Google has announced the rollout of its new Page Experience tool for desktop – starting in February 2022 and due for completion in March 2022. In this article we highlight the key changes, what this means for your website, and how to optimise your desktop page experience in preparation for the change.
What will change after this update?
Previously, Google’s Page Experience ranking factors only applied to mobile ranking. This update means desktop sites will now be subject to the same ranking factors as mobile (with the exception of mobile friendliness). There will also be a new desktop search console report which can be used to understand desktop performance.
The below comparison table shows the metrics that will be used to measure page experience ranking signals on desktop and mobile:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), First Input Delay (FID), HTTPS Security, and absence of intrusive interstitials are all now ranking factors on desktop as well as mobile.
New Google Search Console Report
Google Search Console has a new dedicated desktop section in its Page Experience Report which will evaluate performance specifically related to desktop. This report has been updated to enable the filtering of well-performing pages to help site owners monitor how these pages compare to others on the same site.
What does this mean for websites?
The similarities between mobile and desktop page experience criteria will streamline optimisation and enable websites to perform well unanimously across both channels – in other words, if your mobile site is performing well, chances are your desktop site will be too.
The update also brings new opportunities for desktop webpages to get an added increase in ranking even if they don’t satisfy the mobile friendliness criteria.
Another thing to note is the introduction of the ‘absence of intrusive interstitials’ criteria for desktop, which will have a negative impact on desktop websites who rely heavily on popups.
There is a clear emphasis on making content as easily accessible from search results to the page, so website owners and marketers must decide between improving page experience or attracting the attention of visitors. If the former, they must be reactive in removing these before the rollout is complete.
How to optimise your desktop website
Google recommends taking the following precautions before the rollout is complete to ensure your website is not negatively affected.
Take advantage of prefetching on Google Search via the use of signed exchanges – to ensure websites load almost instantly thanks to predownloaded content
Use the Search Console’s page experience report to identify areas for improvement
Make sure that content is easily accessible from search results to the page i.e., no interstitials (ads that appear while a chosen page is downloading)
With the emphasis on digital accessibility seen in the last few years, it goes as no surprise that page experience is becoming more of an important factor in Google SERP ranking for desktop.
Mobile was previously the main target of page experience since usability when translating web content from large screens to smaller came with obvious challenges, but this change indicates that page experience is now more about the overall quality of user experience on all channels and making the transitions between them as seamless as possible – which users now want and expect.
At TDMP, we have been optimising with Page Experience in mind and recording and optimising CWV performance for both Mobile and Desktop since the announcement of Google’s update. The roll-out will most likely provide a short-term ranking boost to some pages that are already passing CWV metrics.
In the future, we recommend giving more priority to how design functions and features look visually as well as how elements react with desktop browser display.
At TDMP, we use a variety of tools to monitor and improve SEO performance, including Google’s Page Experience reports. If you would like to learn more about the SEO services we provide please don’t hesitate to get in touch.