Google removes several search ranking algorithm updates from its ranking systems page

Google quietly updated its documented Google ranking systems page and completely removed several page experience-related ranking systems from the page.

What Google removed. The page experience system, the mobile-friendly system, page speed system and the secure site system are all gone.

These removals make me wonder if any of these algorithm updates mattered at all to the overall Google ranking system?

What changed. Comparing the live page to the archived page reveals the following changes:

  • Google has completely removed the page experience system from the page. It was not moved to the “retired” systems section. It was removed entirely:
Old Page Experience Google Systems 800x176
  • Google removed the mobile-friendly, page speed and secure site systems from the retired section of the page. This is what it looked like earlier:
Old Retired Google Systems 554x600

This is what it looks like now:

New Retired Google Systems 800x467

Why the change. Just a couple of days ago, Google revised the helpful content guidance to include page experience, while at the same time removing the page experience report and the mobile usability report from Google Search Console.

In the blog post explaining these changes, Google wrote:

“The page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on. 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.”

Google is outright saying that this page experience update was always just a “concept” and added it was never a “separate ranking system.”

Was it never a ranking system? It seems Google is saying that these four old ranking updates that Google made really big deals about when they launched were never a true ranking system. Maybe I am reading too much into what content changes were made to these pages, but we all know that those four ranking updates had little to no impact on true rankings.

Google even wrote in the new post, “Google Search always seeks to show the most relevant content, even if the page experience is sub-par.”

Why we care. Maybe, at least for SEO and ranking purposes, we can spend less time worrying about page experience, speed and mobile-friendlessness and more time worrying about content and engagement. Page experience, speed and mobile-friendlessness are super important for your users and usability. But for rankings? They just never seemed all that important.

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About the author

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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