Remember the Google Page Experience update? For the past few weeks, since the rollout began on June 15, things have been quiet. Too quiet. No notable shifts in search engine results page (SERP) rankings have been recorded, as SEMrush confirmed in a recent blog post assessing the initial impact. But, on the other hand, John Mueller also recently warned the SEO community that the update would be “more than a tiebreaker” – reminding us not to ignore Google’s brand-new set of ranking factors and implying that it will affect the state of SERPs.
Now, after weeks of waiting, a ranking factor being removed and several algorithm updates rolling out simultaneously, the Page Experience update is complete. This was announced on Twitter on Thursday. According to Google, the completed update currently includes the changes to the Top Stories carousel on mobile Search, but the Google News app changes won’t be up and running for another week.
That’s it. The deed is done. More than a year after its announcement, Page Experience is here. But things seem eerily calm (in stark contrast to last week’s “Titlepocalypse” drama and the June and July core updates, which certainly caused a stir). In fact, with Page Experience, you probably haven’t seen any effects at all for a few reasons:
- Most of the page experience signals already factor into search algorithms: You’ve likely been optimizing for these – and reaping any benefits – long before now.
- Google reps have said the update won’t be major: First, it was just a tiebreaker; then, it was a little more than a tiebreaker. But either way, neither Martin Splitt nor John Mueller have given us any reason to believe this update will drastically impact SERPs.
- The relevancy of your content remains your chief SEO trump card: Even excellent technical SEO won’t help you if your content is weak.
- You can still optimize for these signals: If you haven’t been using the past year to prepare, don’t worry. Splitt has said that optimizing for Page Experience can be a long-term goal. Even if you’re not ready now, you can still work towards getting there and benefiting from any potential boost.
The biggest mistake you could make, however, would be to ignore page experience ranking signals. Whether the update has unseated you from your position or not, passing Core Web Vitals is imperative. After all, Google has said that page experience ranking factors could be the thing to push you above your closest competitor – and on SERPs, every position counts.
More SEO News You Can Use
Google Adds Presearch Search Engine as a Default Option on Android in Europe: Earlier this year, prompted by the European Commission, Google made a commitment to increase the number of default search engine options on Android. The European Commission has always made an attempt to keep Google under its thumb. Back in 2018, it fined Google over 4 billion euros for using Android to maintain its search market monopoly. In response, Google has added Presearch, a private and decentralized search engine, as a default option on all new Android devices in Europe. Presearch is still in its infancy, with 2.2 million registered users and an average of 1.3 million searches per day. And while this may not sound like much, it has grown its search volume by an impressive 300 percent since January. Presearch is now positioned to see significant growth in the Android market – and it marks the latest in a succession of wins for privacy-focused search engines.
Mueller Explains When Interstitials Become “Intrusive”: Every SEO knows that intrusive interstitials are bad, but when interstitials are by nature “intrusive,” what does this negative ranking factor actually mean? During the latest Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, a viewer asked John Mueller whether interstitials would negatively affect his mobile site. The major concern was that the viewer’s interstitials performed well, so he didn’t want to do away with them entirely. Mueller started by confirming that, yes, Google does frown upon intrusive interstitials. However, Google is more concerned with the moment a user lands on a website. If an interstitial pops up immediately and acts as a barrier between the user and the content they were promised, that’s a negative ranking factor. But if users are given the opportunity to spend some time on your site and see the content they clicked for before being served an interstitial, you shouldn’t be penalized.
Search Console Issue Causes Loss in Performance Data: If your Search Console reports are showing a significant performance drop for Google Search and Discover on August 23 and 24, don’t freak out. Google reported on a data loss that affected this two-day period. Google confirmed that the issue only affects performance reports, not a site’s actual performance in Search and Discover, so there’s nothing to be concerned about. It seems the problem is fully resolved, as data collected since then has appeared normal. However, now that we know this is an issue, we should all be on the lookout for future anomalies in performance reports. You can keep up with these types of issues on Google’s regularly updated Help Center article.
Google Reiterates That the Title Tag Update Does Not Affect Rankings: Mueller again confirmed on Twitter that the title tag update doesn’t affect rankings, saying, “This just changes the displayed titles, it doesn’t change ranking or take anything different into account.” In other words, Google may still consider the original title you wrote when it ranks results – and that’s why you definitely shouldn’t give up on optimizing your titles. Of course, the update still has an impact in that it could affect traffic in other ways. For example, many SEOs have reported on their click-through rate decreasing because of a new, Google-generated title that blatantly misses the mark. But remember that the update is dynamic, and if you replace your title with one that is better optimized and more indicative of the content on your page, Google is likely to use this one instead.
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