This is just a reminder, since I covered this back last April but I forgot myself, there is really no top stories eligibility requirements in Google Search anymore. It use to be that you needed to have AMP pages to be eligible in top stories on mobile. But that went away and you also do not need to have good page experience to be in top stories either.
As a reminder, the awkwardly placed core web vitals FAQs clearly says so:
Q: Am I eligible for Top Stories carousel if my webpage is not clearing Core Web Vitals?
A: Yes. With the upcoming change to Top Stories carousel, all web pages irrespective of their page experience status or Core Web Vitals score are eligible for Top Stories carousel. When the changes go live the compliance with Google News content policies will be the only requirement, and we will use page experience as a ranking signal across all the pages.
It also says:
Q: If publishers decide not to use AMP, how will they know their content is eligible for Top Stories carousel?
A: With the upcoming change to Top Stories, any news publisher’s content whether via AMP or another technology is eligible provided it complies with Google News content policies. Whether content shows up in practice will depend on a number of factors that ranking considers, and page experience criteria will be one of them. To be clear, any content irrespective of its page experience metrics is eligible for Top Stories feature on Google Search.
Q: If my AMP pages don’t have a good page experience, are they still eligible for the Top Stories Carousel?
A: Yes, any content that meets the Google News content policies is eligible to be displayed in the Top Stories carousel. Page experience refers to a collection of signals that are all important to deliver a good page experience, and the signals are becoming a factor in ranking, including in the Top Stories Carousel. This means that page experience factors, in addition to many other factors including the content itself and the match to the query, will determine its placement in the Top Stories carousel. Publishers should be focused on making improvements to page experience a relative priority over time as page experience ranking becomes the norm that users expect and other publishers would want to match.
John had to remind me of this when I asked:
@JohnMu I am not 100% clear on if you need to have good page experience to be in the top stories carousel – I know AMP is no longer required but was that replaced by page experience for top stories eligibility? https://t.co/ydlofNobqo
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) February 25, 2022
… eligible for Top Stories carousel. When the changes go live the compliance with Google News content policies will be the only requirement, and we will use page experience as a ranking signal across all the pages.” does that help?
— 🐐 John 🐐 (@JohnMu) February 25, 2022
So again, any site is really eligible to show in top stories on mobile or desktop, even if it has a poor page experience score.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Google Local SAB Search Ranking Bug Fix Rolling Out
A couple of weeks ago we reported on a possible Google local search ranking update that turned out to not be an update but rather a bug. Well, that bug seems to be fixed or being fixed now and rankings are beginning to return for these local service area businesses.
The bug seemed to start being fixed on Friday, September 23rd, in the afternoon.
Local SEO, Jason Brown wrote in the Local Search Forum “Good news, one of my clients got their rankings back. They are back in the map pack, but not in the same number one spot as before.” He also said later “My other client is back ranking again too. Looks like the fix is being rolled out now.”
He shared this chart showing how all the rankings returned:
Joy Hawkins also posted about it on Twitter:
If you were impacted by the recent version of the Kansas bug it looks like the fix is being rolled out. https://t.co/QLTXuXzDhL
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) September 23, 2022
So hopefully this is now fully resolved – at least this specific bug? It may have been related to the Kansas Google local bug.
Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.
Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Rosh Hashanah.
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