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How A Good Page Experience Directly Affect Your SEO

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user experience Affect Your SEO

The Google Page Experience is the name given to a project initially carried by Chrome and Chromium – the open source version of Google’s browser. The latter then took over the reins in order to carry out the project and deploy it on a larger scale.

The goal of the project is simple: it is to make the user experience (called UX for User experience) a criterion of relevance from the point of view of SEO! We explain how the updated Experience Page affects your SEO.

What is the Google Page Experience?

The Google Page Experience is an approach that encourages websites to promote a pleasant and intuitive browsing environment for users, by boosting their visibility on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

With this in mind, websites that make the effort to present user-friendly pages have an advantage in terms of visibility.

This project was initiated at Chrome after the release of internal studies at Google, proving that the speed of a website and other usability factors have an impact on the number of searches made by Internet users.

Indeed, at each search session on Google, the more the internet user is confronted with slow or unresponsive websites, the more inclined he is to stop his searches. And sometimes even without having found answers to his questions.

In May 2020, Google and the Chrome development team announced the creation of the Essential Web Signals report consisting of several indicators related to:

He Visual Stability Of The Pages,
Their Responsiveness,
As Well As At Their Speed.

The project introduces Core Web Vitals that combine for example with the Mobile Friendly aspect or HTTPS security to form together Web Signals for a better browsing experience. This is a sign that Google increasingly wants to incorporate UX into its strategy.

It is only in June 2021 that these web signals are taken into account in Google’s page relevance algorithm. At the time of writing, Google is still rolling out this major update and is expected to complete it at the end of August 2021. Especially with the implementation of a visual indicator on SERPs, thus giving an advantage to websites that meet the criteria of user-friendliness.

GPE: the 3 indicators to know absolutely

The Google Page Experience update influences the visibility of websites based on 3 criteria,represented by 3 indicators.

For each of these 3 indicators, many ways exist to calculate them and obtain reliable data. We prefer theSemrush Site Audit tool,which recently has a section that focuses on the study of these indicators.

Google page experience audit Semrush and Site Auditing allow you to quickly analyze all your pages separately to precisely target the ones that interest you.

The LCP indicator: for load time

The first indicator is the LCP for Largest Contentful Paint. It indicates how long it takes the site to display the largest block of content on the page.

Google page experience by loading the largest content on the page in less than 2.5 seconds!
It is therefore an evolution of the FCP (First Contentful Paint) which indicates for its part, the time that the site takes to display “the very first element” of the site. However, this indicator is not precise enough… There can be large disparities in display time between elements on the same page.

In addition, it should be borne in mind that the LCP calculates the time required to “display” the largest element, and not its loading time. It is the difference between “loading time” and “rendering time” that comes into play here.

IMPROVE YOUR LCP SCORE

To improve your LCP score, the main action is to set up an efficient cache solution and prioritize cached HTML content. Thus, the loading will be much faster on your website.

On websites hosted far from the user, it is worth opting for a CDN. It is a service to which any website owner can subscribe to bring together, in the sense of the server, the information of the user. Over long distances, the server then behaves much more efficiently.

In cases where the largest content is an image, compressing and shrinking the latter helps enormously to achieve a lower LCP score. On some content, it is even better not to display an image from the beginning of the page.

This is especially true on mobile for blog posts. In this case, prefer purely textual content (much faster to load than an image) to possibly place an image later, further down the page. Converting images to current formats also offers good performance and saves you a few milliseconds of loading time: so opt for JPEG2000 or WebP.

The FID indicator: for reactivity

A page that quickly displays the elements that compose it does not necessarily designate a reactive site.

Indeed, the reaction of the page “to the very first click” made by the user is another element that must be taken into account to judge the responsiveness of the site.

This is precisely the raison d’être of the IDF.

The FID is also called TBT for Total Blocking Time. This is particularly the case on Semrush. but this does not change anything to the indicator itself!

The purpose of the FID (for First Input Delay) is to calculate the time that takes the site to react to the very first stimulus when the user arrives on the page. More specifically, it calculates the time between the moment when the user interacts with the page just after arriving there (in full loading time, therefore) and the moment when the site is able to respond to this interaction.

This interaction can take several forms:

Lick On A Button,
Click On A Link,
Click On An Image To Enlarge…

By analyzing the very first input, this indicator focuses on the value of “first impression”. Indeed, a website rarely has latencies of response to clicks after loading done. It is therefore logical to analyze what happens in the very first moments of the user on the site.

Moreover, it is often the user’s first impression on the site that will determine whether he likes it or not. Google has understood this well and therefore focuses on this first impression value in its calculations.

