Digital Marketing

Why You Should Know About the New Google Page Experience Signal – Here’s Why #242

Why You Should Know About The New Google Page Experience Signal

On May 28th, 2020, Google announced that they were adding a new ranking algorithm called the Google Page Experience, which incorporates some new page experience metrics in their ranking factor.

In this episode of the award-winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Eric Enge walks us through this algorithm update and shares advice to get you prepared before the update arrives.

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Hey, everybody, Eric Enge here. I’m the Principal with the Digital Marketing Solutions business unit here at Perficient. Today I’m going to talk to you about the new Page Experience ranking signal. Google announced on May 28th that they plan to create this Page Experience ranking signal, which is largely going to be the result of integrating preexisting signals into one new aggregate signal. But there is a little bit of new stuff in it.

The first thing you should know is the signal is not yet released, and Google has said that they’re going to give a six-month warning before it gets rolled out, which tells you that we’re likely talking about 2021 before we see this new signal in play. But in this “Here’s Why,” I’m going to outline the basic components of what’s going into the Page Experience signal and what level of impact you should expect.

The first category of the signal is what we call “Core Web Vitals.” This is basically page speed type stuff, and it breaks down into three categories. The first is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). What that does is measure overall loading performance when you get a significant chunk of the content available on the page. Google tells us that we should strive to have an LCP score of 2.5 seconds or less.

The next is First Input Delay, which measures the times when a user clicks on something to when the browser is first actually able to respond to that with some action. To provide a good experience for this signal, Google is recommending a score of less than 100 milliseconds.

The third of these signals, which I think is really cool, is Cumulative Layout Shift. This is actually a measure of overall visual stability. When your page starts loading, and the user begins to see things showing up on the screen as more elements load, do some of those things jump around a little bit because you didn’t get the whole layout of the page structured and populate things into containers in an elegant way? There are tools to measure this, and Google tells us that we want a score of less than 0.1.

So that’s the page speed type stuff. There are a few other signals—these are oldies but goodies. Mobile friendly, we know all about that. You can check that with a mobile-friendly test. Safe browsing—that’s whether or not you’ve been impacted by malware. That can hurt your rankings because Google doesn’t want to send people to pages with malware on it. Whether you’ve got ACTPS—that’s really about a safe browsing experience as well. It’s a signal they announced years ago—a very small signal, but it’s there.

Intrusive Interstitials are another factor in the Page Experience ranking signal. So, all of these things are going to be combined into one master signal. Most of them have been around previously or well-defined previously. The most interesting new thing for me was this Cumulative Layout Shift, which I thought was a good call. I think it really is a bad experience. I can guarantee you that there are some websites out there that have figured out how to put what the user wants right in front of them, and then when the user goes to click on it, a little layout shift happens, and they end up clicking on an ad. That would be a really bad experience.

Ultimately, when this new signal is released, it’ll be largely about the integration of all these preexisting signals into one platform. This will make it easier for Google to manage one larger Page Experience Score and to tweak the signals in terms of their strengths and how they interact, and even add new signals over time.

As for the scope of the impact of this new signal—well, first of all, it’s not going to have any impact until they formally roll it out. But it’s also important to remember that the relevance and quality of your content are going to be the key and core driver of your rankings. As long as those are strong, it’ll probably have little to no impact. And bear in mind, I didn’t mention links, but in Google’s mind, links are considered a quality signal, so that is still a part of that picture. A bad Page Experience could potentially lower your rankings in Google, but if you have that highest, most relevant content, you’re going to be in great shape.

That said, there is the potential for a very significant impact on how well your site converts visitors into customers, and that is where you really need to be concerned about Page Experience. In fact, that’s probably the number one reason to be concerned about it.


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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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