Seven Google Factors of Page Experience and Why They Matter
Most people want their websites to look great and perform when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). This was once a much more straightforward issue. You were able to look at your website and determine if it looked good and there were also a variety of SEO strategies to help your website come up for relevant search results. However, Google and other search engines, have added complexity to the factors they take into account when deciding what websites should rank the highest. In May of 2021, Google is taking the next step in prioritizing user page experience as a primary ranking factor by adding Core Web Vitals to previous ranking factors.
If this is important to Google, it should also be important to you. If you want your website to continue to perform well for search results and be a positive experience for a visitor, pay attention to user and page experience. There are actually seven factors Google takes into account for page experience and we wanted to briefly explain them here. As these changes take effect, it is wise to adapt your website to be optimized in these areas.
These are the three factors being added in May 2021:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Simply put, this is the time it takes for the largest image or text block to load.
- First Input Delay (FID). This measures the time needed before a user can begin interacting with the page. Essentially, once the page is loaded and you can begin clicking with response.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This is a measurement of the visual stability of your website. Do things load and stay in place to be easily selected, or does the loading cause things to move around for an extended period of time. The more stable, the better the user experience.
The following items are already ranking factors, but they are worth repeating as they are important if you would like your site to have good user experience and perform in search rank:
- Mobile Friendly. This has been a factor for a while now. This measures how well your website displays on mobile devices. It should display properly on any mobile device and be responsive to the screen size and adapt automatically.
- Safe Browsing. This relates to whether your site is free of things like malware on your site or links on your site that lead to pages with malware. This also relates to having any links that take users to a place where Google feels a harmful download can take place. Usually these things are unintentional as your site may have been hacked in some way, but it is important to be checking for these things and eliminate them when detected by Google in the Search Console.
- HTTPS: This is simply whether your website has integrated an SSL certificate. It is easy to identify. If you look at your expanded url in a search engine, does your website address begin with an http: or an https:? If you do not have the https:, contact your web developer to have an SSL certificate implanted for your website. This should be a standard practice for all sites in 2021.
- No Intrusive Interstitials. This is just a fancy way of saying that your website should not utilize pop-ups and other windows that make it difficult to navigate the site without closing out of windows popping up as you navigate the site.
I hope this article gives you some insight into what Google and other search engines are looking at with regard to page experience on your website. These factors play into how well your site will perform in search rankings and, just as importantly, whether those that visit have a positive experience.