Google makes constant changes to their algorithms, as we’ve mentioned before they make over 500 changes a year. However, several changes have led to a new wave in ranking standards that was previously impossible: measuring user experience.
User experience (UX) is a broad, but powerful tool for keeping visitors on your website. It includes altering loading speed, navigation, internal linking, even colors and many, many psychological factors relating to websites.
Google is now measuring some of these factors, and many sites are getting hit hard because of the changes. For example, 2 major updates ago, Google penalized sites that had too many ads above the fold and less text. An ad could be considered an AdSense box or an image.
Even further back, Google has been measuring loading speed as a measure of usability for several major updates. Even coming back to the most recent update, Google is now tracking items such as reliability, interlinking, and even Google+ buttons on your page.
This means that Google is going to be leaning more and more towards measuring usability and user experience than ever. It’s time to start focusing on these items. A lot. To be honest, you should have been doing this years ago as you literally cannot lose with an improved user experience. Your visitors will turn into customers at a higher rate and you’ll get more new visitors every day due to an improved Google ranking.