What Does the SEO World Make of Google’s Page Experience Update?
Google has made no secret of the fact that websites prioritising user experience will be rewarded with a pre-eminent ranking in the SERPs. And with its recent Page Experience update, Google’s advocacy of users became official.
For many SEOs, the update was a long time coming and didn’t do much to surprise or startle. However, the news that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will no longer be required for content to appear in Google’s mobile Top Stories carousel did raise eyebrows.
So what is the general consensus among the SEO community about Google’s Page Experience update?
“We’ve just been making people aware,” said Michael King, managing director of iPullRank. “This is just more reinforcement; Google is going to care about this even more, so it’s kind of like the scare value of, ‘Hey, you should actually get the thing done that we told you to get done before’.”
Here’s three key topics of conversation the world of SEO has been discussing since Google’s Page Experience update was announced.
Update might not have much impact anyway
Seeing as the factors that constitute the Page Experience update are already a part of Google’s search algorithms, most SEOs agree that it will have little to no impact on current activity.
But that doesn’t mean to say it won’t have any implications whatsoever, as Aja Frost, head of content SEO at HubSpot explains:
“I think this gives you good ammunition to go to your web team or your performance team and say, ‘Hey, you know, Google . . . [is] going to release this in six months and so we need to focus on it’. It can be hard to convince those teams that what you want to focus on is what they want to focus on, so any kind of official update or messaging does help push your cause.”
It’s a mistake to fixate on Core Web Vitals
Regardless of what Google has announced with its Page Experience update, optimising your website according to its Core Web Vitals makes perfect sense. However, it’s important to not get sidetracked by these metrics.
“It is easier to focus on a numerical score that you can see in Search Console then trying to produce high quality content, because that’s far more subjective,” said Frost.
Building a technically sound website has always been a prerequisite for a successful online presence. Unfortunately, several SEOs can’t help but be distracted by metrics when their priority should be better communication and storytelling.
To AMP or not to AMP
With Google removing the AMP requirement for Top Stories eligibility, publishers are now reevaluating whether it’s worth maintaining an alternative version of their content or not.
“This is what the SEO community should, and probably will, really react to — this is actually what I’ve seen the most discussion about,” Frost commented. “I don’t think that [AMP] loses value, I just also think that . . . there are better ways to achieve the same performance.”
After all, an AMP-like user experience may be required to rank in the Top Stories carousel once the requirement is lifted.