The page experience update introduced by Google three years ago is an essential part of the search engine's core ranking system. This update, aimed at improving users' browsing experience, includes a range of metrics used to evaluate how well a webpage performs for a searcher.
Core ranking systems generally evaluate on a page-by-page basis, however, some are site-wide. In this case, Google combined core web vitals with existing search signals to measure page experience. These signals include three core web vital metrics: Largest Content Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.
- Largest Content Paint (LCP) refers to how quickly the largest content element on a webpage loads.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures how long a browser responds when a user clicks on an interactive element on the page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how much the page layout shifts as it loads.
In addition to these core web vital metrics, other signals used by Google to evaluate page experience include mobile usability, HTTPS, and interstitial use. Google aims to help people easily access the content they are looking for, and providing a better page experience is a step towards achieving this goal.
Google’s Advice for Assessing Page Experience
To self-assess the page experience for your website, Google provides questions to help keep you on track. These questions include:
- Do pages have good Core Web Vitals?
- Are pages served in a secure fashion?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content lack excessive ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Do pages lack intrusive interstitials?
- How easily can visitors navigate to or locate the main content of your pages?
- Is the page designed so visitors can easily distinguish the main content from other content on your page?
You are one step closer to understanding how your website manages page experience by answering these questions.
Google also provides guidance for site owners trying to create a better page experience.
Another important aspect is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. This can be achieved by using a responsive website design, ensuring that your text is easily readable and links are easy to click.
It's also essential to avoid using intrusive popups (interstitials) that could prevent users from freely accessing your content. By implementing these measures, you can improve the usability and security of your website and provide a better experience for your users.
More Tips for Improving Page Experience
If you’ve answered “yes” to the primary page experience questions, you are ready to cover the more granular tips for improving page experience.
- Optimize Page Loading Speed:
Compress images and use the appropriate file formats. Minimize HTTPS requests. Leverage browser caching. Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute content geographically.
- Prioritize Content Above the Fold:
Place important content at the top of the page. Avoid excessive use of large headers or banners that push content down.
- Optimize Images and Multimedia:
Compress images without sacrificing quality. Use lazy loading for images and videos to defer loading until they are near the user's viewport.
- Browser Compatibility:
Test your website on different browsers to ensure consistent performance. Keep your code clean and adhere to web standards.
- Minimize Server Response Time:
Optimize server configurations and reduce server response time. Use a reliable hosting provider.
- Enable Browser Caching:
Set proper cache headers to allow browsers to store static resources. Utilize a versioning system for assets to ensure cache consistency.
- User-Friendly Navigation:
Ensure a clear and intuitive navigation structure. Implement breadcrumb navigation for easy backtracking.
- Reduce the Number of Redirects:
Minimize redirects, as they add extra time to page loading.
- Use Browser Prefetching:
Utilize prefetching to load critical resources in the background before they are needed.
- Optimize Font Delivery:
Use efficient font formats. Utilize the "font-display" property to control how fonts are displayed during loading.
- Accessible Design:
Ensure your website is accessible to users with disabilities by following web accessibility guidelines.
- Optimize Forms and Interactivity:
Minimize the number of form fields. Use asynchronous loading for interactive elements to prevent blocking the main page load.
Continuous monitoring and optimization are essential for maintaining a positive page experience. Regularly check your website's performance metrics and make adjustments as needed.
How To Monitor Page Experience
To improve your website's page experience, you can use Google Search Console, a powerful tool that provides various insights and metrics. Once you log in to your account, you can navigate to the page experience report, which displays several vital factors that impact the user's experience. These factors include core web vitals, HTTPS usage, mobile friendliness, and lack of intrusive interstitials.
The report shows you the current status of these factors and suggests improvements that can help you enhance your website's page experience. You can also view the historical data of how many URLs have good page experience over time.
Moreover, you can use the Search Performance report to compare pages with good page experience to those on the same site. This comparison can help you identify the pages that need improvement and prioritize your efforts accordingly.
The more Google focuses on user experience, the more necessary page experience will be. Following this article's tips and best practices, you can create a fast, secure, easy-to-use, and engaging website, ultimately boosting your search engine rankings and user satisfaction.