Page Experience Update Begins Rolling Out for Desktop Search Results
Google has confirmed that they are now rolling out the Page Experience algorithm update for desktop search results. This update has prompted SEOs and site owners to start work on their desktop SEO optimisation for Google. The search engine company promised the SEO community that the update would finish rolling out by the end of March.
In November 2021, Google announced that the Page Experience update, which was only applicable to mobile search results at that time, would be extended to desktop search results by February 2022. However, Page Experience works differently on desktop search results compared to the mobile version.
Page Experience Update for Desktop Search
The Page Experience update for the desktop version is an extension of Google’s algorithm rolled out for mobile search last year, but it is somewhat different from the latter.
Basically, Page Experience on desktop also uses the same ranking factors Google uses on the mobile version. The desktop version still uses the three Core Web Vitals metrics – CLS, FID, and LCP – and applies their associated thresholds.
Moreover, it will still consider other elements of page experience signals, such as secure HTTPS access and the lack of persistent interstitials — all these will remain unchanged.
The main difference is that the desktop version of the algorithm update will not consider mobile-friendliness, a signal that’s part of page experience for mobile search results.
How Page Experience on Desktop Affects Websites
Google will now consider factors that weren’t previously considered in desktop search results. So, if a website performs well for the Page Experience criteria on mobile, it will have better chances of ranking well on desktop.
Since the Page Experience desktop update doesn’t take mobile-friendliness into account, the website may possibly receive a ranking boost in desktop search even if it isn’t optimised for mobile, given that the other requirements are met.
If a website has separate desktop and mobile links, the desktop signal will be based on desktop users’ links.
Google has added a new Search Console report that focuses on assessing the desktop versions of web pages based on the Page Experience criteria. SEOs may use this report to predict how their websites will be affected after the update finishes rolling out next month.
SEOs can access the desktop report under the Page Experience tab in Search Console, located under the mobile report. It resembles the mobile report except for the Mobile Usability portion.
SEOs must be careful to avoid jumping to conclusions about how this update will impact their website. It’s better to wait until the Page Experience update on desktop search results has been fully deployed by the end of March.
As for websites that have seen changes in their desktop search rankings between now and the end of March, it may or may not be caused by this ongoing Page Experience update.
3 Ways to Optimise for the Page Experience Update
Page Experience on desktop is like the mobile version, except for the mobile-friendliness factor. Below is a helpful Google SEO optimisation guide for Page Experience, whether it’s for the desktop or mobile version.
1. Improve loading speed
One of Google’s CWV metrics is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which involves the most significant and largest content on a web page. It influences how quickly a page loads its most crucial content so that site visitors can see it.
SEOs can improve LCP performance by working on optimising their servers since slow ones can cause a slow response time. Running performance guidance on a server might help it produce a static page rather than constantly building it whenever a user clicks on it.
Block-level elements with text features, images, and videos can also cause LCP to load slowly. SEOs can compress their text files and images, and preload some page elements to address these issues.
2. Work on interactivity
3. Improve layout shift
The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a CWV metric that refers to how much a web page’s content layout moves around as the page loads.
For instance, let’s say that a user is in the middle of waiting for the page to load. While waiting, they decided that they wanted to click on the “Login” button, only to find that another page element loaded on the page, such as an advertisement or a “Buy Now” button. As a result, the “Login” button was pushed by the new page element in another direction. This scenario makes for a bad user experience.
To pass Google’s test, a website must have a CLS score of 0.1; anything above 0.25 is considered poor from Google’s perspective.
For WordPress websites, the following could be the main cause for a high CLS score:
- flashes of unstyled text
- dimensionless ads and embedded items
- dimensionless images and videos
- animations and other moving page elements
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