On June 15, 2021, Google launched its Page Experience project. It integrates the Core Web Vitals into its algorithms: 3 new indicators to measure the quality of the user experience or UX (acronym for User experience). With this new update, Google once again places the Internet user at the center of its concerns. It thus aims to make the user experience a determining factor in positioning sites in its search results. Let’s present in more detail the changes implemented by Google, the importance of performance signals for the pages of a site as well as their impacts.

User experience more taken into account by Google

UX at the heart of the Page Experience project

The Page Experience project consists of using signals to evaluate how a user interacts with a page. It thus allows Google to detect the elements that could be an obstacle to its navigation on a site.

Have you ever visited a site with pages that take an infinite time to display, to see images appear jerky, to be bothered by invasive pop-ups, or to navigate on a site that is not adapted to your mobile. You have certainly felt annoyed and had a bad experience!

On the other hand, a responsive site (mobile-friendly), with a fast-loading time and smooth navigation, allowed you to find what you needed quickly and gave you a much better experience as a user.

The consultation of the pages of a site by an Internet user has evolved. Websites must therefore adapt to new practices to facilitate navigation and satisfy users. And it is also in this direction that Google is working to improve its algorithms.

Developments to offer the best of the Web to Internet users

If a few elements foreshadowed the growing importance of taking into account the user experience for Google, this new update confirms the trend. The American firm wants to improve the quality of its results pages (SERPs). Its objective is to offer Internet users relevant, responsive pages that are compatible with different media.

To do this, the Web giant wants to highlight high-performance sites with high added value content on social media verification agency. It thus favors security, accessibility and quality so that all Internet users can easily find the information they are looking for.

Google relevance criteria

A site must be optimized according to different criteria of relevance in order to meet Google’s requirements and hope to be placed in the first positions of the SERP. These indicators constitute the basis of natural referencing (SEO) and are grouped according to 3 main pillars: content, technique and popularity. These criteria thus allow the algorithms to measure the interaction of the Internet user with a page, to understand the content of a site, to evaluate its performance and its notoriety to define its ranking in the search results.

Let’s focus on UX-related performance signals and their evolution following the deployment of Core Web Vitals.

Indicators to measure the quality of the user experience of a page

UX metrics before Core Web Vitals integration

Before the Page Experience update and the introduction of Core Web Vitals, Google had already integrated 4 indicators to measure the quality of the user experience, according to scores. They concern:

  • Compatibility with mobile ergonomics (mobile friendly sites).
  • Secure connection thanks to the implementation of the HTTPS protocol on a site.
  • Safe browsing free of security vulnerabilities, fraudulent practices or malware.
  • Accessible content without intrusive interstitials likely to disrupt the user’s navigation and accessibility.

These criteria are mainly oriented towards the security and accessibility of a site. However, Google is strengthening its system and adding new metrics to have an overall view of the user experience of a page.

The 3 new signals of the Core Web Vitals

Deployed for a month, the Core Web Vitals or Essential Web Signals in French are added to the existing criteria. Thus, the LCP, the CLS and the FID allow Google’s algorithms to more accurately assess the quality of the user experience of a page, again according to scores. Let’s see this in more detail:

  • The LCP (Largest Concertful Paint) calculates the loading performance, i.e., the time required for the main content to be visible to the user. This is not to calculate the full-page load, only the main elements. Google defines that a good LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds to provide a good experience.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) measures the visual stability of a page. He thus appreciates the display of elements when they are loaded, and the impact of layout changes for the user. According to a formula defined by Google, it is recommended to obtain a CLS score of less than 0.1.
  • The FID (First Input Delay) evaluates the interactivity, that is to say the reaction time of the browser following the first action of a user. It corresponds in particular to the response time between the moment a user clicks on a button and the moment the landing page begins to load. Google estimates that a responsive response takes less than 100 milliseconds.

Core Web Vitals: the new signals integrated by Google to evaluate the experience of a page. Source: Google docs

In summary, the Core Web Vitals, put in place by Google, relate to the loading speed (LCP), the visual stability (CLS) and the interactivity (FID) of a page. With these 3 additional performance indicators, the pages of a site will therefore have to meet a total of 7 metrics to provide a good user experience.

A well-designed, secure, efficient website with interesting content will be satisfactory for the Internet user. Complying with Google specifications, the pages will also be favored in the SERP.

The impact of implementing Core Web Vitals

The first effects on page positioning

It is still too early to assess the real impact of Core Web Vitals on the current positioning of pages in Google search results. However, a month after the rollout, a first study was published by Sistroid. Conducted among 46,042 websites, the study establishes that the new signals have no negative effect on the positions of those sites with poor FID, LCP and CLS scores before this update. However, we will have to wait for the end of the deployment, scheduled for August 31, 2021, to measure all the changes related to the implementation of the Core Web Vitals.

Tools to measure Core Web Vitals

An optimized website must take into account all the criteria defined by Google, and this, from its design. To help you measure Core Web Vitals and improve your site’s performance, Google offers various tools. In particular, it includes a new section in the Search Console.

In addition, the search engine would consider setting up a score to promote high-performance pages, but the future will tell us more!

Content remains priority

If UX is at the heart of the news, Google specifies that the quality of the content nevertheless remains a priority factor for the ranking of a site. This is why it is essential to offer editorial content with high added value and in sufficient quantity. To delegate this time-consuming task, you can hire a qualified SEO web editor. This professional will help you establish an effective strategy and write optimized texts to improve your visibility.

Core Web Vitals complement natural SEO best practices. These new signals confirm the need to optimize the user experience of the pages in order to obtain a good positioning in the results of Google. To please Internet users and Google, it is therefore crucial to focus on the performance, security, accessibility and quality of a site’s pages.