Google’s new Page Experience Update is an effort to improve search quality. The Page Experience Update will introduce new targeted metrics to ensure that web pages meet an even higher benchmark for the user experience than ever before.
In line with previously named core updates, Google’s Page Experience Update enhances its ranking algorithm. In this update, a user’s experience with and/or perception of your pages will now be a major determining factor in where they fall within the SERPs.
Google’s algorithm already measures targeted signals of page experience on your site to determine its value outside of just the information it provides. These signals include search-specific factors that it has employed for some time, such as:
- Intrusive ad interstitials
What are Core Web Vitals?
The Core Web Vitals are a new suite of “real-world, user-centered” factors that assess how a user experiences your site in more depth — specifically its page loading process. Each metric identifies a specific, measurable area of the page load process that reflects real-world usage and interaction with your pages.
- Visual stability
Google will include these metrics and their search-specific signals to determine your overall page experience ranking, with thresholds from “good” to “needs improvement” to “poor.” For a “good” user experience, you need to fall within at least the 75th percentile of page loads. That said, page experience as a whole has no cumulative score; rather, Google will weight and rank each metric within its overall ranking algorithm.
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric assesses the perceived load speed of your page. LCP measures how long it takes for your page’s largest element to load – whether an image or text block – within 2.5 seconds. LCP builds upon existing page rendering metrics like First Contentful Paint (FCP) which measures the time it takes from page load start to when the screen renders any aspect of the page.
The First Input Delay (FID) metric is an assessment of the interactivity of your site – specifically, it measures the delay in milliseconds between a user interacting with your page to when the site processes a response to the action – Actions like scrolling or zooming are evaluated separately – a good FID score falls under 100 milliseconds. In addition to your site’s look and feel, speed and responsiveness have a deep influence on a user’s satisfaction –
The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is an assessment of visual stability. A page looks at how far and how often elements—its images, buttons, copy, etc.—jump or shift with the load. Each unexpected layout shift receives a score; the CLS is the sum of these individual layout shift scores. Ideally, a page should stay solid and stable through the page load process. A positive CLS score can be useful in determining a good page experience.
What Aren’t the Core Web Vitals?
Many SEOs will find these new Core Web Vitals intuitive and easy to understand. Still, they’re not the be-all and end-all metrics for the good loading experience, which point you in the right direction when diagnosing problems with load performance. These include:
- Time to First Byte (TTFB)
- Time to Interactive (TTI)
- Total Blocking Time (TBT)
The addition of Core Web Vitals through the Page Experience Update provides SEOs with yet another way to measure, track and iterate your site processes and performance, thereby bringing more understanding to the world of website performance optimization as a whole.