Google has introduced a new search ranking criteria based on users' experience, but it won't go live until 2021. The algorithm update -- Google Page Experience -- will evaluate the web pages based on how users perceived their interactions with them.
If Google's technology determines that users have a poor experience, the page may not rank as well. Under the heading of Core Web Vitals, the Google Chrome team announced earlier this month a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability to help site owners measure user experience on the web.
The algorithm aims to understand how a user perceives the experience on the web page. Combined with existing search signals, several factors are taken into consideration, such as mobile-friendly update, page speed and HTTPS ranking boost.
The idea is to incorporate more page-experience signals on a yearly basis to align with evolving user expectations and increase the aspects of user experience that Google can measure.
As part of this update, Google plans to incorporate the page-experience metrics into the ranking criteria for Top Stories feature in Search on mobile, and remove the AMP requirement from Top Stories eligibility.
Richard Marques, CEO of Revcontent, believes the change will be a positive move for online publishers. Google will continue to support and link to AMP pages when available.
The company has also updated its developer tools to help site owners optimize their page experience. AMP, however, will no longer be necessary for stories to be featured in Top Stories on mobile. The change makes it open to any page.
The timing around the change, in 2021, aims to give companies focusing on the effects of COVID-19 time. The goal is to provide at least six months' notice before they are rolled out, but the tools are available now to get started.
Helping developers to understand the changes, Google has updated its tools such as Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights to surface Core Web Vitals information and recommendations, and Google Search Console provides a dedicated report to help site owners quickly identify opportunities for improvement.
The company is also working with external tool developers to bring Core Web Vitals into their offerings.