Google Says Googlebot Doesn't Evaluate The Core Web Vitals; Chrome Does
Google's John Mueller pointed out an important fact that I see a lot of folks in the industry misunderstanding around core web vitals. Googlebot does crawl the web and brings in most of the signals Google uses to rank your pages, but the core web vitals do not come from Googlebot or crawling, it comes from the Chrome CRuX field data report.
That means, Google uses real Chrome usage data to bring in data around the core web vitals about specific pages. That includes the LCP, FID, and CLS scores. Googlebot crawling is not the source Google is getting this data from. Chrome usage, a person visiting your site on a Chrome browser, is where Google is getting this data from.
Google Launches Page Experience Report in Search Console
The Page Experience report provides a summary of the user experience of visitors to your site. Google evaluates page experience metrics for individual URLs on your site and will use them as a ranking signal for a URL in Google Search results on mobile devices. Learn more about page experience on Google.
The Page Experience report is currently limited to mobile URLs.
About Page Experience
Page Experience is evaluated per-URL. Currently it is only evaluated using a mobile browser (that is, the evaluation is considered only for users on mobile devices, and only searches from mobile devices are affected). The assessment, and the report, were developed to help sites create pages that provide a better user experience for their visitors.
Page experience in Google Search is evaluated using the following criteria:
- Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals tests the speed and stability of the page loading experience for users. The Core Web Vitals report provides a rating of Good, Needs improvement, or Poor to each page. A page must have a Core Web Vitals rating of Good in order to qualify for Good page experience status. Note that there is a few days' lag in importing data from the Core Web Vitals report into the Page Experience report, and so the rating for a URL in the Page Experience report can lag slightly behind the URL's rating Core Web Vitals report. Open the Core Web Vitals report for mobile.
- Mobile usability
A URL must have no mobile usability errors in order to qualify for Good status in the Page Experience report. Open the Mobile Usability report.
- Security issues
Any security issues for a site disqualify all URLs on the site from a Good status in the Page Experience report. Open the Security Issues report.
- HTTPS usage
A page must be served over HTTPS to be eligible for Good page experience status. The Page Experience report doesn't consider HTTPS criteria when calculating URL status, only as a site-wide warning: if your site has a relatively high percentage of HTTP URLs, you will see a Failing warning in the Page Experience report. We don't yet have a report that shows details about HTTP vs HTTPS on your site, but here are tips on how to locate your HTTP pages, and here's a guide describing why HTTPS is important, and how to implement it on your site.
- Ad Experience
Ad Experience rates whether a site uses advertising techniques that are distracting, interrupting, or otherwise not conducive to a good user experience. The Ad Experience evaluation affects an entire site, not a single page. If a site is flagged as having a bad ad experience, all pages on the site are considered as having a bad page experience. Note that many sites are not tested for Ad Experience: if your site is not tested, your site is considered passing the Ad Experience test.
The Page Experience report currently doesn't know the Ad Experience status for a site, but you can check your site's Ad Experience status yourself:
- If you have a URL-prefix Search Console property (your property name starts with http or https in the Search Console property selector). Open the Ad Experience report for mobile.
- If you have a Domain property (labeled Domain property in the property selector, and the property name does not start with http:// or https:// in the Search Console property selector), you must create an equivalent URL-prefix property in Search Console, and then open the Ad Experience report for mobile for that property. This is because Domain properties are not supported in the Ad Experience report.
- Choose your property from the list in the Ad Experience report to see your status. If your status is Not reviewed, your Ad Experience status is considered good in the Page Experience report.
- Ad Experience status changes rarely, so you do not need to check it often.
About the chart
The chart shows the following data:
- Good URLs: Percentage of mobile URLs with Good status on the last date measured in the chart, where Good means that a URL has Good status in the Core Web Vitals report and has no mobile usability issues in the Mobile Usability report. Security issues, HTTPS, and Ad Experience are not included in this evaluation. See more about status reporting.
- Total impressions of good URLs: The number of impressions generated by good URLs over the time period shown by the chart. Latest data for impressions may lag the daily good URL count because of differing data processing schedules.
- Chart daily values: The percentage of URLs considered good on each given day. URLs considered "good" follow the same criteria described above for Good URLs.
⚠︎Important qualifications about the data:
- If your site has critical issues—security issues, HTTPS issues, or Ad Experience issues—then the number of URLs shown as Good will not be accurate. This is because the chart and chart totals do not consider critical issues, which change Good status to Bad for affected URLs. In this case, the chart will be dimmed to indicate the uncertainty about the exact count of Good or Bad URLs. However, URLs shown as Good are still reliably known as having Good status in the Core Web Vitals report (or being absent from that report) and having no mobile usability issues according to the Mobile Usability report.
