By definition, Google explains that it aims for all users to enjoy the best page experience while using the internet. The company added that its goal is to make sure “that people using our websites, web pages, and web apps are getting the best experience that we’re able to give them.” With this goal in mind, Google looks to review and improve the individual metrics that make up page experience each year to improve user experience.
Regarding page experience, there are two important components to focus on; Core Web Vitals, and everything else. Core Web Vitals has got a bit of attention from many industry experts, including Local Brand Manager, however, this blog post will focus on the second part – every other factor that contributes to page experience.
In 2021, the important factors that contribute to page experience apart from Core Web Vitals include;
- No Intrusive Interstitials.
In its update, Google stated that all three aspects of a website listed above are vital to a user’s page experience. The remaining part of this blog post will discuss how you can confirm compliance with the best practices across these three aspects and how to track your website’s performance for each of the aspects.
HTTPS is the first hurdle you need to clear. HTTP and HTTPS are different as the ‘S’ in the latter stands for “Secure”. All websites are expected to offer a secure browsing experience to their users, even if there isn’t any private user data like banking information or health records on it or collected via it. Google deems the security of internet users important and as such favors HTTPS websites over HTTP websites. To make your website secure and improve the user’s page experience, you need to have an SSL certificate.
If your website already has an SSL certificate, you can skip this paragraph and move on to the next aspect of the user’s page experience. However, if your website doesn’t, you can implement the instructions offered on Let’s Encrypt.
Mobile-friendliness is a subjective topic. To scale this, Google itself has created a platform on which you can test your website’s mobile friendliness. Unlike HTTPS, this part requires more involvement and iterations to your website.
For improved mobile friendliness, Google expects that the texts on your website shouldn’t be too small to read on mobile devices. The links should be visible and not difficult to click, and your website should be optimized for the mobile screen, i.e., the non-desktop users. You can read more from Google on what makes a website mobile-friendly and the aspects you can make changes to for improved page experience.
No Intrusive Interstitials
This is probably the most confusing aspect of the page experience criteria. Unlike the other two, this is something you should avoid at all costs. By definition, Google considers website features like pop-ups to be terrible for users and user experience. There’s no Google tool to test the presence of pop-ups on your website, however, Google can detect the presence of pop-ups on your website when it crawls them. You may be deranked for pop-ups except for legal pop-ups like information about website usage, privacy policies, and other legal prompts.
Paying attention to these three aspects of your website not only improves user experience but also improves your chances of ranking higher on search engines.
What you don’t want is a pop-up that covers all or most of your page, or an interstitial that users need to dismiss before they can view your page’s content. In a nutshell, if you have an advertisement, you want to try to make it look as organic as you can. Don’t let it interrupt what a user is trying to do on your page.
Those are the three aspects of page experience that Google is evaluating websites on right here, right now. They are subject to change over time. It’s difficult to imagine any of these benchmarks going away in the future. If there are changes to the page experience yardsticks, they will likely come in the form of additions to the existing specifications that we’ve covered in this post.
All that being said, the real authority on Google’s page experience guidelines is Google itself. So keep your content updated, according to the guidelines mentioned by Google, whenever you get the chance.
The basics have been covered today and we will see you with new updates in the following posts.