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Core Web Vitals scores may be affected by slow internet speed

April 23, 2021 by Alfie Lewis

Core Web Vitals are going to become a search engine ranking factor from May 1, 2021. Although it is a bit more nuanced, the core web vital scores depend on the loading speed of your website.

This pops up an important question: will there be a consideration for websites that get a large percentage of visitors from countries with slower internet speeds?

In a recent episode of Google Office Hours Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked the same question. 

He responded:

“I don’t know what the final setup there will be.

It is something where we have country information in Chrome User Experience Report data. So it is something where we’d be able to figure out where users are primarily coming from.

But the general idea is still kind of that users should be able to have a good experience.

And if the bulk of your users sees a slow experience, regardless of why, then essentially that’s what will apply there.

So that’s at least from what I know, that’s kind of the general standpoint there.

It’s like if 90% of your users are coming from locations that are slow and essentially 90% of your users have this …sub-optimal experience with your site, then that’s kind of what will be taken into account.”

This presents a unique problem for websites and website owners whose traffic comes mostly from countries with predominantly slower internet speed. 

Because Core Web Vitals scores are measured from actual users, if a user has a slow internet connection, he is more likely to have a poor user experience on your website. And if the majority of website visitors have the same experience, it may affect your website’s Core Web Vitals scores.

One idea is to block countries with slow internet speeds in an attempt to improve Core Web Vitals scores and protect your search engine rankings.

However, that is not really recommended. Martin Splitt answered this question back in January 2021. He said:

“No. That’s thinking that is laser focused on the Core Web Vitals and that’s really, really risky.”

A, Because people from these countries, if they want to access your website, they will through a proxy or what’s called a “VPN” which really is mostly a proxy for most cases.

And then the speed is even slower, so not helping.”

Conclusion

As of now, there are no allowances for websites whose visitors come from countries with slow internet speeds.

However, this does not mean you should block those countries.

At the end of the day, Core Web Vitals is only one small search ranking factor. Your focus should be on providing the best overall user experience to your website visitors.

If you do everything else right, your website will likely see improvement in search rankings.

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Alfie Lewis

4 things you can do in Google Search Console

April 15, 2021 by Alfie Lewis

Google Search Console is an excellent tool for website owners and SEO professionals to not only improve the health of a website but also improve its search engine performance.

However, very few people actively use Google Search Console to improve a website’s SEO. This is especially true in the case of beginners who are just starting out in the world of search engine optimisation.

There are a lot of things you can do in the Google Search Console.

In this article, we will highlight a few big steps you can do in Search Console to improve your site’s performance on the SERPs.

1. See how Google views your website

The Google Search Console offers a URL inspection tool that allows you to see how Google crawls and views your website. This tool comes especially handy when you publish a new web page or redesign your website.

First, you can see if the web page is being indexed by Google. This helps you eliminate any concerns about potential crawling issues.

Second, the URL inspection tool also tells you the last crawl date. If you have updated your web page, or if you have been noticing fluctuations in the SERPs, you can view that in the context of the last crawl date by Google.

Third, you can also use the URL inspection tool to check if indexing is allowed on the page and how Google is viewing the canonical tag on that page.

All these are crucial factors when it comes to ranking a web page on the SERPs.

2. Rewrite and improve metadata

Getting your page to rank on Google’s first page is only half the job done. Many SEOs think that is the end goal, but it is not.

The other half of the equation is to actually get organic traffic. It does not matter if your page is ranking on the first spot if no one clicks on it.

That’s where the efficacy of metadata comes into play.

In Google Search Console Performance reports, you can find the organic click-through rate of all the pages on your website.

We recommend shortlisting pages with a high number of impressions but a low click-through rate (CTR). Those are the pages that have the potential for attracting more visitors but are being limited by less-than-engaging metadata.

Improve the performance of such pages by rewriting the meta title and meta description. Make sure to monitor those pages for any increase or decrease in performance.

3. Improving the internal linking structure of your website

We all know the importance of links. However, when we talk about links in SEO, we mostly assume external backlinks pointing to our web pages.

However, internal links (from one page of your website to another page) also play a crucial part.

These internal links:

  • Help search engine crawlers better crawl your website and find pages that they likely wouldn’t otherwise,
  • Keep website visitors engage on your site with relevant content, and
  • Help keep the bounce rate low.

But not all pages on your website would have a high number of internal links. With Google Search Console, you can easily find all such pages.

In the menu, click on the ‘Links’ report. Click on the ‘Internal links’ report. You can then export this report into an Excel spreadsheet and display it in descending order to quickly identify pages that need some love.

4. Identify low-hanging fruit

SEO professionals are always looking for opportunities to quickly increase the organic traffic a website receives. But optimising pages and increasing traffic is a long-term process.

But it doesn’t have to be if you start by targeting low-hanging fruits.

In the Google Search Console Performance report, you can use the filter to identify pages ranking on specific positions. We recommend shortlisting two groups of pages:

  • Pages that are ranking on positions 11-15 (on Google’s second page)
  • Pages that are ranking on positions 4-8 (on Google’s first page)

These pages are on the brink of receiving organic traffic.  With a little bit of improvement, pages in the first will be able to rank on Google’s first page, and the pages in the second group will be able to breach the top three spots (which get most of the traffic).

With this strategic framework, you will be focusing your attention on resources and efforts on pages that are more likely to yield results quickly.

Conclusion

Google Search Console can be used in a variety of ways to improve search rankings, web page performance, and the overall health of the website.

The above-mentioned four tips will go a long way in helping you improve your site’s performance in the SERPs.

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Alfie Lewis

Google reported data issue in Google Search Console

April 2, 2021 by Alfie Lewis

Google recently reported a crawl stats data issue that Google Search Console users might have experienced this month.

According to Google, there was an internal reporting issue with the Google Search Console crawl stats report. Because of this internal reporting bug, the crawl stats report between March 10, 2021, and March 23, 2021, may not be entirely accurate.

Here is what Google said:

(more…)

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Alfie Lewis