This week Sowmya Subramanian, Google’s Director of Engineering for Search Ecosystem, announced that Google will include Page Performance Experience in its organic search ranking factors.
This means that many of the techniques that I recommend to improve Conversion Rate Optimization, getting more sales once visitors get to your site, which are factors that heavily focus on user experience, are now also factors for Search Engine Optimization, getting more visitors TO your site.
In 2018, Google announced that page load speed was now a factor for search rankings and last year announced that it would now evaluate the ranking factors for a web page based on the mobile version of that page.
These decisions by Google are in-line with what I’ve seen as the goal of the organization over the years: to provide the best experience for its users. Most of the ranking factors that they have indicated, and that SEOs have seen work to date, more highly rank pages and sites that:
- have content that is most relevant to the phrase searched on;
- include fresh content on a regular basis
- are well organized with clear navigation indicating the hierarchy of content;
- receive more incoming links from relevant, authoritative websites;
- load quickly and function well on mobile devices.
The page experience measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile.
Subranabuab notes that signals derived from the new “Core Web Vitals” will be combined with the existing Search signals for page experience including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, and HTTPS-security.
Because we continue to work on identifying and measuring aspects of page experience, we plan to incorporate more page experience signals on a yearly basis to both further align with evolving user expectations and increase the aspects of user experience that we can measure.
Here is a diagram to illustrate how Google will now determine Search signals for page experience:
Google has updated tools provided to web developers and website owners, such as Google Search Console and PageSpeed Insights, to clearly indicate performance for Core Web Vitals and provide recommendations for improvements.
While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.
The good news is that I have already been advising clients techniques to ensure good user experience and this will also now contribute to search engine optimization and thereby good to obtain relevant leads from organic search rankings. The even better news is that we now have access to information from Google on how well our websites are performing in these additional areas.
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