Now we also have a date: starting from next May 2021, Google will begin to evaluate Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor in the context of the most general revolution of the Page Experience, which also takes into account other previous parameters on the User Experience provided by the site. In addition, from that moment on SERP will appear a “visual indicator that highlights the pages that offer an excellent Page Experience” and all sites will be able to appear in the Top Stories feature from mobile, as the prerequisite for the use of AMP falls.

Google’s announcement: Page Experience starting from May 2021

These are the central points of the announcement given by Jeffrey Jose, Product Manager on Search, from the pages of the Google webmasters blog, in which the point is made on all that these changes mean for webmasters, SEO and all those who operate on the Web.

The first news on the launch of the Google Page Experience Update was revealed last May, and then in total we would have had a full year to prepare for this important update and make our sites more user friendly.

New Page Experience signals

The new Page Experience signals combine the Core Web Vitals – which at this early stage are designed to measure the way users experience the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of a page – “with our existing search signals, including mobile-friendly sites, safe-browsing, HTTPS security and guidelines for intrusive interstitial”.

I nuovi segnali di ranking da maggio 2021

Their overall task is to measure “the way users perceive the experience of interacting with a Web page” and contribute to Google’s ongoing work “to ensure that people get the most useful and enjoyable experiences from the Web,” writes Jose.

In recent months, reveals the article, “we have seen an average 70% increase in the number of users interacting with Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights and many site owners use the Core Web Vitals report of Search Console to identify opportunities for improvement“.

Core Web Vitals for 2021

It is worth remembering at this point which are the first 3 Core Web Vitals chosen by Google for 2021, namely:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the loading performance of the main content of a page, with an ideal value of 2.5 seconds or faster.
  • First Input Delay (FID), which measures the interactivity of a page, with efficient performance in less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures the visual stability and unexpected amount of displacement of the layout: to provide a good experience, pages must maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Google, however, has already anticipated that this work is ongoing, which is why it plans “to incorporate more signals on page experience in the future and to update them on an annual basis”, also based on the evolution of users’ expectations concerning web pages.

Other changes coming in May 2021

As already mentioned, there are then two other major changes coming again next May: first, Google is planning “a visual indicator able to highlight pages in search results that have an excellent page experience”, which will be a way to highlight the “great experiences in Google Search”.

According to Jose, “providing information on the quality of a web page experience can be helpful for users in choosing the search result they wish to visit” and “the results, the snippet or the preview of the image help to supply a topical context to the customers in order to know which information can furnish a page”, and also the visual pointers on the results are another way in order to do the same.

For this reason, Google is working on a particular type of signal “that identifies the pages that have met all the experience criteria of the page”: it will be tested soon and “if the test is successful, it will be launched in May 2021”.

Not only AMP pages in Top Stories anymore

In addition, all “pages that meet Google News content standards” will be officially eligible to appear in the Top Stories feature (Featured News) for mobile browsing and Google will give priority “to pages with an excellent page experience, using AMP or any other web technology, as we classify the results”.

This therefore means that the previous prerogative falls, which provided for the appearance in this section only of AMP pages – reason that has increased doubts about the benefits of using the AMP framework in general.

Tools to get ready for Page Experience

in order to help webmasters and publishers prepare for these changes, Google has “released a set of tools to use to start improving their page experience” and to measure Core Web Vitals.

The first step is to run a site-level page check to see where there is room for improvement, using the Search Console report for the Core Web Vitals to get an overview of the site’s progress and an in-depth analysis of the issues. Once opportunities have been identified, Page Speed Insights and Lighthouse tools can help you to solve any problems you may encounter.

Moreover, the Googler explicitly cites AMP as “one of the easiest and cheapest ways for publishers looking to get great results with the page experience“, reiterating that Google will continue “to support AMP content in Search”. So, even from May 2021 “if you publish an AMP version of your content, Google Search will connect to that cache-optimized AMP version to optimize delivery to users, just like it happens today”.

 

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