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Website Page Experience Is Now The New SERP Ranking Factor

In terms of your overall website page experience, a SERP like Google has already made a few announcements that are in place and some are still coming — the fact is that they always promise to give a few months’ notice before the new changes actually go live. What’s more, during the ultimate transitions, it has also supplied us with the tools we need in the meantime.

We can’t stress enough what an opportunity this is to get ahead, especially when your competitors may not be paying attention to this kind of stuff. Be that as it may, you can go ahead and use the diagnostic tools in Google Search Console and then get along with your website developers and professional SEOs now — to start addressing any issues that are drawbacks.

Or rather, stick around with us as you learn more about a few needful website page experience tricks that you can utilize in your audit plan. Another huge reason you should care about using this update to get ahead in the SERPs, outside of technical health considerations, is that Google has indicated that none of these technical factors will outweigh great content.

In its own words, Google stated the following: While all of the components of website page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, there are cases of multiple pages with similar content.

As such, your overall website page experience becomes much more important for visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) of Google and the like. So, while you have the time, move even beyond Core Web Vitals and ensure that your content is high caliber. After all, high-quality content writing still remains king! So, what more can we learn here?

What An Overall Website Page Experience Entails

According to Google, Website Page Experience is “a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.” It’s comprised of a range of factors, and each feeds into and compounds the others to influence Google’s interpretation of page experience as a whole — a set of signals that measure how users perceive your website.

In particular, the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value, both on mobile and desktop devices. It includes its ultimate Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience. For things like the overall loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.

In addition, it also includes existing Search signals: mobile-friendlinessHTTPS, intrusive interstitial guidelines, and much more… And, while a great website page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.

However, in cases where there are many pages that may be similar in relevance, page experience can be much more important for visibility in Search. Of course, there are many website page experience signals in place, yes. But, the following signals are important for delivering a good page experience in Google Search.

Website Page Experience Becomes A Ranking Factor On Google

Google is now factoring in Core Web Vitals as part of their search ranking algorithm. A very poor-performing website may not fare well in search results and can impact your revenue if fewer people are finding you. Not forgetting, your website’s performance can make or break you. Fortunately, GTmetrix also tells you how fast your website performs.

It also helps you discover opportunities for improvement. We know you understand the correlation between SERP visibility, website traffic, and conversions, and we know you see the importance of adapting your website to meet Google’s quality criteria before it could hurt you in the SERPs. The great news is that Google has equipped all of us with the right tools.

Related Resource Reference: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tips For High SERPs Ranking

Tools that we’ll need in preparation for the algorithm to hit this year and onward. In our case, we’re incredibly encouraged by the direction that Google’s moving in. Especially, with their E-A-T initiative and with this page experience ranking factor, they’re prioritizing legitimate sites with sound information that creates positive experiences for users.

By incorporating these signals into Search, Google is helping create a better web for everyone. According to uptickmarketing, Google generally stays tight-lipped about ranking factors. And until recently, Google hasn’t even announced algorithm updates, much less the factors that make up the algorithm and determine page ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

But, on May 28th of 2020, Google announced an algorithm update set to roll onwards. An algorithm update that is geared at evaluating web pages for the experience they create for users.  Good UX and effective SEO do go hand in hand, but before this update, user experience issues only affected websites indirectly.

In particular, by decreasing time on page, pages per session, and ultimately Click-Through Rate (CTR) as well as website traffic. With the update, though, Google is placing explicit importance on how pages treat users who visit them, and whether or not a page is worth sending users to at all. There are categories taken into consideration and example questions to answer.

1. PageSpeed Insights Core Web Vitals

The page provides a good user experience, focusing on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

Consider the following:

On that note, here are some tools that can help you measure and monitor Core Web Vitals in detail.

2. AMP-Ready & Mobile-Friendly

The feature allows you to check if your webpage is mobile-friendly with the Mobile-Friendly Test in real time. For desktops, this signal isn’t applicable. When a website has separate desktop and mobile URLs with an appropriate configuration, the desktop signal is based on the URLs that desktop users see.

So, in terms of accessibility, ask yourself this: Is the content easy to read? Or rather, does the page show frequent pop-ups, shift the page while you’re reading, or otherwise make it difficult to consume what’s on the page?

Other FAQs on mobile experience:
  • Does the page load quickly?
  • Is the text too small to read?
  • Are the buttons too small for a finger to tap on?
  • Does the text or any of the page elements overlap in a way that prevents users from interacting with the page as intended?

3. Secure HTTPS Connection

The option is where a webpage is served over HTTPS. The first thing is for you to check if your site’s connection is secure at its very core. On that note, if the webpage isn’t served over HTTPS, you can learn how to secure your site with HTTPS in full detail. Ask yourself this: Is the page served securely over HTTPS (over HTTP)?

4. No Intrusive Interstitials

This means, that the overall content on the page is easily accessible to the user. Whereby, you can learn how interstitials can make content less accessible in full detail. There are a few Safe Browsing FAQs that demand answers.

They are as follows:
  • One, does the page include malicious content or malware?
  • Two, does the page include social engineering or phishing content that tricks users into doing something dangerous?

