In the last decade, the number of Internet users and web pages has multiplied exponentially, with the consequent risk of information dispersion. Google, the search engine that enjoys an almost dominant position in the European market, has been introducing different algorithms to sift through web searches and offer more satisfactory results for users. Of course, all these changes have also made great demands on the owners of the pages, who are obliged to update them in order to maintain a good ranking on search engines. In the coming months, Google will implement a new modification to its algorithm, with page experience being the core concept.
What is page experience?
Page experience is a fairly broad concept that includes different variables related to the features that a user comes across when accessing and navigating a website. The ultimate goal is to identify those pages that are most concerned about user comfort, thus helping the user to carry out their intended searches in less time and with higher levels of satisfaction. It should be noted that, unlike other methods applied in recent years, page experience is closely linked to mobile device users, who already account for the majority of Internet users.
Core Web Vitals
Obviously, measuring all the variables that influence the experience of Internet users is by no means a simple task. Some of the most relevant aspects cannot even be measured on a numerical scale (this is what happens when we talk about “impressions” or “sensations”). Even so, Google has created a series of elements that allow the user experience to be measured and which it has grouped them under the name of Core Web Vitals. It consists of three indicators that give a fairly accurate overall picture of user satisfaction.
- Loading speed
- Visual stability
1. Loading speed
Different studies confirm that the web page loading speed is directly related to the total number of visits and how long a user stays on the website (as well as the number of total actions that the user performs). Therefore, top-ranking websites should not make their visitors wait too long to access the Main Page as well as the other sections of the page. This parameter includes only the main elements of the page, such as the images, but leaves out the sidebars and other secondary content.
In connection with the previous point we just talked about, interactivity is measured through the response time of the page when the user performs some action on it. That is why this variable is behind the total number of actions that a user performs on the page, because if the interactivity is flawed, the user may quickly leave the website. Of course, this parameter can be affected by external factors that go beyond the layout of the website, for example, the responsiveness of the mobile device’s screen or the quality of the Internet connection.
3. Visual stability
Who has not at some point “experienced” an unexpected page re-diversion on the website they were visiting, which led them to click on a section they didn’t want to visit? The visual or on-screen stability is therefore the feature that allows to maintain an order within the page and that avoids those sudden movements, many of which are related, in turn, to the loading speed. The sudden appearance of advertisements is another common source of frustration among Internet users.
Other new features of the latest search algorithm
The three indicators of Core Web Vitals are not the only modifications Google has made to its new algorithm. One of the most striking new features is the removal of the requirement for the page to incorporate Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology in order to be included in Google’s exclusive Top Stories section. Other eligibility conditions, such as compliance with Google’s content policies, remain, but overall, the ability to access Top Stories is open to many more pages.
The timing of the new algorithm
At this point, you may be stressing out about having to review your website to ensure that it is not adversely affected by the latest changes in the search algorithm. But don’t panic as Google has confirmed that these changes won’t be implemented until late 2020 or early 2021. The Silicon Valley firm understands that a transition period is necessary and is also aware that many small businesses have more urgent obligations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.