What’s New with the Page Experience Update?
Google’s rollout of the Page Experience Update shines a spotlight on 3 main factors.
This is arguably the most familiar of the new factors. People looking for online solutions aren’t typically known for their patience, and the longer a website takes to load, the more likely users will decide to move on before it does.
An ideal loading time is 2 seconds or fewer. Each second beyond this benchmark contributes to a higher overall bounce rate as more users decide to look elsewhere.
When a user is viewing and interacting with a website, they (quite reasonably) expect everything to remain where it is. This factor is technically measured in terms of cumulative layout shift (CLS).
Have you ever been trying to read an online article only to have an ad or widget pop in and move all the text? Or even worse, have you gone to click on a button only to have something shift and make you hit a selection you didn’t want instead? These are marks of poor visual stability and an easy way to frustrate your potential customers.
This category focuses on the first input delay (FID) metric. It measures the amount of time until a user can actually click on buttons or otherwise interact with a website as it was designed.
Just as with loading time, users will increasingly abandon a website if it takes too long for them to do the things that they want. (Patience is still a virtue; just not online.)
The Rest of the Google Page Experience Algorithm
The above factors comprise the new additions to the page experience algorithm, but they are still only part of a whole. The remaining factors of the overall algorithm must also remain under consideration.
Using mobile devices to view websites is the new norm, and only becoming more popular. According to Perficient, about 68% of global webpage views came from mobile, including 61% of visits from users in the United States.
Mobile websites and performance have great sway, and will only continue to have greater influence as time moves on. While desktop and mobile website performance are both important, in most cases mobile performance should take priority.
Does your website use HTTPS? Does a little lock or similar symbol appear next to your website in the address bar when you access it? Then you’re good!
HTTPS is essential, but it’s not the end-all when it comes to providing safe browsing experiences for users.
Websites that use deceptive practices or contain exploits that can be used to push malware or other nasty surprises on users will be hit hard.
An Unobtrusive Experience
This one is somewhat related to Visual Stability, but refers more to the use of pop-ups and other items that can appear between a user and the content they actually want to see.