Late last month, Google announced that it had begun the rollout of its desktop page experience update, scheduled to be fully completed by the end of March. Originally announced some time ago, the update is now well underway and is set to have a marked impact on how desktop pages and websites rank in Google search.
What is the Page Experience Update for Desktop?
As the name suggests, this broader update will place greater emphasis on overall user-experience when Google crawls and subsequently indexes desktop pages. It is an extensive update that incorporates all of the signals of the mobile page experience update, along with additional page experience factors to ensure the user enjoys the best possible on-page experience.
Specifically, Google published the following table to indicate which main factors will be taken into account, once the update is complete:
What Does ‘Page Experience’ Really Mean?
Defining ‘page experience’, Google has (as usual) published a fairly long and complicated document for developers, outlining all key criteria and discussing their importance. Briefly summarised, Google’s intention is to look at a wide variety of metrics and signals in order to determine the quality of the user-experience.
Basic examples of which include use of intrusive ads and interstitials, mobile-friendliness, page loading times, the presence of errors and the general fluidity of the navigation system.
For the most part, what the page experience update brings to the forefront is nothing new. Most of the factors Google will be focusing on are already major ranking factors, and has taken centre stage in several recent updates – Google’s safe browsing penalty update, the intrusive interstitials penalty, the page speed update and countless mobile-friendliness updates.
No Major Changes Necessary
Consequently, webmasters and developers should not have to make any major changes to their approach in order to satisfy the requirements of the new desktop page experience update.
In fact, Google has gone on record to say that despite the extensive notes of the update, most people can expect to see no major changes whatsoever.
“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,” read a statement from Google.
“Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes.”
This was the company’s statement on the mobile page experience update, but we assume the same will apply to the desktop version – given how the two are fairly similar in nature.
Hence, any major shifts in rankings that occur now and by the end of March will almost certainly not related to this particular update.