User experience has always been crucial, both on the web and off. It influences everything about how users interact with your brand, from conversion rate to brand loyalty. And if your site is not designed with the end user in mind — if visiting is not a positive experience for your audience — then nothing else matters.
In light of that, it should not come as any great surprise that it’s a ranking factor. Google has long been tweaking its algorithm with the user in mind. Everything from relevance to context to intent boils down to user experience.
More recently, that culminated in Google’s Page Experience Update.
What Is The Google Page Experience Update?
Currently, in the process of being rolled out and due to be completed at the end of this month, the page experience updates spins several new metrics into Google’s ranking algorithm, known as Core Web Vitals. These vitals are then measured alongside several other signals, which together are used to assign a page experience score, viewable through the Google Search Console.
- Core Web Vitals
- Largest contentful paint. Essentially, this is a measurement of load time. The fast a page loads, the better, but ideally, this should occur within 2.5 seconds, per Google.
- First input delay. How long after loading a user can interact with a page. Google recommends this score be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative layout shift. This measures a site’s visual stability.
- Use of HTTPS (required)
- No obvious security issues
- Usability on mobile devices
- Lack of intrusive content such as popups
- Page safety/security
How To Take a UX-Focused Approach to SEO
More than anything else, the Google Page Experience Update provides a benchmark for optimizing the user experience on your website. By following the framework outlined by Google, there’s the opportunity to do more than improve your PageRank — you can potentially improve conversions, as well. So, with that in mind, let’s wrap things up with a bit of advice on what you can do specifically to improve your page experience score.
- Streamline Your Interface. Keep your site simple and easy to navigate, without any unnecessary visual elements.
- Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly. Self-explanatory. A mobile-friendly site is non-negotiable in 2021.
- Police your ad network. Or simply don’t use an ad network at all.
- Make sure you’re using HTTPS. Again, self-explanatory. Security, like mobile usability, is non-negotiable.
User experience is crucial. It always has been. Just remember that while it’s essential to have a good page experience score, that’s still no substitute for quality content.