Google Page Experience: latest update from 2022 for desktop

Google Page Experience is the name of the latest update from the search engine, which completed its implementation in August 2021 for mobile traffic.

It’s very recent news (November 4th) that it will also become effective for desktop ranking starting in February 2022, with full implementation by the end of March.

In this article, we will see what the Google Page Experience update entails, why it’s important to consider it from an SEO perspective, how it has disrupted SERP rankings, and, to top it off, some news for 2022!

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What does the Google Page Experience update involve?

The focal point of this significant update is, as we’ll see in detail, the use of Core Web Vitals to assess and measure the quality of the user experience.

Since its creation in 1997, Google has constantly updated the functioning logic of its algorithm, with some revolutions and many lighter refinements.

As users, we hardly notice, but if we think back a few years, we realize how much web search has changed: once, entering a keyword into the search engine was an important moment, you took your time to decide what to write.

Today, it almost seems like the algorithm reads your mind, offering results perfectly relevant to your search intent effortlessly.

All of this is the result of constant work by the Mountain View company and, consequently, by all industry professionals involved in SEO, who must adapt to its requirements to offer content that is considered high quality and therefore positioned high in SERPs.

If your site has experienced ranking penalties, the cause could be the Page Experience update. But don’t forget that, especially since the algorithm started using artificial intelligence, small variations in the algorithm occur constantly.

In the summer of 2021 alone, there were 5 “major” updates, and page experience is just one of them.

Its uniqueness lies in the fact that a rare thing, the company announced it well in advance and provided a lot of information about it.

User Experience as a ranking factor

The announcement of this significant update, called Google Page Experience, was made on May 28, 2020. At the heart of it all is user experience, which effectively becomes a ranking factor.

As stated by Google:

“Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users interact with a web page, beyond its purely informative value.”

To measure the User Experience, known factors are combined with Core Web Vitals: metrics that become cardinal points of the page experience.

The Core Web Vitals

The Core Web Vitals are the metrics that Google uses to measure user experience. For now, there are three, but according to some rumors, it is likely that new ones will be implemented, at a rate of one per year.

google page experience updates

  • LCP: Largest Contentful Paint: measures the loading performance of the page. Specifically, the time it takes to load the largest content element on the screen.
  • FID: First Input Delay: measures interactivity, i.e., the time between the first user interaction with the page (e.g., a click) and the browser’s response.
  • CLS: Cumulative Layout Shift: measures visual stability, indicating unexpected layout shifts that occur because a page is still loading, causing text and links to move at the last moment, often leading to unwanted clicks (by the user) on advertisements.

Mobile Optimization

April 21, 2015: Mobilegeddon! The first time Google gave advance notice of a significant update, emphasizing mobile search over desktop. Today, this factor is fully integrated into the page experience.

You can check your webpage mobile optimization by clicking the image below:

web page optimization

HTTPS

Adopting HTTPS, based on encryption technology to make the connection secure for the user, has been officially declared a ranking factor.

Intrusive Interstitials

These are all advertising elements such as pop-ups and banners that are considered intrusive and detrimental to the page’s usability, leading to a penalty in the SERP.

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Google Search Console and other tools: Google is interested in helping SEOs

“We’re happy to announce that all of Google’s popular tools for web developers now support measurement of Core Web Vitals

This official announcement from the company shows us its intent: to assist web developers in creating content aligned with search engine requirements, all for the benefit of the user.

core web vitals

Google Search Console

A free service that allows you to manage and monitor your website’s presence in Google Search results.

Google Search Console provides a dedicated report on your site’s page experience, helping you identify groups of pages that require attention. The report identifies all URLs with issues related to Core Web Vitals, mobile usability, HTTPS, and ads.

PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse

Both tools provide valuable information but use different methods: Insights relies on empirical data while Lighthouse uses lab data.

The latter is also very useful for comparative analysis in SEO benchmarking, comparing performance evolution over time.

How top stories have changed

In Google Page Experience, there’s also an update regarding eligibility criteria for appearing in Serp Top Stories for mobile devices.

The role of AMP Pages

AMP pages will no longer be necessary for news publication. This functionality will be open to all pages. In addition to this change, user experience will naturally be one of the factors evaluated for inclusion in the news section.

Why allocating resources to page experience is important

Google has stated multiple times that page experience, an official ranking factor, will not replace relevance. However, it could be a decisive factor in positioning when there are many pages with similar relevance.

In this regard, John Mueller stated:

“It serves as a ranking element, surpassing a mere tie-breaker yet not replacing relevance. Its impact varies based on the sites you handle. As an SEO professional, your task includes discerning which optimizations merit your time among the myriad possibilities.”

The reason it makes sense to invest time and resources in optimizing User Experience is simple: it is one of the very few ranking factors where measurable metrics can be assessed.

For example, we all know that links are an important ranking factor, but we don’t know how many, which ones, or what their actual importance is.

This is because the search engine hasn’t communicated much about it. We can only guess and assess the effects of our actions by building experience-based methodologies.

Core Web Vitals are actual metrics and can be decisive, especially for content considered equally relevant.

 

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The effect of Google Page Experience update on SERPs

Some specialized operators have already begun analyzing the effects of the Google Page Experience update on SERPs.

Since operators had over a year to prepare for this update, there haven’t been major revolutions. On average, sites with good performance have a better positioning by about 1 percentage point.

Those with poor performance, on the other hand, have experienced a more significant penalty, between 3 and 4 percentage points.

This result is not to be underestimated, also because it’s important to remember that poor User Experience also translates into poor user usability.

What will happen now? Here’s the news!

The company has just announced that Google Page Experience for the desktop will be rolled out between February and March 2022, but that’s not the only upcoming change.

On October 14, Niru Anand announced the implementation of Continuous Scrolling, initially only for mobile and only for the USA.

In practice, once the bottom of the page is reached, the next page will be automatically loaded without the user needing to click.

This will obviously have consequences for the work of SEO Specialists, and it could also bring advantages to those positioned on the second or third page.

All this gives us a measure of how, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence, the algorithm is constantly evolving.

The biggest revolutions are now announced in advance to give industry operators the opportunity to prepare better, but small changes are now daily.

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In conclusion, with Google Page Experience, the focus has been placed on prioritizing user experience, greatly benefiting the site’s usability for users.

The goal is always to provide increasingly usable and high-quality results, following the well-known E-A-T paradigm: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

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