With its page experience algorithm, Google is bringing factors like a website's speed, mobile friendliness, and security (among others) to determine its search rankings.
So what does this mean for your SEO?
Well, it means that if you want to rank higher in Google now, you'll need to work on all these factors. Most of these have been a part of Google's ranking algorithm for quite some time. But this algorithm brings together several such signals that work to deliver a better page experience — and eventually a better web — for both users and businesses.
To help businesses maintain and improve their rankings for this algorithm, Google introduced a new Page Experience report. This report evaluates each page on your website and tells you the percentage of URLs that offer a good user experience. Your target: scoring a perfect 100%!
So let's see what Google's page experience update is all about and how you can prepare for it.
Google highlighted in its announcement how the page experience algorithm measures "aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page."
Several page experience signals count toward this. As you can see below, page experience signals include the core web vitals (LCP, FID, and CLS), mobile friendliness, security provisions, and non-intrusive browsing experiences:
Of the page experience ranking signals, the web core vitals establish how fast a web page delivers its main content to the user (loading the hero area of a homepage, for instance), how quickly a user can interact with a page (click a call-to-action button, for example), and how well a page stabilizes (think things like CSS changes getting applied while a page is still loading).
To evaluate your website for the web core vitals, try running your URLs through Google's PageSpeed Insights tool. Here are the stats for this website:
Next comes mobile friendliness. Mobile friendliness has been a major ranking factor for a long time. Google's Mobile-Friendly test can help you score your website for it:
Let's now talk about security. The HTTPS standard has been a ranking factor for many years (since 2014) as Google values safe browsing experiences.
Besides, Google shows a warning if you don't use HTTPS:
And when you use the HTTPS standard, your website is flagged as safe:
Setting HTTPS as the default standard for your website doesn't just help you improve your page experience score but also assures your visitors of a secure browsing experience. If users see security warnings when interacting with your website, most will probably just bounce back.
Finally, let's get to delivering non-intrusive web browsing experiences. SEO-wise, interstitials — or ads that float over a web or mobile page — must not block your main content that users come to access on your website. Here are some best practices Moz suggests for using interstitials:
It's not that you can't use interstitials — you can — just be careful about the end-user experience.
Another way to assess your website's score for the page experience update is checking Google's Page Experience report. This report will help you find issues with any of the update's ranking signals on your different website pages: (Note: Google has now removed the Ad Experience widget from the Page Experience report as it doesn't relate to Page Experience.)
If you want your website to retain its search rankings or improve with Google's Page Experience update, these are the key areas you need to work on.
Optimizing your website (pages!) for the page experience update needs you to build your website right. Just revisit the web core vitals and you'll see how your web design agency's choices impact your page experience.
And it's not only about the technical aspects of your website. Think about user friendliness (i.e., using a thoughtful design without any elements/popups that get in the way of a great user experience) and responsiveness. Again, a good web design agency can handle these for you.
If you already have a website optimized for the page experience update — great! You can always check your score inside your Search Console. However, if there are issues, you might want to go with a redesign — one that improves your page experience not just for the search engines but for your users as well.
At 2Point, we build beautiful and high-performing websites that both search engines and users love. Check out our web design services or get in touch if you have any questions.