Core Web Vitals: How To Know If It Affects Your SEO
Many online businesses and site owners believe that the Page Experience Update is the main reason behind their SEO ranking fluctuations. Google’s John Mueller recently answered an SEO’s question about the Page Experience Update and whether or not it actually affects one’s SEO. Mueller also explained what an SEO needs to look for to know if the Core Web Vitals are indeed affecting their site rankings.
Page Experience Update Causes 20 Per Cent Loss Of Rankings
The SEO told Mueller that their website lost 20 per cent of its rankings after Google announced their Page Experience Update launch. They asked Mueller if fixing the issues regarding Core Web Vitals would help them regain traffic. They also asked how long it would take for the ranking factor to impact their traffic or if they needed to wait for another huge update.
Mueller explained how one could know if the Page Experience Update caused any ranking changes. He first asked the person if they immediately felt the change after the update was finished. The SEO then replied, affirming that they indeed experienced the change right away.
After hearing the person’s reply, Mueller said that the update was likely irrelevant to the ranking changes. He explained that Google started rolling the Page Experience Update in July, and they finished the update at the end of August.
However, the rollout was on a per-page basis, meaning that if Google’s system noticed that a site was slow for Core Web Vitals, the publisher would see a gradual change over time, from July until August. If the site owner noticed an immediate drop in their SEO rankings on that date, Mueller said something else might have caused it.
The person then asked Mueller if this gradual impact was also the same for websites that experienced a traffic increase from the Page Experience Update. Mueller affirmed that websites would also experience positive effects gradually.
Afterwards, he shared that the updates occur automatically. In Google Search Console, a site owner would usually see a delay in their data – most likely 28 days – but it is gradually updated. Moreover, Mueller said that there is no need to wait for a bigger update.
Google Page Experience Updates
Mueller shared useful information about how the Page Experience Updates impact search rankings. The info gives website owners and online businesses insights on how to diagnose sudden ranking fluctuations. Knowing that the ranking change occurs gradually, whether positive or negative, one can conclude that a sudden change likely wouldn’t have been caused by a recent update.
Mueller’s feedback is crucial because it proves that correlating observations with ranking changes could be tricky. Often, site owners and publishers notice a sudden drop in their rankings after a huge Google update. As a result, they think the update has something to do with the change in their SEO rankings, but sometimes, it is just a coincidence.
Therefore, it is wise to keep an open mind and continue searching for other possible causes. It can do more harm than good if one assumes that the most apparent reason – that one factor that sticks out in plain sight – is the primary cause for a ranking change.
Apart from the root cause of the changes in one’s rankings, Mueller also confirmed to SEOs that updates do not require a “bigger update” to refresh the ranking factors.
How Core Web Vitals Affect SEO
There are many factors alongside other variables that affect the overall Core Web Vitals score for user experience. Here are some of them:
Mobile support: Support for mobile devices is a crucial signal for the site’s user experience that could increase one’s score.
HTTPS: Secure websites provide a better and safer user experience. Moreover, many people do avoid visiting unsecured websites altogether. SEOs should ensure that all the addresses in their infrastructure are HTTPS pages to improve their user experience score.
Safety: Malware on websites can negatively impact the user experience score. Therefore, one should opt for safe browsing to provide a positive user experience.
No interstitial pop-ups: Interstitial pop-ups can hinder users from seeing the page content, resulting in a negative effect on one’s site rankings. Therefore, it is best to avoid placing too many pop-ups on a website.
Core Web Vitals Report
By using the Core Web Vitals report, SEO experts can fix the user experience issues on their website. This report shows how pages perform based on real-world usage data, also called field data.
There is a reason why page performance is crucial. According to the Search Console Help documentation, longer page load times will heavily impact bounce rates. For instance, if the page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds, the bounce rate would increase by 32 per cent. On the other hand, if the page load time increases from 1 to 6 seconds, the bounce rate would increase by 106 per cent.
The Core Web Vitals report displays page performance categorised by metric type, status, and URL group.
The report only displays indexed URLs, which are the actual links for the data that was recorded. The data in the report is not assigned only to canonical URLs, unlike in other reports.
The report focuses on three metrics: FID, CLS, and LCP. If a link does not have sufficient reporting data for any of these metrics, it will be excluded from the report.
Once URL has sufficient reporting data for any of these metrics, the page status stands as the status of its most poorly performing metric.
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Some SEOs may have suspected Core Web Vitals or Google updates for the sudden drop in their rankings. But the truth is, many factors could affect one’s site rankings.
Nevertheless, a website’s overall Core Web Vitals Score is crucial to ranking high in the search results.
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