Most websites that rank in Google's top 20 search results fail to pass the minimum requirements for a good page experience, according to a study by Searchmetrics.
These requirements have been set out in Google's Core Web Values update, which officially rolls out mid-June.
The study analysed over 2m web pages appearing in the top 20 Google results in the US, UK and Germany. It found that 90 per cent of sites tested in US mobile searches and 96 per cent of those in desktop searches fail to meet Google’s Core Web Vitals thresholds for good website performance and usability and risk their rankings being negatively impacted from June.
Google is introducing Core Web Vitals to assess and improve real-world web user experience in three areas: how quickly the content on a page loads, its responsiveness (the time taken to respond to a visitor’s first interaction, such as clicking on a button or a link) and its visual stability (does the layout or content jump around). These signals will be included in Google’s search algorithm with the search engine aiming to deliver a ranking boost to web pages that are delivering a good experience.
The study found a couple of exceptions to the trend.
Google-owned YouTube ranked highly in searches, despite performing poorly for the Core Web Vitals related to speed of loading and responsiveness. The site might be gaining an advantage from its strong brand recognition which is helping it overcome individual negative usability issues.
Wikipedia currently meets or surpasses Google’s Core Web Vitals performance thresholds across almost all metrics, meaning it could serve as a good example to the web community. Its good scores are related to its lightweight approach to web design and the fact that it avoids using too much dynamic content such as ads which can jump around on the page and create a negative experience.