Google updates its page experience docs to clarify ranking signals


Google updated its page experience help documentation to clarify how Core Web Vitals metrics are used as a ranking signal. Google also clarified that other page experience signals are not directly used for ranking purposes in Google Search.

What Google wrote. The updated documentation is in the ranking section of the document and it now reads:

Core Web Vitals are used by our ranking systems. We recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. Keep in mind that getting good results in reports like Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report or third-party tools doesn’t guarantee that your pages will rank at the top of Google Search results; there’s more to great page experience than Core Web Vitals scores alone. These scores are meant to help you to improve your site for your users overall, and trying to get a perfect score just for SEO reasons may not be the best use of your time.

It previously said:

There are many aspects to page experience, including some listed on this page. While not all aspects may be directly used to inform ranking, they do generally align with success in search ranking and are worth attention.

So you can see that Google is clearly saying again that Core Web Vitals is used in the Google search ranking system. But Google added, “trying to get a perfect score just for SEO reasons may not be the best use of your time.” That implies that this score for ranking purposes is super lightweight compared to other ranking signals.

Google also added:

Beyond Core Web Vitals, other page experience aspects don’t directly help your website rank higher in search results. However, they can make your website more satisfying to use, which is generally aligned with what our ranking systems seek to reward. Therefore it’s still worth working to improve page experience overall.

Previously that said:

We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals. Good stats within the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console or third-party Core Web Vitals reports don’t guarantee good rankings.

So Google is clearly saying that other page experience signals are not used in Google’s ranking system, at least not directly.

Core Web Vitals updated. As we noted on Sunday, the new INP metric replaced FID as a core web vitals metric today. That being said, as noted above, these are very lightweight signals and it might be best for you to focus your SEO efforts in other areas before you focus on Core Web Vitals.

Why we care. Months ago, Google told us the Google page experience was never a ranking “system” but is still considered a ranking “signal,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, said this morning.  These statements caused a lot of confusion, so Google clarified these in the updated documentation.

In addition, John Mueller of Google posted this morning on LinkedIn about Core Web Vitals saying, “it’s not going to make your site’s rankings jump up.”

Hat tip to Glenn Gabe for spotting this and notifying me of the change.



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