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Google Announces Website Experience Will Affect Ranking

Google recently announced that a user’s experience with a page on your website will now be used as a ranking signal in their algorithm. While this isn’t anything new — page load times and mobile-friendliness of a website have been considered ranking factors for years. Google is now adding on to what they evaluate when we talk about user experience. This update is called the Google Page Experience update.

What Do We Know?

Google has stated that their previously announced Core Web Vitals will be added to their list of existing page experience signals:

What are Core Web Vitals? In short:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the load time of the page.
  • First Input Delay (FID) measures the responsiveness of the page.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the visual stability of the page.

The Core Web Vitals as they stand today are not the final product. Google will be constantly working to improve their understanding of user experience and will update the Core Web Vitals accordingly.

You can learn more about the Core Web Vitals on Google’s Chromium Blog.

Evaluating Page Experience

There is no current tool to measure the overall page experience, but Google does have a number of tools you can use to measure each individual signal. These include the new Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and more.

It’s important to note that great content should continue to be a high priority. As Google stated, “While all the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize 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.”

In other words, you shouldn’t focus on page experience so much that the content on your page starts to suffer because of it.

How You Can Prepare

The good news is that this update won’t go live until sometime in 2021, and Google has promised to give us a 6-month notice beforehand. At GlynnDevins, we’ve already started to discuss what this update means for our clients and how we plan to utilize this change to further improve their websites.

You can read Google’s full announcement on their Webmaster Central Blog.

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