Prepare For Google Using Page Experience For Search Ranking
Page experience is a measure that search engines will soon be using to weigh search engine results in favor of not only the most relevant page content, but the web page that is likely to provide the best user experience. While Google promises to still prioritize the most useful content as the highest ranking results on a search engine results page, understanding page experience is rapidly becoming crucial to website operators who want to have search-engine-optimized sites and better serve their visitors.
Google has stated their intention to start using page experience in 2021, so webmasters will have a chance to prepare, but we have all the information we need to make sites comply, so now is the time for website owners to make sure their sites follow the overall guidelines to provide a great page experience.
Core Web Vitals
Page experience measures core web vitals to identify how quickly a page loads and presents its content to the viewer.
- Largest contentful paint (LCP) indicates how long it takes for the viewer to see the main content on the page, ideally within 2.5 seconds of loading.
- First Input Delay (FID) tells you how long user interactions with the page are delayed due browsers still loading dynamic elements before they can respond to the input. Sites are recommended to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) measures visual stability, whether the layout of the site will change unexpectedly, causing viewers to click in the wrong place or lose track of the content they were viewing. Measuring the amount of layout shifts and the degree to which the browser’s layout is altered gives a CLS score; less than 0.1 indicates that the site is not too unstable.
More users than ever are visiting sites on mobile devices, so it makes sense to optimize the performance of your website for the mobile user experience. Mobile devices need to navigate the Web through a touch interface, display readable text without additional zooming, and also want to use as little data as possible. Google’s mobile-friendly test can tell you if a URL provides a good mobile experience.
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If a search engine detects malicious or deceptive content, this can reduce your page experience score significantly. Websites should avoid hidden or misleading download links that could be seen as deceptive.
Serving a site over HTTPS verifies that it’s run by your organization and secures users’ private information if it is sent through the site. Getting an SSL certificate to enable HTTPS is easy and inexpensive, and you can get a multi-domain certificate if you manage many domains.
No intrusive interstitials
Pop-up and clickthrough messages slow down the user from getting to the content they searched for. While these may serve your site’s purposes, getting search traffic is crucial to a website’s success, so be aware of the impact this could have on your site’ search ranking. Google’s algorithmic measure of page experience is not supposed to decrease based on practical interstitials such as legally-required age verification and tracking cookie notifications, or ones that can be dismissed easily, but pop-ups and banners that cover a significant portion of the window have a negative effect on page experience ranking.
The next stage in search engines is to take users to sites with great user experiences. Until the changes take effect next year, it isn’t known whether pages with high page experience will outrank pages with the best content, but the effort spent on making great content could be wasted if less relevant content is served instead. Analyzing the performance of your web pages in serving visitors is crucial to both search engine optimization and retaining visitors to your web site.
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