Google’s Page Experience Update: What You Need To Know

Posted by Visifii Admin on May 31, 2021

There’s been a lot of buzz in the past few months about Google’s upcoming algorithm change, also known as the Page Experience Update. If you’ve seen the hype, you might be wondering what it’s all about, how it could potentially affect your business, and what you can do about it!

Read on to find out more about Core Web Vitals, Google’s Page Experience Update, and what they mean for your dealership’s organic visibility.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Put simply, Core Web Vitals are User Experience Metrics that assess how user-friendly your web pages are. Google announced that in June 2021, they will become an official ranking factor. This announcement means that your website’s performance in these User Experience Metrics will contribute to where your business ranks on Google’s search engine results page (among many other signals the search engine considers).

Are they related to page speed?

In a sense, yes, and in a sense, no. Page speed has been a ranking factor on desktop for over a decade, and Google announced back in 2018 that page speed on mobile devices would affect a website’s ability to rank well in Google Search, too. Because of this, a concentration on page speed metrics to provide a faster on-site user experience has been a central part of planning for SEO success for some time.

Starting mid-June, Google is taking their user-centered approach one step further by introducing new ways to evaluate your website based on benchmarks known as LCP, FID and CLS (more on these later).

The good news about Google’s Page Experience Update

Making the experience better for users is something we should all be working towards anyway. On top of that, upgrading it will only have positive effects on your business’s SEO. The second piece of good news is that there are many tools that can help you discover where your website is falling down, with details on how to go about making it better! But first, let’s get to grips with exactly what Core Web Vitals, or page experience metrics, are.

 

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a measure of how long it takes for your web page to load the largest element (like a video, carousel, or inventory widget) until it is visible to the user.

Having a good LCP will help users assess the information on your page quicker and assist in lowering the bounce rate for your site. It’s key to remember that all of these metrics correspond to what a user sees on their screen, so perceived load speed is what matters here, as opposed to passing a technical check on a page speed tool like GTMetrix or Webpagetest.org.

  • Good – The LCP is less than 2.5 seconds.
  • Needs Improvement – The LCP is between 2.5 and 4 seconds.
  • Poor – The LCP is greater than 4 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID)

Once the webpage has loaded for your user, they will hopefully want to interact with it. The First Input Delay (FID) is the time between the user’s first interaction (a button click, for example) and the reaction of the browser.

A slow response can be frustrating to users, so making sure your page is interactive quickly will help your user experience overall.

  • Good – The FID is below 100 ms.
  • Needs Improvement – The FID is between 100 ms and 300 ms.
  • Poor – The FID is greater than 300 ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Have you ever been scrolling on your phone, hit a link in an article, and suddenly the page changes because you’ve clicked an ad by mistake? This scenario is a Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) issue.

The key term here is “visual stability,” and the aim is to reduce the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons and other kinds of content.

This isn’t always easy to picture, so why not try out this handy tool that will show you exactly where the unwanted layout changes are happening on a web page.

  • Good – The CLS is less than 0.1.
  • Needs improvement – The CLS is between 0.1 and 0.25.
  • Poor – The CLS is larger than 0.25

Anything else I should know?

Yes. Mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS (having a secure website), and reducing the number of intrusive interstitials (pop-ups) are also signals to help your website’s success. Related metrics are already in use, but it doesn’t hurt to revisit your performance in these areas as they are only becoming more critical as time goes on.

How can I check web page performance?

You will find all of the information in your Google Search Console dashboard under the “Core Web Vitals” tab, where Google will give you details on how your pages are performing, as well as a list of specific URLs which need improvement.

Bear in mind that there are separate reports for desktop and mobile, and they may vary: just because your LCP on desktop is excellent doesn’t necessarily correspond to mobile, and vice versa.

What tools will I need?

Once you’ve checked your Google Search Console Core Web Vitals report for issues (or even if you haven’t), you can do the following:

Run the URL through Google’s PageSpeed Insights for a full assessment of your web page’s desktop and mobile performance
For quick checks on pages on pages you’ve loaded, install and run Google’s handy Lighthouse Extension in your browser.
Both of these tools will provide detailed suggestions on how to improve your scores, so if you haven’t already, don’t be afraid to get started trying them out!

Will this make me rank higher?

It won’t hurt, and it is good to plan for the future of your website’s success. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to this question, as there are many ranking factors to consider, but all signs point to yes, this is important.

With all of that said, it’s not about achieving the perfect score! Look at your closest competition as a benchmark (if you aren’t sure how to do that, we can help), and keep an eye on those rankings as the next few months roll on.

Still a little confused?

As is so often the case, Beyonce explains it best, so go check out this excellent Twitter thread explainer on Core Web Vitals through the medium of her greatest hits. Failing that, check out Google’s documentation on this update, or get in touch with us!

Questions?

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