Page Experience refers to how a user sees a web page and what kind of experience, in terms of interaction, it gets from it. Lately, Google has been dropping hints (through the official blog and other resources) that it might make page experience a more important factor in determining the search engine ranking of a web page.
As you may be aware, Google already uses a number of user experience factors, including mobile-responsiveness and page speed for determining the search rankings. Now, it’s in the process of combining these existing page experience signals with the recently introduced Core Web Vitals (a set of web page essential metrics) in order to determine the actual quality of a user’s experience with a particular web page.
In a recent post on its official webmaster blog, Google hinted that it is working on a major Search ranking update based on page experience metrics that might be introduced sometime next year.
Besides using the page experience signals to determine the quality, and therefore assign ranking, to a web page, the algorithm will also use these experience metrics for the ranking of Top Stories in mobile search. And so it’s expected that the AMP will no longer play a part in determining the eligibility for Top Stories.
Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the new Google ranking update is not likely to be released until next year. Google has also assured that it will give a minimum of six months’ notice as well as provide the tools to webmasters to be ready for the change.
What’s in it for Webmasters, Owners & Marketers?
Now, the important question to ask yourself is what’s in it for you, or how will the upcoming Search ranking change affect your own business/website?
Before we move ahead, let’s first get a basic idea of what page experience is all about.
Page Experience in Google Search
Page experience is all about using a set of factors to determine the user’s experience of interacting with a web page. The idea is to encourage website owners to optimize their pages in order to rank higher in Google and help make the web more useful and helpful for end-users, including those using mobile phones to browse the internet.
Adding page experience as a metric in search ranking will not just improve search results but also help businesses to make their pages more interactive and engaging (user-oriented) and improve results.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals was recently introduced by the Chrome team. It covers a set of user-centric metrics to help site owners measure their web pages for user experience in terms of page speed, mobile responsiveness, interactivity, and visual stability.
The new Google Search ranking algorithm will combine the Core Web Vitals (signals) along with the existing page experience factors like mobile-friendliness, page speed, security, among others to improve the way users perceive page experience. As new page experience factors continue to emerge based on evolving user experience and search trends, the algorithm will be updated on a yearly basis with more, advanced page experience signals in order to continue providing value to the users.
Optimizing your web page/s for Page Experience
Google has always preferred user experience as an important factor to determine the search ranking of a web page. Page Experience is just another part of it.
By optimizing your website pages to offer the best experience to the users, allowing them to do more and engage better with the website, you will definitely get some good points from Google. On the other hand, a poorly built web page that makes it difficult for the user to find the thing they are looking for will only take you lower in search ranking.
So, what you can do is make sure that users have easy access to the key information on your website pages and they are able to deeply engage with the content on the page.
Google has suggested that among all the page experience metrics, the most important one is the quality of information (content) available on the web page. A page with the best, relevant, and quality information will be definitely prioritized, even if it lacks other page experience aspects.
To enable developers and website owners to do that, Google is also going to provide support in the form of updated developer tools. In fact, a number of top Google tools, including Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights, have already been updated to include recommendations based on Core Web Vitals. In addition, you can use Google Search Console to analyse your website and get recommendations in order to improve your website for Page Experience.
Optimizing mobile Top Stories for Page Experience
Top Stories are now a crucial part of the organic search results in Google’s mobile SERP.
As of now, the mobile Top Stories section of the SERP contains AMP results that have been identified to provide a good page experience. This is the section used by Google to display the top and best stories related to a particular search keyword or query. The aim, of course, is to provide the user with the best results on the top position itself. So, naturally, page experience is a crucial aspect of mobile Top Stories.
With the new Page Experience Ranking update, Google will remove the AMP requirement from eligibility criteria for Top Stories. Instead, it will start prioritizing page experience as an important ranking factor for Top Stories. In other words, any page could be featured in Top Stories as long as it provides a great page experience to the users.
This presents a wonderful opportunity for website owners who were as of yet unable to get their pages listed in Top Stories because of the lack of an AMP version. They can start improving their pages for page experience and user experience in order to eventually get into the Top Stories section of Google.
It’s no news that page experience might just be the key to improving user engagement on the web. By using these new page experience signals along with Core Web Vitals, Google aims to make the web better, more useful for everyone.
As a website owner, webmaster or digital marketer, it’s now your responsibility to try and implement these new page experience signals to your website pages to the best extent possible in order to continue delivering great user experiences.
For help or to know more about how you can optimize your website or web page for Google’s Search Ranking update for page experience and for a better user experience, feel free to contact us. We (SAG IPL) are India’s top digital marketing agency with over 10 years of experience.