How to Update Your Website for the Google Page Experience

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Updated onSeptember 2, 2022

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Approx. read time : 12 min

You clicked on this article because you care about generating traffic to your website using SEO. This February, buckle up your website is in for a ride. The Google Page Experience update that was rolled out on mobile in May of 2021 is coming to desktop February 2022 and is finished rolling out in March 2022.

The update in May permanently changed the way SEO works on mobile. Websites that did not adjust in time lost tons of traffic and money. You must not worry; we have got you covered. Do you want to know how to prepare for the Google Page Experience Update coming to desktop? Here is how!

google page experience update

What is the Google page experience update on desktop?

The Google Page Experience Update on Desktop is a continuation of the update that rolled out last year strictly on mobile devices.

The same ranking signals used to build the mobile update are created on desktop devices.

Google is also planning to release a report in Google Search Console shortly before the update in February. The report is intended to help site owners understand how their pages on desktop devices are performing for page experience.

Whom does this affect?

This update affects every site owner who focuses on generating desktop traffic from Google search to their website. If you have a business website that generates most of its traffic from desktop devices, you should care about this, especially in the B2B niche since most traffic in B2B comes from desktop devices. Considering most people work from their desktops, laptops, and tablets, not their phones.

Why should you care about the Google page experience update for desktop?

You should care about the Google Page Experience Update for Desktop because it affects traffic coming to your website. Not preparing for this update could result in your website losing traffic and your business losing money.

website traffic update

How does the Google page experience update affect your website?

Five ranking signals affect your website for the Google Page Experience update:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint is a metric used by Core Web Vitals that measures when the largest content element becomes visible. This means it measures how long it takes for the content on the page first to become visible. To deliver a great user experience, your LCP should be less than 2 seconds.

Slow LCP could be improved by improving website speed using several factors. Such as:

  • Increasing Server Response Times – Google’s web.dev recommends optimizing your server, routing users to a nearby CDN, cache assets, serving HTML pages cache first, establishing third-party connections, and using signed exchanges to increase server response times.
  • Render blocking JavaScript and CSS – Render blocking JavaScript and CSS are files that block a website from showing a web page before loading these blocked files. FCP and LCP are delayed by render blocking scripts and stylesheets in the code of your website. Google recommends that you defer any non-critical JavaScript and CSS to speed FCP, LCP, and the loading of the main content of your web page.
  • Increasing resource load times – Many types of resources affect paint loading times. Including the following elements:
    • <img> elements
    • <image> elements that are inside an <svg> element
    • <video> elements
    • Elements that have a background image loaded via the url() function
    • Block-level elements that contain inline-level text elements and text nodes

Ensure these files are loaded as fast as possible and that the LCP is not affected. Google recommends that you do the following:

  • Optimize images and compress images
  • Reload important resources
  • Compress all text files when possible
  • Based on the network connect (adaptive serving) deliver different assets
  • Using a service worker cache assets
  • Improving rendering on the client-side

Consider the following optimizations when building a client-side rendered site:

  • Minimize all critical JavaScript
  • Enable server-side rendering
  • Enable pre-rendering

2. First Input Delay (FID)

First Input Delay is a metric used by Core Web Vitals that measures the moment when someone first clicks on your page on Google and the moment when the page responds. To deliver a great user experience, your FID should be less than 100 milliseconds.

The common culprit of a long first input delay is heavy javascript execution. The browser cannot respond to user interactions while it is busy trying to load javascript. To improve the first input delay, help the browser load javascript faster by doing the following.

