Google Page Experience Update 2022 – What Should You Know?

page-experience - 0 google page experience update hero image

Whether you’re looking for specific details on the topic of Page Experience or wondering how Google Page Experience update can influence your website’s rankings, this guide is for you.

I’ll cover:

  • what Page Experience is and why it matters,
  • signals that go into Google Page Experience update,
  • the best strategies and resources to help you improve your Page Experience.

I also asked some absolute Web Performance and SEO legends about their thoughts on the new Page Experience signals – Core Web Vitals.

Let’s get started!


chapter 1

What is Page Experience?

Over the years, Google has spent a lot of time and resources defining and promoting user experience. Research and testing helped Google determine the factors and metrics that accurately capture what a user feels when interacting with a given page.

The Ultimate Guide to Page Experience - Hero Image for chapter 1

Page Experience is a set of factors that measure how satisfactory it is for users to interact with your page. 

Google coined the term by joining some of the experience indicators previously used in ranking, such as mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, intrusive interstitials, and three web performance metrics known as Core Web Vitals: First Input Delay, Largest Contentful Paint, and Cumulative Layout Shift.

What is Google Page Experience update?

The Google Page Experience Update was announced on May 28th, 2020, to measure user experience and contribute to better web performance of websites that rank in Google.

And performance has been essential for Google since the early days of Chrome.

At that time, Google had already been using some Page Experience signals. These signals included:

  • mobile-friendliness, 
  • Safe Browsing, 
  • HTTPS, 
  • and no intrusive interstitials.

However, these signals didn’t capture the User Experience aspects related to Web Performance. That’s why the most important part of the announcement was that Core Web Vitals would be used as ranking criteria for mobile Google Search.

These three performance metrics have been combined with existing UX signals to a unified set of signals for Page Experience. In the future, they may be joined by other metrics that are still being developed.

The Google Page Experience update went live on mobile in June 2021

However, shortly after the rollout, in August 2021, Google confirmed that Safe Browsing was no longer considered one of the Page Experience ranking factors.

Since then, Google has been using Page Experience for ranking purposes, including such signals as:

page-experience - 1 google page experience update

Along with the Page Experience update in 2021, Google also launched a new Page Experience report.

It’s a separate section in your Google Search Console that combines the Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability reports, helping you better monitor and analyze your website’s performance for the Page Experience signals.

Google Page Experience update rollout for desktop in 2022

Building on the Page Experience update rollout on mobile in 2021, Google started using Page Experience for ranking purposes on desktop in February 2022.

Since then, the Page Experience signals have affected your website’s mobile and also desktop rankings in Google.

Similarly to the initial Google Page Experience update in 2021, the signals included HTTPS, no intrusive interstitials, and Core Web Vitals (LCP, CLS, and FID) leaving mobile-friendliness applicable only to the mobile version of the update.

page-experience - 2 google page experience update

Also, Google updated its Page Experience report in Google Search Console with a desktop performance section to “help site owners understand how their desktop pages are performing.”

The Page Experience update fully rolled out in March 2022.

Page Experience vs. UX

Page Experience is a subset of User Experience.

While it doesn’t capture UX aspects like content quality or visual design, Page Experience is focused on the technical aspects of web products that typically influence the User Experience.

All the Page Experience signals are essentially in control of the developer team building the website. And they all have a direct impact on the overall User Experience.

This is one reason why Google’s initiative to promote Page Experience is bound to positively impact the web. We need performance metrics that correlate with business metrics to get buy-in from non-technical team members.

I believe that having a common language about web performance metrics will help hugely with executive buy-in. I’ve already heard from multiple customers that CWV are becoming the most important KPIs for site speed at an executive level.

source: Simon Hearne

The biggest selling point is the hard truth that you have less than 8 seconds to get a user to complete a task on their mobile device before they get distracted. Sites that [meet the recommended CWV targets] have 24% fewer abandoned page loads.

source: Jamie Indigo

How Google Page Experience update impacts your business and SEO

In the past, it was rare for Google to inform us of upcoming changes to the ranking algorithm.

And it was even more significant if the announcement came a full year before the algorithm update was implemented, with a specific date stated six months before it went live.

It indicates that Google considers the Page Experience update important, as it wanted everyone to have enough time to get prepared.

