Google Page Experience: A Ranking Signal for Better User Experience
Helpful content generally offers a good page experience. That's why today, Google has added a section on page experience to its guidance on creating helpful content and revised its help page about page experience. This will help site owners consider page experience holistically as part of the content creation process.
Streamlining page experience guidance
For years, core ranking systems have sought to reward content providing a good page experience, as covered in guidance Google gave in 2011, updated in 2019, and made part of the Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content help page in 2022, known as the helpful content update.
That help page is a key resource for Search Essentials. Google regularly refers anyone seeking success with Google Search to read through the self-assessment questions and other guidance. But while some aspects of page experience were covered in the page's "Presentation and production questions" section, others were not. Google now improved this by adding a section on providing a great page experience to explain how those hoping to be successful in Search should be considering this.
In turn, that section links to Google's revised Understanding page experience in Google Search results help page, which explains the role of page experience in more detail, along with self-assessment questions and resources. That page brings together some key aspects of page experience to consider, which are unchanged from the discussions in recent years and remain a key element of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts.
Search Console reports
In the coming months, the Page Experience report within Search Console will transform into a new page that links to the general guidance about page experience and a dashboard view of the individual Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports remaining in Search Console.
Also, starting December 1, 2023, Google will retire Search Console's "Mobile Usability" report, the Mobile-Friendly Test tool, and Mobile-Friendly Test API. This doesn't mean mobile usability isn't important for success with Google Search. It remains critical for users, who are using mobile devices more than ever, and as such, it remains part of the page experience guidance. But in the nearly ten years since Google initially launched this report, many other robust resources for evaluating mobile usability have emerged, including Lighthouse from Chrome.
Overall, this work should help creators and site owners continue to succeed with their visitors by providing a great page experience and succeeding in Google Search.
Without the Page Experience report,
how do I know if my site provides a great page experience?
The page experience report was intended as a general guidepost of some metrics aligned with good page experience, not as a comprehensive assessment of all aspects. Those seeking a good page experience should take a holistic approach, including following some of the self-assessment questions covered on the Understanding page experience in Google Search results page.
Is there a single "page experience signal" that Google Search uses for ranking?
There is no single signal. Google's core ranking systems look at various signals that align with the overall page experience.
Page experience signals had been listed as Core Web Vitals,
mobile-friendly, HTTPS, and no intrusive interstitials. Are these signals still used in search rankings?
While not all of these may be directly used to inform ranking, all of these aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking and are worth attention.
Are Core Web Vitals still important?
Google highly recommends that site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience. However, great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals. Good stats within the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console or third-party Core Web Vitals reports don't guarantee good rankings.
What does this mean for the "page experience update"?
The page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on. In particular, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that the core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they'd already considered. It was not a separate ranking system and did not combine all these signals into one single "page experience" signal.
Is good page experience required to appear in the "Top Stories" carousel on mobile?
Page experience is not an eligibility requirement to appear anywhere in the "Top Stories" section. As long as the content meets Google News best practices and Google News policies, the automated systems may consider it.
Is page experience evaluated on a site-wide or page-specific basis?
Google's core ranking systems generally evaluate the content on a page-specific basis, including when understanding aspects related to page experience. However, Google has some site-wide assessments.
Does page experience factor into the helpful content system?
The helpful content system is primarily focused on signals related to content rather than presentation and page experience. However, just as the core ranking systems consider signals that align with good page experience, so does the helpful content system, to a degree.
How important is page experience to ranking success?
Google Search always seeks to show the most relevant content, even if the page experience is sub-par. But for many queries, there is lots of helpful content available. A great page experience can contribute to success in Search in such cases.
Originally posted by Danny Sullivan, public liaison for Google Search
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