The new ranking algorithm, Page Experience which is due for release in 2021, will essentially judge web pages based on the user’s experience. If Google deems that users will have a poor experience, then the page will likely not rank well. But how will Google determine how a user will experience your site?
Google explains Page Experience signals as:
Core Web Vitals
The page provides a good user experience, focusing on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance of the largest content element, often an image or video. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): Measures interactivity. To provide good user experience, sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability or how often a visual element shifts position when loading a page. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.
The page is mobile-friendly. Google has been advising web designers to build for Mobile-first for quite a while.
The page doesn’t contain malicious (for example, malware) or deceptive (for example, social engineering) content.
The page is served over HTTPS. Make sure your site has an SSL certificate.
No intrusive interstitials
The content on the page is easily accessible to the user. This means no intrusive pop-ups or ads.
Google Core Web Vitals
Now we know what Google will be looking for when measuring Page Experience and we know that Core Web Vitals will play an important role in the forthcoming Google update. How can we make sure our website pages are producing a good user experience?
The last 4 signals Google lists are not new. They have been ranking factors for quite a while and so your site should, for example, have an SSL certificate. What about Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals can be measured in the new Google Console report. Locating the report is not difficult. Login to your Google Search Console account. In the left-hand side bar, in the third content area, you will find the Core Web Vitals report.
The Core Web Vitals report shows how your pages perform based on real-world usage data, it shows URL performance grouped by status, metric type, and URL group. Please bear in mind this report is not designed to show the performance of a specific URL, rather it looks at your site’s performance as a whole.
The overview page breaks down the data by device, mobile and desktop. Click on the “Open Report” option for each device to discover how your site performs for each version. The report lists “Poor” in Red, “Needs Improvement” in amber and “Good” in Green.
It is strongly recommended that you work to improve any “Poor” issues highlighted before moving onto the “Needs Improvement” areas.
We know that Google will be launching its Page Experience algorithm update in 2021 so now is the time to get familiar with Google Core Web Vitals and make sure your site is ready for this important update ahead of time.