help you regain those ranking positions and remain competitive.
It’s easy to narrow down which component of the page experience update you need to focus.
- Is your site HTTPS? If yes, you can rule this out.
- Does your site have intrusive ads? If no, you can rule this out.
- Does your site pass Core Web Vitals thresholds? If you’re not sure, you’ll have to test it.
Google’s Core Web Vitals report in Search Console shows how your pages perform for each metric using real world data.
Core Web Vitals analysis is built into many other Google tools, such as PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and Chrome DevTools.
There’s even an extension for the Chrome browser you can download to check Core Web Vitals on a per-page basis.
Use those tools to determine which pages need to be further optimized to satisfy Google’s page experience criteria.
It’s important to note page experience isn’t everything.
You won’t automatically rank better with green page experience scores, and you won’t automatically be hurt by this update if your scores are in the end.
In the end, content relevance always wins. But it helps to offer a good page experiences, too.
Featured Image: rawf8/Shutterstock
B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements
Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.
The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:
After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.
The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).
The Struggle With Images
Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.
Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.
Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:
- How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?
Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.
More Uses Cases, Please
Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.
The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.
Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.
Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.
The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.
- 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
- Focus less on verticals
- Provide more use cases
Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.
Google Product Managers Weigh In
The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:
- It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?
Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:
- Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
- For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page
However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.
Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.
Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?
The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.
Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.
Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.
Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.
Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.
The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.
Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.
However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.
Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.
A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.
Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M
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