Here are two main aspects of how Google Page Experience update influences your website and business.

The influence on a website’s ranking in Google

Since Core Web Vitals became part of the Page Experience update signals, they have been an essential contributor to the SERP landscape.

The importance of optimizing CWV became even more visible in 2022 when some websites stopped using AMP (originally meant to enhance web performance.)

Turning off AMP may have been even more noticeable for some industries than others. One of the examples may be, according to Barry Adams, the news publishing industry where CWV scores impact rankings in the Top Stories carousels, a potential massive source of traffic for news websites.

This doesn’t mean that Web Performance became a key ranking factor – it’s always been a minor signal.

(…) The Page Experience ranking factor is essentially something that gives us a little bit extra information [about] these different pages could show up in the search results. (…)

But the bigger picture suggests that Web Performance will only grow in significance in the near future.

The need for multi-level business cooperation

Because the Page Experience initiative has the weight of Google behind it, it certainly seems to have reached beyond just SEOs and developers.

This set of signals is now discussed so widely that product owners, marketing managers, and CEOs have noticed the web performance trend and started understanding the importance of getting the Page Experience factors optimized.

However, you shouldn’t forget that SEOs and developers get their hands dirty in the optimization process in the first place. That’s why their cooperation must be smooth and efficient.

At Onely, we understand that struggle. Here’s our guide on how SEOs and developers can get along.

(…) What I would like to see are developers who make performant websites without pressure from the managers. This would require additional resources, but they can now be gained from the bottom up, backed by Google’s statements and ranking implications.

Improving technical aspects that have an impact on Core Web Vital scores and Page Experience metrics certainly requires buy-in and developer resources, which can be a huge struggle, no matter the business size! Not only this, but the cruciality of performance was never fully taken seriously. I believe that Google has witnessed these struggles and has intelligently pushed the importance by making it transparent in their reports and elevating it to be a ranking signal.

As SEOs, we should use this to our advantage to help our stakeholders truly see the importance of technical buy-in. But we have to use them responsibly! Rather than scaring executives with red scores and sending vague tickets to developers, let’s use this as a chance to start a meaningful conversation.

The Page Experience update is a massive crossover of technical and UX aspects which SEOs can leverage to get a firmer standing in their organization. Learn how and why Core Web Vitals characterize poor user experiences, use the tools Google makes available for us to diagnose performance properly, find out more about your tech stack and implementation processes, and then derive your educated assessment and optimization possibilities. Reach out to your web developers with these suggestions and get their opinions on the matter. Pitch the TL;DR version to executives so that they’re on the same page, and that they understand the risks and why you’re an advocate for such improvements.

(…) This type of planning will also help you and your organization commit to better processes for technical improvements in the long run.

source: Izzi Smith

chapter 2

The Page Experience factors

There are four Page Experience signals that Google has been using for a while now.

Seeing how interested everyone is in improving their Core Web Vitals, you might think that most websites are already optimized for the three other signals that have been used in ranking for years.

However, that isn’t always the case. Enter the guide to Page Experience ranking factors.

The Ultimate Guide to Page Experience - Hero Image for chapter 2

Core Web Vitals

Site speed is a business problem with technical roots.

source: Andy Davies

Core Web Vitals are a set of three web performance metrics: 

These metrics are supposed to “provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.”

Core Web Vitals make the web performance landscape a little more straightforward. The fact that Google chose those metrics indicates that Google considers them to be the most impactful in their respective categories.

We can expect Core Web Vitals to evolve and Google to add more metrics to the set.

As of 2023, Google presented a document outlining their top Core Web Vitals recommendations. According to Google, these tips are relevant and applicable to most websites in 2023. 

But most importantly, it proves that Google takes care of the continuous enhancement of the Core Web Vital metrics underlining their importance for web performance.

How a bad LCP score affects Page Experience

LCP is one of the best ways to measure how quickly users can see your page in the browser. 

You cannot provide your users with an excellent page experience if they are frustrated, waiting for your content to render and appear in the browser.

If your LCP score is outside of Google’s recommendations, your users have to wait longer than expected to see the critical content of your page. In addition, long render times are known to cause users to bounce. If a user has to navigate through several pages on your website, this poor experience accumulates and will undoubtedly negatively impact your conversions and even your brand’s perception.

