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Google announced (which I wrote on SEL) that the Page Experience Update will be live in about 6-months, i.e. in May 2021. With that launch, Google will also be testing new visual indicators, like labels, in the search results to communicate to searchers if that page does well with the core web vitals metrics.

We knew this was coming and I wrote up pretty much what you need to know back in May 2020. I’ll summarize that a bit later but the new things that we did not know until now was:

(1) This will launch in May 2021, about a year after Google first announced it and about six-months from now.

(2) Google will be testing “visual indicators,” like labels, in the search results, to communicate to searchers which results have a good page experience.

This Page Experience Update looks at elements; many of which Google already looks at including page speed, mobile-friendly, safe browsing, HTTPS, intrusive interstitials, and now also layout shifts. The page speed and cumulative layout shift is now coming from the “Core Web Vitals” which we have been covering a lot this week.

Note, when this goes live, AMP won’t be required for being in the top stories carousel. As long as you score well on page experience, your site can show in the top stories carousel. But if you do have AMP, Google will use the AMP page for scoring your page experience metrics.

Visual Indicators for Page Experience

Google did say “in addition to the timing updates described above, we plan to test a visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have great page experience.” Google wrote “we believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit. On results, the snippet or image preview helps provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide. Visual indicators on the results are another way to do the same, and we are working on one that identifies pages that have met all of the page experience criteria. We plan to test this soon and if the testing is successful, it will launch in May 2021 and we’ll share more details on the progress of this in the coming months.”

I am sure we will see these tests and provide screen shots of them in our Google user interface category. Maybe it might look something like this (that I mocked up myself):

click for full size

But I expect it to look like some of the old labels like:

The mobile friendly labels that lasted a couple of years:

The slow label:

Google Slow Mode

Or slow to load label:

Google Slow To Load Label

Various AMP labels:

And many others…

In any event – you have six months to prepare for this change and I honestly do not think the rankings will be impacted all that much by this update but the labels might generate interesting click-through data.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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