  • Break up long tasks – Users may find the user interface of your website unresponsive during long tasks of JavaScript execution periods. First Input Delay improves tremendously once you adopt code-splitting and breaking up long tasks.
  • Optimize the page for interaction readiness – There are several causes for poor interaction readiness of a page. Google suggests doing the following to optimize the page for interaction readiness.
  • Progressively load code and features
  • Generate content statically during build time or shift more logic server-side
  • Move costly script loading and execution off the critical path
  • Eliminate reliance as much as possible on cascading data fetches
  • The amount of data that needs to be processed on the client-side needs to be minimized as much as possible
  • Do not load below the fold ads until they are scrolled closer to the viewport
  • Load what you believe offers the greatest value to users first
  • Use a web worker

One of the main causes of First Input Delay is a blocked main thread. Consider moving non-UI operations to a separate web worker thread which cuts down the main thread blocking time and improves FID.

  • Reduce Javascript Execution Time  – The amount of time a browser needs to spend executing JavaScript code goes down as you limit the amount of JavaScript on a page.

Reducing JavaScript on a page comes down to these two points:

  • Unused JavaScript needs to be deferred
  • Unused polyfills need to be minimized

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout shift is a metric used by Core Web Vitals that measures the visual stability of the content on your page. For example, when a user clicks on another page in your navigation bar, the content may load shifted unexpectedly and then shift back to normal. Ideally, your CLS should be less than 0.1 to avoid users experiencing shifted content when interacting with your website.

Cumulative layout shifts are very common across the web. The following website issues frequently cause them.

  • Images that lack dimensions – Width and height attributes are a necessity for your images and videos. Using these dimensions ensures the browser can allocate the correct amount of space while the image is loading.
  • Ads without dimensions – One of the biggest layout shifts on the web is ads.

Mitigate these layout shifts when using ads by following these best practices:

  • Reserve space for the ad slot statically
  • When placing non-sticky ads around the top of the viewport, be careful
  • Avoid collapsing the reserve space when the ad slot is visible by the placeholder
  • Reserve the largest possible size for the ad to eliminate shifts
  • Based on historical data, choose the most likely size for the ad slot
  • Dynamically injected content

Do not insert new content above existing content to avoid unexpected layout shifts within the content. The only exception is during user interaction.

  • Web Fonts Causing FOIT/FOUT – Two ways are downloading and rendering web fonts can cause layout shifts.
    • Swapping the new font with a fallback font (FOUT – flash of unstyled text)
    • Displaying “invisible text” before the rendering of a new font is completed (FOIT – flash of invisible text)

To help you minimize this occurrence try using the following:

  • Use the Font Loading API to reduce the time it takes to acquire necessary fonts
    • HTTPS Security determines if your website is secure via HTTPS or non-secure HTTPS. Consider installing an SSL certificate for your website to secure the connection for the user and help Google love your site at the same time.
    • Absence of Intrusive Interstitials – An ad that appears on the page while it is downloading is interstitial. Your website needs to be easily accessible with no interstitials to avoid the absence of intrusive interstitials.

Related: How The New Google Ranking Factors Affect Your Website

How can MilesWeb will help you prepare for the Google page experience update in?

MilesWeb hosting is fast, secure, and reliable. In lament terms, you need to do for your website to improve page experience for the upcoming update.

Switching to a faster web hosting could help improve your largest contentful paint, first input delay, cumulative layout shift, and HTTPS Security. All important parts of improving your website for the page experience update.

To get the most out of improving the page experience for your website with MilesWeb, it is recommended to sign up for a managed VPS or dedicated server. A managed VPS and the dedicated server provides:

  • The fastest largest contentful paint
  • The fastest first input delay
  • The fastest cumulative layout shift for your website

Every hosting plan comes with a free SSL certificate for HTTPS security.

What is a VPS server?

A virtual private server (VPS) is a dedicated server split up into isolated servers for your website. A hardware visualization platform is created to divide the server into several smaller servers to create a virtual private server. Compared to a dedicated server, a virtual private server is more flexible, robust, and reliable, with similar features to a dedicated server at a lower cost. The only downside is that you do not get the entire server to yourself as you would with a dedicated server. 

Having a virtual private server means your website is not sharing resources with other websites slowing it down and harming the page experience. When your website is hosted on a VPS, you are given root access to make direct optimizations to the server. According to Google’s web.dev page optimizing the server is one of the best solutions to improve the largest contentful paint.

