Page Experience Signals Coming to Google Search Rankings in May 2021

When it comes to Google Search Rankings, there are over 200 factors that dictate just how high in the pantheon of web pages yours will fall. As SEO professionals, our job is to discern these rankings and make changes to web pages to help them measure up to Google’s expectations.

The way Google evaluates a page’s ranking is ever-changing, but one significant change they’ve been teasing for a while is including page experience signals as a ranking factor. A while ago, they announced (uncharacteristically, in advance) the future rollout of this change, but no specific timeline was given.

Now, there is a finish line in sight! Recently, they announced a timeline for this change, indicating that three Core Web Vitals, alongside four other signals, will all enter the Search Ranking checklist in May 2021.

With this deadline approaching, it’s time for websites to start prioritising user experience as a part of their SEO strategy. In this blog, we’ll break down both the Core Web Vitals and the other page experience signals, explaining Google’s rationale for including them in their page evaluations. We’ll also touch on some tools you can use to make sure your website is running in tip-top shape.  

Does your page meet the criteria for display?

The seven search signals for page experience

The three Core Web Vitals’ inclusion was announced along with Google’s timeline of the rollout, amping up the attention developers would need to pay to their website’s user experience. To get an idea of where your website currently is, use the Core Web Vitals tool to measure and monitor your website. By May 2021, this should become an integral part of everyone’s digital marketing strategy.

In addition to this change, non-AMP content will become eligible to appear in mobile Top Stories in Search at the same time. As long as the page meets the Google News content policy guidelines, it will be eligible, no matter the kind of technology used to implement the page.

New Page Highlighting Experience to Join

A person holding up a phone with the Google homepage on it.

In addition to being displayed in Top Stories, eligible pages also have the opportunity to get an extra shout out on the SERP. Page experience is a big factor for many people when they choose the page to which they navigate from the search results page, but it’s impossible to tell which page will deliver a good experience before making the click.

Therefore, Google is also trialling a brand-new experience to help users choose pages with good page experience. If the page is deemed to provide good user experience, a visual element will be included with its listing on the SERP. Thus far, Google’s only indication of what this visual element will be is that it will be “one that identifies pages that have met all the page experience criteria”.

The web giant will be testing this method soon, and if the results indicate success, these experience indicators will launch alongside the page experience signals in May 2021.

What does this mean for your web page?

Much like the advent of Rich Snippets, the announcement of a potential highlight for pages with good UX presents another opportunity for site owners to help their pages stand out from the rest. Rich Snippets and results are correlated with an increased CTR (click-through-rate), and we predict this rollout to create a similar correlation between highlighted pages and CTR/engagement.  

Therefore, it’s important to start using the right tools to optimise your page’s experience now. All the tools are listed here.

By using all these tools, you can ensure your site measures up to Google’s new set of standards and boosts how well you rank this coming May. For sites who are unprepared for the change, May might pose a risk to their existing ranking, giving others the room to push through to the top.

If you are unsure about where to begin, have identified an issue you don’t know how to handle, or you simply want an expert by your side to improve your website, talk to the team at Pure SEO for help.

Reach out to Pure SEO to make sure your website is up to parr, and your digital marketing strategy is doing the most it can for your business.

We’re New Zealand’s leading SEO agency, with teams dedicated to optimising your SEM, content marketing, social media strategy, and more! Reach out to us for expert advice or bring us on board to keep your online presence at the top of its game.

Courtney-Dale Nel

Courtney is a Content Writer on the Pure SEO team. They have a Bachelor in Behavioural Psychology, way too much experience working with pigeons, and a fondness for nachos that rivals most marriages.

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