Google’s New User Experience Ranking Factors
By Osky Blue | Published October 15, 2020
To determine site rankings, Google takes a variety of factors into account. It was announced in 2010 that not only your site’s content but its speed would play a major role in how Google ranks your site. In 2018, Google announced that they would be using site speed as a ranking factor on mobile search results. Now, in 2020, Google is using new/updated metrics that take a look at your site’s user experience.
What is “Page Experience”?
In the past, optimizing a website was mainly focused on speed and content, since that was the major factor that Google used for ranking. It is also important to make sure that the user’s experience of those optimizations is positive. In other words, a website has to FEEL fast. Google defines a great page experience as one that enables “people to get more done and engage more deeply.”
Just as positive user experiences will improve your ranking, negative ones will hurt it. Everyone knows how frustrating it is when a website has a popup ad that appears as they try to click something. This is a page experience that stands “in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.” Too many issues like this will certainly hurt your ranking.
To quantify UX, Google uses a system called Web Vitals. These are a set of hand-picked metrics that you can use to monitor your site’s user experience. Within the Web Vitals, a set focuses on UX’s key aspects known as Core Web Vitals. These change from year to year and are the aspects that Google considers focal points when measuring a site’s UX. For 2020, Google has chosen loading, interactivity, and visual stability as its core web vitals.
To measure these 3 vitals, Google has created a corresponding metric for each one.
- Loading: LCP – Largest Contentful Paint essentially measures how long it takes for the largest content element to load on to the website.
- Interactivity: FID – First Input Delay measures the delay between the first interaction triggered by the user and when the browser responds
- Visual Stability: CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift determines how much of the screen is affected by movement. Of all three metrics, this one is by far the most centered around UX. In other words, it is focused purely on how enjoyable the experience is for the user.
The New + The Old
The other thing to remember is that Googles is not abandoning its existing UX factors. These factors include mobile optimization, security, safety, the number of ads, and numerous others. These, combined with the new Core Web Vitals, give the entire, holistic picture of your website. This combination is known as Google’s page experience factors. However, it is important to remember that your site’s content is still vital. The combination of SEO-optimized content and high-level experience factors are the factors that will lead to a site ranking that you should be proud of.
The complexities of all the different factors Google uses for ranking can be challenging to navigate if you are not an expert. Fortunately, Osky Blue has the expertise that will guide you the entire way. Our team of SEO experts will make sure that your site’s content and user experience are optimized and fast as can be. Our team will keep you posted on the constantly changing SEO landscape. Please contact us today at our Frisco, Texas office, and find out what Osky Blue can do for you!