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Google Confirms That Page Experience Update Is a Ranking Factor Update Was Previously Believed to Be Just a "Tie-Breaker"

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News, SEO

Google’s John Mueller has offered up some interesting insight into the recent Page Experience Update, revealing that the update, which incorporates core web vitals, is, in fact, a ranking factor and could have more impact than previously thought.

“It is a ranking factor, and it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance,” said Mueller on Reddit.

READ MORE: LAUNCHED: Google’s Page Experience Update Begins Rollout


This revelation should come as a bit of a surprise to the SEO community, as Google had previously implied that the Page Experience Update is simply a tie-breaker.

In fact, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, had initially said the Page Experience Update would not be significant, with Mueller adding that it would be a slow rollout that would not be felt very much. Google Public Search Liason, Danny Sullivan, also came out and said that it would not create massive change or have a significant impact when rolled out.

Based on Mueller’s comments this morning, we can now assume that the Page Experience Update lies somewhere between a tie-breaker signal and a very low weight signal.

Here’s Mueller’s full explanation so you can interpret it for yourself:

“Depending on the sites you work on, you might notice it more, or you might notice it less. As an SEO, a part of your role is to take all of the possible optimizations and figure out which ones are worth spending time on. Any SEO tool will spit out 10s or 100s of “recommendations”, most of those are going to be irrelevant to your site’s visibility in search. Finding the items that make sense to work on takes experience.

The other thing to keep in mind with core web vitals is that it’s more than a random ranking factor, it’s also something that affects your site’s usability after it ranks (when people actually visit). If you get more traffic (from other SEO efforts) and your conversion rate is low, that traffic is not going to be as useful as when you have a higher conversion rate (assuming UX/speed affects your conversion rate, which it usually does). CWV is a great way of recognizing and quantifying common user annoyances.”

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google To Target Sites Creating SEO Content?

08/19/2022

Update from the future: Two weeks after it started rolling out, the Helpful Content Update is still not showing big ranking changes. Danny Sullivan said the update might get stronger with the next core update. Read more about that here.

Google is releasing a new, site-wide ranking signal that will target content created for search engines, instead of users. Glenn Gabe shared about this on Twitter, and Barry Schwartz reported on this on Search Engine Land.

Turns out a new algorithm change is about to happen, and it might just be the biggest one in the last ten years. Called the “helpful content update”, the ranking algorithm change is supposed to target websites that have a high amount of not-good-enough content, meaning that the content had one purpose in mind: getting that rank. What it should have done instead was be written for the user, not Google.

So, if you might have content that could be labelled as unhelpful or unsatisfying, you better act fast!

What Does “Site Wide” Mean?

Exactly that – it will impact content on your whole website, not just a page or two, unlike many other Google algorithms updates that are page-based.  Google will evaluate your website as a whole and the impact will be just as significant. The sooner you remove the unhelpful content, the better.

Why Is Google Doing This?

Because it wants to help searchers find high-quality content, Google told Barry. The search engine simply wants to reward useful content written for people, not bots and crawlers.

This absolutely makes sense, considering the number of complaints you can hear from users. It must have happened to you too; you were searching for an answer and you keep ending up on highly ranked articles that have no value to you as a reader. You end up opening a bunch of links and improving their traffic, meanwhile getting no answer to your query whatsoever.

So, it sounds fair that Google’s doing this. There’s too much content out there that’s just designed to rank well, instead of actually being helpful to the customer.

The update is supposed to be released next week, and it will take about two weeks for it to fully roll out.

According to Search Engine Land, Google said the content type that will be impacted the most will be online educational materials, arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content.

Also, the search engine shared with Glenn Gabe that ANY content on your site that was created to serve the search engine before the reader is less likely to have good results in Search. So even if you do have high-quality content, the bad one can and probably will bring your whole site’s rank down.  Google says you should remove the unhelpful content ASAP.

Google’s Advice On Building People-first Content

Google shared a list of questions to ask yourself when creating content. To create people-first content, you should focus on creating satisfying, actually helpful content while also utilizing best SEO practices. Here are the questions to ask yourself when creating content:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience that would find the content useful?
  • Does your content demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will a human leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are pretty high you’re all good. If not, it’s definitely time for a change.

Read More: Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out, Kind of Slow though

Update from the future: The Google Helpful Content Updatefinsihed rolling out on September 9th! Even though not a lot of people reported seeing major fluctuations, the update is still valuable and very important. Read more about it here and find out what to do if you were hit!

Read More: Word Count Doesn’t Mean Your Content Is Unhelpful
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Small Google Algorithm Update Rolled Our October 26

10/28/2021

Chatter within the SEO community might be limited, but if the tracking tools are any indication, it appears that a small Google algorithm update rolled out around October 26th. 

Search Engine Round Table is reporting that most tracking tools showed a great amount of volatility on or around October 26th, essentially confirming that some kind of update did take place.

And while chatter in the forums has been minimal, there were some complaints of ranking shifts in Google Search made over on WebmasterWorld.

Here are some of the top comments:

“We are having one of the most volatile months in terms of (unannounced) updates and serp fluctuations but one of the least active monthly threads.”

“For the past few days, new posts are not getting indexed, GSC is showing Discovered, but not indexed. sad It’s a 5-year-old website with 1M impressions daily(100K organic traffic). Unique content, +1K words, but still…not indexed. SAD!”

“No, high authority websites were never downranked in my niche until very recently, hence the major shuffle remark.”

Here’s what some of the tracking tools are showing:

Semrush:

Semrush tracking tool

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitive SEO tracking tool

SERPmetrics:

SERP Metrics 

Nothing too crazy going on, but it’s clear that some kind of small update rolled out this week.

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