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Google: Why Fixing Core Web Vitals Already Boosts Rankings via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Site publishers are reporting increased rankings after improving their Core Web Vitals scores. Google’s Martin Splitt answers the question of whether those ranking boosts are because of a Page Experience update testing and explained why the Google rankings improved for those publishers.

Loren Baker noted that there have been many comments from publishers who improved their core web vitals scores and experienced improved rankings. This has led to speculation that Google may be testing new core web vitals scoring.

Loren asked Martin Splitt:

“Is this an indication that the Page Experience Update may be testing right now, perhaps on the weekends, and/or slowly rolling out before it officially does?

Or is it a coincidence?”

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As Loren read the question, Martin Splitt could be seen on the screen shaking his head indicating his answer is going to be no.

Screenshot of Martin Splitt Shaking His Head to Say No

Three images of Martin Splitt combined to show him shaking his headMartin Splitt shakes his head in a gesture saying no as he listens to the questionThree images of Martin Splitt combined to show him shaking his head

Despite shaking his head, he may have surprised viewers with his reply.

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Martin Splitt answered:

“It’s neither. It’s not even a coincidence.

Page speed has been a ranking factor before.

It has nothing to do with Page Experience in this case.

But it coincidentally by making the site better accidentally you got a ranking boost from something that is not Page Experience.”

At this point Martin Splitt gives an enthusiastic thumbs up and gesticulated with his hands in celebration of all the publishers who experienced ranking boosts after improving their core web vitals scores.

Martin Splitt Celebrates those Who Experienced Core Web Vitals Success

Screenshot of Martin Splitt celebrating success

Screenshot of Martin Splitt celebrating success

They both chuckled and Loren replied:

“That makes a lot of sense actually. So kudos for getting your page sped up before the Page Experience update goes out.

You may be seeing an improvement in ranking because of those changes that you’ve done but not necessarily because of the Page Experience update.

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Okay, that makes perfect sense!”

Page Speed Ranking Boost?

In the past, the page speed ranking factor boost has been considered a somewhat small factor. But apparently to Martin Splitt it may be a ranking factor that could help improve rankings in a more dramatic manner.

Page Speed Ranking Factor

Page Speed has been a ranking factor for desktop users since 2010.  Google announced on July 2018 that it was now a ranking factor for mobile searches.

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According to the official announcement:

“…as of this month (July 2018), page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.

If you’re a developer working on a site, now is a good time to evaluate your performance using our speed tools.”

The announcement at the time recommended reducing too much JavaScript and excessive image sizes as part of an initiative to increase page speed.

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“Are you shipping too much JavaScript? Too many images?

Images and JavaScript are the most significant contributors to the page weight that affect page load time based on data from HTTP Archive and the Chrome User Experience Report – our public dataset for key UX metrics as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions.”

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Page Experience Update is Not Active Until June 2021

Any publishers experiencing ranking boosts after fixing their page speed issues may probably look to the page speed ranking factor as a possible reason.

The Page Experience update is not rolling out yet in any form at this time and thus cannot be the reason for any ranking boosts at this time.

Citation

Watch Martin Splitt explain why rankings are already getting a boost after fixing core web vitals

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NEWS

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.

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.

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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.

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

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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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