For SEO practitioners, each time Google announces a major update on their algorithm can be anxiety inducing and stressful. Why? Simple. Because most SEO practitioners uses Google as their top search engine, and a major update can shake up the SERP page violently. Now, Google has announced their new Google : Page Experience Algorithm update, and SEO practitioners are starting to sweat.
But don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to go over the Page Experience Update, what it means, and what you should do in for your page to take advantage of this new update.
First things first, let’s get one thing out of the way. According to Google, the Page Experience update is scheduled for 2021. So any changes you might be seeing in your rankings right now is not caused by the new update, as it haven’t rolled out yet.
Another thing you should know is just how frequent Google rolls out updates. Google updates and refreshes their algorithms almost every day. According to sources, in 2018 Google updated their algorithm a mind-boggling 3,234 times, which translates to roughly about 9 times per day.
So why all the fuss with this specific Google Page Experience Update?
Because this is shaping to be one of the biggest updates Google has rolled out. Let’s look at the Page Experience Update, and what it means.
What Does The Page Experience Update Bring?
To explain it in the simplest way, the Page Experience Update will introduce something called the Core Web Vitals into the ranking signals.
Core Web Vitals
What are Core Web Vitals? Core Web Vitals are three new metrics Google has introduced, to help identify which pages are giving their users the best experience possible on their pages.
Google has long said that the ultimate goal of Google search is to present only the best websites that provides the best experience and answer for their users.
Core Web Vitals is another step into that direction, as Core Web Vitals will be combined with other previously known ranking signals to ensure that only the pages with the best user experience will be presented on their first SERP page.
So let’s discuss the three new metrics Google has introduced;
Largest Contentful Paint (Loading)
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a metric that measures the render time of the largest content element visible in the viewport.
In simpler terms, LCP measures your page’s loading performance. According to Google, website owners and developers should always strive for their LCP to occur within 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delay (Interactivity)
According to web.dev, First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes once a user interacts with a page (For example, clicking on an image, link, or button) for the page to provide the appropriate response.
If LCP measures just how fast your website is able to present itself to a user once they clicked on it, FID measures just how fast your website is able to interact with the user.
In order to have a good FID score, your FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift (Visual Stability)
And last but not least, the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Now out of all three of these, CLS is the hardest to explain and quantify, but a simple way to explain it is that the CLS measures every unexpected shift and movement that your page makes during the page’s lifespan.
Here’s a visual to help you understand.
In this image, you can see how the user is expecting to click on the “No, go back” button but due to another element popping up and shifting the entire layout, the user accidentally clicked on the “Yes, place my order” button.
You can see why Google is rolling out a metric to measure this, as it can cause major problems for your user.
Web.Dev says that for a good CLS score, web developers and owners should aim for a score of less than 0.1.
Okay so now that we understand what the new metrics introduced in the Core Web Vitals are and what they measure, let’s get back to the Page Experience Update, and what Google is trying to achieve with this update.
As you can see in the chart above, the Core Web Vitals that we have just discussed and explained will be combined with older ranking signals such as mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and no intrusive interstitials to help them figure out the sites that provides the best experience for their users.
And this is in line with Google’s ultimate goal as we’ve mentioned before.
How To Prepare For This Update?
Now that we’ve discussed the coming Google Page Experience update and what it does, let’s get down to the most important part for website developers or owners; how do you prepare for this update?
Simple really. You just make sure your page is well equipped to provide the best experience for your user.
Along with their Core Web Vitals metrics, Google has also provided so that their Search Console Platform is also able to measure the Core Web Vitals, and tell you when a page is not optimal for your users’ experience.
Here’s an example;
All it takes after that is some simple rectifications, and you’re good!
Remember that in the end, our goal is not to appease some machine at Google. Our goal should always be our user’s experience, and their happiness. If you build a page that you love and your visitor’s love, then make no mistake you will be ranked at some point.