In a recent update to its page experience help documentation, Google has made significant clarifications regarding the use of Core Web Vitals metrics as a ranking signal, while also addressing the role of other page experience signals in Google Search rankings. This move comes as part of Google’s ongoing efforts to assist website owners in understanding and optimizing their sites for better performance in search results.

Google’s updated documentation highlights the importance of Core Web Vitals, stating, “Core Web Vitals are used by our ranking systems. We recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally.” This update reinforces the notion that while achieving high scores in Core Web Vitals reports, such as those from Search Console or third-party tools, is beneficial, it does not guarantee top rankings in Google Search results. The essence of this update is to encourage site owners to focus on improving their site’s overall user experience rather than solely aiming for perfect SEO scores.

Beyond Core Web Vitals

Interestingly, the update also points out that other aspects of page experience do not directly contribute to a website’s ranking in search results. However, these elements are crucial in creating a more satisfying user experience, which aligns with Google’s broader objectives for its ranking systems. “Beyond Core Web Vitals, other page experience aspects don’t directly help your website rank higher in search results. However, they can make your website more satisfying to use,” Google explains. This distinction suggests a holistic approach to website optimization, beyond just the technical metrics.

The Shift from FID to INP

The documentation mentions the introduction of the new Interaction to Next Paint (INP) metric, replacing the First Input Delay (FID) as a core web vitals metric. Despite these changes, Google advises that Core Web Vitals signals are relatively lightweight compared to other ranking signals and recommends prioritizing broader SEO efforts.

Why This Matters

The clarifications provided by Google aim to resolve confusion surrounding the role of page experience in search rankings. According to Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, while page experience has never been a “system” for ranking, it remains a significant “signal.” These updates are crucial for website owners and SEO professionals striving to balance the pursuit of optimal Core Web Vitals scores with the broader goal of delivering a superior user experience.

In conclusion, Google’s documentation update serves as a reminder that success in search rankings requires more than just technical optimization. A comprehensive approach that includes, but is not limited to, Core Web Vitals, can lead to better performance in Google Search and a more enjoyable experience for users.

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