That said, below is a tutorial video for getting started with website page experience for beginner webmasters in more details:

What Optimization Tools Are Available For Webmasters?

We mentioned that Google isn’t rolling the update until sometime in 2021, which gives everyone plenty of time to evaluate their site and adjust accordingly before it drops. And it would be a grave disservice to your business not to take advantage of this intel in a timely manner. So what resources do we have to evaluate our sites quickly and comprehensively?

Google has already rolled out Core Web Vitals data, which is available through Google Search Console. It’s real-world, user-centered data that provides scores on all the aspects of page experience detailed above, including metrics on page load time, interactivity, and stability of content as it loads.

More specifically, you’ll find data on:
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures page loading performance
  • First Input Delay (FID), which measures interactivity
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures visual stability

Website Page Experience Becomes A Ranking Factor On Google
These factors, combined with mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and accessibility considerations, all come together to influence Google’s understanding of page experience. Each element carries its own weight in Google’s page experience ranking factor, which is one of a plethora of other factors that power the algorithm as a whole.

A New Website Page Experience Report Right In The Search Console

To provide you with more actionable insights, Google is now introducing the Page Experience Report right inside your Google Search Console dashboard. This report combines the existing Core Web Vitals report with other components of the page experience signals. Like HTTPS security, the absence of intrusive interstitials, and mobile friendliness.

By all means, the Page Experience Report offers you very valuable metrics. Such as the percentage of URLs with good page experience and search impressions over time. Whilst, enabling you to quickly evaluate performance. You can also dig into the components of the website page experience signals to gain additional insights on opportunities for improvement.

Website Page Experience Report In Google Search Console

In addition to launching the Page Experience Report, the Google Webmasters Team (WebDev) has also updated the Search Performance Report to allow you to filter pages with good page experience. Ultimately, something which helps you to easily and quickly keep track of how these pages do compare to other pages on the same website.

Moving forward, they are also announcing the general availability of signed exchanges (SXG) on Google Search for all web pages. Whilst, keeping in mind, that Google Search previously only supported SXG built with the AMP framework. SXG allows Google Search to leverage the privacy-preserving prefetching technique in compatible browsers in real time.

Technically, Signed Exchanges (SXGs) are something that can lead to an improved website page experience. In addition, this technique also enables Google Search to load key resources of a page (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) ahead of navigation. And, as a result, it makes it possible for the key and topmost web browsers to display pages much faster than there before.

The Best Practices To Regain Your Traffic Back From Google

Rankings and visibility alone aren’t enough — you want traffic and highly relevant traffic at that. Don’t get us wrong: we don’t advocate any controversial measures — like ignoring rankings altogether. Keyword rankings provide great insight into your relevance against your competitors, not to mention that you won’t be able to score the right conversions.

As well as traffic you’re interested in without being found on the first page. But, we’ve noticed a trend of becoming focused on keyword rankings as a success metric. Rather than just a stepping-stone metric. Rankings should lead to traffic, which should lead to conversions. This means, that you should be focusing on keyword quality over quantity.

And then again, make sure that you’re interpreting keyword rankings as an intermediate step — that leads you to true conversion metrics. For things like Call To Action (CTA), form fills and phone calls, you’re on the right track. So far, we now know zero-click actions are the enemy, and we know Google is doing everything it can to keep users on the SERPs.

And off your website too. Moving on, what are some actionable steps your business can take to gain or maintain visibility while also gaining and maintaining clicks? Well, let’s have a look at a few of them so that you can have a clear picture…

1. Increase Your Overall Content Quality

Choose a smaller set of keywords to optimize for and focus your efforts. Don’t try to rank for every synonym of your business offerings. Go all in on one or two high-level keywords and dominate for those. These keywords should be something that describes your business as a whole, like “digital marketing” or “digital marketing Birmingham,” in this case.

Rather than drilling down into individual products or services. And, as we aforementioned, despite their convenience, featured snippets and answer boxes are some of the biggest drivers of no-click actions. To leverage the good and outsmart the bad of these SERP features, you need to create rich content around questions that can’t be answered in a sentence or two.

Because scoring the featured snippet or answer box is still a win — it’s the most prominent visual in the SERP landscape, and it means you’re outranking your competitors. But, that featured snippet or answer box should encapsulate all the information a user could possibly need to know and entice or incentivize them to visit your website for more.

Failure to do that, you’ll be missing out on valuable traffic and, ultimately, conversions and revenue. Essentially, as you navigate the ever-changing world of search, connect with a digital online web firm to keep you on top.

2. Utilize And Target Long Tail Keywords

The SERP market for short, compact keywords like “builder” or “doctor” is incredibly saturated. It’s not likely that you will rank for this type of keyword, and even if you do, the click-through rate is often less than 1%. This means, that applying effort to ranking for these keywords is driving very little value for your business — use long-tail keywords instead.

Instead of working to rank for a keyword like “builder,” you might target “general contractor agency,” or “professional residential builders.” That allows you to weed out anyone needing the definition of the word “builder,” researching the job market, or reading about the industry. And you’ll speak directly to the people who are most likely to convert.

