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Google Discusses Grouping URLs for Core Web Vitals Scores via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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In a Google office hours hangout the question was asked if similar kinds of pages, like category pages, had aggregated core web vitals scores. John Mueller answered

A person asked if similar pages were grouped and scored together. The reason this matters is because some sections might not have enough visits by Chrome users to provide data back to Google for core web vitals scoring.

The question asked was:

“John, you don’t group URLs by type, do you? Because we’ve noticed something similar, that category pages also don’t have enough Chrome views in order to give perfect data.

But we get messages saying these are similar pages.”

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John Mueller’s answer was fast and without any ambiguity.

He answered:

“Yeah. We do that. We do that with the Chrome User Experience Report data, the field real-world data, essentially, where we try to recognize when there are pages that are similar enough that we could group them together.”

So what John is saying is that if Google is grouping similar pages together.

Next he follows up and talks about the scoring of those groups.

Mueller:

“And then that could be… I don’t know how that would look in practice.

It could be something where all of your category pages are in one group and we say, well, these pages perform similarly. So if we find a new URL that is also a part of this group, we don’t have to have data for that new URL. We can rely on the data for the group overall.”

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That confirms that if Google doesn’t have core web vitals data for an individual pages that Google will simply assign it the overall score for the group that it is assigned to.

Next Mueller discusses how this might create anomalies in the Google Search Console report.

Mueller:

“And I think that sometimes throws things off a little bit in the sense of we might have one group, essentially, for a site. But that could contain thousands of URLs.

So, in the report in Search Console, I think we would report that as thousands of URLs have this problem.

And then we just show that one part of the group, essentially.

But not seeing any data at all in one report and seeing a lot of data in the other report, that feels kind of weird.”

Core Web Vitals Group Scoring

That Google groups URLs together for scoring is something to keep in mind.

Aggregating scores could explain why some publishers and SEOs might not see fixes acknowledged in their core web vitals report if just a section of a site is addressed for a fix but not the entire site.

The scores of the fixed sections might get aggregated with the scores of sections that are being crawled and scored.

Citation

Watch the Google Office Hours Hangout
At the 10:34 minute mark

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

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Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

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Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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