Largest Contentful Paint does correlate well with bounce rate and session length.

source: Simon Hearne

There’s no official confirmation that bounce rate and similar behavior metrics are ranking factors. But it goes without saying that if your users keep leaving your page because it loads too slowly, improving your rankings shouldn’t be your top priority.

How a bad FID score affects Page Experience

FID captures the first impression of how responsive your website is. 

It’s no secret that users tolerate waiting for the UI to update if they see a reaction to their interaction. 

But if the interaction is followed by even a small fraction of a second of delay, we instantly notice. 

A bad FID score means your users perceive your website as unresponsive and janky.

How a bad CLS score affects Page Experience

CLS reflects how users exactly perceive your website.

If a layout shift occurs while the user is trying to interact with a page, it may cause them to accidentally click on a link or a button they didn’t intend to click. This may result in navigating away from the page unintentionally or even accidentally buying a product.

What’s even worse, some users won’t be patient enough to wait for your page to fully load and let them interact with a given element. Instead, they may actually leave your page intentionally and take advantage of competing offers.

The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.

We’ve all experienced it, and we know how painfully irritating it can be. If your website’s content significantly shifts during loading, users will immediately take notice.

How to improve Core Web Vitals for better Page Experience 

As each of Core Web Vitals concerns a different aspect of your website’s performance, the way of optimizing them also differs.

For example, to reduce LCP, you need to do everything to make your largest element appear as fast as possible.

Starting at the very beginning of the process, look into your server setup, consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and get a detailed understanding of how your CSS and JS assets are loaded.

I’ve seen examples where lazy-loaded background images are considered to be the relevant element for LCP when another element would be more appropriate. But it’s a good place to start and gives an overall picture of how quickly a page loads.

source: Andy Davies

On the other hand, FID is primarily optimized by reducing the time the browser’s main thread is blocked as your page is loading.

This involves breaking up long tasks, minimizing your JS assets, using web workers, and utilizing various strategies of spreading the main thread work throughout the page’s lifecycle.

I often suggest that my customers use First Input Delay as the measure of performance and Total Blocking Time as the leading indicator.

source: Simon Hearne

To optimize CLS, you should first and foremost check if all the images and videos on your page have their width and height attributes defined.

If your page is loading ads, you should also predefine their space in your layout. And when it comes to loading dynamic content, make sure it doesn’t load above any other content previously loaded.


We’ve all seen the data: the global mobile browsing market share hovers around 50%, and it will most likely grow in the future. In many countries, mobile traffic far exceeds desktop traffic.

It may have taken a hit in 2020 as people spent more time at home in lockdowns, but by now, it’s pretty much at the previous levels.

So it makes sense that Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, particularly for mobile search results.

What is mobile-friendliness

Mobile-friendliness is a set of factors that determine whether the mobile version of your website is user-friendly. These factors genuinely define the mobile user experience.

Mobile devices and browsers are more limited than their desktop counterparts. This difference primarily comes down to the size of the viewport, computing power, and connection speed.

For these reasons, you need to take particular actions to ensure your Page Experience is just as great on mobile devices as it is on desktop.

Building a mobile-friendly website

Having a mobile-friendly website starts with the best practices of accessibility and user-driven design.

Here are some resources to get you started on designing websites mobile-first:

  • Our guide on mobile-friendliness outlines 5 must-have aspects that every modern website should take into account to enhance page experience for its mobile visitors.
  • Responsive Web Design is the best approach to building websites that adapt to the user’s viewport.
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines cover things you should consider when designing an accessible, user-friendly website.
  • Hubspot picked 21 great mobile-friendly websites that demonstrate everything great about designing with a mobile user in mind – large icons, fonts, clear and spacious mobile-optimized layout. Learn from the best!

How to improve your website’s mobile-friendliness

Using Google’s tools to audit your mobile-friendliness is an excellent place to start.

With Lighthouse, you can find out if your website:

  • uses incompatible plugins,
  • doesn’t have the viewport property set,
  • has the viewport set to a fixed width,
  • has content that’s wider than the screen,
  • has text that’s too small to read,
  • has buttons or links that are too close together.

