Google Search has always considered user experience as part of ranking. In 2014, google were announced Mobile Friendliness and HTTPS as ranking signal. Yes! Page Experience factors are coming soon to Google Search for ranking. There are four pillars of user experience.
Loading, which signifies how fast or slow the resources of the page is downloaded and displayed on the user’s browser. User annoyance, an important pillar that quantifies some of the webpage behavior that might get in the way of a user accomplishing a task.
Security and privacy, a critical aspect of how safe, secure, and privacy-friendly web page.
Accessibility, World Health Organization’s disability/health fact sheet finds that over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.
These four pillars provide a structure for how to think about page experience for your pages.
For loading, Google use Largest Contentful Paint and First Input Delay. The largest Contentful Paint, LCP for short, is a metric that reports the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport, relative to when the page first started loading.
Cumulative Layout Shift, CLS. CLS measures the sum total of all the individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs on the page. A layout shift occurs anytime a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next.
No abusive interstitials is an existing Search ranking policy and an associated signal that Google have longed used on Search that detects the presence and use of interstitials that are user-hostile.
For security and privacy, the sites are delivered using the HTTPS protocol. Users should be able to confidently browse the internet without having to worry about man-in-the-middle attack or improper impersonations. Safe browsing systems at Google bring together decades worth of experience in identifying and mitigating web-based threats, such as malware, unwanted software downloads or social engineering.
The mobile friendliness signal covers the accessibility pillar, which measures how effective the pages are on small screens, often used by mobile phones.
The first three metrics, Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift are the Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics that apply to all the web pages and should be measured by all site owners and would be surfaced across all the Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of user experience and is measurable in the field, and reflects the real world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.
For instance, LCP where we measure the loading performance of the page, values less than 2.5 seconds means the page is delivering good user experience. Pages that take more than four seconds are deemed poor.
Similarly for First Input Delay, 100 milliseconds is a maximum delay users have to encounter during the initial input and its response. Anything greater than 300 milliseconds starts to feel like the page is frozen and leads to bad user experience.
Cumulative Layout Shift is a unit less metric. 0.1 score or below is good while 0.25 or greater is deemed poor.
Finally, including all these factors page experience is critical.