WordPress SEO In 5 Minutes-What Is Page Experience?
In November 2020, Google announced a new algorithm designed to evaluate a website based on user experience. The pages are going to be assessed using a set of metrics termed Core Web Vitals. This new ranking factor is called Google Page experience and has started to roll out in June 2021 and will be completed by August 2021. Our SEO team in Perth helps you understand what this new ranking factor is and how to prepare for it.
What is Page experience?
Page experience is a set of metrics that evaluate a user’s experience while interacting with a specific web page. It uses Core Web Vitals, which measures the user experience for page loading, interactivity, and visual stability. It also includes several existing search factors as mobile-friendliness, HTTPS ranking, safe browsing, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
How page experience will affect the ranking
Google says, “Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.”
This means it’s time to create pages with great content and also which are user friendly. Content is still the king, so bad content with a good page experience will not get you in the top rankings. But, when there are pages with similar content, page experience will decide the rankings. The Core Web Vitals will join the existing factors that Google uses to evaluate when generating SERPs.
What are the Page experience metrics?
The new Core Web Vitals consist of real-world, user-centred metrics that measure different aspects of the user experience when they visit your page. For now, it mainly focuses on three aspects – Loading, Interactivity and Visual stability of the page. More focal points may be added later in the future.
The metrics to measure the three focal points are as follows.
- Largest Contentful Paint(LCP): It measures the loading time for the largest content element that you view in the viewport. LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading to be considered good.
- First Input Delay(FID): It measures the time a browser takes to respond to an interaction triggered by a user, for example, a button click. A page needs an FID of less than 100 milliseconds to be good.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): It evaluates the visual stability of a screen – that is how much the elements on your screen move. A CLS of less than 0.1 is considered as good value.
All these focal points, along with the existing experience factors mentioned below, determine the page experience.
This metric evaluates if your page is mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendliness always tilt the odds in your favour as the majority of your site visitors would be accessing your sites via mobile devices. However, with Google having moved towards a mobile-first index, mobile-friendliness has become even more significant. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll fail to meet the criteria for user experience.
This metric ensures your page doesn’t contain any malicious content like malware. Safe browsing is a vital rank determining factor. Make sure your website is optimised for safe browsing, i.e., your page doesn’t have any deceptive content like social engineering.
The page should be served over HTTPS. Users feel safer when they browse through sites that use HTTPS. As Google strives towards a safer and secure web, secure sites will definitely have an advantage over non-secure ones. So, ensure your site’s connection is secure.
No intrusive interstitials
This metric evaluates if the content on the page is easy to access for the user. Pop-up advertisements and other such intrusive interstitials can make the page less accessible and lead to a bad user experience for both desktop and mobile users. Google will gladly put your pages in the “not fit for users” category if you enable an intrusive page design.
How to optimise Page Experience?
Page experience can be crucial in determining your SERP rankings. Google is about to make it’s ranking algorithm page-focused rather than website-focused. This update means that you should ensure all your web pages are optimised. So, how can you optimise pages for user experience?
- Optimise the loading speed and reduce errors
- Split and serve scripts in smaller bits
- Ensure all page elements are mobile-friendly
- Ensure there are space holders for images to load into to solve cumulative layout shift issues
- Ensure page elements like embedded resources, videos, and forms are served over HTTPS
- Monitor your site’s user experience with the new Page Experience report in the Google Search Console
Algorithm – a complex system of ranking signals that Google uses to deliver search results.
HTTPS – HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure means that the connection over which you are visiting a site is ‘secure.’
Embedded Resources – are resources like videos, audios, images etc., that are loaded with the page itself.
Social Engineering – is the process of manipulating people into divulging confidential or personal information.
Updated on 28/07/2021
Updated by Silpa Danish
Updated rollout dates, What are the page metrics section and added new section on how to optimise page experience