Here’s Why It’s Crucial for Your Website to Have a Good Page Experience
Could your website’s Google page experience be hurting your traffic volume? Since May 2021, Google has included a ranking factor called Page Experience in determining how high to place a web page on its Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Below, we’ll explore why page experience is essential, how it impacts your business goals, and how you can improve your page experience to rank higher on Google.
What is “page experience”?
In general terms, “page experience” can include anything that impacts how easy and enjoyable it is to use a web page. This includes design, messaging, development, and all the little strategic choices you make to boost conversions with the AIDA process. But Google’s page experience ranking includes specific measurable data points for each page on your website, including but not limited to:
- How fast it loads
- How well-organized it is
- How interactive it is
- How accessible it is
- How it functions on a phone or tablet
Google’s Core Web Vitals
The heart of Google’s page experience measurements is a set of metrics collectively called, “Core Web Vitals.” They all have overly technical-sounding names, but they’re important for every business with a website to keep an eye on. They are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How fast the largest element on a webpage loads for the user. More often than not, this is the large “hero” section at the top of the page.
- First Input Delay (FID): How long a page takes to respond when a user interacts with it for the first time. This interaction could be clicking a button, filling out a form, or scrolling down the page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How much the content on a webpage shifts around as it loads. If you’ve ever accidentally clicked on the wrong thing because the page was still loading graphics, you’ve experienced CLS.
The easiest way to monitor your Core Web Vitals is with tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse. These measure your page speed, interactivity, and visual stability. They’ll also identify specific issues you can fix, such as MP4 files or uncompressed images that take too long to load.
The importance of mobile optimization
Next up, you’ll want to optimize your site for mobile devices, which account for the majority of all website traffic. It’s the right thing to do, out of consideration for today’s mobile-first audiences. But it also contributes to your Page Experience and Google SERP ranking! Key things to check:
- Layout. Make sure content isn’t cut off or in the wrong place on mobile. Users now expect a seamless mobile experience, so if you’re not providing it, they’ll quickly bounce.
- Fonts. These should be easy for the user to read, and load quickly on the page.
- Navigation. A clear and straightforward navigation menu makes things easy for users, especially on mobile where space is limited. Technical bits like HTTP requests and caching can also impact user experience and page speed.
- Forms. Keep forms short enough that they’re easy to use on a small screen. If they absolutely need to be a little longer, make sure they’re easy to complete by scrolling… and typing with your thumbs!
Ensuring reliable website security
Google doesn’t want to send people to sites that aren’t safe. To ensure you’re not penalized in SERP rankings for neglecting website security, you can take a few proactive steps:
- Install reliable security software on your website. This prevents malware attacks, and scans your website for vulnerabilities.
- Use HTTPS instead of HTTP. An SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificate encrypts data sent between client and server, making it tougher for hackers to intercept and read the data. This is no longer optional! Without it, browsers may block your site, and Google will penalize it in SERP rankings.
- Use strong passwords for your website’s login credentials, and change them regularly. If you’re not yet using a secure password manager like Bitdefender’s to make this easier, that’s work looking into!
- Monitor your website regularly. Check your website for signs of malware or phishing attacks. You can use tools like Google’s Safe Browsing to check if your website has been flagged as unsafe.
Keep software up to date. Keep your website’s software, plugins, and other components up to date, to avoid vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Improve your website’s page experience
We’ve explored a few of the ways Google analyzes page experience, and incorporates that into your site’s SERP ranking. It’s an important component of optimizing your marketing ROI, since improving these measurements by even a small fraction can mean a higher ranking. And that means more qualified leads visiting your site, more conversions, and more sales!
To get started improving your page experience, schedule a consult with The Right Path Marketing. You’ll get a comprehensive, highly actionable website and SEO audit, on the house!