Google announced the 'Fast Page' labels this week, giving further momentum to their push for websites to provide good user experience.
The labelling will be based on how well a page meets the Core Web Vitals benchmarks, which measure loading time, responsiveness, and the stability of content as it loads.
It gives further momentum to Google's Core Web Vitals announced earlier this year, which feed into page experience. These metrics will eventually become ranking signals, but not before 2021.
The labelling of fast links on the Chrome mobile browser for Android will start rolling out in Chrome 85 Beta. Users will be able to see whether a page meets the criteria by long-pressing the link.
Chrome will display the label when a page has been historically fast for other users.
"Fast page labelling may badge a link as fast if the URL (or URLs like it) have been historically fast for other users. When labelling, historical data from a site’s URLs with similar structure are aggregated together. Historical data is evaluated on a host-by-host basis when the URL data is insufficient to assess speed or is unavailable, for example, when the URL is new or less popular.”
Google intends to maintain alignment with Core Web Vitals as they evolve. It expects to update them annually and has promised regular updates to keep users informed.
Core Web Vitals
The Core Web Vitals metrics Google announced in May and their performance benchmarks are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
With a recent survey showing less than 15% of urls meet the benchmarks, and Google pushing ahead with using the metrics as a visual indicator of a good page experience for users, it’s wise to check how your site performs.
See our separate blog post for details of the survey, and also how to check your site performance via a number of Google tools.