Recent studies indicate that Google processes 3.5 million searches per day and processes 40,000 searches approximately every second.
Research also indicates that 75% of the users never go beyond the 1st page of the SERPs (search engine result pages).
These figures are enough to specify the impact of search engine ranking on digital business. Google constantly keeps on expanding its criteria for a better user experience. Introduction of Page Experience Signal is one of the new criteria announced by Google.
Decoding Google Page Experience Update:
Page experience is a set of rules that quantify the user experience during a web page visit. Last year (Nov 2020), Google announced page experience as a ranking signal implemented in April 2021 in the Google Search Criteria.
The motto of page experience update is to provide an improved web experience for all users, be it for desktop or mobile. Of course, multiple factors will impact the same, so let’s check them out.
Factors to be Included in Page Experience Update:
Apart from an enjoyable and memorable user experience, page experience is also measured by factors like website performance, page/site load speed, mobile-friendliness, visual stability, secured browsing, HTTPS (Hyper-text Transfer Protocol Secure), and display of intrusions (Ads).
In a nutshell, a page experience update will check the user experience and rank the same in the search results accordingly. Undoubtedly the good experiences have an advantage over bad ones. Though a few of these factors already exist in SEO, there are some new additions for gaining better precision in user experience.
Five signals cover the entire Google Page Experience Update, as shown in the below image.
1: Core Web Vitals:
Core Web Vitals measure the page performance with the help of 3 basic aspects.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):
LCP measures the complete page load time, including the content, images, if any, videos, etc.
An LCP of 2.5 seconds or less is ideal.
Removing any unused CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) or shifting them to another style sheet may also help reduce LCP time.
- First Input Delay (FID):
FID tests the time between the user’s first interaction or the first click on a web page and the actual page response time.
An ideal FID score is 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS):
Visual stability of your content is important, which is measured by CLS. Unstable visuals or site layouts are responsible for a weak user experience. Ensure a CLS score of 0.1 or less to be in the ranking game.
This signal verifies your page responsiveness for mobile devices.
3: Safe Browsing:
This signal checks the page’s security in terms of viruses and malware and verifies whether the same is free from other malicious content, links, bad downloads, etc., or not.
This signal checks whether HTTPS security is present on your page or not by checking whether SSL certificate is installed on the website or not.
5: No Intrusive Interstitials:
This signal checks the ease with which your content is displayed to the end-users. For example, intrusive interstitials like ads, while the page download process is on, will be checked and confirmed before the ranking for page experience update takes place.
Expectations from the Page Experience Update
Google gives an advance intimation of approximately six months regarding every update, and this portrays its sincerity and desire to web developers, business owners, SEO/IT team for making the necessary changes in their digital infrastructure before the update is finally rolled out in the market.
Example: For page experience update, the announcement was made in November 2020 and went partly live from April 2021, though it would take a few more months (August 2021) to be completely intertwined with all systems.
So slowly and steadily, page experience updates will start playing their complete role in SEO.
How to Prepare for the Page Experience Signal?
After this announcement, there has been a phenomenal rise in the usage of page performance tools like Google Page Speed Insights and KeyCDN Speed Test, etc.
You can also monitor the Core Web Vitals of your website with Core Web Vitals Report (on Google Search Console), which portrays your page performance and picks out the pages which need improvement. Fix these issues by using any page performance tools, and you’re back in business.
Mobile-Friendly Test to check out the site and page performance on mobile devices and Security Issues Report for checking the page for security issues can help in better page optimization.
Tips to Optimize your Website for Google’s Page Experience Update:
- Make sure Your Site is Secured With SSL Certificate:
In an online business, if you wish to provide a memorable user experience to your visitors, website security is a must. No one likes to ponder on unsecured sites or risk purchases by punching in card details when unsure about their data privacy. Security lapses in site security can harm your SEO ranks.
Apart from using web security check tools like WPScan or Sucuri SiteCheck, for checking security issues on the website for fixing them, installing an SSL certificate for site and data security is a must.
SSL certificate encrypts all the website data (browser-server communications) by converting it into ciphertext, which looks like gibberish language. As a result, hackers cannot penetrate or misuse encrypted text, and hence customer and site data privacy is maintained.
This digital certificate transforms your website from HTTP to HTTPS, thus enhancing the page experience update signal.
I would recommend purchasing an SSL certificate from ClickSSL, which provides web securities at nominal rates for a decade. Offering all global brands as a choice to customers, this platinum SSL certificate provider provides top-notch quality customer service, money-back options, and other VAS (value-added services).
- Make sure Your Site is Responsive to Mobile and Other Devices:
Since mobile users cover almost half of the entire web traffic, your website and web pages need to be responsive to mobiles and tablets.
Statistics indicate that in the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices accounted for 54.8% of the global web traffic and are increasing every year.
One section of page experience update needs your website to be mobile-friendly for a better ranking. As stated above, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool helps test your website’s responsiveness and pinpoint other page load issues.
It’s simple. Just click “view details” near the page loading issues and fix them as suggested by the tool.
WordPress plugins like OBox Mobile help in making your site mobile-friendly.
- Make sure Your Site Speed is Swift:
Since page load time is one of the major factors of Core Web Vitals, being a site owner, you need to ensure that the faster the page load time, the better the user experience. Therefore, Google, too, condemns slow load time and gives priority to fast-loading sites.
An ideal page load time is less than 2 seconds. But, unfortunately, 40% of the customers abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
As stated above, Google’s Page Speed Insight Tool helps determine your site speed and scores your website from 1-100 where 0-49=poor, 50-89=improvement, and 90-100=good.
- Make sure Your Site is Free from Intrusive Interstitials:
Ensure that your visitors are not displayed intrusive interstitials when they click your site from Google. These intrusions are pop-up ads that make site content inaccessible, specifically in mobiles, since they are visible on the entire screen.
To be more specific, interstitials that are not blocking the content are still fine, but Google does not favour interstitials that block the primary content.
The below image clearly states that in the 1st image, the pop-up is at the top of the screen, making the page content visible, whereas, in the 2nd image, the pop-up covers the entire screen, which creates a negative website impression and provides a bad user experience, which Google disapproves of.
Avoid these intrusions for a better Google page experience update.
Ample variables are responsible for gaining a successful SEO rank. After all, everything ends up giving a good user experience. The same rule applies to Page Experience Update too. Checkout on the metrics which Google uses for the same and ensure that your site is up to the expectations set by Google.
Your SEO is bound to be successful if you secure your current rankings and follow all the Page Experience Update signals so that when the same gets rolling, you are ready to maintain your current SEO position.