Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Helpful content generally offers a good page experience. That’s why today, we’ve added a section on page experience to our guidance on creating helpful content and revised our help page about page experience. We think this all will help site owners consider page experience more holistically as part of the content creation process.
Streamlining our page experience guidance
For years, our core ranking systems have sought to reward content providing a good page experience, as covered in guidance we gave in 2011, updated in 2019 and made part of our Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content help page last year.
That help page is a key resource for our Search Essentials. We regularly refer anyone seeking to be successful with Google Search to read through the self-assessment questions and other guidance on it. But while some aspects of page experience were covered in the page’s “Presentation and production questions” section, others were not. We’ve now improved this by adding a section on providing a great page experience, to explain how those hoping to be successful in Search should be considering this.
In turn, that section links over to our revised Understanding page experience in Google Search results help page, which explains the role of page experience in more detail, along with self-assessment questions and resources. That page brings together in one place some key aspects of page experience to consider, aspects that are unchanged from what we’ve talked about in recent years.
Search Console reports
In the coming months, the Page Experience report within Search Console will transform into a new page that links to our general guidance about page experience, along with a dashboard-view of the individual Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports that will remain in Search Console.
Also starting December 1, 2023, we’ll be retiring Search Console’s “Mobile Usability” report, the Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Mobile-Friendly Test API. This doesn’t mean that mobile usability isn’t important for success with Google Search. It remains critical for users, who are using mobile devices more than ever, and as such, it remains a part of our page experience guidance. But in the nearly ten years since we initially launched this report, many other robust resources for evaluating mobile usability have emerged, including Lighthouse from Chrome.
Overall, we hope this work will help creators and site owners continue to succeed with their visitors by providing a great page experience and by doing so, also succeed in Google Search.
Without the Page Experience report, how do I know if my site provides a great page experience?
The page experience report was intended as a general guidepost of some metrics that aligned with good page experience, not as a comprehensive assessment of all the different aspects. Those seeking to provide a good page experience should take an holistic approach, including following some of our self-assessment questions covered on our Understanding page experience in Google Search results page.
Is there a single “page experience signal” that Google Search uses for ranking?
There is no single signal. Our core ranking systems look at a variety of signals that align with overall page experience.
Page experience signals had been listed as Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendly, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials. Are these signals still used in search rankings?
While not all of these may be directly used to inform ranking, we do find that all of these aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking, and are worth attention.
Are Core Web Vitals still important?
We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals. Good stats within the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console or third-party Core Web Vitals reports don’t guarantee good rankings.
What does this mean for the “page experience update”?
The page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on. In particular, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that our core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they’d already been considering. It was not a separate ranking system, and it did not combine all these signals into one single “page experience” signal.
Is good page experience required to appear in the “Top stories” carousel on mobile?
Page experience is not an eligibility requirement to appear anywhere in the “Top stories” section. As long as content meets Google News best practices and Google News policies, our automated systems may consider it.
Is page experience evaluated on a site-wide or page-specific basis?
Our core ranking systems generally evaluate content on a page-specific basis, including when understanding aspects related to page experience. However, we do have some site-wide assessments.
Does page experience factor into the helpful content system?
The helpful content system is primarily focused on signals related to content, rather than presentation and page experience. However, just as our core ranking systems consider signals that align with good page experience, so does the helpful content system, to a degree.
How important is page experience to ranking success?
Google Search always seeks to show the most relevant content, even if the page experience is sub-par. But for many queries, there is lots of helpful content available. Having a great page experience can contribute to success in Search, in such cases.
Posted by Danny Sullivan, public liaison for Google Search