Google’s search ranking algorithm is changing, the company has announced, with page experience now a consciously considered element beyond load times but the fuzziness of the term means that Google will be making an important judgement on what makes a bad website.

Bad websites are everywhere and we know them when we arrive at them. Establishing what this means will be the first part of the project, in an initiative announced last month as Web Vitals, to measure some of the internet’s irritating features.

Initially, these metrics are as follow:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures loading performance by looking at how quickly the main element of the page renders on screen. The upper limit of a good score is 2.5 seconds. Above 4.0 seconds is poor.
  • First Input Delay (FID) looks at interactivity by measuring the time between when a user first interacts with a page (hit a link, for instance) until the browser is able to respond. The upper limit of a good score is 100 milliseconds. Above 300 milliseconds is poor.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) considers visual stability by looking at unexpected movement of page content, usually spurred by asynchronous loading. Less than a 0.1 score is good. Above 0.25 is poor.

It is notably different from Google’s ad load projects as it focuses on giving developers tools to measure their work using the threat of a lower ranking.

For publishers, these metrics will become extremely important. Google is changing its criteria for pages that appear in its Top Stories feature that places news articles at the top of some searches. Prior to these changes, the requirement was to have the page in Google’s fast-loading AMP format. The criteria now centres on a better defined and more accessible set of metrics.

The news follows Google’s efforts to tighten up its Chrome browser against “disruptive” ads that are displayed alongside short-form videos of eight minutes duration or less.

Sourced from Google, WARC