Why Do Page Experience Signals They Matter for SEO?
You can’t rely solely on backlinks to achieve high search rankings on Google. Equally if not more important are Page Experience signals. You should still try to attract high-quality backlinks, but you should also optimize your website for Page Experience signals. Including Page Experience signals in your search engine optimization (SEO) approach will help your website rank on Google.
The 4 Page Experience Signals
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Page Experience signals are experience-related ranking signals. Google introduced them in 2021 with the Page Experience update There are four Page Experience signals: Core Web Vitals, mobile friendliness, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and no intrusive interstitials.
Core Web Vitals focus on load times and interactivity. Mobile friendliness focuses on mobile compatibility. HTTPS focuses on the use of a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic certificate. No intrusive interstitials focus on the lack of intrusive, content-covering pop-ups. Regardless, all Page Experience signals are related to the visitor experience.
Why Page Experience Signals Matter for SEO
As ranking factors, Page Experience signals affect Google rankings. They are less influential than content. According to Google, however, Page Experience signals are direct ranking factors used in its algorithm. When Google’s algorithm encounters two pages with similar content, it will often compare their Page Experience signals. The page with the best Page Experience signals will rank higher than the competing page.
Page Experience signals reflect usability. By targeting them, visitors will be able to access and use your website more easily. They’ll experience shorter load times, cross-device compatibility, greater security and content that’s easier to see. And as your website becomes easier to use, more visitors will talk about and share it.
Optimizing your website for HTTPS is particularly important. HTTPS is a Page Experience signal that focuses on the use of an SSL cryptographic certificate. Installing an SSL cryptographic certificate on your server will allow visitors to access your website using HTTPS, which is an encrypted connection.
HTTPS will protect your website and visitors from cyber threats. Packet sniffing, for instance, is a concern for websites that don’t have an SSL cryptographic certificate. Visitors must access these websites over an unencrypted connection. As they transfer packets over the unencrypted connection, a hacker may intercept them while subsequently stealing their data.
Cyber threats such as packet sniffing can prevent your website from ranking high on Google. If visitors are vulnerable to data breaches when using your website, Google may rank it low in the search results or not at all. Google strives to protect its users from data breaches, so its algorithm analyzes HTTPS as a Page Experience signal and ranking factor.
How to Analyze Your Website’s Page Experience Signals
To analyze your website’s Page Experience signals, use Google Search Console. There’s a tool in Search Console that will reveal whether or not your website is optimized for Page Experience signals. It’s available under the “Experience” tab on the main menu of Search Console
Upon loading the Page Experience tool in Search Console, you’ll see the percentage of pages that meet Google’s benchmark for a positive Page Experience. Search Console refers to these pages as “Good URLs.” You’ll see a numerical figure as well as a time-lapsed chart, both of which represent the percentage of pages with a positive Page Experience.
Below the chart is a set of card-like boxes for the Page Experience signals. There’s a different box for each Page Experience signal. You can refer to these boxes to determine how many pages pass or fail a particular Page Experience signal. If the Core Web Vitals box shows 50 failing URLs, for example, your website has 50 pages that aren’t optimized for Core Web Vitals. You can click the box to view the specific URLs that failed the test.
Optimizing Your Website for Page Experience Signals: What You Should Know
If one or more pages aren’t optimized for a Page Experience signal, you’ll need to fix them. Different Page Experience signals require different forms of optimization. For Core Web Vitals, you may want to use PageSpeed Insights at pagespeed.web.dev. It will provide an automated analysis of a page’s Core Web Vitals. If the page falls short of any of Google’s Core Web Vitals, PageSpeed Insights will reveal what caused the failure.
You can typically fix pages that aren’t mobile friendly by changing their design. Google recommends a responsive design for mobile-friendly pages. Responsive designs serve the same source code to visitors while responding to their devices. If a page isn’t mobile friendly, switching to a responsive design will likely fix it.
HTTPS is probably the easiest Page Experience signal to fix; you just need to install an SSL cryptographic certificate so that visitors can access your website using HTTPS. Some web hosting businesses offer these certificates at no additional charge. Even if you have shared hosting, you may be able to use a free hosting-provided certificate.
After installing an SSL cryptographic certificate on your server, set up redirects to your website’s new, encrypted URLs. Without redirects, visitors may continue to use an unencrypted HTTP connection when accessing your website. Redirects will force them to use HTTPS. Visitors who try to load a page using HTTP will be redirected to the HTTPS version of that page.
The no intrusive interstitials Page Experience signal is also easy to fix. Intrusive interstitials consist of pop-ups, dialogue boxes and other visual elements that cover the content on a page. They prevent visitors from viewing the page’s content, so they cause a negative experience.
If you have any pages with intrusive interstitials, you’ll need to fix them. You don’t have to remove interstitials from your website altogether, but you should deploy them in a nonintrusive manner. Deploying interstitials above or below the page’s content will make them nonintrusive. As long as an interstitial doesn’t cover the page’s content, it won’t be considered intrusive.
Page Experience signals don’t include backlinks or other off-page ranking signals. Rather, they are all experience-related ranking signals that occur directly on your website’s pages. Page Experience signals consist of Core Web Vitals, mobile friendliness, Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and no intrusive interstitials. Optimizing your website for these Page Experience signals will help it rank on Google while ensuring that visitors can easily access and use it.
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Last Updated in April 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny