Google’s Page Experience Update

Google's Page Experience

Google’s Page Experience Update is coming in May. Let’s say it again “GOOGLE’S PAGE EXPERIENCE UPDATE IS COMING” in May.  This update encompasses what Google is calling the Core Web Vitals.  A lot of people are taking a wait-and-see approach to this update because of Google’s history.  We think this a big mistake and let us tell you why.

  1. Google announced the change – Google rarely announces any type of algorithm changes until after the fact. But even stranger, they announced this in May 2020.  So, they gave us a whole year warning on an update to the algorithm.  Do we think they just woke up and decided to be the nice guys? Think again…
  2. Measurable – all aspects of this update are very easily measured. All the Core Web Vitals are measured in seconds.  In the past, page experience updates have been very ambiguous, like mobile-friendliness or safe browsing.  Wait, how about this one, the “intrusive interstitial guidelines.” We hope you get the point that none of the past page experience updates have been easy to measure.
  3. Target – This is the first real update we have seen from Google that is totally for the user. In the past, updates have mainly been to defeat the evil SEO Empire of gaming the system.  Maybe they did wake up and decide to be the nice guys and think about their product users.

Core Web Vitals

Let’s talk about what makes up the Core Web Vitals, and like typical Google fashion, they gave them big scary names.

They include the following:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Let us break them down for you. The first one, Largest Contentful Paint (LPC), is all about the page loading and how fast it does it.  Google identifies the most prominent item on the page, usually a photo, graphic, or movie, and measures how long it takes to load. Google considers 2.5 sec good and 4 sec poor.

The second metric is called First Input Delay (FID).  FID is about the speed when a user interacts with a page.  How long does it take when a user taps or clicks on something, and it begins processing that action.  Google considers 100 ms as good and 300 ms as poor.

The last metric is called Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).  This is something new, but it is looking at how the page loads.  Does the page make adjustments to the layout while loading? An excellent example of this would be you see text on the page, then an image loads and the text reformats on the page.  We don’t really see this on desktops, but you will see this when using mobile devices because of the slower connection speeds.

As you can see, this update is all about the user’s experience and making the web a better place for mobile users.  But now you are asking yourself how I make sure my site is ready for the update?  That is easy an easy question. Test Your Site!!

Tools for Core Web Vitals Testing

So here are some of our favorite tools to use for testing websites.

  1. Google Search Console – Can’t get any better than to go to the source to get feedback on how Google sees your site.
  2. Google Page Speed Insights – Another tool from Google that analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster.
  3. Lighthouse for Google Chrome – Great for a quick analysis of a site

If you don’t feel comfortable testing your site or just don’t have the time, just call Fusion One Marketing to help.