Back in May, Google announced that it will soon factor page speed and other metrics that capture the end-user experience when ranking Search results. This change is now set to come into effect a year after plans were first detailed.

Earlier this year, the Chrome team announced a new way to rate websites that factors speed (load time), responsiveness (interactivity), and visual stability — like when you tap the wrong button due to a site unexpectedly moving during loading. 

These Core Web Vitals capture the end-user experience, especially on mobile devices, and serve to provide a “holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.”

Starting in May 2021, those three performance metrics will be added to how Google ranks Search results. It joins existing factors like mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. Since launch, site owners have moved to follow Core Web Vitals:

In the past several months, we’ve seen a median 70% increase in the number of users engaging with Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights, and many site owners using Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report to identify opportunities for improvement.

To highlight pages with optimal performance, Google is planning to “test a visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have great page experience.” It’s not clear what design this will take, but testing will start soon. If successful, it will also launch in alongside the main change. 

We believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit.

Similarly, page speed metrics will be factored when ranking what news content appears in the Top Stories carousel/list on the mobile web. This change also comes into effect next May. As part of this, Google will no longer require that sites offer Accelerated Mobile Page versions to appear, though it reiterated support for the format today.

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