Even more, MilesWeb’s managed VPS server uses Google-recommended Nginx for the world’s best web server applications and the Varnish cacher to accelerate your applications. According to Google’s web.dev, both Nginx and Varnish are recommended for configuring reverse proxies to serve cached content when in front of an application server. This greatly improves your largest contentful paint to help your website be prepared when done properly.

What is a dedicated server?

The biggest benefit of having a dedicated server is that none of the other resources is shared. This means your website will not be affected by any other website’s traffic, and you will get superior speed performance for your website. Providing that you have the budget, a dedicated server is a must-have asset for preparing your website for the page experience update.

You get all of the benefits listed above with a virtual private server, and you get the server entirely to yourself with larger bandwidth limits and superior hardware. The only thing better for page experience than a dedicated server is a managed dedicated server.

  • Managed server optimization – Choosing a server management add-on enables the team of experts at MilesWeb to do all of the server-side optimizations 24/7 to provide the best page experience for your website. Everything you need server-side to prepare your website for the Google Page Experience update is managed day and night by your dedicated support staff on the fastest Linux servers available at the lowest prices.
  • WordPress optimized – Signing your WordPress website up for optimized hosting with MilesWeb results in an enhanced page experience for your website users. By default, every website comes with HTTPS, Cloudflare Railgun, GZIP/Brotli Compression, CDN, server-side optimizations, caching, and dedicated WordPress support.
  • CDN – According to Google’s web.dev routing users through a Content Delivery Network (CDN) greatly improves the largest contentful paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift. When your WordPress website is hosted on a single server, it will load slower for users further away from the server location. Using a CDN ensures that your website users never have to wait for network requests from servers that are far away.
  • Cloudflare railgun – MilesWeb takes it to the next level using Cloudflare railgun wide area network (WAN) optimization technology to improve caching. Cloudflare Railgun ensures the connection between your web hosting server and the Cloudflare CDN is as fast as possible.
  • Caching tool – Clearing the cache of your website needs to be done regularly. Failure to clear cache could result in slower largest contentful paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift, hurting your website users’ experience. MilesWeb developed their proprietary caching tool, which discovers data that frequently loads on your website and keeps it cached immediately as the website is requested.
  • Fast SSD storage – All hosting plans with MilesWeb come with solid-state drive storage that provides up to 200% faster performance than traditional hard drives. Resulting in faster websites and an enhanced page experience to help you be prepared for the update.
  • Global data center locations – MilesWeb has six global data center locations in 6 of the major countries in the world. Including the USA, Canada, UK, India, Singapore, and Australia. Having state-of-the-art tier 3 and tier 4 data centers that are closest to your website users speed up your website and enhance page experience.

Wrap Up

There you have it. Here is everything you need to prepare for the Google Page Experience Update coming to desktop devices. Keep in mind that the update will not be finished rolling out until sometime.

Remember the five ranking factors that affect your website on desktop devices are largest contentful paint (LCD), First Input Delay (FID), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), HTTPS Security, and absence of intrusive interstitials.

The best way to prepare your website is to follow the best practices outlined in this article. Following these best practices ensures that your website is optimized for the five rankings factors that most affect your website.

Feel free to bookmark this article if you need to periodically return to it. There are step-by-step instructions for optimizing your website under each ranking factor listed above. Arguably the best change you could make to prepare is switching to fast, secure, and reliable web hosting like MilesWeb. To get the largest benefit out of switching hosting, we recommend that you sign up for a managed VPS server or managed dedicated server.

Let us know what you think of this article on social media and share it with your friends to help them prepare for the Google Page Experience update coming to desktop devices.

David Freudenberg is the founder of SEO With David the only agency that understands your business goals and your customer to create a custom-tailored SEO strategy that efficiently increases your revenue and market share growth for your business. He is a marketer and SEO that leads with empathy and understanding in society.