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Will Google’s page experience update affect your website rankings?

What is the page experience update?

The page experience update is a Google algorithm update that is already impacting mobile search results. In February 2022, it will start impacting desktop search results.

It takes Core Web Vitals related to web performance and loading speed, HTTPS and intrusive interstitials into account as a ranking factor. For mobile, it also includes mobile usability, but this is not applicable to desktop search results.

What is the potential impact? Who will it affect and when?

The potential impact of the page experience update should not be a major one. As stated by Google, the page experience update is only a tiebreaker. So, if there are two pages that are ranking similarly in the search results in terms of content and technical performance, Core Web Vitals or page experience will be taken into account as a tiebreaker. So, if one page is performing better in terms of page experience compared to the other one, the first one will probably outrank it.

This update will probably affect every single page in Google sooner or later. It already impacts mobile search results since June 2021, and it will start impacting desktop search results in February 2022.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are three metrics that measure the user experience and web performance of a webpage. The metrics are Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift.

Largest Contentful Paint focuses on loading performance. It checks when the main content is being rendered on the page.

First Input Delay is checking the interactivity of the page. It checks the delay between the first user interaction and the browser response to that interaction.

Cumulative Layout Shift checks the layout stability of the page. It checks whether there are a lot of elements that are moving during the rendering process of the page.

Why are Core Web Vitals important?

Core Web Vitals are important in two different areas.

First of all, they are important in terms of rankings. Because they are a ranking factor, they impact your performance in the organic search results. So, even if it is a tight tiebreaker, it has an impact on your organic performance.

Core Web Vitals also have an impact on your user experience, because the goal of the page experience update is to quantify the user experience that is being served by your website. Core Web Vitals will affect your user experience, which will later correlate to business metrics and user experience metrics such as conversion rate, number of transactions, number of pages per session, or bounce rate.

What should businesses do in advance to prepare for the page experience update?

First of all, do not panic! The page experience update is not a major update and your website will probably not suffer much because of this update. But, because Google is taking into account user experience more and more, it is important to optimise your website around this area.

How should businesses monitor their websites after the rollout?

You can check your performance in two ways after the rollout.

First of all, you can check if your traffic actually changed after the rollout, as it should not because it is not a major update.

You should also check how your website performs in terms of Core Web Vitals. We suggest mostly checking your field data. You can check it in the Chrome user experience report and check how your website performs on both mobile and desktop in terms of particular metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift.

For other web vitals that are also being targeted in the page experience update, you can check if your website has implemented an SSL certificate and HTTPS. If you use intrusive pop-ups as interstitials, these are now being blocked or taken into account as part of the page experience update. And for mobile, you can check the mobile friendly test to see if your website is mobile friendly and optimised for mobile devices.

Do you need help improving your website’s page experience?

Webcertain offers a page experience audit, so if you want us to improve your website’s user experience, learn more and get in touch with us today by clicking here!

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Patryk Wawok

SEO Specialist at Webcertain
Patryk works as an SEO Specialist at Webcertain. His area of expertise is the technical side of SEO, from crawling and indexing strategies, web performance, to JavaScript and rendering SEO. He is focused on creating deep-dive technical audits to help his clients perform better in organic search. Patryk originates from and lives in Poland.

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