An alternative tool to use is the Mobile-Friendly Test. It has the benefit of showing you the rendered version of your page, but other than that, MFT reports are similar to Lighthouse reports.

However, I recommend using both Lighthouse and Mobile-Friendly Test to get the full picture of your website’s mobile-friendliness, as both tools may slightly differ in their findings.

If you want to know how the entirety of your site is performing when it comes to mobile-friendliness, use Google Search Console’s Mobile usability report.

The report gives you a list of issues to address and the number of affected pages.


HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and it’s an internet communication protocol that’s secured via SSL/TLS.  These encrypting protocols ensure that the data sent between the user and the server cannot be interjected and stolen, or modified.

Google doesn’t care for websites with no encrypting certificate. So yes, using HTTPS gives you a ranking boost. But there’s much more to lose for not using it.

Google Chrome marks all HTTP websites as “not secure.”

And Firefox has an “HTTPS-only” mode, which will prevent you from visiting HTTP websites without explicit consent.

This is a big deal for site owners. Users might not even consciously notice the warning label next to the address bar, but you don’t want them to subconsciously associate your website with spam, malware, or phishing.

And in many cases, users may actively look for the lock symbol that represents security. If you’re asking your users for private information like name, e-mail, or address, and you’re not using HTTPS, you’re doing it wrong.

In the era of growing online privacy concerns, you should make migrating your website to HTTPS an absolute priority. Website migration is a complex process, but it won’t hurt you if it’s done correctly.

Intrusive interstitials

Intrusive interstitials make it harder for users to access the main content of your page. Google penalizes using them, as they negatively impact Page Experience and, more generally, User Experience.

But does that mean you cannot display popup ads at all without being penalized? And what about the interstitials that you’re legally bound to display, such as cookies information or age verification?

To a certain degree, it’s a judgment call, but Google does provide some guidance about what’s okay and what’s not.

Examples of intrusive interstitials

  • intrusive popups that obscure the main content of the page
  • standalone interstitials that need to be dismissed for accessing the main content
  • putting an ad in the above-the-fold part of the content and putting the main content below the fold

Examples of interstitials that don’t get penalized

  • popups you’re legally bound to display: cookies, age verification, etc.
  • hiding the main content behind a login or a paywall
  • popups that occupy a reasonable amount of screen space

How to audit your website for intrusive interstitials

It might not always be obvious whether an interstitial is appropriately sized or where exactly it appears in your page layout.

For this reason, you should audit your pages using the URL Inspection Tool. It allows you to see your page the way Google renders it during the indexing process.

Remember that intrusive interstitials hurt your rankings on Google for a reason. They are very damaging to the experience of interacting with your pages.

chapter 3

External resources for improving Page Experience

This topic is so extensive that it deserves a separate resource base.

So in this chapter, I compiled all the external resources you can use to get more information about Page Experience and optimize your Core Web Vitals and the other Page Experience signals.

The Ultimate Guide to Page Experience - Bonus Chapter

Awesome people and blogs to follow about Web Performance

More on Core Web Vitals

More on mobile-friendliness

More on HTTPS

More on intrusive interstitials

Wrapping up

There’s an abundance of web performance metrics that you can track and improve. If we only talk about page speed, there’s DOM Content Loaded, First Paint, Time To Visually Ready…

And even though the Page Experience signals have been known for some time, 12% of traffic to Google from the United States isn’t encrypted yet, and it’s widespread that a seemingly user-friendly website is terrible to use on mobile devices.

Even for a developer, it’s a lot. For a business person, it’s too much.

But you don’t have to struggle with the Page Experience optimization on your own.

At Onely, improving the performance of our clients’ websites’ performance is what drives us every day. Contact us and learn how we can help you with our web performance and Core Web Vitals services.

Speaking of Page Experience, I’d like to express my gratitude to the experts that were kind enough to provide me with their feedback. Your insight is extremely valuable, and I’m happy to be able to learn from all of you!

A heartfelt thanks to:

  • Izzi Smith,
  • Jamie Indigo,
  • Bartłomiej Kudyba,
  • Andy Davies,
  • Simon Hearne,
  • Patrick Meenan!

Thank you to the web performance experts that shared their perspective in this article!