Recently, Google confirmed rolling out their page experience update “slowly” to desktop search results. First rolled out only to mobile search results, this ranking algorithm’s major goal is to ensure an improved web-browsing experience – both on mobile and desktop – because page experience remains one of the many factors Google’s systems take into account. While rolling out this update to mobile search results, the company in advance noted that the same update will also be applied to desktop search by February 2022. As expected, the page experience update was rolled out on February 22, 2022, and finished rolling out on March 3, 2022. Our search engine optimization company keeps track of new Google updates and trends and understands how it can impact our clients’ digital marketing campaigns.
What is Page Experience?
According to Google, “the page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page”. It is made up of several existing Google search ranking factors, including:
- Mobile-friendly update
- Page Speed Update
- The HTTPS ranking boost
- The intrusive interstitials penalty
- Safe Browsing Penalty
These refinements – which are under what Google calls Core Web Vitals – when optimized make the web more user-friendly and delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces. It will also help websites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. Google believes that all these factors will contribute to the success of a business, as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.
The Page Experience Update for Desktop
The Page Experience update, which was thought to only impact mobile search, has now rolled out to desktop and this information was revealed during a session on preparing for the Page Experience update from Google I/O on May 2021.
According to Google, this ranking launch will be based on the same page experience signals that were rolled out for mobile in 2021. But then, there would be some key differences between how Page Experience is applied to mobile compared to desktop search results.
- For instance, all of the page experience factors for mobile search results will be included with the exception of the mobile-friendliness requirement. That is, the same three Core Web Vitals metrics (LCP, FID, and CLS), their associated thresholds, other aspects of page experience signals (such as HTTPS security and absence of intrusive interstitials) will apply for the desktop ranking. While the mobile-friendliness signals– which continue to be a part of mobile ranking – won’t be a factor for this update with desktop search results.
The desktop signal is based on the URLs that desktop users seem a site has a separate desktop and mobile URLs with an appropriate configuration.
What we have to understand with this update is that factors that weren’t previously evaluated for a website in desktop search results will now be taken into consideration by Google. In fact, if a website scores well for these factors on mobile, it’s likely to perform similarly as well on desktop too.
Even if it isn’t optimized for mobile – because mobile-friendliness isn’t a factor for the Page Experience desktop update – your website could potentially benefit from a ranking boost in desktop search if other criteria are met.
Similar to Core Web Vitals metrics and other attributes, intrusive interstitials will apply to the desktop version as well. Also, remember that the page experience update no longer considers safe browsing – so for mobile and desktop, it looks like this:
Google released updated page experience reports for desktop a few months ago as a way to support the upcoming rollout of page experience ranking to desktop. However, Search Console now has a dedicated desktop section in its Page Experience report as it helps site owners understand Google’s ‘good page experience’ criteria.
For page experience update rollout to mobile search results, Google says not to expect drastic changes, because the update was designed to highlight pages that provide a great user experience. According to searchengineland, the same is expected for the desktop rollout too.
As the update is now rolled out completely, Google will be now planning to help site owners understand how their desktop pages are performing with regard to page experience using a Search Console report which will be launched before desktop becomes a ranking signal. Local SEO companies providing search engine optimization services keep track of these updates and can help you prepare for them.
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