To be green on this metric, a site must have a FID of less than 100 ms.

IMPROVE YOUR FID SCORE

The JavaScript that occupies the main thread is the major cause of inactivity of the site in the face of the clicks of the internet user. Indeed, it is when the main thread has to handle JavaScript requests that it is unable to respond to the user. In this case, it is at the level of JavaScript that you can act.

A representation of the main thread’s activity (in yellow). If the user clicks while the thread is handling a server request, then it waits until the thread has completed its calculation for the calculation to take into account the user’s request.

The first solution is to minimize the weight of JavaScript files. This is a process that cleans up code by removing anything that is superfluous:

Code That Does Not Refer To Anything,
Developer Feedback,
Line Breaks,
And Other Unnecessary Layouts…

Also, defer loading unused JavaScript on the beginning of the page or for plugins. This is often the case for WordPress sites that are very greedy in JavaScript, because of the many plugins installed.

The CLS indicator: for visual stability

If there is one point on which all users agree, it is that image jumps and the movement of elements on a web page are extremely annoying. This is all the more true on mobile!

In order to take this disruptive element into account, Google has created the CLSindicator , for Cumulative Layout Shift.

The CLS is not a time indicator like the other 2, but an index that is based on a very simple calculation, detailed just a little lower!

The latter focuses on how often the elements move unexpectedly, causing great discomfort.

Such shifts occur during the loading phase of the page and come from the fact that all the “components” do not have dimensions known in advance in the development phase: the responsive in particular forces many elements to adapt to the dimensions of the screen.

Because of this, when an item loads and appears on the screen, it moves all the other items under it that have loaded before it.

The layout shift score is calculated from 2 motion measurements:

The Impact Fraction measure, Which calculates the total area that an element occupies on the screen in the initial and final positions. For example, an element that occupies 25% of the screen in the initial position and then moves down 25% will have occupied a total of 50% of the screen for itself. Its fraction impact measurement will then be 0.50.

The Fraction Distance measure, Which calculates the total distance traveled by the element. In our previous example, the element is lowered 25% from the screen down, its fractional distance index will then be 0.25.
Then, just multiply these 2 values between them! We then obtain the CLS, which is 0.125 in our example.

Generally, the CLS is considered good when it is below 0.1.

IMPROVE YOUR CLS SCORE
In seeking to improve your CLS score, you should seek to minimize any image lag.

To do this, several actions must be put in place:

  1. FILL IN THE DIMENSIONS OF YOUR IMAGES.
    It is usually not necessary to fill in the dimensions of the images. Especially since the advent of responsive design that manages everything in the CSS file. However, this can result in elements shifting on the page when an image is loaded. A very simple practice is to fill in the height and width attributes to your images. Thus, the browser can allocate the right space even before the image is fully loaded.
  2. CREATE PLACEHOLDERS FOR YOUR ADS.
    The latter are very often the cause of a movement of elements on your pages. Especially when they are at the top of the page. So create directly in the design of the page a space with predefined dimensions whose purpose will be to visually host the advertisement. Thus, the space occupied by the advertisements will already be taken into account by the browser from the beginning of the loading phase.
  3. INTERVENE ON ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS THAT ADD UP TO YOUR MAIN CONTENT.
    This can be, for example, a banner inviting to accept cookies. If the latter is added at the bottom of the page, then all the content of the page goes up! Make sure that this type of content is instead superimposed on the main content: it will no longer have any impact on the CLS.

The Google Page Experience: really a turning point in your SEO?

How will these indicators and the Google Page Experience influence your SEO?

In fact, there is every reason to believe that the weight of such indicators will be relatively small compared to other criteria such as the quality of the content.

Indeed, Google and other search engines have the same goal: to offer the best content, at the best time, to Internet users who need it. It is therefore through the quality of the content offered by Google that it ensures that Internet users will return to Google for their next searches.

However, the speed of loading of the page and its visual stability do not come into play when it comes to judging the relevance or quality of the content.

However, it is undeniable that the way in which content is presented has a great influence on the user’s experience when visiting a website, especially for the first time.

To conclude on the Google Experience Page: always think globally.

Your site is not a pile of content. Nor is there a test area where the goal would be to achieve the right numbers on all indicators. Its real purpose? Offer internet users relevant, quality and presented content so that it is pleasant to navigate the site. That’s the relevance of merging SEO and UX!

Nicki Jenns is a healthy eating and world news expert, motivational speaker and author. She is passionate about the impact of health and family issues.

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