Google Page Experience: what is it & what does it mean for you?
Google will include Google Page Experience in the algorithm from 2021. Sounds important. What is it actually and what does it mean to you? And do you have to start optimizing your site like crazy in order not to fall behind in the rankings? Stay calm and read on .
What is Google Page Experience?
Google Page Experience is the name for a set of factors that deal with the actual experience a user has with the page. These are pre-existing factors such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitials (full-screen pop-ups on mobile). A new part is Web Core Vitals : Google’s name for three loading speed and experience factors, namely:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): load speed (how fast do you see elements on the page?), target <2.5 seconds
- First Input Delay (FID): interactivity (how fast can you perform actions?), target <100 ms
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): visual stability (move elements while loading?), target <0.1
Page Experience will only be included in the core algorithm from 2021. Google gives a heads up six months in advance.
Mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS and intrusive interstitials have been checked by Google for some time. Loading speed has also been included in the assessment of web pages for some time. These have always been focused on the user experience (and easier and faster crawling for Googlebot 😊). Anyone who has ever used the Google Pagespeed Insights tool may be familiar with First Content Paint or Time to Interactive. Also Time to First Byte and Speed index which you may know from Webpagetest.org.
So for a large part this is only PR from Google. A number of existing factors have been merged under one name: old wine in new bottles. However, LCP, FID and CLS are metrics that measure slightly differently. A refinement that is more focused on the actual user experience.
AMP: the chronicles of a death foretold?
With the announcement of Page Experience also came the announcement that AMP will no longer be necessary to appear in the Top Stories carousel with news items: Page Experience will take over this function. Also, your site still needs to be validated as a newsworthy source.
Whether this is a first cautious step towards saying goodbye to AMP I can’t say, but I hope so. Google has invested a lot of time and money in promoting AMP and Google must also justify that investment. I see it mainly as a small victory for SEO Hero Del, who saw his well-known anti-AMP blog article get a big boost.
What does Google Page Experience mean to you?
Even more metrics: great for data nerds, you as a marketer can no longer see the wood for the trees.
That is why it is important that you have good forest rangers: people who keep an eye on the trees and fauna in between for you and who can intervene if necessary. SEO consultants can advise you on the need for adjustments. Your web builder is an important link in ensuring that your website meets all conditions of mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS and interstitials and can make adjustments for a faster user experience.
Do I need to customize my website on Google Page Experience?
If your website is not yet mobile-friendly, is not properly secured and still displays annoying interstitials, you should have changed that a long time ago.
Of course you always want a faster website and a better user experience. 😊 Is it not for SEO purposes, or to make your advertising campaign perform better or to achieve more conversions ( calculate here what a second of time can save you ). That is why I always recommend improving the loading speed of a website.
However, it is not the case that from now on you are lagging behind your competition, which has already optimized the website for the new factors. As mentioned, Google will not include these three new metrics in the core algorithm until next year. Mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, intrusive interstitials and other load speed metrics have long been a ranking factor. Moreover, they give six months in advance a signal that this will be the case.
More tools = more better
SEOs love tools, so I’m glad Google has updated all of its tools (see below) to the new Core Web Vitals (LCP, FID, and CLS). A report with these metrics has also been published in Google Search Console for continuous monitoring.
- Lighthouse in DevTools version 6.0
- Page Speed Insights
- New Chrome User Experience Report API
- Experience section in the DevTools Performance panel
- Web Vitals Chrome Extension
Google Page Experience is part renaming of pre-existing factors and part refinement of loading experience metrics. In addition, AMP will be dropped as a requirement for the Top Stories carousel. The adjustments will only be implemented from 2021 and Google will indicate well in advance when this will happen. There are several tools to test whether you meet the benchmarks set by Google. Ask your SEO specialist or web builder for help optimizing for Page