On May 28 Google announced a new update(Page Experience) in their ranking algorithm (SEO) which is designed to rank web pages on their search engine based on how users interact with the website or a web page.
Or to put it another way: If users love the experience on your website, then Google will rank it higher. Conversely, if you have technical, user flow or content issues, then your site will lose ranking.
If we go by their own words, this is what they say…
The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and help sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile devices. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.
In short, Google will be looking for how easy to use your website is.
The new ranking will consist of numerous ranking factors to evaluate a user’s experience when they land on a landing page.
Google will use a combination of results starting from LCP, FID & CLS which they call “Core Web Vitals”, security issues like safe browsing & https and more importantly mobile-friendliness.
In a nutshell page experience ranking factor will consist of the following aspects:
Over the past few years, Google has been communicating and saying that businesses need to create websites or web pages based on user experience, and do not just “stuff” content and keywords on the website just to get good rankings on search engines.
Let’s dive a little deeper and understand exactly what these factors are and how much they will affect the page experience, and how you should optimise the websites moving forward.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals will be used as core metrics to evaluate website performance – Google introduced the Core Web Vitals in late May 2020. These vitals cover the technical and user behaviour aspects of the websites and a web page.
Google’s Core Web Vitals analysis can be performed by the developers or SEOs using Lighthouse or Google Webmaster Tool or they can be seen in Google Search Console as well.
Google has started analysing the website’s core web vitals and they have started reporting the vitals on Google Search Console as seen below.
The new update will see the launch of three new core elements from Google named as LCP, CLS & FID.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This vital measures the time a webpage takes to load the main content. As per the new update, to provide amazing user experience, the LCP of a webpage should be within 0sec-2.5 secs.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This vital measures the stability of a page while interacting. Basically, in simple words, it measures the stability of all the visual components while the user is interacting with a web page. It measures all the unexpected changes that take place on a webpage. For example, sometimes the position of a button changes suddenly when you scroll down the webpage, or when some other object loads late and the position of the button changes. The lower the CLS is, the better page experience will be.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures the load responsiveness. In other words, FID measures the time taken from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser is actually able to begin processing event handlers in response to that interaction. For example, it calculates the time from when you click a link or button to the time the browser start processing that request.
- Mobile-Friendly: This vital measures the mobile-friendliness of a webpage. This factor is already considered by Google while ranking the pages on search engines since 2015. Google added this vital factor in their ranking factor in April 2015, it was one of most significant update and in the SEO world, we call it Mobilegeddon update.
- Safe browsing: This vital measures malicious content(malware) on a webpage. You can check your website or webpage safe browsing issues in Google Search Console. Google has been penalising websites with malicious content on their website. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been boosting the fact that they want to make Google a safe browsing space.
- HTTPS: This vital measures whether your page is served with HTTPS or not. HTTPS is simple terms is a security certificate that is installed on the websites which makes your websites secure for browsing.
- No Intrusive Interstitials: This vital measures the accessibility of a webpage for a user on mobile devices. Google said that any interstitials on a mobile webpage which disrupt the accessibility of a webpage on mobile will be penalized.
How to prepare for Google’s new update?
Considering Google’s previous update announcement and time when they implement the updates, it will take some time for these updates to impact fully.
Google has said that they will be rolling out this by early 2021, however, you are already able to see the results of your core web vitals in Google Webmaster Tool or Google Search Console. So technically, this gives you some time to prepare, as the ranking factors they have mentioned cannot be fixed in a few hours as you will need a developer to look into your website Core Web Vital’s and optimise it.
So grab the opportunity while you have it and update, redo or optimize your website for the new update, as this is likely to have a huge impact on your Google rankings.