Understanding and improving your sites Page Experience in 2021

In the summer of 2021, Google is updating its algorithm to include a factor called Page Experience.

The intent is to start measuring all aspects of how users interact with a web page, which is good news for the user and a new challenge to consider when working on your Search Engine Optimization.

What is Page Experience?

Page Experience is a set of signals introduced by Google to measure “how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.”

It is one addition to the hundreds of other signals that Google considers when generating its search engine results.

It is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.

The page experience update is being rolled out between mid-June 2021 and August 2021. One component of Page Experience is Web Vitals.

What are Web Vitals?

Web Vitals and described as “an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that, we believe, are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.”

They are evaluated using the following criteria:  

Core Web Vitals  

Mobile Usability  

Security Issues  

HTTPS usage  

Ad Experience

Of these five criteria, I’m going to dive a little deeper into one of them – Core Web Vitals.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a subset of Web Vitals and are measurements that apply to all web pages.

These should be measured by all website owners and will be integrated within the various Google tools.

The metrics that are used for Core Vital will likely evolve over the coming years, but for now, we have what Yoast calls the three pillars of page experience.

The pillars are:  

Loading Performance  

Responsiveness  

Visual Stability

How Do You Measure Core Web Vitals?

How we measure these pillars is through LCD, FID, and CLS. Each of these is measuring a different part of the user experience. The goal of these is to ensure you are “in the green.”     Largest Contentful Paint (LCD) measures how long it takes for the largest piece of content, whether it’s a photo or text, to appear on the screen.

You get “in the green” when the site loads fast. First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes for the site to react to the first interaction.

An interaction could be something like clicking on a call-to-action button. You get “in the green” when the response to the interaction is fast.

Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of your site.

As an example, are there moving images on screen, is their overuse of fade-in, fade-out, or other visual elements that bog down the user experience.

What Are The Tools to Measure Your Core Web Vitals?

Your Core Web Vitals can be seen in the enhancements section of your Google Search Console.

Improving Your Page Experience

Google has provided some resources to help measure, monitor, and optimize page experience.

This page has information on the different tools to help measure and report Core Web Vitals.

This page allows you to check if your page is mobile-friendly.

This site allows you to check if you have any safe-browsing issues.

This site lets you check to see if your site’s connection is secure.

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