Take note online marketers, SEO has received a transformative update in 2021.
While keyword-focused content and traditional SEO practices still hugely matter, Google has now finished rolling out their new ranking criteria – Page Experience and Core Web Vitals.
Both look to address a number of potential issues that negatively impact a user’s experience on a website. While they cement already well-known ranking factors – page load speed, security – Page Experience and Core Web Vitals now also use common UX and usability web design principles to determine search results.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of both and what they focus on:
- Mobile-friendliness: as Google has a mobile-first focus, this PE aims for websites to provide a good experience across all devices.
- Security: online security is a huge issue, particularly during the pandemic, so using HTTPS to protect user’s details is essential for websites.
- No intrusive pop-ups on mobile devices: especially on mobile devices, this is to ensure pop-up boxes don’t block on-page content, so phone users are able to read all of it clearly.
Core Web Vitals
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): as mentioned, page speed is already a ranking factor. LCP solidifies this as it focuses on how long it takes for a page to load up. An ideal time is recommended to be 2.5 seconds or less.
- First Input Delay (FID): this focuses on the time it takes for a webpage to become interactive. The recommendation is to be less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): the last CWV assesses if a page’s content has any unexpected movement, especially on mobile devices, that results in a bad experience for a user. An example of this is an image or table that clashes and/or overlaps onto text, making it difficult to read. Google has its own scoring system for this, and a recommended score is less than 0.1.
Even with this focus on mobile, there’s still a long way to go until Core Web VItals operate as efficiently on mobile as they do on desktop. Website Builder Expert’s research into Core Web Vitals against ecommerce website performance found that mobile figures were considerably worse than desktop. Their main piece of advice to improve mobile scores is to build a website in mobile view where possible, to properly judge how a website looks and performs on a smaller screen.
For more information on Page Experience and Core Web Vitals, and advice on how to test and optimize your website for them, read Website Builder Expert’s new infographic about it: