The first article of the Blog Series "The Google Update 2021" deals with it, how Google evaluates the user experience and what in the course of the Page Experience Update happens.
How does Google judge the user experience?
The overriding goal of the world's leading search engine operator is to provide every user with the most relevant content for every search on the Internet. In addition to numerous content-related and technical criteria, how user-friendly a website is structured is of central importance in this regard. Against this background, Google elevated the so-called "Page Experience" to a new assessment factor a few years ago. Previously, four factors were included in the page experience. Recently, the search engine giant announced that from May 2021, three additional criteria will be used for the evaluation of the page experience
What happens in the course of the Page Experience Update?
The three new factors of the Page Experience Update, which will supplement the four already existing ones from May 2021, are summarized by Google under the title "Core Web Vitals". This new subgroup is intended to quantify certain key aspects of a website's user experience that have not yet been taken into account at all or only to an insufficient extent by the page experience metrics used to date. These include the loading performance, the response speed as well as the visual stability of a website.
Google will use the "Largest Contentful Paint" metric to assess the loading speed of a website starting next year. Specifically, the LCP measures how quickly a website loads the largest visible content element. Ideally, this loading time should be less than 2.5 seconds.
The second new Core Web Vitals factor is the "First Input Delay". Google uses FIP to measure the response speed of a website, or more precisely, the time that elapses between a user interaction and the browser's response. According to Google, an optimal FID value should be less than 100 milliseconds
The third metric of the new Core Web Vitals is the so-called "Cumulative Layout Shift". The search engine giant uses this factor to assess the visual stability of websites. This means how much the content of a website changes after it has been opened. A CSL value of less than 0.1 is a basic requirement for Google for a very good user experience
What are the existing factors for page experience?
In the course of optimizing a website for the new Core Web Vitals, site owners should not forget that Google has already been using four metrics to judge the usability of a website for some time. These are:
- Mobile friendly
- Safe browsing
- No intrusive interstitials
The metric "mobile friendly" is Google's principle of using the mobile version of a page for the search engine ranking. Since 2018, Google has applied the so-called "Mobile First Index", according to which websites are first included in the Google index in their mobile version. This principle is based on the observation that for several years now, a large proportion of website access has been via mobile devices and that the user experience is therefore primarily defined by the mobile version of a website
Under the metric "Safe browsing" Google summarizes a number of security-relevant factors. For example, websites must not spread malware or offer dangerous downloads. For several years, the topic of security has been a high priority for the search engine company. Google makes great efforts not to redirect its users to unsafe or fraudulent websites.
Likewise, Google's so-called "HTTPS Everywhere" strategy is an essential cornerstone of the search engine company's security concept . Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking factor since 2014. HTTPS is a communication protocol for encrypted and tap-proof data transmission on the Internet
The fourth factor so far in assessing user experience is probably the one that needs the most explanation. " Intrusive interstitials" refers to intrusive content. In practice, these are often pop-ups, browser windows that are automatically displayed when viewing a website. According to Google, this intrusive content prevents a positive user experience because it obscures the content that the user is actually looking for.
You can find the entire blog article series "The Google Update 2021" here.
- Google's rating system
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
- How can I prepare for this as a business?