In 2020, Google announced a new algorithm update focusing on end-user page experience that included a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals. Set to begin this month and continue rolling out until fully implemented by the end of August, these Page Experience signals will play an increasingly larger role in the search rankings.
According to Google, the new updates are designed to “highlight pages that offer great user experiences,” and the now adjusted roll-out schedule allows web developers to “make refinements to your website with page experience in mind.” With these additional ranking signals being added to the hundreds of other ranking signals Google uses, it’s important to make sure that your website is set up to provide a good user experience, along with relevant content.
WHAT ARE CORE WEB VITALS AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Google has increasingly emphasized user experience signals as ranking factors for some time now. Google is refining and rebranding some of those signals around page speed and usability, calling them Core Web Vitals, and including them in already established page experience signals: mobile responsiveness, safe browsing, website security (HTTPS), and no intrusive interstitials (popups on the page that block content and can lead to poor user experience). The 3 Core Web Vitals metrics are as follows:
- Largest Contentful Paint: page loading – i.e., the time it takes for the largest elements to appear on-screen
- First Input Delay: page interactivity – i.e., the time it takes the browser to respond when a user first interacts with the website by clicking a link or button.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: page visual stability – i.e., unexpected page layout shifts which negatively effects user experience
All of these signals combined now comprise Google’s search signals for page experience.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are hundreds of ranking signals that Google uses, and at the end of the day, the content remains king. Google acknowledges and rewards unique content that provides value to its users. However, if a selection of competitors is generally on a level playing field in terms of website authority and quality content, having well-optimized page experience signals could mean the difference between outranking your competition or falling behind. Keep in mind that working on improving your page experience metrics won’t just help your SEO rankings — enhanced user experience is also essential to website lead generation and conversion optimization.
HOW TO MEASURE & IMPROVE
You can check your Core Web Vitals report in Google’s Search Console to see if you have any pages that are scored as “Poor” or “Need Improvement”. You can drill down into each component of the page experience to look for insights and areas for improvement.
Note: Google’s John Mueller has said that all three metrics must appear green if you want your site to get a ranking boost!
As the new Google Page Experience changes begin to roll out, consider working with a team that is able to both measure and improve these signals using the right mix of technical skills and knowledge. The importance of page experience signals will likely increase over time, so there is still time to iron out all the issues – if you get started now! Learn more about Blue Tangerine’s SEO services, and call 321-309-6900 or contact us to see how we can help.