New Google Update: From 2021, Google Will Seriously Consider Page Experience as a Ranking Factor
This new update won’t come before 2021, but here are some things we know so far…
On 28th May 2020, Google announced a new update with a ranking algorithm to estimate web pages considering how users get to experience while interacting with webpages.
This means, if your website has a poor experience for your users, Google may not prioritize your webpages while ranking them. This algorithm update is known as Google Page Experience update and is expected to go live somewhere in 2021, you all of us get enough time to get ready for it.
So, what’s page experience?
Google has published a developer document in detail to help us understand the page experience but, these metrics will point at providing what user experience means for a webpage.
These page experience criteria include:
- Page speed
- Whether it runs on HTTPS
- Intrusive Ads
- How content performs on the webpage.
So we can say this page experience update is a combination of the above factors plus a safe browsing penalty. Google calls these refinements Core Web Vitals.
How important are usability and user experience as ranking factors?
If we take only search ranking, the user experience will mean how the webpage is designed. If it’s okay for most users, it will impact positively on search rankings too. If we take page speed for an instance, if the webpage is loading under a second or so, it will be a big advantage. But today, most websites load quickly so it won’t be the biggest ranking factor in this update. Now will take usability into consideration, it will be an important factor. So let’s take some technical points into consideration we’ve learned from this update: Core Web Vitals.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are user-centric, real-world metrics that provide scores on elements of your pages including interactivity, page load time & speed, and the stability of content as it shows up on the page.
These metrics include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP calculates loading performance. In order to produce a better user experience, LCP should happen within 2.5 seconds of when the page starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): FID calculates interactivity. Pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds to create a better user experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures visual stability. Pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1 to give a better user experience.
What does it all mean?
When you combine these three factors together, you get to know some of the meanings behind page experience. Google said page experience particularly will not be a ranking score but every element in it has its own importance in the overall Google ranking algorithm.
What are all these factors?
We tried to connect these points but here’s how Google explains every single factor in page experience:
Other than the above-mentioned metrics, here are some additional factors…
- Mobile-friendliness: This factor checks the mobile-friendliness. Test your webpages if they are mobile-friendly.
- Safe browsing: This factor ensures if a page has no malicious and deceptive content. Check if your site has any issues with safe browsing with the Security Issues report.
- HTTPS: Check if the webpage has an HTTPS factor. Check if your site has a secure connection. If the page has no HTTPS, learn how to make them secure with HTTPS.
- No intrusive interstitials: Check if your page content is easily accessible by the users. Check if any ads and promotional content are being a hurdle in this accessibility.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
This new metric will check if the page is stable when it is loading. These stability elements check for content, images, buttons; that means the overall layout of the page and how they are causing poor experience.
How big will be this update?
As we have observed about some previous Google updates, just like Panda update initially impacted only 11.8% of all queries, or say, Google BERT impacted only 10% of queries or HTTPS could be only a small factor. But with this new update, we can’t say anything affirmative about the impact.
Rudy Galfi, the product lead on the Google Search ecosystem team said that they are not yet ready with the weight of each factor. But Rudy still said that valuable content will still play a major role in providing a great user experience which will lead websites to rank high in Google search.
How to prepare for Google Page Experience update?
As Google mentioned it won’t be live before 2021, there are no specific new ranking factors right now. Google also mentioned it will provide a six months notice before it goes live. Right now, we are all going through tough times right now and we can expect some heads up from Google about this update before going live.
Evincera will update you once this update releases and starts rolling out.
- You can refer to this Core Web Vitals Report from Google to get started with this update.
- You can also consider the above-mentioned factors to improve your page experience which will prepare your website briefly for the new update.
Other than these two elements, here are some interesting factors you can consider while preparing for the new Google Page Experience update:
Valuable and great content will still be important
Google made it clear that great & valuable content will be a major factor to help your website rank high in Google search. Google writes, “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
As observed before, AMP won’t be required for Google’s Top Stories section, they won’t be required for mobile Google search results as well. Rudy Galfi explained that Page Experience will play an important role while showing content in Google’s Top Stories section.
Last year, we wrote an explanatory article about AMPs, and today, with this new update, AMPs are surfacing again.
If you have AMP pages, the factor for ranking in Google Search is not changing at all but what changing is now your AMPs will compete for the Top Stories in Google with other pages.
Rudy Galfi said that if a website has AMPs, they will perform well in terms of page experience metrics. AMPs will help you with this update.
Your AMP content will be considered while evaluating page experience for this update. So. having AMPs will be an advantage for you in scoring purposes.
Why are we presenting this information?
Every update brings new challenges for us which we consider for all of our clients’ websites.
When Google decides to change its algorithm or bring a new update, we roll up our sleeves and start preparing for these changes.
With this Google Page Experience update, we’ve got enough time to prepare for it. If you need consultation over this update or any of your other SEO requirements, let’s get in touch and discuss your project today!