Google Refines Page Experience Guidelines, Clarifying Ranking Signals

Google has made updates to its page experience documentation to provide clarity on how Core Web Vitals metrics impact ranking signals. Additionally, Google emphasized that other page experience signals do not directly influence rankings in Google Search.

The revised documentation, located within the ranking section of the document, now states:

“Core Web Vitals are utilized by our ranking systems. We advise site owners to strive for good Core Web Vitals to enhance their chances of success in Search and to ensure an optimal user experience overall. It’s important to note that achieving favorable results in reports like Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report or third-party tools does not guarantee top rankings in Google Search results. There are other factors contributing to a great page experience beyond Core Web Vitals scores alone. These scores are intended to assist you in enhancing your site for overall user satisfaction, and prioritizing a perfect score solely for SEO purposes may not yield the best results.”

Previously, the documentation stated:

“While not all aspects listed on this page may directly influence ranking, they generally correlate with success in search ranking and warrant attention.”

It’s evident that Google reiterates the utilization of Core Web Vitals in its search ranking system. However, Google’s addition of “prioritizing a perfect score solely for SEO purposes may not yield the best results” suggests that this score has minimal weight compared to other ranking signals.

Google further included:

“Besides Core Web Vitals, other page experience elements do not directly impact your website’s ranking in search results. Nevertheless, they contribute to a more enjoyable user experience, which aligns with the objectives of our ranking systems. Therefore, it’s still beneficial to enhance overall page experience.”

Previously, this section stated:

“We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, excellent page experience encompasses more than Core Web Vitals. Positive statistics within the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console or third-party Core Web Vitals reports do not guarantee favorable rankings.”

Thus, Google clarifies that other page experience signals do not directly affect rankings in its system, at least not in a direct manner.

Core Web Vitals Update: As previously mentioned, the new “INP” metric has replaced “FID” as a core web vitals metric. However, as highlighted earlier, these signals carry minimal weight, suggesting that focusing on other areas of SEO might be more beneficial before prioritizing Core Web Vitals.

Why This Matters: Google’s clarification on page experience signals aims to address previous confusion surrounding its ranking system versus ranking signals. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, emphasized that while page experience is not a ranking “system,” it is still regarded as a ranking “signal.” These updates provide clarity to webmasters and SEO professionals navigating Google’s ranking factors.