Google Clarifies Ranking Signals vs. Ranking Systems: What it means for SEO

by Apr 30, 2023SEO0 comments

Spaceboy Astronaut by Bitvalley Digital - SEO Mascot - and his pixel dog

Google Clarifies Ranking Signals vs. Ranking Systems:

What It Means for SEO

Spaceboy Astronaut by Bitvalley Digital - SEO Mascot - and his pixel dog

Google’s recent changes to its help documentation have caused confusion among SEO professionals and website owners, with many wondering how page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors now fit into the search engine’s ranking systems.

As the founder of Bitvalley Digital, an SEO agency based in Australia, I aim to shed light on this issue and provide a comprehensive update for our readers.

Author: Ignatius Davis

Author: Ignatius Davis

Digital Strategist

SEO since 2005

Google’s Clarification on Ranking Signals and Systems

In a series of tweets, Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, clarified that page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors are ranking “signals” and not ranking “systems.”

Here’s the full tweet:

google tweet on Search Ranking

 

 This distinction was made after Google removed several ranking systems from its help documentation, including page experience, mobile-friendly ranking, page speed, and secure sites systems.

“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.”

– Danny Sullivan

The key takeaway from Sullivan’s explanation is that “Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience.” This means that page experience is a ranking “signal,” not a ranking “system,” and is considered a “concept.”

 

Ranking Signals vs. Ranking Systems:

Understanding the Difference
Ranking Signals
Individual factors
Inform ranking systems
Examples: Page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, secure site factors
Ranking Systems
Algorithms/processes
Use multiple signals
Examples: Core ranking systems

Ranking signals are individual factors that Google’s algorithms consider when determining the relevance and quality of a web page. These signals, such as page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors, inform Google’s core ranking systems.

Ranking systems are the algorithms or processes that Google uses to analyze and rank web pages based on various signals. These systems typically make use of multiple signals to deliver the most relevant and high-quality search results to users.

Use Case Scenario:

Boosting SEO for GreenLeaf Landscaping

Imagine GreenLeaf Landscaping, a small landscaping company that wants to improve its online presence and attract more clients. The company’s website is outdated and struggles with poor page experience, slow loading times, and a lack of mobile-friendliness.

Identifying Issues and Implementing Solutions

GreenLeaf Landscaping hires Bitvalley Digital to analyze their website and identify areas for improvement. Our SEO team discovers the following issues:

  1. Slow loading times: High-resolution images and uncompressed files slow down the website.
  2. Poor mobile experience: The website’s layout is not responsive, making it difficult to navigate on mobile devices.
  3. Insecure connection: The website lacks HTTPS encryption, putting users’ data at risk.

To address these issues, Bitvalley Digital takes the following steps:

  1. Optimize images and compress files to improve loading times.
  2. Redesign the website with a responsive layout for a better mobile experience.
  3. Implement HTTPS encryption to secure users’ data.

 

After implementing these changes, GreenLeaf Landscaping’s website begins to rank higher in search results, leading to increased organic traffic and more clients.

rocket flying overhead surprised pixel astronaut , white background, his trusty space dog with space helmet next to him, all pixel art - metaphor for good seo

Do’s and Don’ts for Optimizing Websites 

💡 Do’s

Do’s Description
1. Focus on Core Web Vitals Continuously measure and improve your website’s loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability
2. Ensure mobile-friendliness Design a responsive layout that adapts to various screen sizes and devices
3. Optimize page speed Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix issues affecting your website’s loading speed
4. Implement secure site factors Use HTTPS encryption and follow security best practices to protect user data and promote trust

⚠️ Don’ts

Don’ts Description
1. Ignore user experience Avoid sacrificing usability for aesthetics
2. Neglect website maintenance Regularly update your website’s content, fix broken links, and address any technical issues to maintain a positive user experience
3. Overload pages with heavy elements Avoid using large images or excessive multimedia content that can slow down your website’s loading times
4. Underestimate the importance of mobile With more users accessing websites through mobile devices, it’s crucial to prioritize mobile-friendliness in your website design

FAQs on Ranking Signals and Systems

We answer frequently asked questions about Ranking Signals and Systems

Q: Are page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors still important for SEO?

A: Yes, they are important ranking signals that Google’s core ranking systems consider when evaluating and ranking web pages.

Q: Are page experience, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors still important for SEO?

A: Yes, they are important ranking signals that Google’s core ranking systems consider when evaluating and ranking web pages.

How to Optimize Your Website for Ranking Signals

  1. Core Web Vitals: Measure and improve your website’s loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.
  2. Mobile-friendliness: Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to identify and fix any issues affecting your website’s mobile browsing experience.
  3. Page speed: Optimize images, minify CSS and JavaScript files, and leverage browser caching to improve your website’s loading speed.
  4. Secure site factors: Implement HTTPS encryption and ensure that yourwebsite follows security best practices to protect user data and promote trust.

A Rocket in space - pixel art- metaphor for success SEO on websites

Conclusion

Google’s clarification highlights the importance of focusing on page experience signals to improve your website’s visibility and performance in search results. By optimizing your website for Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and secure site factors, you can ensure that your content aligns with Google’s core ranking systems and provides a good page experience for users.

As an SEO agency, Bitvalley Digital is committed to staying informed about the latest developments in search engine optimization and providing our clients with the most effective strategies to achieve their online goals. By understanding the nuances of ranking signals and ranking systems, we can help our clients navigate the ever-evolving landscape of SEO and achieve success in the competitive online marketplace.

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    Your SEO & Digital Marketing Experts in Perth

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     Email:info@bitvalley.com.au

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    Ignatius Davis