Google's New Page Experience Signal:

How powerful will the ranking signal be?

By Glenn Gabe

The Page Experience Signal has 5 components:

Let's review the sub-signals that will make up the larger Page Experience Signal

And the potential weighting of those sub-signals...

Ranking Impact & Weighting of Signals

The weighting of each sub-signal isn't known & probably never will be. But we can review the power of each sub-signal being used now to estimate the power of the larger signal. Ready?

Mobile popup algorithm - Weak

In 2017 Google rolled out an algortihm that demotes pages in the mobile search results that utilize popups or interstitials. Unfortunately, it has proven to be weak.

Next up, HTTPS: From a rankings perspective, Google has explained many times that HTTPS is more of a tiebreaker. Google's John Mueller even covered that in a recent video on HTTPS.

Google's John Mueller: "The ranking boost for HTTPS is quite small."

Mobile-friendly:

Google's mobile-friendly algorithm rolled out in 2015 and was enhanced in 2016. But, it's still only one ranking factor of many. Quality and relevance still win, so pages can still rank well when not mobile-friendly (especially for brand or navigational queries).

Safe Browsing: Visual Impact

Currently, when Google detects security issues like malware, dangerous downloads, etc., urls will be labeled in the search results & browsers can present an interstitial. But, it will contribute to the Page Experience ranking signal in 2021.

Core Web Vitals: Power Unknown

In May of 2020, Google announced Core Web Vitals, which are several important metrics from a performance standpoint. They will be factored into the Page Experience Signal once it launches. They currently include three metrics:

Page Speed: Lightweight

Page Speed has always been a lightweight signal. Google has confirmed this several times, with the latest confirmation in a mythbusting video with Martin Splitt and Eric Enge.

CWV & PE Signal Updated Annually...

Google has explained that both the Page Experience Signal and Core Web Vitals will be updated annually. That's when new user experience signals and/or new core web vitals could be added, removed, etc.

ETA For Page Experience Signal Rollout:

Google will provide 6-months' notice before rolling out the Page Experience Signal. We still haven't received notice, so the earliest it can roll out is late Q1 or early Q2 2021.

So Will This Have A Big Impact??

Based on how the sub-signals work now, signs point to low impact. Google has also explained content is still king & pages that provide the highest-quality & most relevant content will still rank well (even with low Page Experience scores.)

Google's Page Experience Signal: Coming Soon

In closing, the new Page Experience Signal will roll out some time in 2021. The power of it is unknown, but it will need to have teeth to be taken seriously. To learn more, read my post on SEMrush about the signal.