If you missed the latest technology news, earlier this year Google gradually rolled out their first major page experience update in a decade and fully implemented the changes by the end of August. According to Statcounter, Google currently holds 92% of the worldwide search engine market share on all platforms, so brands need to be aware of the changes and take advantage of the new metrics to operate their websites at peak performance for success.
Prior to this latest update, Google used page experience signals like mobile friendliness, HTTPS security, safe browsing, and intrusive interstitial guidelines for Search ranking of pages. This new page experience update introduces into the mix what Google calls “Core Web Vitals” that measure loading time, interactivity, and page stability with established criteria thresholds for each.
The first of these new user-centric metrics is called Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and it measures how fast a website’s main content loads from when a user clicks on the link. If your site forces users to wait because of too many ads or images, it may cause them to click out and never return causing you to lose their business. The optimum range for a good user experience happens within the first 2.5 seconds.
The next metric is the First Input Delay (FID), and it tracks interactivity, or the time between when a user first interacts with a website and when the browser processes the response. It is vital for users to have a positive first impression with your website, and that experience increases the likelihood of their return. Important elements including the site’s design, perceived speed, and overall useability can help with that success. The best speed for the FID is considered 100 milliseconds or less.
The third metric introduced is the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and it measures the visual stability of a web page as it loads and detects any unexpected layout shifts when a user interacts. These can interfere with a positive user experience, and even valuable content may not be enough to stop a quick click over to your competitor. The best CLS score is 0.1 or less. These new signals along with the previous metrics help Google to ensure a good page experience beyond just a website’s design or content.
If you operate a website for your business, it is important to know how it measures up to these new changes that could affect your chances for a solid page ranking. As users now search on different devices, gone are the days when browsing on a PC could be expected as the primary method. When present statistics show that 54% of online searches now come from mobile phones, it is vital for your website to be mobile friendly with its design and functionality. Today’s users do not suffer slow loading sites gladly. According to Google, 53% of mobile page visits are abandoned if a site takes longer than three seconds to load.
This new core update is also a boon for emerging brands, as Google remains committed to elevating any website’s ranking provided it offers a positive user experience with an appealing site design and useful content. This will persuade brands to up their game and make their sites user-friendly as ranking will not depend on brand names or keywords alone. Healthy competition will result, as all websites now share the same playing field with new criteria for ranking. This allows room at all levels for emerging brands and new businesses to thrive.
While the new page experience update is an important change, it remains just one of hundreds of signals Google uses in their arsenal to calculate ranking results for websites. Google’s overall mission remains helping users find websites that offer a quality of content and a positive experience with a focus on new user-centric metrics.
In the first of a three-part article series on this website, we offer tips to help understand organic web traffic and showcase strategies to keep in mind when building or optimizing your website that may help improve your Google page ranking.
If your business needs guidance with these new core ranking metrics, reach out to us at Kahn Media. We can discuss your website and its content, offer marketing strategies, and social media management to help reach your fullest potential for long term success online.