Google Page Experience Update: Basics and Core Web Vitals

In late May of 2020, Google announced that they would soon be making a major update on ranking signals surrounding page experience. Due to both the pandemic and other issues, the rollout of this update was delayed – it has not yet hit, but is expected within the next few months in 2021.

At SEO Werkz, our comprehensive SEO services include numerous areas, from on-site optimization to link-building, conversion rate optimization and much more – and reacting and responding to major Google updates is among our specialties. We’re here to help all our clients prepare for this update and ensure they’re in the right position once it hits. This two-part blog series will go over all the basics you need to know about this impending update, what you should be doing on your site (specifically your Core Web Vitals), and more.

Announcement and Basic Expectations

Per Google’s announcement, the new page experience update will refer to a full set of ranking signals, particularly those featured in its Core Web Vitals series (more on this in a moment). Within this, several of Google’s webmaster tools will be incorporated, along with other existing search signals like mobile-friendliness, HTTPS and more.

Put simply: This update will do even more to meet Google’s goal of promoting sites that provide great user experience. Page experience will not be the end-all metric for Google, and other factors will still play a role, but this update signals a major nod to user experience as a key factor.

google page experience update

Core Web Vitals

As we noted above, there’s a direct connection here with Google’s Core Web Vitals, which were recently added to the Google Search Console. There are three Core Web Vitals metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: The point in the page load timeline where the page’s main content has likely uploaded.
  • First Input Delay: Tracks the time from when a user first interacts with the site to the time when the browser is able to respond to said interaction.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: How often do users experience layout shifts or unexpected trouble clicking on elements, and/or mouse control difficulty?

In many ways, these metrics are replacing older metrics like “Time to First Byte” and “First Contentful Paint.”

Impact on AMP

In addition, Google announced that AMP – short for Accelerated Mobile Pages – will no longer be required for Top Stories so long as the page has good page experience metrics. This doesn’t necessarily mean that those who utilize AMP are completely out of luck; Google is clearly just prioritizing page loading speed, whether it’s through AMP or the new update.

For more on how to prepare your site for Google’s upcoming page experience update, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC, web design or other online marketing services, speak to the staff at SEO Werkz today.

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