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Google page experience update for desktop completes in March

Google page experience update

What has changed since the update in March 2022?

Google has confirmed its page experience update for desktop completed in early March. The company had earlier announced the start of the rollout on February 22nd. In its announcement, Google said the rollout would be complete by the end of March; however, a tweet on March 3rd confirmed it had finished.

What is the page experience update for desktop?

This update incorporates the same signals as the mobile version of the page experience update, minus the requirement for the page to be mobile-friendly.

The table below highlights the specific ranking signals the update incorporates.

What exactly is page experience?

Factor
Mobile
Desktop
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
First Input Delay (FID)
HTTPS Security
Absence of intrusive interstitials
Mobile friendliness
(Not applicable)

Google has produced a wealth of resources around page experience, although they’re not the easiest thing to read if you’re not a developer!

Thankfully, the clue is very much in the title!

Google’s page experience updates and associated metrics aim to understand how a human user will experience your website’s pages.

So, it’s measuring:

  • If your pages load quickly – don’t worry; you don’t get a penalty if your visitors have a crappy internet connection!
  • If your page is mobile-friendly – if your visitor is on a smartphone or tablet device
  • If your page uses HTTPS or can run HTTPS if requested by visitors
  • Whether your page has intrusive adverts on it
  • If your page remains stable and doesn’t have content jumping around as it loads

If you’re a seasoned website owner or are familiar with Google updates, you might recognize these factors from individual updates in the past. And that points to what the page experience update itself is; it’s bringing all those factors together while adding further refinement to how it measures page speed and usability.

As such, you don’t need to write to your developers and tell them to focus on page experience on top of all these factors. Instead, you can just point them in the direction of Google’s update in the link above, and they’ll have everything they need to ensure your website is performing as it needs to.

Can I see how my pages perform?

You can find page experience reports in your Search Console account under the “Experience” heading on the left-hand side. If there’s enough user data for your website, you’ll be able to click through the “Core Web Vitals” box and view the specific URLs where you have issues, making it easy for you to fix them.

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Why didn't I see massive changes in my rankings during the update?

While page experience is a vital factor in how Google assesses and ranks web pages, it isn’t the sole ranking factor. Nor do we know how significant it is within Google’s broader search algorithm.

Google itself said it was unlikely this update would lead to drastic changes. In general, the days of updates leading to seismic shifts in rankings are gone. Modern updates are much more subtle and happen on the back of tweaks rather than substantial algorithm changes.

With all this in mind, taking a holistic approach to your search engine optimization activities remains the best way to achieve high organic visibility, rankings, and traffic. Even if your page experience metrics are 100% across the board, you still need to ensure you have amazing, well-optimized content, earn authoritative links, have a logical site architecture, and take care of everything else on this front.

Will anything change in the future?

Possibly. Anyone with any experience in digital marketing learned many years ago that trying to second guess Google is foolish.

Long-term, Google is likely to continue refining how it measures page experience. However, unless there are significant changes in web design or usability trends, there is unlikely to be a massive shift in how influential page experience is.

Bottom line? Make sure your pages are offering an exceptional user experience!

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