Last year, Google announced Search would use page speed and other metrics that better reflect how users experience the web to rank results in 2021. Google today provided more details and a timeline about the upcoming “page experience update.”

This new way to rate websites factors speed (load time), responsiveness (interactivity), and visual stability — like tapping the wrong button due to a site unexpectedly moving during loading. Google says these Core Web Vitals provide a “holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page,” especially on mobile. 

Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes. In addition, because we’re doing this as a gradual rollout, we will be able to monitor for any unexpected or unintended issues.

Page experience will be factored into Google Search’s ranking systems starting mid-June and finish rolling out by the end of August. Site admins will benefit from a new Page Experience report in Search Console that merges the existing Core Web Vitals report with “other components of the page experience signals, such as HTTPS security, absence of intrusive interstitials, safe browsing status, and mobile friendliness.” 

The Search Performance report is also adding filters, while Google today announced general availability of signed exchanges (SXG) on Search for all web pages.

SXG allows Google Search to leverage the privacy-preserving prefetching technique in compatible browsers, which can lead to improved page experience. This technique enables Google Search to load key resources of a page (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) ahead of navigation, which makes it possible for the browser to display pages faster.

Google Search page experience

Besides algorithm changes, there will be several user-facing changes. For starters, the Top Stories carousel in Search will no longer be limited to AMP content. The Google News website and mobile apps will similarly surface more non-AMP content. Lastly, the AMP lightning bolt icon will no longer be used to badge eligible content:

You can expect this change to come to our products as the page experience update begins to roll out in mid-June. We’ll continue to test other ways to help identify content with a great page experience, and we’ll keep you updated when there is more to share.

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