As of June 2, 2021, the first half of Google’s new page experience update has finally been launched after a long leadup with much anticipation.
This update changes Google’s search algorithm by incorporating new signals for monitoring and evaluating page experience. These new page experience signals – along with existing page experience signals – now have a more profound impact on rankings in search results.
The update was split into two parts as Google continues to tweak and test new features. The second half of this update will be rolled out in mid-July 2021.
Never before has your page experience mattered as much to your SERP rankings as it does now.
This has big implications; if your website is determined to have a poor page experience, it can negatively affect your search rankings and reduce your organic leads.
No marketer or business owner wants that, so how can we best optimize for this update and the second part of it coming in July? Let’s dive in.
Understanding the Page Experience Update
This update adds a set of new signals to Google’s search algorithm for evaluating page experience. These new signals have been added to the hundreds Google currently uses to rank websites in search results. Anyone looking to improve their SEO now, and in the future will need to consider optimizing their page experience.
Google’s Page Experience Signals 2021
Here are the main signals Google’s search algorithm uses to determine page experience as of June 2021:
Original Signals Used to Measure Page Experience
- Intrusive Interstitials
Newly Added Signals from the Update: Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals are a group of signals designed to measure a website’s responsiveness and interactivity.
Expanding upon earlier page experience signals like mobile-friendliness and website security, Google defined Core Web Vitals to provide more comprehensive and quantifiable data regarding page load speed, stability and content usability.
Largest Contentful Paint or LCP
- This signal represents your websites’ load performance
- Google’s guidelines say a good page experience will have LCP occur within 2.5 seconds of website load
First Input Delay or FID
- Measures delay time between the loading of a webpage and when the user can interact with the website content
- According to Google, a good page experience has a FID of 100 milliseconds or less
Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS
- This signal measures any unexpected shifts in the visual layout of your website
- A website with good page experience will have a CLS score of 0.1 or less
Why The Page Experience Update Matters
Your website’s on-page experience has become much more important for ranking high in Google’s search results.
When two websites have similar content, page experience ratings can be used as the tiebreaker to determine who should rank higher.
For highly competitive searches, having a good page experience will be vital to appearing near the top of the first SERP and ahead of your closest competitors.
Websites determined to have met all the required metrics for a good page experience could get an icon placed beside their listing in google search, helping them stand out to users on SERPs and increase organic leads.
How to Optimize for Page Experience
Focus on making sure you have a fast-loading, secure website that is mobile-friendly and displays relevant content that is easy to read and interact with.
Along with this update, Google created the Page Experience Report in Google Search Console. This is incredibly useful for auditing your website’s on-page experience and finding actionable insights for optimization.
Google Search Console will gather metrics for the top 75 percent of your website’s most visited pages and aggregate data from interactions from the last 28 days into reports with recommendations for improvement.
If you don’t have Google Search Console, there are several other tools available to evaluate core web vitals and other page experience signals like Lighthouse, Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and others listed below:
Looking to the Future With Page Experience
The first part of Google’s on-page experience update has just launched, so don’t get too far ahead of yourself trying to completely change your website.
Remember that the second half of the update is coming in mid-June, and these updates will not take effect immediately, as Google has reported:
“We’ll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won’t play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August.” – Google
You may notice some changes to your SEO performance in the short term, but it’s prudent to only make minor changes until August, when the update is fully implemented.
Until then, remember that this update is Google’s way of trying to reward websites that provide the best page experience as well as highly relevant content. Spending time improving your on-page experience is important, but it should not take away from your other SEO efforts, like creating highly relevant content for your audience.
Ensuring your website meets the new page experience criteria while creating relevant content will put you in the best position to reap the rewards of the page experience update now, and in the future, as more changes are made.
Unsure of what changes need to be made to your website during this rollout? Contact TechWyse today.