From next year, Google search results will take page experience into account as a ranking factor. This new metric will help Google understand how users perceive and interact with a webpage. It will use Core Web Vital requirements which measure page experience by looking at loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the loaded content. Other page experience metrics that Google will use include HTTPs, intrusive interstitial presence, browser safety, and mobile optimisation.
Google has assured webmasters that the page experience ranking factor won’t be going live before 2021 and that there will be six months’ notice before it’s launched. As part of the announcement, Google explained: “Because we continue to work on identifying and measuring aspects of page experience we plan to incorporate more page experience signals on a yearly basis to both further align with evolving user expectations and increase the aspects of user experience that we can measure”.
Optimising for page experience factors will contribute to the success of a website, not only in terms of improving its organic performance, but also from a user engagement, fidelity, and sales perspective. Users will be able to easily navigate the website across different devices, browsers and surfaces, and consequently transact with less friction.
Having a good page experience doesn’t mean that Google will pay less attention to the informational content of your site. The content of the page will still be prioritised by the ranking algorithm and will still define the authority of your site. However, in cases where multiple pages have similar content, page experience will become more important for organic visibility.
Google has also explained how page experience ranking factors will affect Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Once the page experience update is rolled out, the AMP implementation will no longer be necessary in order to be eligible for Top Stories on mobile. Any page will be able to use the Top Stories feature as long as it meets the Google News content policies.
This update isn’t as impactful as previous Google updates because most SEO specialists already look at page experience factors in their site audits, but it’s still important to know that page experience will have a greater impact on the organic ranking algorithm. Also, the fact that Google has announced the update months before the official release gives businesses time to start thinking about a cross-channel user experience strategy.