Back in May Google announced that page experience signals would be included as Google Search ranking factor, these signals measure how site visitors perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and this dats contributes to Google’s ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.
In the past several months, Google reports a median 70% increase in the number of users engaging with Google’s web page testing facilities Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights, and many site owners using Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report that they have identified opportunities for improvement.
Google have now announced that the use of page experience signals as a ranking factor will roll out in May 2021. The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with Google’s existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
diagram illustrating the components of Search’s signal for page experience.
According to Googl’es announcement they also plan to test a visual indicator that will highlight pages in Google search results that have a good page experience.
A New Way of Highlighting Great Experiences in Google Search
Google believes that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be help users to decide which search result they want to visit.
On current results pages the snippet or image preview helps provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide. Visual indicators on the results are another way to do the same and Google is working on one that identifies pages that have met all of the page experience criteria. Google plans to test this soon and if the testing is successful it will launch in May 2021, Google will share more details on the progress of this in the coming months.
The Tools Publishers Need for Improving Page Experience
To get ready for these changes Google has released a variety of tools that website owners and developers can use to start improving their page experience. The first step is to perform a site-wide audit of your pages to see where there is room for improvement. Google Search Console has a report called Core Web Vitals which gives you an overview of how your site is doing and a deep dive into any issues found. Once you’ve identified opportunities for improvement, PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse can help you as you with the process of fixing any issues that you’ve uncovered. Head over to web.dev/vitals-tools/ for a roundup of all the tools you need to get started.
According to Google, AMP is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways for publishers looking to achieve great page experience results, based on the analysis that Google’s AMP team has done, the majority of the AMP pages achieve great page experiences, if you use AMP pages check out Google’s recently launched AMP Page Experience Guide, a diagnostic tool that provides site owners and developers with actionable advice.
Google will continue to support AMP content in Google Search, if you publish an AMP version of your content, Google Search will link to that cache-optimized AMP version to help optimize delivery to users, just as it does today.
Google’s mission is to help users find the most relevant and quality sites on the web. The goal with these Google updates is to highlight the best experiences and ensure that users can find the information they’re looking for. Google state that their work is ongoing, which is why they plan to incorporate more page experience signals going forward and update them on a yearly basis. Google hopes that the tools and resources they have provided will make it easier for you to create great websites, and thereby build a web ecosystem that users love.