The New Google Page Experience
Updated: Nov 6
On June 15 2022, a new Google ranking factor called Google Page Experience started rolling out. This will be looking for a site-wide audit with a more user-focused approach to search engine optimization (SEO), web design and web development. Page Experience will only start playing its full role as part of the search engine’s ranking signals at the end of August. In an announcement, Google said,
“You can think of it as if you're adding a flavouring to a food you're preparing. Rather than add the flavour all at once into the mix, we'll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
Unfortunately, you are already behind the competition if you haven’t already started optimizing your website for the Google Page Experience Guide – many of whom have already spent several months preparing for this new Google update.
Back in November 2020, Google confirmed that it would begin factoring website user experience (UX) into Google Search. As part of the new Google ranking factor, the Google Page Experience Update is combining Core Web Vitals with existing user experience Google signals – including HTTPS, mobile-friendliness, and no intrusive interstitials – to determine a web page’s Google interactivity, usability, and Search ranking.
However, on 3 August 2021, Google announced that it was dropping Safe Browsing as a page experience ranking signal. It claimed that it considers safe browsing to be out of a website owner’s control. As part of Google’s announcement, it said:
“Sometimes sites fall victim to third-party hijacking, which can cause Safe Browsing warnings to be surfaced. We recognize that these issues aren’t always within the control of site owners, which is why we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and won’t feature in the Page Experience report.”
Google will still flag safe browsing issues in Google Search Console (GSC), but these issues will no longer be included in the Page Experience report.
If you haven’t yet prepared, it is now time to start: The entire optimization process for all the Google Page Experience ranking signals could take 15-40 days or more, depending on the number of pages you are updating and your site issues. In addition, it often needs a 28-day turnaround to see the impact of the changes made in the process. According to the latest Page Experience update, these ranking changes will take effect on the second Tuesday of every month.
According to a study done by Screaming Frog, as of August 2020, less than 15% of websites meet the Google Page Experience Guide benchmarks, Searchmetrics released new data in June this year, revealing that less than 4% of websites can successfully pass the Core Web Vitals tests.
With only a small percentage of websites able to pass the Google Core Web Vitals and Google Page Experience test, now is the time to rethink your technical SEO efforts and implement a responsive website design that serves users with a high-quality Google user experience.
You will need to prioritize your website user experience for an approach to SEO that’s more customer-centric. Do what it takes to make the most of the Google Page Experience Update and ramp up your Google traffic, leads, web rating, and conversions!
Google Page Experience Signal and SEO
Despite your on-page SEO efforts, is your website stuck on the second, third or fourth page of search engine results pages (SERPs)? Your website user experience is probably the problem.
Google has made its vision clear. It is there to provide online users with a high-quality on-page experience and to make information universally accessible. For a while now, Google has been using several search engine ranking signals, such as bounce rate, dwell time and click-through rate (CTR) to better rank web pages.
If page visitors are not satisfied with their page experience when they land on your website, they will bounce away and Google might consider this an indication that your web page does not deliver enough value to online users, which will make it difficult to rank higher in search results.
Google made website user experience even more important after reaching peak traffic and searches from mobile devices. In May 2020, Google announced a new Google update that will combine previous UX-related search signals and Core Web Vitals to provide a clear picture of a page’s user experience and be able to determine issues that hinder online users from accessing a massive amount of quality information on the web.
Google has identified the following six core ranking signals that will make up part of this update:
Each core ranking signal must be implemented and adopted to ensure a website gets crawled and indexed by Google and gains better rankings on the SERPs.
What Is Google Page Experience and Why Does It Matter in Technical SEO and Responsive Web Design and Development?
Google defines page experience as:
User experience is becoming a significant variable in determining Google page ranking and a core measure of page quality. This means that besides creating accessible and quality content, technical SEO experts should also:
These Google user experience best practices enable technical SEO professionals and web developers to create an impactful website user experience and easily define user journeys which will contribute to online success.
Since Google's latest update started rolling out, the new Page Experience ranking signals will join the hundreds of other Google ranking factors that search engines use to rank and generate relevant search results to user queries. Therefore, it is vital to fully understand what is Google update Core Web Vitals and their impact on SEO.
How Big Will the Google Page Experience update Be?
It was very unlike Google, but they gave us a one-year warning for the Page Experience Update. This year-long timeframe indicates how big an impact this Google algorithm update will have on your responsive web design efforts, technical SEO, SERPs rankings and, ultimately, your online revenue.
Experts agree that not preparing for the Google latest update could mean a 100% drop in website rankings and a significant decrease in traffic and conversions.
Screaming Frog research found that out of 2,500 keywords and 20,000 URLs:
· Only 12% of mobile and 13% of desktop results passed the Google performance test for Core Web Vitals.
· URLs in position 1 on SERPs are 10% more likely to have a good Core Web Vitals score than URLs in position 9.
This confirms that the Google update is already impacting Google desktop and mobile ranking search performance. With only a very small percentage of websites having passed the Google user experience test, it's clear that the majority of technical SEO experts and website owners will have to ramp up their optimization efforts for the Google algorithm update.
Why Is It Important to Begin Optimizing for the Google Page Experience Now?
Websites must meet the minimum threshold for all three Core Web Vitals and optimize for all Google Page Experience ranking signals to qualify for the ranking boost.
Considering the 28-day turnaround, optimizing your website user experience too late could negatively impact your overall ranking and Search performance. It would then be too late to perform all the necessary updates to achieve a good score on the Google Core Web Vitals assessment which will help to pass the Google performance test.
To better understand the new update and for us to guide your optimization process, let us first define user experience and its role in responsive web design and SEO.
What Is User Experience?
User experience is an approach to responsive web design that focuses on a user’s full interaction with a company, service, or product. Simply put, user experience is an all-encompassing term that deals with user behaviour and feeling when using an application or website.
The Google best practices for User Experience promote improving the quality of user interaction with your website to assist page visitors with their online needs and create a rich web experience. You can achieve this by understanding your target audience, mastering what is user experience, and optimizing your user experience design (UED).
What Is User Experience Design?
User experience design is the process of creating a website that provides an impactful and relevant Google user experience. It considers all the different elements that make up user interaction, such as:
The end goal of user experience design is to anticipate any potential user’s limitations and keep their needs as the focus of all responsive website design efforts.
However, do not confuse Google user experience with user interface (UI). Some marketers make the mistake of using user experience and user interface interchangeably, but they differ in a few ways.
User Interface vs User Experience
User interface is a compilation of visual elements, such as icons, button displays, and gesture controls, that enable users to interact with your website. Your website UI must be as responsive and simple as possible to enable user interactions on your website and turn page visitors into paying customers.
We would say that UX is the feeling that page visitors get when they arrive on your page, while UI serves as the control system that guides users to their destination.
Knowing the difference between user interface vs user experience can help you to hire the right people in improving and developing your website for Google Web Vitals and other Google SEO updates. Even more so, understanding user interface vs user experience helps to guide you in creating a good Google user experience and a positive first impression.
What Is a Rich Web Experience?
Pioneer in the fields of information architecture and user experience Peter Morville, notes six facets of a valuable, meaningful, and rich web experience. Morville expresses these through his User Experience Honeycomb:
With the latest Google update upon us, the definition of a good user experience once again changes. Besides accessibility and content quality, Google will also look into other page experience ranking signals and Core Web Vital in assessing a website’s value, SEO performance and Google web rating.
In our next blog, we'll cover the following important information:
What Are Google Core Web Vitals?
Why Does the Google Core Web Vitals Update Matter in SEO?
How to Collect Web Vitals Report?
How to Improve Core Web Vitals?