A Guide on Google’s Page Experience as a Ranking Factor
Google announced the Page Experience Update last May of this year. It was pre-announced which means the actual update won’t be rolling out until 2021 and no specific date was given on the announcement. But they did mention that they will provide at least a six-month notice before they fully roll out the Page Experience update. The announcement stated that Page Experience will be a new ranking factor for 2021 that combines multiple minor ranking factors into a major, bigger one. So, here’s what you need to know about the Page Experience update:
What is Google’s Page Experience Update?
The Page Experience update is an upcoming Google algorithm update that will be measuring the interaction and experience of users with pages that are crawlable and indexable.
Most of the minor factors that make up the Page Experience update are already well-known factors that the majority of the SEOs and webmasters have already optimized for. Through the Page Experience update, Google aims to provide a holistic view of page experience, not only to qualify great user experience but to also possess a framework that will be used to quantify a user’s experience to further reward websites that aim to provide the best possible experience for the users.
Since this is reliant on the user’s definition of a great experience, Google aims to include more signals on a yearly basis to keep up with the ever-changing needs and wants of the users.
Aside from the minor factors that make up Google’s Page Experience update, the new addition would be the introduction of Core Web Vitals that is a set of user-focused metrics that quantify key moments of a user’s experience of a page. The Core Web Vitals include three major facets:
While the minor factors include:
How to Optimize for Page Experience
Resources for specifically optimizing for Page Experience are scarce, but Google had given deeper dives on the core web vitals and we’ve written guides on each Core Web Vital which are linked above.
As for optimizing for the minor factors, they have been existing for quite a while, and guides on them have also been linked above.
Ranking for Page Experience is not necessarily a difficult task since the majority of the ranking factors are already pre-existing ones. The challenge now is with regard to optimizing for Core Web Vitals. Although they are new terms, they are still included under major website facets that we optimize for, specifically, Site Speed. Largest Contentful Paint is under loading speed, First Input Delay is under interactivity, and Cumulative Layout Shift is under content stability – all of which are already important aspects of a website.
Of course, the Page Experience update is not the only ranking factor. You can’t improve your rank if page experience is the only facet you optimized for. Quality content and valuable links are still integral to having search success.
Lastly, page experience will change how Google interacts with the Top Stories part of the search results. AMP will no longer be a necessity to be included in the Top Stories – one of the primary ways publishers gain traffic. But I highly suggest publishers still stick to publishing AMP pages since they are more beneficial to the users and give users a much better experience inside your site.
The Page Experience update is not something new. It’s just an upgraded and combined version of underrated factors that often eluded the SEO’s and webmaster’s full attention.
But the best thing about having a dedicated ranking factor for all these minor ones is that webmasters and SEOs will have a shift in their strategies wherein site usability will improve which will not only affect SEO but it also has consequential effects for business or eCommerce websites. What do you think about the page experience update? Let me know in the comments below!