Google has confirmed that various user engagement signals will become official and crucial ranking factors in 2021, such as mobile-friendliness, load time, safe-browsing, stability of content, HTTPS and number of intrusive interstitials. We understand that these Google updates are somewhat of a big deal and will address many ranking factors of professional SEO – that’s why Google announces these updates.
Though we, like webmasters or SEO specialists, have already known to take into consideration these factors when optimizing the SEO profile of a client, now Google makes it official.
Over the years, Google has added various user experience criteria as ranking factors on its search engine. These include mobile-friendliness and page speed.
The new SERP ranking factors include:
• Stability of content
What Is Google Page Experience?
According to Google, page experience is “a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its information value”. The ranking signal will be based on Google’s Core Web Vitals – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
• Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
• First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
• Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
Evaluating Page Experience According to Google Algorithm
When it comes to website efficiency, Google has established several main factors, such as page load speed, security and mobile-friendliness, which determine the quality of user experience on a site. For the user experience these requirements are important for the user experience. For example, most users have no patience for slow-loading pages, and because they are searching on their phones, sites appearing at the top of the search results must have to look and operate well on mobile devices.
By combining its core web values with user experience signals, Google aims to help more webmasters to design and create pages that users can enjoy.
How can you optimize for page experience?
• Learn about the different tools to measure and report Core Web Vitals
• Optimize site for the mobile version
• Check to see if your site has any safe-browsing issues
• Secure your site with HTTPS
• Make sure you are not using interstitials in a way that makes content less accessible
How important is page experience relative to other ranking factors?
Page experience is less important than having professional content writing. In Google’s own words, “We prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar.”
What does that mean for you? It means that if your content is of a similar quality and relevance to a competitor’s, but that competitor has better page experience metrics, then the competitor’s page will likely outrank yours.
The Spotlight Remains on Content
Google has made it abundantly clear that while this update will be of importance, they will still place a significant emphasis on high-quality content writing. “While all the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience does not override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where they are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.” Google wrote.
AMP no longer required
With this update, Google will also start using the new page experience metric to rank articles for Top Stories on mobile devices — AMP is no longer required to be eligible here, although Google still supports and will link to AMP articles whenever they’re available. It is just not required to rank in Top Stories. The Google News content policies still apply.
Since Core Web Vitals are going to be such an integral component of ranking in Top Stories and traditional organic search results, it’s very important that we understand what they are and how to optimize for them.
The enhanced page experience ranking factor is another step in the direction of blending SEO and UX. Google said the new ranking factors are not going live today. This will go live sometime in 2021, Google promised to give six-months notice before it goes live. Google is giving us time, not just because Google normally gives us a heads up to prepare for these updates, but also because of the unstable environment we are all living through during this pandemic.