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Page Experience: Google’s New Ranking Factor

July 17, 2020

Page Experience: Google’s New Ranking Factor | AIA Book in a free 30 minute strategy session

In May 2020, Google announced a new ranking factor to be added to the future algorithm update: Page Experience. The search engine giant is constantly improving the way it ranks web pages, its ultimate goal being to offer users the most relevant and satisfying experience.

As a site owner, marketer or SEO specialist, it’s very important to be in the know when it comes to SEO news, as it impacts your rankings, conversion rates and overall evolution. Here are the basic things you need to know about Page Experience.

What Are the Parameters of the Page Experience Ranking Factor?

The criteria that define the Page Experience factor are related to the real-world user experience of interacting with a page. Site owners already know many of the parameters that will be included in the Page Experience, so it’s not such a wild update when you think about it. If you have been diligently keeping your page mobile-friendly and paid attention to user experience indicators, you should not worry about the Page Experience update.

Let’s go through the indicators that Google will use when scoring your ranking in the Google search results, according to how users perceive the experience:

  • Mobile-friendly: you can check how mobile-friendly a certain web page is by performing a test;
  • Safe-Browsing: you can also run a security report on any issues that could make your page less desirable for the crawlers – malware, social engineering, and so on;
  • HTTPS: for pages that have the https version, you can check your site’s connection and security;
  • Intrusive interstitials guidelines: you should remove any intrusive interstitials that cover the content the user is looking for in the first place when they interact with a web page;
  • Page speed: by running a test with PageSpeed Insights, you can find out what you need to fix if your page is loading too slowly;
  • Core Web Vitals: these valuable indicators, as detailed in the next section, are quite important in getting a high page experience score.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Also announced in May 2020, the Core Web Vitals are part of Google’s Web Vitals indicators, which replaced the Speed Report. They are used to quantify the user experience in metrics you can use to identify weak points and actionable solutions.

You can check your Core Web Vitals in any Google tools that measure the user’s experience, including the Google Search Console.

While all the Google metrics can be useful in improving your web page’s experience, there are three of the Core Web Vitals parameters that you should focus on:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): it measures loading times and gives you accurate measurements of your site’s performance in terms of speed;
  • First Input Delay (FID): it measures the interactivity of your page; the lower this indicator is, the better;
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): it measures the visual stability of your web site.

By checking the Core Web Vitals report of an URL, you get an immediate idea of what can and should be improved, as the report will give the page the status of its poorest-performing metric.

How to Prepare for Google’s Page Experience?

As Google announced, the Page Experience ranking factor will go live in 2021. Site owners will also get a heads-up about 6 months before it happens. Still, many of you might want to start preparing for it already.

Before you stress out over this, you must know that a change in Google’s algorithm towards the user experience does not mean that your page will only rank high if the experience is pristine.

Great content is still crucial for your page to rank higher, and Google will overlook some of your pages being less appealing in terms of experience, if the information overall suggests that your web page is valuable and relevant.

If you do feel that your site needs improvement in this area, use Google’s tools or other SEO tools that can report on: page speed, mobile-friendly factor, security, connection, visibility, and so on. Regularly check what your website looks like on different devices and address the most pressing issues.

What About the Removal of the AMP Requirement for Top Stories?

Another important piece of news released by Google very recently is that it will no longer require AMP for the inclusion in the mobile version’s Top Stories. This is immediately related to the Page Experience update, as getting in the top stories will depend on this factor.

This is important news for site owners, as it opens up a new opportunity for non-AMP pages, but it will also increase competition between the top stories pretendants.

Want Your SEO to Be Handled by Professionals?

If you are ready to perform an in-depth technical audit of your page and want to focus more on the user experience, our search engine optimisation experts at Australian Internet Advertising can help you understand exactly what your site needs to rank higher. We can also explain in detail what the Page Experience update means and what you need to do to comply with the new rules.

 

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