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Research: Core Web Vitals Ranking Boost by Industry

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Research: Core Web Vitals Ranking Boost by Industry

Enterprise SEO Platform provider BrightEdge produced a report comparing for industries to understand Core Web Vitals performance. They discovered which kinds of sites were best positioned to receive a Google ranking boost and why some others were missing out.

Methodology

BrightEdge reviewed the top sites across four verticals across five hundred keywords. They selected the pages that ranked for those top five hundred keywords so that the results of the study reflected an approximation of the actual Core Web Vitals in the search engine results pages.

BrightEdge noted about their methodology:

“Mobile page speed performance on all URLs was measured and aggregated from the CrUX Database. We tested this specifically for mobile because of the importance and roll-out of Mobile-First Indexing.”

Google has said that the Core Web Vitals scores will be an aggregate of groups of pages on a site. As pages are reached by actual users who are opted in to report back CWV scores, these are archived and publicly made available as the CrUX Database.

Google’s Mueller commented on how core web vitals are calculated:

“…What happens with the field data is we don’t have data points for every page.

So we, for the most part, we need to have kind of groupings of individual pages.

And depending on the amount of data that we have, that can be a grouping of the whole website (kind of the domain).

…I think in the Chrome User Experience Report they use the origin which would be the subdomain and the protocol there.

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So that would be kind of the overarching kind of grouping.

And if we have more data for individual parts of a website then we’ll try to use that.”

Using the CWV scores of the top ranked pages and also the CrUX data is a realistic place to begin for finding out how likely the businesses in these sectors will receive a ranking boost related to Core Web Vitals.

Four Industries Ranked for Core Web Vitals

BrightEdge ranked four business niches.

Four Niches Ranked:

  • Finance
  • Business to Business (B2B)
  • Educational
  • Retail

Finance Core Web Vitals – #1 Winner

The most competitive niche in this comparison of four industries is finance and that’s hardly surprising.

Banking, loans, mortgages, credit cards and most anything to do with money have traditionally been highly competitive in terms of search engine optimization.

24% of top URLs in the finance sector would receive a boost. Informational sites were the best optimized and positioned to receive a ranking boost. Banking and aggregator sites need most improvement

B2B – Second Most Competitive CWV Niche

B2B is a niche comprising a wide range of industries. It could be anything from restaurant supplies to human resources management software. My experience working with B2B companies is that they are fairly text heavy and not overly burdened by media files.

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So it wasn’t too surprising to see that this niche had the second most competitive rankings.

A full 13% of top ranked sites would likely receive a ranking boost.

Although this means that most sites in the B2B niche would probably not receive a ranking boost, sites in this niche shouldn’t count on that. SEO (and winning in general) is about doing the best that can possibly be done, after all.

According to the BrightEdge report, informational sites in the B2B niche tended to do well. B2B transactional sites did less well because of video and other interactive content.

Educational Sites – Third Place

Education related websites came in third place with a dramatically lower amount of sites on the receiving end of a Core Web Vitals ranking boost.

Less than than 5% of sites in the educational sector would get a ranking boost. Similar to B2B and the Finance areas, informational and resource pages performed best.

App stores and sites with dynamic content performing less well.

Retail Sites – Biggest Losers

Retail sites brought up the bottom end, representing the most challenged niche of all four.

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Of the top three niches it was the informational sites that tended to do well and the transactional end of those niches representing the least likely to receive a ranking boost.

Seen from that perspective perhaps it’s not surprising that the mostly purely transactional Retail sector may struggle to achieve a Google Page Experience ranking boost.

Nearly zero retail sites would receive a ranking boost. The top reasons for the poor performance were hero images and sales pop-ups dragging down LCP and Layout Shift scores.

The bright spot in the retail sector was review sites. Review sites in the retail sectors are the best optimized to receive a ranking boost.

BrightEdge Report Key Findings

The report by BrightEdge summarized their findings:

  1. “The Mobile Experience is critical for all categories.
  2. Image compression seems to be a leading challenge for leading brands.
  3. Pages doing well for CWV tend to be informational in nature.
  4. Retail, in particular, could see significant disruption if second-tier retailers receive a boost.”

According to Jim Yu, CEO, BrightEdge:

“We see that some sectors may be more prepared than others for Google’s Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals. Our research shows that there are some commonalities across industries.

For example, challenges with mobile image compression. However, it’s important to remember that – especially in large enterprises, nuances and challenges differ- and what the roll-out may look like today may differ entirely over time and in May.

That will all depend on how Enterprise Search and Digital Marketers work to prescribe the right course of action to meet core vital benchmarks and how they convince and collaborate with the rest of the organization including IT and web development”

Core Web Vitals is a Challenge

Achieving top scores for the Core Web Vitals metrics is challenging because many of the issues needing to be fixed are not the fault of the publishers and businesses. The issues needing to be fixed tend to be related to how the content management system (CMS) and themes used are designed.

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For example, a retail site depends on the shopping platform they choose to be coded in a way that reduces the amount of code necessary to render a web page and to have that code presented in a way that doesn’t block the main thread rendering.

That has not traditionally been a typical coding practice by most CMS and shopping platform developers because until this year there hasn’t been a demand from publishers and retailers for that kind of coding.

But that’s not an excuse to use to not try to fix the issues that are inherent in many, perhaps most content management systems and themes.

Citation

Watch the full and complete BrightEdge Report on 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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