As Google prepares to introduce a new update to the ‘Page Experience’ search algorithm, which will include three basic Web Vitals considerations, it has shared some new details on the timeline for the introduction and a new tool to help website owners prepare for any which potential impact on their rank.
As Google explained:
“We will start using site experience as part of our ranking systems starting in mid-June 2021. However, site experience will not play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as adding flavor to the food you are preparing. Instead of adding flavor all at once to the mixture, we will slowly add it during this time period. “
It seems like a pretty straightforward analogy – but again, Google’s announcements aren’t known for their creative flair or engagement.
As noted, the Page Experience update will see that Google’s Core Web Vitals become more influential elements in search rankings.
The three ‘vital states’ are:
- Maximum content color (LCP) – This element measures load performance and how quickly key visual elements of your pages become available to the user after a click. Google says websites should strive to make LCP happen within the first 2.5 seconds of starting to load the page, to ensure a good user experience.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Similar to LCP, FID measures how long it takes for your site to become interactive so users can click and search. Google says sites should strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Schedule Shift (CLS) – This element measures visual stability. For example, have you ever touched something on a page and then it suddenly scrolls or moves, and you accidentally clicked on something else and took you to the wrong destination? This seems to measure, and poor stability leads to a lower rank.
So, you should improve your visual load time, improve your overall load time, and ensure the stability of your keys.
At the same time, Google also notes that these elements are not new and are already included in its search algorithm.
“While this update is designed to highlight sites that offer a great user experience, the site experience remains one of the many factors our systems take into account. Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes. In addition, because we do this as a gradual introduction, we will be able to monitor for any unexpected or unintended problems. “
So, if your site or pages are already encountering these elements, it will likely already affect your search rankings and probably won’t be significantly penalized once the new update takes effect.
Probably. As with previous algorithm updates, the impacts can sometimes be more significant than expected, as Google cannot be 100% sure of the full effects until they are released.
To help website owners prepare for the update, Google has also launched a new site experience report, which combines its existing Core Web Vitals report with a number of additional elements (such as HTTPS security, the absence of intrusive interstitial messages, etc.) to gave drawings of potential areas to be addressed.
According to Google:
“The Page Experience Report provides valuable metrics, such as the percentage of URLs with a good page experience and views during search, allowing you to quickly assess performance. You can also dig into the site experience signal components to gain additional insights into improvement. “
This will help website managers on what they need to improve, and Google has also updated it their own Search Performance Report which will now allow website owners to filter certain pages with good page experience, to provide you with a comparative context with other pages for your reference.
Will Google search rankings increase from mid-June? As Google notes, probably not, but if they do, it might be worth checking your site against these metrics – although you could, it would be helpful to proactively run your site through these reporting tools to get an idea of possible areas concern.
Such efforts can take time and it can be easy to dismiss these updates when Google says “everything is fine, there will be no real change”. But a large number of sites and businesses rely on Google traffic, and as such, taking the time to at least get an idea of the errors could be a useful step.