Google has announced a new signal dubbed Page Experience that it plans to incorporate into a ranking change sometime next year. Here’s what you need to know about it.
It aims to measure the overall quality of user experience
Page experience, as the name suggests, is intended to quantify how a page performs experientially, or as Google puts it, “to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.”
It combines existing signals with Core Web Vitals metrics
Google already has a number of signals related to user experience. It has metrics for mobile friendliness, safe-browsing, the use of HTTPS security. It also checks whether certain guidelines, such as those around intrusive interstitials, are being followed.
The new page experience signal takes these existing signals and combines them with Core Web Vitals, “a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.” Specifically, Core Web Vitals measures page load time, interactivity and visual stability.
Page experience won’t launch before 2021
Due in part to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Google says that the page experience signal won’t go live before the end of the year and that it will give six months’ notice before it is launched.
Google offers tools for Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals was launched earlier this month, and has already been incorporated into Lighthouse, an open-source tool for running technical website audits, as well as Google PageSpeed Insights. Google is also surfacing Core Web Vitals improvement opportunities in its Search Console.
Page experience is being applied to Search as well as mobile Top Stories
Naturally, the page experience signal will be applied to Google Search but the company is also planning to apply it to its mobile Top Stories feature.
Notably, Google is removing the requirement that stories be published using AMP for Top Stories eligibility. Instead, a page that ostensibly rates highly enough in terms of page experience can also be featured.
Where an AMP page is available, Google will continue to use it for Top Stories, so this change might give publishers a reason to rethink their AMP strategies.
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