- There is a delay in importing data form the Mobile Usability report and Core Web Vitals report into the Page Experience report. Therefore, the evaluation of a specific URL in Page Experience can lag slightly behind that URL's evaluations in those other source reports.
The source data for the Page Experience report is based on the evaluation of data from several other sources and reports: Core Web Vitals report, Mobile Usability report, and so on. These child evaluations occur on different time schedules, so the live, current state of any given URL might be different than that shown on the report. Because of this, you should look at trends in your data (getting better or not?) and the general evaluation (most of your pages are good or not) rather than using this report as an exact, real-time evaluation of a specific URL.
Missing chart or URL data
In order to appear in the Page Experience report, a URL must have data in the Core Web Vitals report. (Exception: A URL without Core Web Vitals data might appear in Page Experience if the URL group for that URL appears in Core Web Vitals).
If you see Not enough data collected instead of a chart, it means that you don't have enough data for any URLs on your site in the Core Web Vitals report.
Google: Trust Seals On Your Site May Not Help With Communicating E-A-T
Google's John Mueller was asked "are seals a good way to improve the E-A-T of a website" By seals, the user means trust seals, like BBB seals, security seals, certification seals, anything that conveys a form of trust on the website. John Mueller basically implied no.
John said "I don’t know. I would actually focus on what actually provides, kind of authenticity to users, where users feel trust about a website that they are looking at." He added "taking random seals and copying and pasting them on a website, I don’t think that would really impress users and definitely won’t impress Googlebot."
Of course, he said "obviously if there are specific qualifications that you have, I think it makes sense to highlight that on a page." But does that impress Google? I don't know.
This came up at the 46:20 mark in this past Friday's video:
Question: Are seals a good way to improve the E-A-T of a website?
Answer: I don't know. I would actually focus on what actually provides, kind of authenticity to users, where users feel trust about a website that they are looking at.
Obviously if there are specific qualifications that you have, I think it makes sense to highlight that on a page but just taking random seals and copying and pasting them on a website, I don’t think that would really impress users and definitely won't impress Googlebot.
So that is something where I would focus more on what is actually acceptable by users and what makes sense there.
Google announces product reviews update
Google Search is always working to show the most useful and helpful information possible, through testing, experimenting, and review processes. From this, we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content.
This update is going out today and only involves English language reviews for now. We believe this will further help those producing rich content in the product reviews area.
Although this is separate from our regular core updates, the advice that we provide about producing quality content for those is also relevant here. The overall focus is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well.
For those creating content, here are some additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews. Do your reviews:
- Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
- Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
- Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
- Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
- Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
- Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
- Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?
- Identify key decision-making factors for the product's category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
- Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?
Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that Google that 302 redirects are more about telling Google that the source URL might be preferred, while a permanent 301 redirect suggest the destination URL:
With redirects, we tend to put URLs into the same bucket, and then use canonicalization to pick which one to show. The rankings will generally be the same, so whether it's source or destination URL doesn't really matter.
A temporary redirect (like a 302) is more about telling us the source URL might be preferred, while a permanent one suggests the destination URL would be. We use a lot more than just redirects for canonicalization though.
Google's John Mueller answers five SEO questions in 1:55 minutes
In this lightning episode of AskGooglebot, John Mueller answers questions such as: Can a self referential canonical override an existing canonical or preferred page? (submitted by @adityaskrishnan) (0:04) Will putting the date and month in URLS affect my Google ranking? (submitted by @VaranasiBlogger) (0:22) I heard that using CDNs to deliver images might be a problem for Google Search since it’s not on my server and Google doesn't support image canonicalization. (submitted by @loujay60606) (0:38) What is the best way to appear in Search if you have a global audience to target with a single domain? (submitted by @rahulsetia007) (0:57) Is it such a bad thing to leave the Google Webmasters verification file out of sitemap.xml? (submitted by @RMWPublishing) (1:20).
Google Can Recognize & Understand Pagination Through Internal Links Says Barry Schwartz
I am still not over losing rel prev/rel next and Google's John Mueller was asked about it on a video hangout from yesterday. In short, John said Google is no longer using this and no longer needs to. Google is now "able to recognize common types of pagination setups on our own," he said.
Google's John Mueller confirmed the search engine does continue to ignore rel previous and rel next. John said, "yes, they are ignored" when asked about them.
John added that Google did once use them to understand pagination but now Google is "able to recognize common types of pagination setups on our own," he said. He added that Google "can process those as normal internal links and understand the context from there," adding that Google "no longer needs these special link attributes."
After Google stopped supporting those link attributes, it gave us some advice on how Google can better understand pagination on your site.
In any event, this came up in the video at the 35:05 mark into the video, here is the embed at the start time:
Friday, April 30, 2021