Google’s John Mueller said on Reddit this morning that the page experience update that incorporates core web vitals is more than a tie breaker ranking signal. He said “it is a ranking factor, and it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance.”
This is a surprise change of messaging because Google has implied that the page experience update is a tie breaker in the past. Gary Illyes from Google said the page experience update won’t be drastic and might be more like a tie breaker signal than something really big. John Mueller of Google said this won’t be a drastic update like other Google updates, he added it will be a slow rollout and not felt too much. Danny Sullivan of Google said it won’t result in a massive change when rolled out.
So I guess it is somewhere between a tie breaker signal and a very low weight signal? This is why John said on Reddit “but it also doesn’t replace relevance.” John explained:
Depending on the sites you work on, you might notice it more, or you might notice it less. As an SEO, a part of your role is to take all of the possible optimizations and figure out which ones are worth spending time on. Any SEO tool will spit out 10s or 100s of “recommendations”, most of those are going to be irrelevant to your site’s visibility in search. Finding the items that make sense to work on takes experience.
The other thing to keep in mind with core web vitals is that it’s more than a random ranking factor, it’s also something that affects your site’s usability after it ranks (when people actually visit). If you get more traffic (from other SEO efforts) and your conversion rate is low, that traffic is not going to be as useful as when you have a higher conversion rate (assuming UX/speed affects your conversion rate, which it usually does). CWV is a great way of recognizing and quantifying common user annoyances.
The sad part, so many people are seeing ranking changes in June and July and saying it has to with the page experience update or core web vitals, it is likely more related to the July core update and the June core update or any other recent update we reported on – and very much so unlikely due to the page experience update, which began rolling out June 15th through the end of this month.
Forum discussion at Reddit.
Update: Google’s John Mueller told me there was no change here to how the ranking signals worked or did not work.
did it change with respect to being a “tie breaker” or was never a tie breaker or it is close enough to be considered a tie breaker. Or do you just ned a break?
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) August 6, 2021
No, nothing changed there. I think it’s totally natural for folks to both under and over-estimate it, so I just feel the need to drop a reminder from time to time :-). Also, I suspect many who underestimate it for SEO also underestimate the effect on users, but that’s a guess.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) August 6, 2021