Google has announced its new ranking algorithm that will judge web pages based on how its users perceive the experience of interacting with it. If Google thinks your users will have a poor experience interacting with your website, your ranking could be affected! Google is calling this the Google Page Experience update which is set to implemented in 2021, so now is the time to prepare for it.
How Does Google Measure Page Experience?
Google has released a developer document detailing the page experience criteria. To summarize, these metrics are designed to understand how a user perceives the experience of a specific web page. It’s looking at signals like if the page loads quickly, runs on HTTPS, if it’s mobile-friendly, if there are intrusive ads, or if the content or layout shifts during page load.
Many of these signals are not new, such as the mobile-friendliness, page loading speed, HTTPS, intrusive ads, and more. The Page Experience update comes in the form of a new set of refined metrics named Core Web Vitals that focus on speed and usability.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals include real-world, user-centered metrics, that give scores on aspects of your pages including load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. These metrics fall under these metrics:
Core Web Vitals are comprised of user-centered metrics to quantify a score based on the various aspects of your page experience. These metrics are calculated using metrics such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of the content as it loads. Here are the three core metrics:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This measures loading performance. To achieve a good user experience, your largest contentful paint should happen within 2.5 seconds of when the page begins loading.
First Input Delay (FID)
This metric measures interactivity. Your pages should have a first input delay of fewer than 100 milliseconds to provide a good user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This measures the visual stability of your content. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a cumulative layout shift of less than 0.1.
Putting it All Together
Core Web Vitals are only part of search signals related to page experience. Google has said that page experience specifically is not a ranking score. Each element within has its own weights and rankings in the ranking algorithm.
Will the Google Page Experience Update Hurt My Ranking?
Google made it clear that great content will still rank highly in Google Search, despite a poor page experience. “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search,” Google wrote.
Despite Google’s history of being rather vague about the ranking impact of their updates, they did make one point clear: great content will still rank highly in Google Search, despite a poor page experience. Google wrote “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search,”
How Can I Prepare for the Google Page Experience Update?
The Page Experience update isn’t a brand new way to score a website, rather a step forward in Google’s goal to provide users with the best, most relevant content to what they’re searching for. The best way to prepare your website to rank well is still to provide good, quality content, and an excellent user experience on your website.
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