Posted by Vishal Parmar
September 02, 2021
Table of Contents
Google announced its latest algorithm update called ‘Page experience signal’ in November 2020 and stated that it will fully roll out by the end of August 2021. It is rare that Google pre-informs such algorithmic updates and gives time to content creators to prepare for it. This algorithmic update is for a better search console page experience.
The primary purpose of this update is to improve the overall search browsing experience on both mobile and desktop for users. This update focuses on a better user experience (UX) that is responsible for the higher ranking of the website. Google’s search engine result page (SERP) pushes the pages that are more user-friendly.
Google’s ranking is based on metrics like; mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. With this algorithm update, new metrics categorized under ‘Core web vitals’ have been added; Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics are based on data aggregated by the Chrome user experience report.
Source: Google Search Central Blog
Here is a detailed explanation of this new algorithm update with all the necessary information associated with it.
In this update, Google will combine the old metrics with new core web vitals to create a broad page experience ranking signals.
Google will measure the page experience using core web vitals and other UX factors to determine your Page experience score. A positive page score will improve your rankings, but a negative one will drop your rankings. This is because a positive user experience can increase the time people spend on your page which massively decreases the bounce rate.
Currently, it is difficult to say how much weight each element carries, but what these elements will be and how you can measure and improve your performance are based on them.
Google core vital updates change with time. The current ones that check user experience and evaluate the site’s performance are as follows:-
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This metric measures how quickly the content of your site loads. This should take not more than 2.5 seconds for any given page for a good user experience.
First Input Delay (FID)
This metric measures the interactivity and responsiveness of the page and quantifies the positive or negative experience that users feel while interacting with your page. Google recommends an FID of less than 100 milliseconds as more than that can be a responsible factor for bad user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This concentrates on the stability of your layout. When a person interacts with the objects or texts on the page and they shift suddenly, it is a sign of a bad user experience.
The layout shift score is calculated by looking at the distance fraction and impact fraction metrics that observe the instability of elements on the page. A good CLS score should not go above 0.1.
In a nutshell, these web vitals unitedly focus on loading performance, interactivity, and stability of your page.
Looks at whether your page is performing well on a mobile or not.
Checks whether your page uses an HTTPS connection or not. Using a secured HTTPS is another safety measure for users.
Looks at whether your page contains pop-ups or advertisements that interrupt the reading and navigation of the user. However, login pages or legally required interstitials including age verification do not count against your site.
These are some of the current essentials that guide you about the user experience of your site which you can assess and improve. Google plans to update these elements annually as it intends to expand the aspects of page experience that affect ranking and account for changing the user experience.
Google facilitates tools and tests to evaluate the user-friendliness of your website. These include browser extensions and stand-alone tools. They are as follows
Source: Web Dev Blog
Lighthouse is a website audit tool that measures core web vitals along with other user experience factors. Using this you can determine the overall score of your website along with receiving recommendations for improving it.
PageSpeed Insights tracks the loading and running speed of your page on both mobile and desktop. You just need to copy and paste the URL into the tool to run a report.
Chrome DevTools panel
Web Vitals Extension
Web vitals extension allows you to monitor core web vitals in real-time which works only on desktop.
Hence, there are many such extensions that would be of great help.
Once you conduct the in-depth analysis of your site’s core web vitals you can run a Google’s search console page experience report. This report reveals real-world data usage and shows how your site performs for people currently using it.
This report summarizes the performance of multiple URLs throughout your site and offers an accurate view of full site performance with detailed information on each page.
The insights of your report will help you analyze the weak and strong areas of your page which will help you realize which areas need more work.
Once you find out which areas of your site need improvement, find an effective solution to improve the overall user experience. Of all the effective solutions, optimizing your page will help you improve the browning experience and increase the chances of ranking once the update takes effect.
If you wish to improve the mobile-friendliness of your site, then concentrate on the errors which could be; incompatible plugins, too wide content that isn’t readable without zooming in, and too small fonts of the content.
Addressing such minute errors and taking steps to solve them will contribute to a better overall appearance. Also, if your site doesn’t run on HTTPS, try updating it. You might see it improving when it takes effect.
Focussing on creating quality content is equally important to that of user experience. Google continues to prioritize sites that offer relevant, valuable, and interesting content to the users.
If the UX signals are slightly weak, the strong content quality will cover it. Your site should answer all the reader’s questions in the most comprehensive and interesting way. High-quality content is a responsible factor for retention. Gripping content engages more people on the site and reduces bounce rates up to a certain level.
This is all you need to know about the new algorithm update ‘Page Experience’. The three new updates in the algorithms are current hacks that can help you rank better, but keep in mind that Algorithm updates are constant and Google keeps coming up with such new advancements to deliver the best search experience to their users.
Keep creating high-quality content, design a website that can be easily navigated, and let the algorithm show its magic over time.
Another strategy worth implementing is ‘Monitoring ranking fluctuations’. Lastly, Marketers should perform an on-site website audit to not miss any important website changes or you can hire an SEO agency for that.
So, the end solution is to design a website with high-quality content and optimize it to provide the best quality user experience.