Google Announces New "Page Experience" Ranking Factor

In late May Google announced that a major update to its ranking algorithm will take place some time next year. "Page Experience" (how good the user experience is) will become a consideration when Google ranks pages for any given search term. If the user experience isn't good, websites won't be ranked as highly as today.

What is Page Experience?

Google defines page experience as a measure of how users perceive their experience of interacting with a web page (across all browsers and devices) and they believe that improving this for any given website will contribute to business success on the web. Google will use existing ranking signals such as page loading speed, mobile-friendliness and website security to measure this, as well as a set of new "Core Web Vitals".

What Are The New Metrics?

The new metrics that Google will use to measure the experience of your website's users include "Largest Contentful Paint" (how quickly users see your content),"First Input Delay" (how quickly your users are able to interact with a page) and "Cumulative Layout Shift" (how often elements of the page move around). If you use Google's Search Console, you can find out your website's scores for these metrics by accessing your website's "Core Web Vitals Report". Since this report uses data from real-world usage it may differ from other reports, and if your website is new or you have very low visitor numbers there may not be enough data to provide a score. As noted by Google themselves, the "Core Web Vitals" for websites are not gathered and evaluated by Google's search engine spiders (Googlebot),but directly from real Chrome browser usage data, meaning that updates to your website may take some time to be reflected in your scores.

Do I Need To Change My Website?

Google's way of measuring page experience seems like an accurate method of understanding how users perceive your website, and it therefore makes sense to follow these guidelines. After all, the easier and quicker users find your website, the more likely they are to be engaged with your content or make a purchase. You or your webmaster can investigate the Core Vitals for your website using Google's Search Console or PageSpeed Insights. However, as with all ranking factors, no single change will make your website suddenly ranking first, and Google says they will still "prioritize pages with the best information overall". If you use "Accelerated Mobile Pages", Google says that it is likely that your AMP pages will meet Google's requirements for the new metrics.

When Will This Change Happen?

This change already applies to rankings on mobile devices and will be rolled out to rankings on desktops in February to March 2022.

Last updated: 9th November, 2021