Google: Page Experience Is A Ranking Signal, Not A Ranking System

Apr 28, 2023 - 7:31 am 66 by

Google Logo Splitting Apart

Google is now saying that page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site are ranking "signals" but were never ranking "systems." "It just meant these weren't ranking *systems* but instead signals used by other systems," Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, said this morning on Twitter.

The confusion came after Google removed several ranking systems from its help documentation. As a reminder, Google recently removed the page experience system from the main list, not adding it to the retired list, and removed mobile-friendly ranking, page speed, and secure sites systems from the retired list from this help document.

Additional confusion came when Google made changes to its helpful content page specific to page experience when Google also changed this ranking system help document page. There Google wrote that page experience was just a "concept. Google posted, "What does this mean for the "page experience update"? The page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on. In particular, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that our core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they'd already been considering. It was not a separate ranking system, and it did not combine all these signals into one single "page experience" signal."

Now, Danny Sullivan posted a long answer on Twitter saying, "Taking them off didn't mean we no longer consider aspects of page experience. It just meant these weren't ranking *systems* but instead signals used by other systems."

The ranking system page changed because "in hindsight, the various page experience "updates" we've had became systems and were added when, as signals, they shouldn't have been," he said. "So when we updated our page experience guidance last week, we also updated the systems page to no longer list these things that weren't actually systems but signals," Sullivan added.

"As to the confusion that's come up, we didn't direct people to review the ranking systems page last week as part of our guidance about page experience. It wouldn't have made sense. We dropped the systems that were actually signals so that if people did go to that page in the future, they wouldn't (hopefully) get confused," Sullivan added.

"Google's core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience," is the take away from this, Danny Sullivan added.

So page experience is a ranking "signal," not a ranking "system," and considered a "concept"

Here is that tweet:

Here is a full copy and paste:

Our guidance on page experience is here, as we shared last week along with our blog post: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/page-experience

It does *not* say page experience is somehow "retired" or that people should ignore things like Core Web Vitals or being mobile-friendly. The opposite. It says if you want to be successful with the core ranking systems of Google Search, consider these and other aspects of page experience.

We also made an update to our page on ranking systems last week. Ranking *systems* are different than ranking *signals* (systems typically make use of signals). We had some things listed on that page relating to page experience as "systems" that were actually signals. They shouldn't have been on the page about systems. Taking them off didn't mean we no longer consider aspects of page experience. It just meant these weren't ranking *systems* but instead signals used by other systems.

How did they end up on the page in the first place? Last year, we stopped used the term "update" as being synonymous with "systems" -- this post explains more about that: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/11/introducing-guide-to-ranking-systems

In making the page, we looked at a number of "updates" we've had over the past year and converted describing those as systems. In hindsight, the various page experience "updates" we've had became systems and were added when, as signals, they shouldn't have been. So when we updated our page experience guidance last week, we also updated the systems page to no longer list these things that weren't actually systems but signals.

As to the confusion that's come up, we didn't direct people to review the ranking systems page last week as part of our guidance about page experience. It wouldn't have made sense. We dropped the systems that were actually signals so that if people did go to that page in the future, they wouldn't (hopefully) get confused.

Instead, we did a blog post explaining things people should care about, along with an updated page about page experience, and both of these had FAQs. Here's the blog post again: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2023/04/page-experience-in-search

The big takeaway? As our guidance on page experience says in the first sentence:

"Google's core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience."

Hope this helps clarify things more.

Are you less confused now?

Forum discussion at Twitter.

 

Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community

Follow

Search Video Recaps

 
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Blog Administration

Programming Note: Offline For Shavuot On Wednesday & Thursday

Jun 11, 2024 - 4:00 pm
Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: June 11, 2024

Jun 11, 2024 - 10:00 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: You Can Recover From Helpful Content Damage With Next Core Update

Jun 11, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Search Console Performance Report Gains Merchant Listing Data For Image Tab

Jun 11, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: We Either Trusts Or Doesn't Trust Your Sitemap's Lastmod Date

Jun 11, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google

Google Tests Organized Search Results Page

Jun 11, 2024 - 7:21 am
Previous Story: Google Search Tests New Simple "More" Results Buttons