New Google Ranking Factor: Page Experience Signal
In late May, Google announced that a new “Page Experience” ranking signal will go into effect in 2021. This ranking factor combines Core Web Vitals (page speed, responsiveness and stability) with other known metrics such as mobile-friendliness, HTTPS, intrusive interstitials and Safe Browsing to evaluate the overall experience that pages provide users.
That announcement is not an enormous surprise. Time to load the page speed and other metrics such as mobile friendliness and HTTPS are already ranking variables. For years , Google has been asking us to make our sites quicker and to concentrate on giving users better web experiences. It ‘s certainly something to plan for going into 2021, with Google expected to merge these recognised ranking signals. Google has made a point of saying, however, that “Page Experience” would be less critical than high-quality, appropriate experience.
The Google Search Console, Page Speed Insights, Lighthouse, Chrome Dev tools and the Chrome UX Report have already been integrated with Core Web Vitals metrics. So, there is plenty of time for SEOs and developers to get to know these metrics and begin testing.
AMP Requirement Changes
Google also stated that the “Page Experience” signal will be factored into how content is ranked in the Top Stories carousel on mobile. Traditionally, AMP (accelerated mobile pages) has been required to rank within the Top Stories section, but Google will be removing this requirement. In other words, AMP pages will still have the potential to rank in Top Stories, but they will compete with other pages for those rankings starting in 2021. This news has some publishers wondering if they should continue to allocate resources toward AMP in the future. The best course of action seems to be wait and test.
As a result of COVID-19, people have been doing a majority of their shopping online. In fact, online spending in May exceeded holiday 2019 online spending. We may see some of this shift as stores begin to re-open, but it’s clear that e-commerce websites are going to need to stay competitive in organic search results. Moz provides some helpful tips to prepare e-commerce websites for a post-COVID bounce back.
In April, Google announced it was going to bring free product listings to Google’s Shopping tab. And in late June, Google began expanding these listings into knowledge panel results within main organic search results. Here at Finsbury Media, we’ve been working on developing processes and workflows around this to ensure we’re providing optimal results for our e-commerce clients.
Featured Snippet Changes
We’ve seen some interesting changes made to featured snippet results on desktop. Google often scrolls you to the right content section and highlights the same text in yellow when you click on a tab that is ranked in the featured snippet. It’s an attempt to help users easily find the data shown in the snippet inside the material of the ranking tab. To allow a featured snippet, there is no special tagging or markup required. Google would have the text highlighted automatically.
New Head of Search at Google
Prabhakar Raghavan is the new head of search at Google. He previously ran the Ads and Commerce team at Google, and will now oversee the Search and Ads teams. The reorganization and merging of teams comes at an interesting time for the company as the Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google later this year.
Other Helpful SEO Articles:
Using Singular vs. Plural Keywords in Content
John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, discussed the usage of singular vs. plural keywordsin content and diagnosing the intent behind keywords. It’s nice to receive validation that the Finsbury Media SEO team has been approaching this correctly when conducting content optimizations.
Bounce Rate Is Not a Ranking Factor
A friendly reminder that Google does not look at bounce rate when ranking web pages.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics Combined Report
Google is currently working on a combined Google Search Console and Google Analytics report. This will allow an simpler way of seeing which keywords will drive traffic to those sites. It will also make it easier to correlate whether site modifications had a measurable traffic effect. It’s in beta now.