Page experience is a hot topic, particularly with Google’s recent update. Google’s page experience update was slowly rolled out for several months through the end of August, 2021.
According to Google, “while this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account.”
Page experience (a.k.a. website user experience) is also a general term, outside of Google’s definition. It can mean different things to different people. In other words, a positive website experience is something that’s often in the eyes of the visitor.
How good or bad your site’s experience is in the eyes of your audience has implications both for the number of visitors your site gets and for the percentage of visitors you convert into prospects or customers.
Below are a number of different perspectives on page experience, including Google’s four metrics.
Google’s metrics have an asterisk* next to their related headings below.
Many of Google’s page experience audits are “under the hood” and not apparent on navigation and visual inspection of a website. Other metrics are visible, poor experience factors such as ones that literally pop up off the page at a visitor.
The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) has long been focused on the topic of usability. The company defines usability as, “a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use.”
NN/g’s definition of usability is highly pragmatic. It is generally tied to how easily and quickly can people interact with your site.
In some industries, an attractive-looking website is the most important criterion to the site’s audience.
If you’re in the business of brokering high-end residential real estate, high-resolution images may be paramount, even if they make your pages load relatively slowly.
Another perspective on page experience comes from StoryBrand. In a nutshell, how clearly do your homepage and product/service pages explain what you do and the value of what you do to a visitor. How can a visitor who understands the value easily buy from you immediately or engage in a sales process?
This is counter to a common poor experience of a visitor having to struggle to figure out what exactly it is that your company does.
A website may seem fast to a user but still have a low PageSpeed, according to Google.
Google wants the time from when a page starts loading to the time when any part of a page’s content is rendered on the screen to be less than 1.8 seconds.
Google wants to see 2.5 seconds or less for the largest image or text block to become visible, relative to when the page first started loading.
When it comes to accessibility, there are many factors to consider when it comes to page experience for website visitors with a visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disability.
An often-overlooked factor that is easy to fix is a combination of background and foreground colors that do not have a sufficient contrast ratio. Another is including alt text with all non-decorative images.
Best practices currently consist of 17 different audits.
Two of the more common negatives that many people currently experience are browser popups on page load for 1) requesting the geolocation permission and for 2) requesting the notification permission.
This page experience metric partially relates to whether and how your content appears in the search engine results.
Indexing your site is required for SEO. If your site’s pages block indexing, your site will not be found through search.
One of the audits is a check for whether your website has a title tag on each page. Another is whether you use a meta description on your pages and posts.
Answers to Questions
One way to view Google is that it is primarily an answer engine.
If your website has content that answers common questions that your audience members ask, those visitors will have a positive experience on your site.
Getting Objective Advice on Page Experience
If you are looking for honest opinions on your website’s user experience, ask several people who know nothing about your business to visit and navigate your site.
Keep in mind that there is a relationship between page experience and new prospects and customers.