Google search algorithm will consider ‘page experience’ as a ranking factor from next year

Google is planning to tweak its algorithm next year and rank pages according to the ‘experience’ of the user. This means that if a website has a ‘poor page experience,’ it will show up lower on the Google search results.

Page experience is a broad term. Up till now, Google was using a set of metrics to check the page loading speed, which qualified as a measurement for the experience. However, there were many aspects that were not captured by the search engines including delays, pop-ups, content jumping around the page, and other annoyances that triggered the user’s patience.

Although Google may not be able to accurately measure them all – but it is making an attempt to measure some of the features that make up a user’s – positive and negative reaction to a webpage.

The search engine giant unveiled this project last month and titled it ‘Web Vitals’. According to Sowmya Subramanian‎, Director of Engineering for Search Ecosystem, the company would be tracking the three main web annoyances including:

· Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This would analyze how quickly the contents of the main page loads.

· First Input Delay (FID) – This feature would measure the ‘reaction’ speed of the page when the user first clicks on something.

· Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – The CLS would measure when various content jumps around the page – for example, ads coming in the way of the text the user is reading.

Google is planning to add more metrics to the list over time. It has also announced changes in its ‘Top Stories’ feature and enable every news article that meets the page experience criteria to be published on the main page. Here, it should be noted that prior to the update, Google only allowed stories supporting AMP format to be permitted there.

Do these changes matter?

The changes in Google’s algorithm will matter. Especially for the publishers and website managers who are looking to put their news stories on the front page of Google.

When it comes to web developers, their main concern will be to make sure their site measures up to Google’s expectations. Google already offers some tools to ensure the site is on par with its requirements and is expected to add some more in the future.

Moreover, the team at Google assures the web developers and publishers that changes will not be implemented overnight and will take at least six months for the rollout to begin. This means that there is no rush to make the changes and web developers can transition according to the updated algorithms gradually.

The delay in the rollout is only to give developers sufficient time to adjust after the pandemic is over.

The precise outcome of the changes will only be transparent after the algorithm changes. Meanwhile, we can only hope that the changes will become another reason to clean up some of the mess on the World Wide Web.

Read next: Google Is Testing A Full Card-Based Layout For Web Searches
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