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Here Is What Changed with the Google Helpful Content Guidance – Page Experience & More

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Yesterday, Google announced it made some changes to its guidance around what makes content considered helpful, including adding in good page experience to the equation. Google also made some other changes to this document, which I will detail below.

Google’s creating helpful content guide added a new section for page experience and wrote:

“Provide a great page experience: Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience. Site owners seeking to be successful with our systems should not focus on only one or two aspects of page experience. Instead, check if you’re providing an overall great page experience across many aspects. For more advice, see our page, Understanding page experience in Google Search results.”

That is the big change and in that Understanding page experience in Google Search results Google added mentions of helpful content.

Google also added more on E-E-A-T to helpful content to that page, they include:

“While E-E-A-T itself isn’t a specific ranking factor, using a mix of factors that can identify content with good E-E-A-T is useful. For example, our systems give even more weight to content that aligns with strong E-E-A-T for topics that could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society. We call these “Your Money or Your Life” topics, or YMYL for short.”

Glenn Gabe asked Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liason for some clarification on the timing of this announcement. No, this help content update has nothing to do with a new helpful content update rolling out or any update rolling out.

And to be clear, good page experience is NOT a requirement for having helpful content or ranking in Google Search, it is just one of the many signals Google uses.

Meanwhile, the Understanding page experience in Google Search results was vastly updated, the best way to see the changes is to put the live page side by side with the archived page. Here are some of the FAQs from the page I wanted to call out and also archive here:

Is there a single “page experience signal” that Google Search uses for ranking?
There is no single signal. Our core ranking systems look at a variety of signals that align with overall page experience.

What aspects of page experience are used in rankings?
There are many aspects to page experience, including some listed on this page. While not all aspects may be directly used to inform ranking, they do generally align with success in search ranking and are worth attention.

Are Core Web Vitals important?
We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. However, great page experience involves more than Core Web Vitals. Good stats within the Core Web Vitals report in Search Console or third-party Core Web Vitals reports don’t guarantee good rankings.

Is page experience evaluated on a site-wide or page-specific basis?
Our core ranking systems generally evaluate content on a page-specific basis, including when understanding aspects related to page experience. However, we do have some site-wide assessments.

How important is page experience to ranking success?
Google Search always seeks to show the most relevant content, even if the page experience is sub-par. But for many queries, there is lots of helpful content available. Having a great page experience can contribute to success in Search, in such cases.

Then, as you see in my earlier story, Google is removing the page experience report in Google Search Console, dropping the mobile usability report and deprecating the mobile-friendly test but keeping the core web vitals and HTTPS report. I wonder if these changes are due to the layoffs and not having the resources to manage those reports.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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