Google rolled out its updated Page Experience signal in mid-June. While this Page Experience Update includes several components (secure sites, safe-to-browse sites, non-intrusive interstitials, and core web vitals), the core components of this update are easily misunderstood.
Here are four things you should know about Google’s Page Experience Update and what you can do to set your site up for success:
1. The Page Experience Update integrates multiple ranking factors into one aggregated signal.
This integration lets Google rapidly test new, yet-to-be-announced aspects of the user experience as part of a larger ranking signal.
Why does this matter to you and your customers? A user’s experience with your site impacts their ability to find what they are looking for and leave satisfied. If users can’t get what they came for or lose patience waiting for it, it might as well not exist on your site. Google cares about providing a great user experience, so it makes sense that it plays a role in ranking.
Understanding what this update includes — which you’re doing by reading this post — is a great first step toward ensuring your site is positioned to rank well.
2. Page speed is an important part of the Page Experience signal. However, this signal goes far beyond page speed alone, as indicated by what the Core Web Vitals metrics measure.
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The Core Web Vitals metrics are primarily concerned with how and when users can interact with your pages as they load on their devices. They do this by targeting poor experiences, such as moving elements, invalid viewports, and time to interaction. Understanding how your pages load and how that load time and pathing impacts the ability of the users to interact with your pages is the most important place to start your evaluation.
Once you understand your page speed, address any glaring issues. However, don’t expect your rankings to soar immediately. Google describes page speed as a tiebreaker-type signal, and relevance and quality are the core drivers of ranking. Improving your page speed may help you win more tiebreaker-type ranking scenarios, but the impact on conversion rates and customer loyalty has far greater benefits for your business.
Correcting page speed issues may also assist Google’s ability to crawl and index your site efficiently. Speeding up their ability to fully load your pages reduces costs associated with collecting your pages’ data and information, creating a potential indirect technical SEO benefit.
For more on the role of page speed in ranking, watch this video Eric Enge did with Google’s Martin Splitt as part of the Google SEO Mythbusting series.
3. Expect new components for the Page Experience signal to be tested often.
Google may frequently experiment with these signals, and expansion beyond the current core set of components is likely, even before the end of 2021.
As Google continues to update the Page Experience signal, what meets Core Web Vitals standards today may change soon. This signal will also remain independent of Broad Core Algorithm Updates, so changes in its deployment will not be tied to those rollouts.
Monitor for errors and issues by keeping an eye on your site’s Page Experience and Core Web Vitals reports in Google Search Console. Focusing on global site elements that impact several pages and devising a plan to address any poor Core Web Vitals scores is a strong first-step approach to correcting existing issues.
4. Google’s Page Experience Update reinforces that UX matters.
Yes, it’s a ranking signal. More importantly, it impacts conversion on your site and affects the lifetime value of your customers. If you offer users a sub-par experience, they’ll leave as soon as they find a better one. Keep Google and your users happy by continuing to prioritize and improve your site’s user experience.
Optimizing for the ranking factors in Google’s Page Experience signal, including Core Web Vitals, helps your site compete. Determine how well your site performs, identify areas for improvement, and start making incremental improvements.