Webmaster Trends analyst John Müller answered questions about core web vitals and how scores are calculated. He also discusses that noindexed pages can be used as part of the Core Web Vitals calculation in the soon-to-be-coming new ranking signal.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are user experience metrics. They are a set of metrics that Google has chosen to see how well a web page downloads and presents a good user experience for site visitors.
There are three core web vitality metrics:
- Largest Controversial Paint (LCP)
How fast is a web page supposed to load
- First Input Delay (FID)
How soon a visitor can interact with a web page
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
How stable are web page elements (such as buttons, text, and images) while the page is being downloaded, without any change.
Those three metrics are determined to be the ranking factor sometime in 2021. This is why many publishers and SEOs are concerned about how Google calculates the Core Web Vitals score, because as a ranking factor, it is likely that it may affect rankings in certain scenarios. .
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Noindex page and core web Vitals discussing Google’s John Mueller screenshot
Lab data and field data
To understand John Muller’s answer it is necessary to know what lab data and field data are.
Lab data is an estimate of score in terms of Web Vitals score. Laboratory data scores are generated in a simulated environment.
The goal with lab data is for a publisher to anticipate what can be problematic.
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Field data is a score based on real site visitors in real-world situations.
This is the field data that Google will use to calculate the corresponding ranking signal score.
Publishers concerned about their ability to rank are concerned about how field data is calculated.
- Does Google use actual page scores?
- Does Google use the average of many pages to calculate the core Web Vitals score?
Noindex and Core Web Vitals
Noindex is a prompt that a publisher can use to tell Google not to include a web page in Google’s search results.
According to Google’s official document:
“You can prevent a page from appearing in Google Search by including a noindex meta tag in the HTML code of the page, or by returning a noindex header in an HTTP request.
The next time Googlebot crawls that page and sees the tag or header, Googlebot will remove that page completely from Google search results, even if other sites link to it. “
The question asked of John Mueller of Google was whether a noindexed page would be used to calculate the web numbers score.
The question was made important that the publisher was stopping these pages because they were too slow and that the publisher did not want the pages that are used as part of the calculation of the Core Web in Vitals score.
This is the first question:
“Regarding core web vitals, is field data worth noting (in terms of ranking signals) correct?”
John Muller’s response:
“Yes, yes, this is field data.”
Google May Aggregate Page for Core Web Vitals
In the follow-up question Muller shows how in some cases Google can calculate the Core Web in Vitals score as an average of several pages.
Here are the questions:
“When it becomes a ranking signal … is it going to be page level or domain level?”
“… what happens to field data. We don’t have data points for every page.
Therefore, for the most part, we need to group individual pages.
And depending on the amount of data we have, it can be a grouping of the entire website (type of domain).
… I think in the Chrome user experience report they use native which would be the subdomain and protocol.
So that sort of agglomeration would be overlapping.
And if we have more data for different parts of a website then we will try to use it.
And I believe you can also look in the search console, where we will look like a URL and say … there are many other pages that are associated with it. And that’s the kind of grouping we’ll use there. “
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Mueller is clear that the core Web Vitals score cannot always be calculated on a page by page basis.
Will a slow page affect CWV score overall?
The person asking the follow-up questions then related that they had a set of pages that were slow and no-indexed and asked if those pages could affect the core Web Vitals score.
“We gave this set of pages that they are slow. And we have a noindex on these… they are very slow. And that’s why we don’t want to be accounted for.
“I’m sure we don’t know how we would do things with a noindex there. But it’s not something you can easily determine ahead of time.
Like, will we see it as a website or will we see it as different groups there.
Sometimes you can see Chrome user experience reports with data, does Google have data points for those noindex pages? Does Google have data points for other pages?
And then you can find out properly, recognize that there are different types of pages and treat them individually.
And if so, I have no problem with it.
If it is a small website where we do not have a lot of signals for the website, then those noindex pages may also play a role there.
So I’m not 100% sure, but my understanding is that in the Chrome User Experience Report data we include all the types of pages that users access.
So there is no specific type, whether this page will be indexed as such or not, because the index is sometimes quite complex with respect to canonicals and all that.
So it’s not trivial on Chrome’s part to determine whether this page will be indexed or not.
It may be the case that even if a page has a clear noindex, we will still be able to recognize it in Chrome. But I’m not 100% sure if we actually do this.
I will also check the Chrome User Experience Report data. I think you can download the data in BigQuery and you can play around with it a little bit and find out how it is happening for other sites, fall into the same category for similar sites as You are working on the site. “
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User access pages
While Müller hedged that he was not 100% sure if Google had used noindexed pages, he confirmed that the Chrome user experience report included all types of pages (which in this context probably includes noindexed pages ).
According to Muller, those reasons include:
“… we include all types of pages that users access.”
The rationale behind using noindexed pages may be that because users can access a page, it can then be measured. The reason for this is that a user will experience noindexed pages, even if those web pages have been blocked for Google.
Although Müller was not 100% sure, unless there is further explanation, it may be prudent to assume that noindexed pages would be measured as part of the Core Web in Vitals ranking score.