Back in 2018, Google introduced and open-sourced a neural network-based technique for Natural Language Processing (NLP) per see. Specifically, a pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or as we call it— BERT, for short. This technology enables anyone to train their own state-of-the-art question-answering system.

To enumerate, the BERT Search Query Algorithm processes words entered into Google in relation to all the other words in the phrase, rather than one-by-one in order. The AI is then applied to both rankings and featured snippet results. So that, in the long run, it can more accurately find the right results for any web user that queries a focus term.

3. Apply Google BERT Models To Search

At its core, Search is about understanding language. It’s our job to figure out what you’re searching for and surface helpful information from the web. More so, no matter how you spell or combine the words in your query. While Google has continued to improve its language understanding capabilities over the years, it sometimes still doesn’t quite get it right.

Particularly, with complex or conversational queries. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why people often use “keyword-ese,” typing strings of words that they think we’ll understand. But, they aren’t actually how they’d naturally ask a question. There are some latest advancements from our research team and other partners in the science of language understanding.

And all this is made possible by machine learning — we’re making a significant improvement to how we understand queries. Whilst, representing the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search. The zero-click phenomenon is bigger than you think, and the Google BERT Algorithm only makes the problem worse.

Just as we aforementioned, BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. And it is Google’s latest and most important search algorithm update yet. BERT identifies sentences or phrases within web page content. Chiefly, which, although missing individual search keywords, are more relevant to the search query.

4. Employ The Best Search Intent Practices

Basically, search intent is yet another key area to focus your efforts on. Google has transitioned from an ally to a competitor and encouraging us to react to the negative effects of zero-click actions. The fact is that: Google grows and updates constantly, which benefits us as World Wide Web (WWW) users when we’re looking for quick answers on the internet.

But, think about this for your business: if users can get all the answers they need without ever leaving Google, that means they’re never landing on your site, never browsing what you have to offer, and never filling out a form or clicking a call-you-button. Some SERP features are more dangerous than others for your click-through rate.

And, they affect every industry across the board, with the most notorious offenders being the most obvious ones.

These top offenders are:

Most businesses used to be fixated on scoring a spot in these, but it’s time to rethink that strategy. Realistically, let’s say your website ends up in the featured snippet or answer box and gives a searcher everything they’re looking for. More so, without requiring that they visit your website, you’ll have lost the ability to carry them through the funnel to a conversion.

As a matter of fact, back in 2020, 50% of searches ended with zero clicks to a given website — because with time, the likes of Google have created so many features that give users all the information they need right in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as per their query requests.

And, while we like to keep track of rankings, the most important metrics are those that are directly tied to revenue. Instead of obsessing over what could be considered “vanity metrics” like rankings and percent visibility, let’s zoom in on CTR and conversions. Equally, try to focus on the best interest on the basis of your potential customer and the target user.

5. Gather More Information From Credible Sources

Google has published a more comprehensive resource on their page experience ranking factor on their developer blog. We’ve just given you the basics here! Otherwise, we encourage you to check out the blog to learn more about each one of these page experience categories and how your site may or may not meet Google’s standards.

There are a few resource guides about optimizing the overall webpage experience that you can consider. For instance, you can learn about the different tools that can help you measure and report Core Web Vitals from start to finish. These tools measure LCP, FID, and CLS. You can check if your page is mobile-friendly with the Mobile-Friendly Test to be specific.

Similarly, you can check if your site’s connection is secure, to begin with. If the page isn’t served over HTTPS, learn how to secure your website with HTTPS in detail. Also, make sure that you’re not using interstitials in a way that makes content less accessible in any way. Likewise, you can review the Core Web Vitals and Page Experience FAQs with answers.

Other More Related Useful Resources:
  1. Video: How to improve Cumulative Layout Shift for a better page experience
  2. Blog: Timeline for bringing page experience ranking to desktop
  3. Video: How to improve Largest Contentful Paint for a better page experience
  4. Post: Timing for bringing page experience to Google Search
  5. Video: How to improve First Input Delay for a better page experience

Lastly, listen to the Search Off the Record podcast episode, Let’s talk about Core Web Vitals, or rather, learn how AMP can help you optimize your page experience in detail. Be that as it may, just in case you’d like to talk to us about your website and how it shapes up, we’d love to open a conversation that can help you to get there.

Takeaway Notes:

In a nutshell, to avoid missing on a SERP like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and the like, don’t just get fixated on rankings alone. — try to dig a little bit deeper into CTR, traffic, and conversions. And then, try to focus, track and look at metrics that determine your ability to land new customers, as well as maintain existing ones.

Furthermore, SEO is working at its best when it’s driven by discovery searches, as opposed to keyword searches that include your business name. Whatever the case, reach out to us today for free, and let’s start building an online presence that will pay off for years to come. In the meantime, you can also have a look at our Full SEO Packages that has more details.

Especially, to gather more information for a solid plan to grow your company’s online visibility. Also, to drive visitors to your website, and convert them into paying customers. Perse, you are also welcome to share your additional opinions, thoughtful suggestions, basic recommendations, or even contribution questions (Get FAQ Answers) in our comments section.

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