What is Page Experience and Why Should You Care?

Website Page Experience

Contents

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 often in the visitor’s eyes.

How good or bad your site’s experience is in the eyes of your audience has implications for the number of visitors your site gets and for the percentage of visitors you convert into prospects or customers.

Below are several different perspectives regarding 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.

Usability

The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) has long been focused on 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 people can interact with your site.

Beauty

In some industries, an attractive-looking website is the most important criterion for the site’s audience.

If you’re brokering high-end residential real estate, high-resolution images may be paramount, even if they make your pages load relatively slowly.

Clear Explanations

Another perspective about page experience comes from StoryBrand. In a nutshell, how do your homepage and product/service pages explain what you do and its value 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 struggling to figure out what your company does.

Performance*

A website may seem fast to a user, but it still has a low page speed, 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.

Accessibility*

Regarding 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*

Best practices currently consist of 17 different audits.

Two of the more common negatives that many people experience are browser popups on page load requesting geolocation permission and for requesting notification permission.

Notification Permission Request

SEO*

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 checking 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 want 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.

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