Google plans to adjust Search rankings based on page "experience"

Google will also give more weight to "experience" metrics for determining what's featured among the "Top Stories" in Search on mobile.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google on Thursday gave web developers a heads up that it plans to adjust Search rankings to put more emphasis on a web page's overall "experience." Additionally, Google will give more weight to "experience" metrics for determining what's featured on the "Top Stories" carousel in Search on mobile. 

Specifically, Google plans to incorporate Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics it introduced earlier this month, into its existing Search ranking signals. The Core Web Vitals quantify aspects of a web user's experience, including load time, interactivity and the stability of content as it loads. Google's existing Search signals for page experience include aspects like mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. 

"Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page," Google's blog post said. "By adding page experience to the hundreds of signals that Google considers when ranking search results, we aim to help people more easily access the information and web pages they're looking for, and support site owners in providing an experience users enjoy."

The changes could significantly impact a number of sectors and lines of business, including publishing, e-commerce and marketing. Seemingly in acknowledgement of this, Google will not implement the ranking changes until next year. The company also plans to provide at least six months notice before they're rolled out. 

Google is also updating its developer tools to help them optimize their page experiences. Additionally, the Google Search Console will provide a dedicated report to help site owners find potential areas of improvement.

A good page experience "doesn't override having great, relevant content," the blog post said. "However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search."

Meanwhile, as Google updates its metrics for ranking "Top Stories" on Search on mobile, it's also eliminating the requirement for Top Stories to support AMP, its Accelerated Mobile Pages framework.

"Google continues to support AMP, and will continue to link to AMP pages when available," the blog post said. 

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