Along with the 200 ranking factors outlined by Google, its Core Web Vitals update (rolling out mid-June 2021) will start taking user experience (UX) into consideration even more.
What Are Google’s Core Web Vitals?
Google has developed various user experience signals during the last few years, including Core Web Vitals - a tool for monitoring website speed and operation, providing you with tangible metrics to assess your site's user experience.
To comprehensively measure UX performance and capture user-centric outcomes, Google relies on a combination of field data (from real page loads) and lab data (collected in a controlled environment) to track a series of key events on your users’ journey. CWV use these measuring proxies:
- Largest Contentful Paint – your site’s perceived load speed. Aim for LCP of 2.5 seconds or less for any page.
- First Input Delay – how quickly content on your site becomes interactive and responsive. A good FID score is less than 100ms.
- Cumulative Layout Shift - the visual stability of your site and the probability of elements suddenly shifting as users try to interact with them. Aim for a CLS score of 0.1 or lower.
What’s New in The Page Experience Update?
According to Google, their new algorithm will assess how consumers feel about the experience of engaging with a website. Optimizing for these characteristics makes the web more enjoyable for users across all web browsers and aids in the evolution of sites to meet mobile user expectations. They believe that as people become more engaged and transactions become less frictional, businesses will thrive on the web.
In a nutshell, the page experience update rewards user-friendly sites with a higher ranking on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) than non-user-friendly sites, making UX a direct ranking criterion.
As well as the Core Web Vitals, Google’s new website experience update will initially take note of the following four user experience signals:
- Mobile-Friendliness - how well your page performs on mobile devices.
- Safe-Browsing - malware and other deceptive content on your page might put users’ personal information at risk.
- HTTPS - using a secure HTTPS connection adds to safe browsing of your page.
- No Intrusive Interstitials – pop-ups and other advertisements can make it difficult for users to read or navigate your page by obscuring the content. (Login pages and legally required interstitials will not negatively affect your score.)
How Do I Know if my Website is On Track?
As user experience becomes more and more important, you want a website that everyone loves so much that Google makes sure it ranks highly! The tools listed below will help you to assess how your website is performing and highlight where you need to improve:
- The Core Web Vitals report (accessed via Google's Search Console) offers an in-depth analysis of your site using real-world usage data to measure the performance of various URLs throughout your site with detailed information about each page.
- To track performance over time, run a Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) parallel to the Core Web Vitals report. Its summary of the previous month’s worth of performance data is also drawn from real-world data and includes other metrics alongside Core Web Vitals. Insight about the country, type of device, and effectiveness of the user’s connection helps you discover what external factors may be affecting your performance.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you need help making sense of Google’s Core Web Vitals and its page experience update, contact your local WSI digital marketing consultant for more information.