Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm. While this can be a frustrating part of the process, it does mean that Google is continually working on its platform to make it better and more accessible for users to find what they are looking for.
This latest change has been dubbed the “Page Experience Update” by Google, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this isn’t going to affect SEO overall. In fact, it could potentially have a significant impact on your business if you aren’t taking steps in advance to prepare yourself for these types of updates.
What is precisely changing with this update?
Google already uses some aspects of user experience to rank websites, including safe browsing, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. However, as part of the June 2021 update, Google has introduced three new metrics to assess the page experience for websites.
These metrics, known as core web vitals, are based on the Chrome User Experience Report data. Meaning these measurements are from real user experiences. You can find all the new metrics in a core web vitals report for your website.
How do these new metrics impact the way your website is managed?
- Loading experience
LCP or the largest contentful paint measures loading experience. This metric measures how quickly the most important and relevant content on a web page loads. An optimal load time is less than 2.5 seconds.
- Visual stability
Visual stability is measured in CLS or cumulative layout shift. Each time a page loads, CLS measures how stable your website is. High CLS is not good at all. Factors like slow internet connection or slow computer can increase CLS on the user end. Ads, images, and embedded elements on a page with no specified dimensions can end up having high CLS. To prevent this issue:
- Reserve enough space for images and ads
- Ensure that dynamically injected content loads below existing content
- Make sure that web fonts render properly
Tools to measure and diagnose Core Web Vitals
You can use several Google tools to measure and diagnose Core Web Vitals. This includes:
- Google search console: For a better understanding of how Google perceives your site concerning page experience, check out the Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usability sections.
- WebPage Test: You can run a free website speed test worldwide with detailed optimization recommendations using real browsers at consumer connection speeds.
- Page Speed Insight: Provides suggestions for improving the speed of a web page by analyzing its content.
- Chrome DevToo: Chrome comes with several built-in web developer tools. Tools can be used to instrument, debug, inspect, and profile chrome, chromium, and other blink-based browsers.
- Web Vitals Extension: With this extension, you can monitor loading, interactivity, and layout shift metrics instantly.
- Lighthouse: It’s an open-source tool to improve the quality of web pages. Works on any publicly accessible or authentication-required web page.
- Chrome UX Report: This dataset contains real-time user experience data from millions of websites. Data from Chrome UX Reports comes directly from its users, unlike lab data.
Google updates will always matter, but no matter how these changes play out, though, one thing remains true, effective SEO matters and should always be part of digital marketing strategy. Last November 04, 2021, Google has announce on their blog that they will release a page experience update for desktop that the rollout will begin in February 2022. You can read it here.