Google’s Page Experience algorithm update represents another significant change to how their search engine works, and this impacts how search engine optimization (SEO) should be implemented in the future.
If you don’t take care to improve your site’s speed and stability, you could see your website lose massive amounts of traffic overnight.
What is Page Experience?
The Page Experience algorithm update is primarily aimed toward improving the user experience on a website.
Google intends to achieve this by forcing webmasters to optimize several aspects of their websites, including the loading speed, layout stability, security and safety of the site, mobile-friendliness, and to avoid the use of spammy elements like intrusive interstitial advertisements.
Google refers to metrics used to determine site speed and stability as Core Web Vitals, and these are something you can test for if you’re worried that your site may not comply.
Unless you’ve heavily optimized the architecture of your site in the past, you’ll likely have many improvements to make before you can relax.
Most websites are more sluggish and unfriendly to users than they could be, and there are tools to measure Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness, and other factors that should be optimized for the new update.
Here are eight of the best tools to ensure your site adheres to good user experience principles based on what Google is looking for.
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is essential because it allows you to get a picture of your site’s overall health in terms of all aspects of SEO.
Without this tool, you’d have a much harder time tracking your website’s performance in search and Google has improved it further by adding in the functionality that is required to easily show you how many of your pages don’t meet Page Experience expectations.
While this isn’t the best tool to gain enough information to fix loading and stability issues in your pages or your site as a whole, it does provide a report to pinpoint problematic pages, narrowing down your efforts and saving time.
In addition, You can test Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness, and security using Search Console, and it’s potentially the only tool you need to check the latter two priorities off your list.
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is possibly the single best tool to diagnose speed and stability issues affecting individual pages, and it presents this information in an incredibly intuitive form.
The performance of your page in each of the four Core Web Vitals metrics is listed so that you can quickly and easily see which of these metrics require improvement.
The tool doesn’t just list your site’s test results, however. It also paints a highly detailed picture of everything that is causing your site to run slower and recommends ways to fix each issue.
Page insights are a beneficial feature if you’re less technically-minded and struggle to determine how to improve your site.
Furthermore, PageSpeed Insights is a field tool.
It rates your page based on the experience of many other users, giving you a good look at how your actual organic traffic is experiencing your site rather than just testing the page using a single user and browser.
It’s an incredible tool for visualizing your website performance as a whole.
3. Google Lighthouse
Google Lighthouse is another powerful tool specifically designed for web developers.
When run inside Chrome Dev Tools, it allows you to audit pages of your site and test Core Web Vitals and other aspects like the general SEO implementation and user accessibility.
Used correctly, Lighthouse can improve the overall performance of your website well beyond what is needed to pass the Page Experience update.
You will still require technical skills to use and implement improvements, but the tool’s page audit helps explain problem areas and how to fix them.
You can also use Lighthouse to test the user experience of any web apps.
4. Chrome Dev Tools
While Lighthouse functions inside Chrome and gives a comprehensive look at any page’s inner workings, the browser’s Dev Tools also offer another way to get a good overview of how your site performs.
Chrome Dev Tools allow you to measure the Core Web Vital metrics and get a good understanding of where layout shift is occurring in your site design.
The Dev Tools are also a great tool in general for diagnosing various issues with your website’s performance and function, and many developers will already be familiar with how to use them.
It’s an easy method to use to prepare for the Page Experience update if you’re already using it for other purposes.
5. Chrome Web Vitals Extension
Extensions in Chrome are useful little widgets that add additional functionality.
For example, the Web Vitals Extension adds a simple overview of a page’s performance calculated by the Core Web Vital metrics.
While this tool can’t help you identify any specific issues or potential fixes beyond the metrics, it serves as a fast and easy way to track improvements without running tests in other tools that take a while to calculate results.
This extension can help you rapidly determine if changes to your site architecture are working.
6. Google Safe Browsing Tool
Google uses its Safe Browsing Tool in its search results to determine whether a site contains malicious code or may have been compromised by hackers.
You can use the tool yourself to check any URL, though, including your own pages.
In most cases, if you’re the only person who handles your website’s architecture, then your code is likely okay.
Still, the use of any third-party code or plugins can allow other people access to your site, so it’s always a good idea to test the security from time to time.
Search Console can also be used similarly as it tests your pages periodically, but manually using the Safe Browsing Tool is an excellent way to get more timely results.
7. Bing Mobile-Friendliness Test
Although Page Experience is a Google update and Google’s tools are excellent for ensuring you provide the experience that the search engine wants, Bing’s Mobile-Friendliness Test tool offers another option for testing whether your website’s design and functions are mobile-friendly.
It may even pick up a few things that Google’s tools haven’t considered essential but are relevant to creating a good user experience.
Improving your website’s user experience is important to maintain stable traffic after the Page Experience update, but it is also crucial for SEO in many other ways.
Internet users prefer websites that function quickly, smoothly, and intuitively and you’d be wise to heed any advice even from a less-relevant search engine like Bing.
Sucuri is one of the most popular services for checking and handling website security. But, unfortunately, it’s not a free option and thus not the best tool for smaller businesses.
Large businesses that face significant risk and repercussions from hacking should consider it, though.
Services like Sucuri can be used to handle your website’s security concerns and will remove malware and other threats whenever they are found.
They also offer DDOS protection, content distribution networking, and other features that can help a large website operate smoothly.
The new Page Experience update is significant for SEO, but it doesn’t have to result in lost traffic and devastation for your business.
Google has outlined everything it is looking for in this new update and provides all the tools required to make your website compliant.
Optimizing your website helps you gain a ranking advantage from the Page Experience algorithm and gives your users an overall better experience when using your website.