Google Page Experience Update 2022: How it impacts SEO
The Page Experience update to the Google algorithm finished rolling out in March 2022, so how much does it really impact SEO and rankings?
You may hear many conflicting opinions on how much it impacts SEO and rankings. In this article, we’ll dive into what exactly the Page Experience Update includes, how much it actually matters for SEO, and how to make sure your website has passing scores.
What exactly is the Page Experience Update?
Google wants to make sure websites are delivering a good user experience for visitors. To measure this, Google created the Page Experience Update, which finished rolling out for mobile in August 2021 and for desktop in March 2022. This update added various performance metrics and user experience signals as part of the ranking algorithm. There are many ways to measure a website’s performance, so Google is starting with a few basic ones that will most likely evolve over time.
Here are the factors Google included in the Page Experience Update:
Intrusive interstitial content
Core Web Vitals
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
First Input Delay (FID)
Is your website mobile-friendly?
Google now checks to see if your site provides a good experience for mobile smartphone users. With so many people accessing sites on their phones, it’s more important than ever that your site works just as smoothly on mobile as it does on desktop.
You can check if your site is mobile-friendly HERE. Creating a responsive web-page design is key to having a site that works well on any device, including both desktop, tablet, and mobile.
Does your website have HTTPS?
“HTTPS” stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure”, and is usually seen as the lock icon in your web browser to the left of the current website URL you are visiting.
A valid SSL certificate and force HTTPS is required to pass this Page Experience requirement.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate or are allowed to visit the HTTP version, then you will see a “Not Secure” message next to the website’s URL, or will even see a page not allowing you to visit the website.
The JetPage website platform automatically includes a free SSL certificate and force HTTPS by default on all customer sites to pass this requirement.
Intrusive Interstitial Content: Does your site have any unnecessary pop-ups?
What Google is referring to as “intrusive interstitial content” is mainly pop-ups. One of the most frustrating aspects of the online web browsing experience, Google is now officially punishing sites for using them excessively.
If you want to encourage people to sign up for an email list, put a call-to-action at the top of your page rather than ruining their browsing experience with pop-ups.
In a case study of 647 search results, only 42% of these top results had pop-ups and half of those were for cookie consent.
Does your website pass Google Core Web Vitals?
Google’s Core Web Vitals are composed of three measurements:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how fast the largest element loads. This is currently the most challenging of the Core Web Vitals to pass, especially on Mobile.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a measure of how much your site moves due to things like ads, dynamic sizing of images, and things like using many different web fonts.
First Input Delay (FID) measures how long a visitor has to wait for something to happen after they click a button on your site. This typically only matters for e-commerce sites and web apps. Only a small fraction of sites are failing this aspect of core web vitals.
Only 33% of sites are passing desktop Core Web Vitals and even less are passing mobile CWV according to a study of over 5.2 million sites by ahrefs.
So unless you’ve already optimized your site for CWV, then chances are, you’re most likely failing.
How much does the Page Experience Update really affect SEO?
While creating high-quality, relevant content that gives value to readers is still the most important part of SEO, letting the technical SEO side of your site slide will result in decreased rankings both now and into the future. Nobody likes slow, outdated websites, and now Google is doing something about it.
As performance standards evolve over time and more and more of your competitors start to pass CWV, you risk being left behind. This detailed case study from SEO PowerSuite shows how they received an increase in clicks when they got their website to pass CWV, and saw a 30% decrease in clicks after some of their URLs started failing CWV.
Just switching over from slow shared hosting to cloud hosting alone can help increase your Google rankings. This case study by Reboot Online shows an increase of Google rankings based on switching from shared hosting and AWS cloud hosting.
This is why we chose to power ALL of our customer websites using AWS cloud hosting, because it has been proven to rank higher in Google. The performance improvement and lightning-fast load times is another bonus.
If you are an established site with tons of great content and backlinks, the Page Experience Update may not hurt you as much in the beginning. But over time, we can imagine how failing Page Experience in Google Search Console will lead to a decrease in rankings as more sites start to pass.
On the other hand, if you are a new website trying to compete with established competitors, you can gain an early advantage now from a technical SEO and modern user experience standard. An advantage that Google has now implemented into its ranking algorithm.
There’s usually a lot of fear around these algorithm updates for website owners. But the Page Experience Update poses a huge opportunity for site owners to level the playing field.
As a new website, you can start fresh and build your site the right way instead of having to deal with the headache of completely revamping an older one. Luckily for you, it’s easier than ever to get a website built the right way that passes all the Page Experience update requirements.
With the JetPage website platform, you can get an AWS cloud-hosted website that passes all 3 Core Web Vitals, and requires ZERO maintenance or updating!
All you have to do is create the content. No need to waste time doing web design and development. You can learn more about all the ways JetPage is optimized for SEO here, or sign up for a free 14-day trial (no credit card required)!