In a blog post today (28th May 2020), Google has announced they will be rolling out the use of page experience as a ranking factor.
Page experience isn’t anything new in the realms of SEO. I remember when working at UKFast in 2008/2009 we ran a campaign called “Google Love” that talked about how hosting a website on a really fast server would help you rank better in Google. And for years SEO consultants have been using the PageSpeed Tool from Google to work out whether Google is going to mark a site down or not based on page speed.
As smartphones became more and more important for web traffic, Google slowly began to move towards a mobile-first index and introduced mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.
Google has therefore given us a bit of a sneak peek into the soon-to-be changes to search rankings and how page metrics will be part of that mix.
An important announcement was also made earlier this month in which Google said the Core Web Vitals helps site owners to measure user experience.
The update will include page experience metrics as ranking factors. Interestingly that whilst they are still supporting AMP they are removing AMP requirements for Top Stories eligibility.
This announcement is about giving website owners enough time to get their heads around using these kinds of metrics for SEO purposes. Google says they’ll only be rolling it out in 2021.
Google went on to say:
“The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.
“Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!).”
“We’re combining the signals derived from Core Web Vitals with our existing Search signals for page experience, including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines, to provide a holistic picture of page experience.”
But whilst AMP is no longer going to be first and foremost for Top Stories, pages must meet the Google News content policies to be eligible.
The first three ranking factors they’re likely to be covering are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how quickly the page’s “main content” loads — the bulk of the text or image the page is serving up
- First Input Delay (FID) measures how quickly the page reacts when you first click on something on the page
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures when stuff jumps around on the page — for instance, if ads rearrange the text you’re trying to read
Overall, this has to be a great addition to Google’s ranking factors. This is another great step forward in helping make sure the internet is cleaned up, removing all that old broken content and we can’t wait to get stuck into seeing how this impacts our clients’ rankings.