Google Drops Safe Browsing As a Page Experience Ranking Signal

Google Drops Safe Browsing As a Page Experience Ranking Signal

On the 4th of August 2021, Google updated the page experience report in Google Search Console that made it easier to navigate. With the changes, Google also removed safe browsing from the essential criteria that sites need to meet to benefit from the page experience ranking factor.

Consequently, Google updated the page experience report of the Search Console with a simplified design that removes redundant data. The safe browsing and ad experience widgets got dropped from the report.

Google explained the rationale behind this decision in a blog post:

“Safe Browsing Systems at Google are designed to keep users safe on the internet. Sometimes sites fall victim to third-party hijacking, which can cause Safe Browsing warnings to be surfaced. We recognize that these issues aren’t always within the control of site owners, which is why we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and wouldn’t feature in the Page Experience report. Any Safe Browsing flags will continue to be surfaced in the Search Console outside of the Page Experience report.”

The declaration makes it clear that while safe browsing is no longer a part of Google’s Page Experience Ranking Signal, it still is an important factor that the webmasters must be mindful of – after all, no website owner would want to provide an unsafe browsing experience to their users.

The new page experience diagram looks like the following:


New Graphics Representing the Page Experience Signal; viz. Loading (LCP), Interactivity (FID), Visual Stability (CLS), Mobile Friendliness, HTTPS, and No Intrusive Interstitials.

Why Safe Browsing Is No Longer a Page Experience Ranking Signal?

The prime reason why safe browsing is now no longer a page experience ranking signal is that these issues can’t be always controlled by the website owners. As evident in the quotation used earlier in the blog, Google has made it clear that the sites can accidentally fall susceptible to third-party hijacking. While Google will still continue to notify these red flags; these notifications will fall outside of the page experience report.

What Else Changed in the Page Experience Report?

Besides the Safe Browsing, the Ad Experience Widget is also being removed as a page experience ranking signal. This change according to Google will help “avoid surfacing the same information on two parts of Search Console.” The Ad Experience report will continue to be availed of as a standalone tool that the users will be able to use to review the status of their site and identify the ad experiences violating the “Better Ads Standards.”

Other Improvements in the Page Experience Report

Along with the removal of the Safe Browsing and Ad Experience widgets, Google also rolled out more improvements to ensure that the report better handles the missing data:

  1. A “No recent data” banner was added to the Core Web Vitals report and Page Experience report
  2. Google fixed a bug that caused the report to show “Falling HTTPS” when Core Web Vitals data was missing
  3. The empty state text in the Core Web Vitals report and the Page Experience report was rephrased

Wrap Up

These recent changes in Google’s Page Experience Ranking Signal were rolled out to help the end-users build a website with a great page experience. With the removal of “Safe Browsing” as a Page Experience Ranking Signal, there will be on less ranking parameters for the site owners to worry about. While unsafe browsing still is a red flag, a wary signal for the webmasters, they can still get rid of them once they learn about them in Search Console; however, there’s certainly an extraordinary sense of ease that comes from knowing that safe browsing, which might not be at all times within your control, wouldn’t count against your website in the Google rankings

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