Page Experience - New Google Ranking Factor as of May 2021

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How the Google ranking is composed and how websites are evaluated is essential for SEO optimization. With the "Page Experience", a new Google ranking factor from May 2021, the next big change is imminent. Under the term "Page Experience", Google summarizes several metrics, which in particular technical structure and the Loading times concern - and are of great importance to you from now on.

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Now with date: Page Experience - new Google ranking factor as of May 2021

Already in the summer of 2020, there was the announcement that the "bundled signal" would soon become a ranking factor and thus decisively Influence on the Google ranking would take. For a long time, it was quiet around the Page Experience. According to statements from Google, this was partly due to the worldwide Corona pandemic, but now the starting signal has been given. In May big changes are coming your way!

This is how the page experience is composed

The new Google ranking signal relies on a combination of a total of seven metrics, three of which are the so-called "Core Web Vitals" represent. The "Core Web Vitals" have been filling the monitors in marketing departments for quite some time, they were first introduced in May 2020. They are structured as follows:

  • Loading Time (Largest Contentful Paint)
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay)
  • Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift)

All of them are represented by the Core Web Vitals and are intended to evaluate technical usability of a website. They see themselves as a blueprint for what Google rates as "best practices."

The Page Experience, a new Google ranking factor, combines the three metrics mentioned above with four additional evaluation criteria. These are:

  • Compatibility towards tablets and smartphones (Mobile Friendly)
  • Quality of the code, especially with regard to efficiency and security (safe browsing)
  • Use of HTTPS encryption, as should already be the standard today
  • No interstitial usage
Starting in May 2021, these seven metrics will factor into Google's user experience score.
Starting in May 2021, these seven metrics will factor into Google's user experience score (image:

Based on the now total of seven metrics, it becomes clear that, strictly speaking, Page Experience is not a completely new ranking factor. Instead, the page experience represents seven metrics, which are already actively incorporated into the Google ranking of your projects. Due to the bundling and announcement, one may speculate that all seven metrics will henceforth play a greater role in the evaluation than before.

We remember: The "mobile friendliness" of a website was already taken into account as "Mobilegeddon", which was announced effectively in the media at the time as a ranking factor with the pithy name. The same applied to HTTPS, which led to a general rethinking on the Internet: Google's algorithm adjustments of yesterday, shaped the future of tomorrow. Meanwhile, the loading times were reweighted with the "Mobile Speed Update", among other things.

What do the individual metrics of the Core Web Vitals in Page Experience tell you?

With many of the terms used by Google, it can be quickly concluded which evaluation criteria they ultimately represent. Nevertheless, terms like "Cumulative Layout Shift" are not necessarily familiar to many marketers and webmasters for completely understandable reasons. We would like to explain what is behind the new Google ranking metrics - and how they can help to align your projects for the future.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - loading time

The time that elapses from calling up the page until the primary content is fully loaded is measured. Google considers values below 2.5 seconds as good, with load times between 2.5 and 4 seconds there is room for improvement. Potential downgrades in Google rankings threaten websites that load their primary content for longer than 4 seconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - visual stability

Web pages load, even if the user does not notice it, "step by step". In the worst case, this can lead to the user wanting to click on an element, but the page is still loading and then the entire layout shifts - then the click may end up on an advertising banner or in nirvana instead. On the positive side, if the layout shifts little or not at all during the loading time. Google rates CLS values up to 0.1 as positive, above 0.25 as poor.

First Input Delay (FID) - Interactivity

FID indicates how much time elapses between the first reaction of the user and the Browser response and the web page loaded in it. Positive loading times include periods of Less than 100 milliseconds, anything above 300 milliseconds gives valid reason for improvement.

Pay attention to Google ranking metrics and optimize them if necessary.
Pay attention to Google ranking metrics and optimize them if necessary (Image:

The other four metrics: The old familiar taking on new meaning!

The Page Experience as a new Google ranking factor from May 2021 also takes up four well-known metrics. We take a closer look, because best practice solutions are still a goal today, but tomorrow they may already be standard.

Mobile Friendly

This criterion represents, how well a website works on mobile devices as tablets or smartphones is displayed - both in terms of loading times and the arrangement of design elements.

Safe Browsing

Google assumes for positively rated websites that they have a slim, efficient and clean code code. Even if the user does not come into direct contact with it or does not see it, the code is representative of the quality of the website and its backend.

HTTPS encryption

The little lock in the browser's address bar is now even familiar to less technically savvy users. HTTPS enables a lossless, secure transmission between user and website and has long been considered an indispensable standard.

No Intrusive Interstitials - no interstitial usage

The term "interstitials" is not new, but it's not widely used either. This metric becomes more understandable if you replace interstitials with "pop-ups" - which is exactly what it means. Annoying pop-upsthat block the view of the actual content are evaluated negatively by Google. Sometimes they cannot be prevented, for example with regard to the GDPR and associated cookie queries. However, advertisements and co. could lead to a worse rating.

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Conclusion: Google's new metrics are not an obstacle - they are an opportunity for good, technically flawless projects!

The Page Experience is coming - and may not fundamentally turn Google rankings upside down, but it will definitely have an influence on them. Many of the metrics it contains are already taken into account anyway, but from now on sometimes with a higher weighting. In any case, they all reflect what is important beyond the search engine rankings: the foundation stone for a positive User Experience to keep your visitors coming back again and again.



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