Google Page Experience Update Ranking Factor Will Apply To Mobile Search Only

Dec 3, 2020 • 7:38 am | comments (10) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Speed Update

So yesterday, I accidentally published a story too quickly, around a new FAQ around Google's Page Experience Update. One point in there that is new information is this line "using page experience as a signal for ranking will apply only to mobile Search." Yes, the Google Page Experience Update ranking signals will only be weighted on the Google mobile searches, not for desktop searches - yet.

I'll be honest, it is disappointing that Google decided not to launch this on desktop as well. Why? Well, more on that later when I go through the history of Google having either desktop or mobile signals but not both.

Here is the Q&A:

Q: Is there a difference between desktop and mobile ranking?
A: At this time, using page experience as a signal for ranking will apply only to mobile Search.

There is another Q&A that says this too:

Q: Why are there differences in scores between mobile and desktop?
A: At this time, using page experience as a signal for ranking will apply only to mobile Search. However, if you're measuring Core Web Vitals using your RUM tool of choice, you may find that scores differ between Mobile Web and Desktop Web. While the technology used to create the site may be similar, real users of the two versions will have different constraints such as device, viewport size, network connectivity and more.

I have to say, I am disappointed. In the early days, prior to 2014 when the page speed factors came out, Google only looked at your speed of your desktop pages. In 2016, Google said it would separate mobile from desktop for page speed. In 2017, Google said it will rewrite it to look at mobile. Then in 2018 the new page speed update was released and it basically looked at what the user saw, either mobile or desktop, which felt right.

So this page experience update is only going to be felt in the Google mobile search results, not desktop. Like I already said, I don't think this page experience update will be a big or even that noticeable ranking factor (outside of the visual indicator). But now, Google is saying for desktop searchers, it does not currently use any ranking signals from the page experience update:

Google Page Experience Elements

None of those above factors will be applied to the Google desktop search results? They will only be applied to the Google mobile search results? I don't think that is accurate. HTTPS, safe browsing, etc are not going to matter? HTTPS should matter already for desktop, I believe. I asked for clarification on this point.

And this is how John responded:

But that is not 100% clear, I followed up asking "So which part of the page experience update is only applied to mobile search? Only core web vitals part?"

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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