During this Google Search Central office-hours hangout with John Mueller, there were plenty of great questions.
Among them include questions about page experience updates, other core updates, quality issues, international SEO issues, and much more.
Will the Page Experience Algorithm be Real Time?
Our SEO Insights: Page Experience Algorithm Will Not be in Real-time
We already know that there are two components to page speed calculations: the overall data collected over the past 28 days, and the data currently being processed for your site. With confirmation that the algorithm won’t be updated in real time, we can expect page speed changes to look roughly the same, and follow a 28 day data review schedule.
The algorithm won’t be in real-time like Panda and Penguin. At least, not at first. Google could eventually roll Page Experience into the normal algorithm. They have done so with just about everything else.
Our SEO Insights: Even in Page Experience Correlation is not Causation
This is an interesting question. The webmaster is asking if they make a change, and see an immediate change in GSC, whether or not that change in GSC is the result of the change they made just then.
John Mueller says that this is seldom the case, where GSC mirrors what happens in real-time. Instead, the changes in GSC are entirely separate from the change that’s happening at the time.
Why Are We Not Seeing an Increase After 28 Days?
Our SEO Insights: Lab Data vs. Field Data and Their Differences
John Mueller mentions that Core Web Vitals, in terms of lab vs. field data, field data is an assumption. The assumption being that there is an approximation of what Google’s system thinks might happen in the field. Because of this assumption, it can be a little off.
The lab data is real-time data from real users who are using these sites. The lab data can be used to improve results incrementally but you won’t necessarily be able to use them to see clear connections between the types of results for useful changes on your sites.
Do Core Web Vitals Scores Change Depending on Internet Speeds in Different Countries?
Our SEO Insights: Page Experience is Still Critical, Regardless of Internet Speeds
This is a perfect time to mention what John Mueller has consistently said: that page experience will still be critical, regardless of internet speeds throughout the rest of the world.
This is easy to achieve by ensuring fast Core Web Vitals numbers across a wide range of users, platforms, and devices, while not concentrating on only your own audience.
You want your website design to be versatile and load for every single potential user, not just prioritized based on your audience in Google Analytics.
The idea is comprehensive cross platform compatibility. Rather than prioritized. The easiest way to do this is focusing on lean, clean, mean code, and ensuring a responsive design. Also, W3C-compatible and valid code is preferable. Google has said time and time again that there is no specific type of code needed, however, W3C valid code creates wider opportunities for cross platform compatibility, which is always a nice tick of the box for the user experience.
John Mueller: Referral Traffic Does Not Mean Better Ranking
Our SEO Insights: Referral Traffic Still Not Taken Into Account When Ranking
This one is generally straightforward: there is no SEO benefit to having referral traffic constantly driven to your website. While it’s nice for the numbers, especially when sharing reporting with your client, there’s really no SEO reason to have it and it won’t increase your rankings.
How Can I Use User-Generated Content Effectively?
Our SEO Insights:
Google’s algorithms look at the page overall. They don’t look at how each piece of content is used on an individual basis.
If your page looks lower quality, then the algorithms will assess the page as being a lower-quality page.
Do You Need a Country-Specific Sitemap File?
Our SEO Insights: A Country-Specific Sitemap File is Not Needed
You don’t need a country-specific sitemap file. It won’t improve rankings one way or the other. Use it in the way you feel it’s best.
Do Desktop-only Sites Fall Under Mobile-First Indexing?
Our SEO Insights: Desktop Only Solutions Don’t Matter
Even if your site is a desktop-only solution where mobile does not have an existing counterpart to that desktop functionality, yes, Google will still use mobile-first indexing as the priority indexing consideration.
What is the Difference Between Core Updates and the Product Review Update?
Our SEO Insights: Core Updates are Broad, Product Review Update is Specific
The core updates are broader, and these updates cover quality issues on the website overall. They do not cover specific types of website attributes.
The product reviews update, however, targets specific types of website elements such as product reviews and services reviews. Lower-quality reviews overall are the target, and you probably can’t get away with “this product is amazing!” one-sentence reviews anymore.
Will Exploding Search Pages Have a Negative Impact on the Site?
Our SEO Insights: Google Crawls Patterns of URLs to Determine Site Crawlability
In order to determine a specific site crawlability, Google will crawl URL patterns in order to figure out exactly what’s permitted.
If a site has category URLs blocked and noindexed, then once Google crawls all those and determines they are not crawlable, they won’t crawl them again.
John Mueller’s Search Central Google Office Hours Hangouts
As a reminder, you can find John Mueller’s Google Search Central Office Hours Hangouts at the official Google Search Central Youtube Channel.
If you’re in any way interested in SEO, yesterday is the time to subscribe and keep up with them.