“That store looks amazing. Maybe we should give it a try!”
You walk in. No one’s around to take care of you. Crew seems busy. No, they aren’t even around. You somehow grab what you liked, but that’s it. Billing seems to be swamped.
That’s the ultimate guide to losing a customer in under 5 minutes.
Now, let’s project the same situation to a website visitor.
You enter a site; the UX is miserable, you have to scroll 15 times to the right and 12 times to the left to read a line, it takes forever to load, the text isn’t legible…
The website’s ranking anyway.
Oops! Here’s some bad news!
Google Page Experience Algorithm update! And May 2021 is your date.
What is Google Page Experience Update?
According to Google,
Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value. It includes Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing Search signals: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.Google
The update is slated to release in May 2021.
You could call this one the guardian of website experience sorts. If you wish to climb the ladder of SERPs, page experience is going to be one of the important areas where you’ll have to score well.
Let’s pick up the magnifying glass now and get down to business.
What are the Core Components of Google Page Experience Update?
The Google Page Experience signals is a mix of the following signals:
- Core Web Vitals
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines.
Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals are user experience signals that are measurable and throw insights into the real-world user experience on a website. Currently, the three main components of core web vitals signal include:
- Visual Stability
Largest Contentful Paint is a metric that measures how long it takes for the largest component or element to load. It reports the rendering time taken for the most sizable image or text block to load within the viewport.
First Input Delay is a measure of the time taken for the browser to respond to an interaction that’s initiated by a user, for instance, to click a button, or browse a link.
From the first time at which the user interacts with a page to which the browser finally reacts to that action is what FID finds out.
Cumulative Layout Shift is a metric that shows the percentage of the screen that moves based on the stimuli of a user, in essence, user behavior & movement.
According to Web.Dev,
CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.Web.dev
Mobile browsing accounts for half of the website traffic worldwide. Can we blame Google for wanting website owners to just make the sites mobile-friendly for an enriched user experience?
The simple check to ensure users don’t have to endure the zoom-scroll-panic routine. Didn’t get us?
Source: SEO eXpress
Most of the sites are mobile-optimized by now. But in case you have second thoughts, run checks to ensure the same for your domain.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a safety protocol for internet communication that safeguards the privacy and integrity of any data that’s transferred between a user and a website. Google encourages websites to secure the HTTPS status for their domain to protect a user’s connection.
The best way to go about it is by getting a valid certificate from a trusted CA or Certificate Authority. Post that, redirect your HTTP URLs to the secured one. Here’s Google’s detailed article about the same.
It’s important to ensure that your website doesn’t contain any malware or malicious entities, nor does it promote any deceptive content. Here’s Google’s article about the same.
In simple terms, this is a measure of how easy to access is the content on the site. According to Google, here are some of the ways in which it becomes difficult for a user to access the information.
Source: Smashing Magazine
- A pop-up which engulfs the entire screen and leaves no room for the content to be visible to users.
- A standalone element that has to be discarded by the user to proceed browsing the site.
How does Google Page Experience affect SEO?
A poor user experience stands in the way of a person to find what they’re looking for. The website could actually contain the essentials, however, a poor UX directly results in them bouncing to another site. Mission failed, right there.
Coupled with the increase in the number of owners referring to Lighthouse & Page Speed Insights, Google Page Experience update comes as a no brainer, sooner or later.
However, having websites or pages that adhere to these guidelines and offers the best experience doesn’t necessarily mean they would rank and rule at the top.
At any given day, this doesn’t overrule having great content or relevant information that drive value to users.
What about AMP & Top Stories?
In mobile, pages were required to have an AMP version ready to stand a chance to be featured in the top stories. However, after Google Page Experience update rolls out, this no longer becomes a mandatory criteria.
Any website, irrespective of having an Accelerated Mobile Pages version to its pages still could compete to make it to the Top Stories. In fact, the update would become a catalyst for ranking.
5 Tools to Check Google Page Experience
In the event of COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Google gave a huge heads up to all website owners to clear up their user experience and address key issues within.
According to Google, here are some of the best ways you can improve the page experience and get ahead of competitors when the update rolls out in May.
The first and easiest way to audit your website would be to visit Google Search Console and measure overall performance.
Get an overall idea and collect page-wise data to dig deep into individual URLs.
Go to “Enhancements” and “Core Web Vitals” in Google Search Console to start with.
Lighthouse is a free website auditing tool by Google that helps developers to measure the UX on their sites and find the right opportunities to improve it.
Improve your core web vitals- FCP, CLS, and LCP with Lighthouse. To use Lighthouse, open Developer Tools in your Google Chrome, visit the URL you wish to audit, and click on Generate Reports.
The tool provides website owners an overall view about how users experience your website first-hand along with a set of recommendations to improve it.
You can drill down on individual pages and instantly get a headstart to improving & monitoring the important pages on a war footing basis.
What’s a good score to have?
- 90+: The website is faster than majority of the websites out there
- Between 50-90: Average
- Less than 50: Poor, i.e., your site is super slow.
Visualize what users do after landing on your webpage using heatmap tools. The button that brings most clicks, the images that seemed clickable but aren’t, the content section that people spend most time on, and the triggers for them to bounce.
A free tool by Google Search Console to instantly measure if a domain is mobile-friendly or not.
It also shows recommendations to improve the webpage; font sizes, making the content size legible to viewport, and sizing tap targets as required.
We have also written an in-depth article showing the tools required to measure UX here. Check it out!
How to SEO for Google Page Experience
⚡ Reduce the number of plugins if you’re on WordPress. Use only the essential ones. (Here’s a list of essential plugins)
💻 Test your website on multiple platforms, speeds and browsers. (Here’s a good tool to test your website.)
🔥 Switch to a better/optimized host and speed up your basic core signals. (Here are the best hosts)
💪 Ensure your code is not bloated and stick to clean coding standards. (Here’s a guide on coding standards)
🖼️ Switch to faster loading image formats. (Here’s a guide on fast loading images)
☠️ Remove external loading resources like Google Fonts. (How to self host Google fonts)
🦄 Get away with annoying popups, browser notifications etc.
👩🦳 Do the grandma test. (Why you need one)
Leave no stone unturned.
Why? It’s no longer throwing darts in the dark- the rulebook is available to all and you just need to implement it to rank the pages faster and easily.
We’ll keep updating the blog as and when we get something new about the update.
Well, get to work! Time’s ticking!