Google recently added a new section on page experience to its guidance on creating helpful content and updated the help page on-page experience to help site owners consider page experience as part of the content creation process. This update is part of Google’s effort to streamline its page experienced guidance.
Improving Page Experience Guidance
Google’s core ranking systems have always sought to reward content providing a good page experience. In 2011, Google provided guidance on this, which was updated in 2019 and made a part of the Creating Helpful, reliable, people-first Content help page in 2020.
The “Presentation and production questions” section of the help page covered some aspects of page experience, but others were not included.
Google has now added a section on providing a great page experience, which explains how those hoping to be successful in Search should consider this.
This section links to the revised Understanding page experience in the Google Search results help page, which explains the role of page experience in more detail, along with self-assessment questions and resources.
Search Console Reports
In the coming months, the Page Experience report within Search Console will be transformed into a new page that links to Google’s 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.
Starting December 1, 2023, Google will retire 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 Google’s page experience guidance. But in the nearly ten years since Google initially launched this report, many other robust resources for evaluating mobile usability have emerged, including Lighthouse from Chrome.
Google hopes that these updates 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. By streamlining its page experience guidance and updating its search console reports, Google aims to make it easier for site owners to understand and improve their page experience.
How do I know if my site provides a great page experience without the Page Experience report?
There is no comprehensive assessment of all aspects of page experience, but site owners should take a holistic approach, including self-assessment questions covered on the Understanding page experience in the Google Search results page.
Is there a single “page experience signal” that Google Search uses for ranking?
No, Google’s core ranking systems look at a variety of signals that align with the overall page experience.
Are Core Web Vitals still important?
Yes, site owners should achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally, but a great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals.
What does this mean for the “page experience update”?
The page experience update introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that Google’s core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS, but it was not a separate ranking system.
Is good page experience required to appear in the “Top Stories” carousel on mobile?
No, page experience is not an eligibility requirement to appear anywhere in the “Top Stories” section.
Is page experience evaluated on a site-wide or page-specific basis?
Google’s core ranking systems generally evaluate the content on a page-specific basis, but there are some site-wide assessments.
Does page experience factor into the helpful content system?
The helpful content system primarily focuses on signals related to the content, but it also considers signals that align with good page experience, to a degree.
How important is page experience to ranking success?
Having a great page experience can contribute to success in Search, but Google always seeks to show the most relevant content, even if the page experience is sub-par.