Google, for much of the last year, has been detailing how it plans to roll out changes to its search algorithm in 2021, through something called a "page experience update.” The company made some announcements Monday about how the changes will work, and when to expect them.
“We'll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021,” Google announced Monday on its developer blog. "However, page experience won't play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August. You can think of it as if you're adding a flavoring to a food you're preparing. Rather than add the flavor all at once into the mix, we'll be slowly adding it all over this time period.”
Google went on to say that publishers should not expect “drastic changes.”
As Google has been stating since last year, the changes will consider “page experience signals,” based on the three Core Web Vitals metrics. Earlier indications had stated that the change would begin taking place in May.
Also, the new Top Stories carousel for Google Search will no longer require use of the AMP format.
“We will no longer show the AMP badge icon to indicate AMP content. You can expect this change to come to our products as the page experience update begins to roll out in mid-June. We'll continue to test other ways to help identify content with a great page experience, and we'll keep you updated when there is more to share,” the company said in its blog post.
Another change will be the arrival of a new Page Experience report in the search console.
“This report combines the existing Core Web Vitals report with other components of the page experience signals, such as HTTPS security, absence of intrusive interstitials, safe browsing status, and mobile friendliness,” the blog post said.
“The Page Experience report offers valuable metrics, such as the percentage of URLs with good page experience and search impressions over time, enabling you to quickly evaluate performance. You can also dig into the components of page experience signal to gain additional insights on opportunities for improvement.”
Google will also be offering Signed Exchanges (SXG) on Google Search for all web pages, not just those built with AMP.
AMP has long been controversial, with some arguing that it has entailed Google taking too much control over the web.
“Our vision for page experience is to build a web ecosystem that users love—together. We're hard at work to make sure that you have the right tools and resources available before the ranking rollout starting in mid-June 2021,” Google said.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.