Page Experience Ranking Update in 2021

Isometric illustration of lap top with page ranking icon elements

On May 28th, 2020, Google announced that they will be incorporating page experience as a new ranking factor from 2021.

This essentially means that if in the eyes of Google, your web page is providing a poor experience to the users; it will negatively affect the rankings of that page. With this update, page experience will be ranking criteria for the Top Stories feature in Search on mobile, replacing AMP requirement, which was the eligibility factor for top stories earlier.

Existing Ranking Factors

In recent years, Google has increasingly focused on user experience to formulate website rankings.

Some of these are Mobile Friendliness, Page loading Speed, use of HTTPS encryption and many others. This update will be a combination of already existing page experience metrics from Google together with Core Web Vitals to get a complete picture of user experience quality on a webpage.

What Exactly Is Page Experience?

According to Google, the definition of page experience signals is:

The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile.

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/page-experience

Factors That Contribute to a Good Page Experience

Some of the already existing ranking factors under page experience are:

  • Mobile Friendliness : Check if your web page is mobile friendly with the Mobile Friendly Test.
  • HTTPS Encryption: Know if your website is secure or not here.
  • No Intrusive Interstitials: Interstitials make content less accessible. Make sure to make the content easily accessible to the users. 
  • Safe Browsing: Your webpage should not contain malicious or deceptive content. Check security issues on your website with Security Issues Report.
  • Webpage Loading Speed

The graphic below accurately sums up the page experience signals.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Earlier in 2020. Google introduced a set of metrics, also called Web Vitals, which help you quantify the experience of your site and identify opportunities to improve. Under these Web Vitals, there is a subset known as Core Web Vitals.

There will be more metrics coming under the Core Web Vitals, but as of now, these three facets of user experience are under focus: loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

Each of the Core Web Vitals focuses on a certain aspect of user experience. This brings out real world, user centric insights to opitimise for long term quality success of the website.

The Components Used to Formulate Core Web Vitals

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP):

The time taken by a webpage to load it’s main content that makes sense to the user. A good LCP load time is up to 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID)

This measures the time taken by the browser to respond after a user interaction (like clicking a button, click on a link etc). FID less than 100 milliseconds is recommended.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This metric measures the number of times the layout shift occurs on the webpage. Layout shift means the position change of visual elements. An example of how this can be a problem would be if you were trying to click on a button and as soon as you click, the button moves up or down.

This is a layout shift. The cumulative or collective number of such shifts is called a Cumulative Layout Shift. CLS score of less than 0.1 is recommended.

Content or Page Experience? Which Will be the Priority Ranking Factor for Web Pages?

Although page experience metrics are important ranking signals, Content still wins the race. Quality content with relevancy and expertise will be the priority to rank web pages over page experience metrics

What this means is, a web page with excellent content and average page experience with be ranked above the page with average content and amazing page experience. However, if multiple pages have similar content, page experience will be more important for search visibility.

How Can Halo Digital Assist You With the Page Experience Update?

Page Experience is going to be an important factor in the coming years. Now is the best time to prepare your website for the 2021 Google Page-Experience Update Rollout.

When building a website, our focus is to provide a result that looks stunning, communicates powerfully and provides a great technical page experience for the end user.

Some of the elements we use to achieve this focus is:

  • Using our own fast, dedicated Perth-based server to host your website
  • Building your site with premium software, coded by companies who value good page experience over needless “bells and whistles.”
  • Ensuring the actual build of your site supports a good page experience, while still looking stunning.

If you would like us to help you with your website, contact us today.

Ankit is an On Page SEO specialist at Halo Digital. He has over 5 years experience in digital marketing and working with top global brands across a range of digital disciplines including keyword research, schema, tracking, data and analytics. He has a passion for learning more in his field and spends his spare time experimenting with the Google Algorithm with his own test websites.

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