How The Page Experience Report Has Been Simplified

Gary Green
Gary Green
September 12, 2022

Earlier in 2021, the Search Console’s Page Experience Report was launched in order to offer site owners and publishers a convenient way of gaining a rapid understanding of how their website is faring against page experience signals.

More recently, a newer version of the Page Experience Report was launched which aims to simplify the report by taking away the Ad Experience and Safe Browsing widgets while also fixing the way in which missing data is handled. The rollout of this new page experience update began in June 2021 and was completed at the end of August.

Over the years, Google has begun to put increasing emphasis on users’ experiences as a key ranking signal. Therefore, it isn’t too surprising that it launched the Page Experience Report in the Google Search Console. So, what should you know about the new report and how will it affect your site’s search engine ranking?

Using The Page Experience Report In The Google Search Console

The Page Experience Report is separated into dive different factors which indicate a good user experience on a page based on the usage of a mobile device. These factors are:

  • Core web vitals – these incorporate three user experience aspects – visual stability, interactivity and loading.
  • Mobile usability – this focuses on mobile-first indexing to ensure sites are properly optimised for users of mobile devices.
  • Security – this section identifies security issues like malware, phishing and hacked content.
  • HTTPS – this is the website’s secure protocol and demonstrates to Google that your site is working hard to protect its users.
  • Ad experience – for sites that host ads, it’s important to ensure they don’t obstruct users from navigating the site or reading the content.

The first four provide information about which actions to take, but there is no available status on the Page Experience report for Ad Experience – it’s important to note, though, that it’s taken into account when creating search results.

How Can Issues Be Fixed?

The report displays a chart showing which URLs are deemed to be “good” by Google, passing the appropriate criteria for good user experiences. It will show also which sections negatively impact the number of URLs that rank as “good”. This lets you know which areas are problematic so that you can copy the affected URL into PageSpeed Insights to get a clear explanation of the improvements which must be made.

Which Changes Have Been Made In The New Version?

There are two key changes which have been made in Google’s new Page Experience Report version. These involve the removal of Safe Browsing and Ad Experience.

Google’s Safe Browsing systems have been designed to ensure users stay safe when going online. Unfortunately, sites can sometimes become the victim of 3rd party hijacking, and this causes a Safe Browsing warning to appear. These issues can’t always be controlled by site owners, and this means that Google have now decided to clarify that Safe Browsing won’t be a ranking signal. Therefore, it won’t be featured in the new version of Page Experience Report. If Safe Browsing flags do surface they will appear outside the Page Experience report in the Search Console itself.

The Ad Experience widget has also been removed in order to avoid identical information surfacing on two separate areas of the Search Console. It will still be possible to use the Ad Experience report as a tool that stands alone and that allows you to review your site’s status and identify any ad experiences which are in violation of the Better Ads Standards.

It’s important to note that Ad Experience reports were never actually used as one of the page experience factors, and therefore, the new change will have no effect on the page experience status of your website.

Other Report Improvements

As well as both of the updates that were mentioned above, more improvements have also been rolled out in the way that the Page Experience report handles data that is missing. These improvements include:

  • The addition to the Page Experience report and the Core Web Vitals report of a “no recent data” banner.
  • The fixing of a bug which caused “Failing HTTPS” to be shown whenever there was missing Core Web Vitals data.
  • The rephrasing of an empty state text within the Core Web Vitals report and Page Experience report.

Google has made these improvements in the hope that users will find it simpler to put the Page Experience report to good use and, therefore, build their websites to have an even better page experience for their visitors.

Which Current Page Experience Signals Must Also Be Remembered?
Although there has been a recent update to the Page Experience report, it’s important not to forget all of the existing signals which are key to user experience. These include:

  • Mobile friendliness – Google’s algorithm means that if sites aren’t mobile friendly they will have a poorer organic ranking as mobile-first indexing is now used as standard by Google.
  • Intrusive Interstitials – avoiding a negative user experience on a mobile device must be avoided by eliminating intrusive interstitials.
  • HTTPS – this is a smaller ranking signal, but is important nevertheless. HTTPS protects users and sites from cyberattacks and, since Google favours sites that have already certified to browsers their website’s identity, those that have a HTTPS security certificate will rank more highly.

There are a number of Core Web Vitals which should also be borne in mind. These include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (or LCP)
  • First Input Delay (or FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (or CLS)

All three of these metrics determine the loading and interactivity speed of a website as well as its visual stability. When these indicators are prioritised, users can enjoy the best experience.

It’s essential for developers and site owners to harness the power of tools to measure then diagnose these Core Web Vitals including PageSpeed Insights, Search Console and Web Vitals Extension among others. This will ensure that pages are optimised to their best advantage and that their users can enjoy the best possible user experience.

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