Creating content that is helpful and provides a good page experience is crucial for success on Google Search. Recently, Google has updated its guidance on page experience and streamlined the information available to site owners. In this article, we’ll explain the role of page experience in creating helpful content and what you need to know to succeed on Google Search.
Why Page Experience is Important for Creating Helpful Content
Producing helpful content is not just about providing relevant information. It’s also essential to ensure a good page experience for users. Google’s core ranking systems have always rewarded content that offers a good page experience. Recently, Google has updated its guidance on page experience and made it easier for site owners to consider page experience more holistically as part of the content creation process.
Google stresses the importance of site owners taking a holistic approach to providing a good page experience and using resources such as Google’s self-assessment questions and third-party tools like Lighthouse from Chrome to evaluate mobile usability. By doing so, creators and site owners can continue to succeed in providing great content and succeed in Google Search.
Updates to Search Console Reports
The Page Experience report within Search Console is getting an update in the coming months. It will be transformed into a new page that links to Google’s general guidance about page experience. Additionally, a dashboard-view of the individual Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports that will remain in Search Console will be provided.
On December 1, 2023, Google will be retiring the “Mobile Usability” report, the Mobile-Friendly Test tool, and Mobile-Friendly Test API from Search Console. Despite this, mobile usability will remain an important factor in search ranking as mobile device usage continues to grow. Google encourages website creators and owners to take a holistic approach towards providing a good page experience, including following Google’s self-assessment questions that are covered on the Understanding page experience in Google Search results page.
- Without the Page Experience report, how do I know if my site provides a great page experience?
The Page Experience report was designed to provide guidance on specific metrics that aligned with a good page experience, but it wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive assessment of all the different aspects. Google recommends taking a holistic approach, including following some of the self-assessment questions that are covered on the Understanding page experience in 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 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?
Although not all of these signals may be used to directly inform ranking, Google finds that all aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking and are worth attention.
- Are Core Web Vitals still important?
Google highly recommends site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success in Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, a great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals, and good statistics 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 Google’s core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they had already been considering. It was not a separate ranking system and 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 policies, automated systems may consider it.
- Is page experience evaluated on a site-wide or page-specific basis?
Google’s core ranking systems generally evaluate content on a page-specific basis, including when understanding aspects related to page experience. However, 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 content rather than presentation and page experience. However, just as Google’s core ranking systems consider signals that align with good page experience, so does the helpful content system, to some extent.
- 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.
Providing helpful content and a good page experience is essential to success on Google Search. Google has recently updated its guidance on page experience to help site owners consider page experience more holistically as part of the content creation process. The Page Experience Report will be transformed into a new page and some tools will be retired. While page experience is not the only factor that determines ranking success, it is an important aspect that site owners should pay attention to.