What is Google Page Experience and why do you need to care?

Last week I wrote an article covering ‘Core Web Vitals‘ and how these three elements relating to how a webpage loads, interacts and its stability will soon become a stronger ranking factor by Google in May 2021.

However, it’s not just the core web vitals that are soon to become ranking factors, the core web vitals are just half of what makes up the ‘Page Experience’ in Googles eyes.

Google effectively wants to evaluate a page as a whole and has created these metrics called ‘page experience’ to pull all of these factors together and then uses the data to rank websites in the search results pages.

The other elements that make up ‘Page Experience’ are –

  • Mobile Friendly
  • Safe Browsing
  • HTTPS
  • Non Intrusive Interstitials

As these elements are soon to become stronger ranking factors, it’s essential to know how to optimize your website for each of them to gain maximum benefits when they become stronger ranking signals in May 2021.

What are the other elements besides Core Web Vitals that make up ‘Page Experience’?

Mobile Friendly – As more people view websites via mobile devices, it’s more and more important for search engines to show websites that are easy to use and navigate via mobile devices. The content must be easy to read and links and elements on page easy to click and access.

Safe Browsing – Although this sounds like quite an obvious metric, the new Google Page Experience assesses if a website is suffering with issues like malware, phishing or hacked content.

HTTPS – By now, most people are aware of the little padlock at the top of the address bar that shows whether a website is served over HTTP or HTTPS. Having a secure website, HTTPS, became a ranking factor in August 2014 and will continue to be of high importance as a ranking factor, perhaps maybe becoming a stronger factor if not already.

“Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal

Non Intrusive Interstitials – This sounds really complicated, but simply means that important on-page content is not obstructed whilst browsing a website. Users want to see what they have clicked on and not be obstructed by popups.

Although popups can be slightly more acceptable on desktop, when these appear on mobile devices, particularly with smaller screens, it can be a completely different story. A pop up could completely cover the whole page of content, or be difficult to close on a mobile – we’ve all had an experience with a miniature ‘X’ and fat thumbs trying to close a pop up on our phones to enable us to see the content below and given up.

Lastly, if an Interstitial appears on it’s own accord and not triggered by an action like ‘Click here to sign up’ coupled with taking up the whole screen and difficult to close, this could be a negative experience for the mobile user and thus, another ranking factor in the new Web Experience release.

Conclusion – Many of these areas that are soon to become ranking signals in the May 2021 update are not necessarily new. Lots are already considered important and many websites are ready for Googles ‘Page Experience’ when it’s rolled out. However, Googles ranking algorithms might just be slightly more weighted to these new signals rather than previous algorithm updates that have focused more heavily on content quality amongst other things.

If you’re not ready for the update and worried about your rankings and SEO post ‘Web Experience’ and ‘Core Web Vitals’ then let’s have a chat.

Published by amandawhitedigital

Amanda White is an SEO specialist with over ten years of experience working with some of the largest eCommerce websites in the UK with both an agency and in house background.

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