Google is now saying that page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site are ranking “signals” but were never ranking “systems.” “It just meant these weren’t ranking systems but instead signals used by other systems,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, said on Twitter.
“The confusion came after Google removed several ranking systems from its help documentation. As a reminder, Google recently removed the page experience system from the main list, not adding it to the retired list, and removed mobile-friendly ranking, page speed, and secure sites systems from the retired list from this help document.”
Additional confusion came when Google made changes to its helpful content page specific to page experience when Google also changed this ranking system help document page. There Google wrote that page experience was just a “concept. Google posted, “What does this mean for the “page experience update”?
The Google page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on in the upcoming days. In particular, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that our core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they’d already been considering. It was not a separate ranking system, and it did not combine all these signals into one single “page experience” signal.”
Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.
Now, Danny Sullivan posted a long answer on Twitter saying, “Taking them off didn’t mean we no longer consider aspects of page experience. It just meant these weren’t ranking systems but instead signals used by other systems.”
The ranking system page changed because “in hindsight, the various page experience “updates” we’ve had became systems and were added when, as signals, they shouldn’t have been,” he said. “So when we updated our page experience guidance last week, we also updated the systems page to no longer list these things that weren’t actually systems but signals,” Sullivan added.
“As to the confusion that’s come up, we didn’t direct people to review the ranking systems page last week as part of our guidance about page experience. It wouldn’t have made sense. We dropped the systems that were actually signals so that if people did go to that page in the future, they wouldn’t (hopefully) get confused,” Sullivan added.
“Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience,” is the take away from this, Danny Sullivan added.
So page experience is a ranking “signal,” not a ranking “system,” and considered a “concept”