Are core web vitals a ranking factor?

Are Core Web Vitals a Ranking Factor?

‘Are Core Web Vitals a Ranking Factor’ is a question that has plagued the industry for a while now. Recently, Google has released updated documentation to acknowledge that core web vitals are used in their ranking systems, but it remains unclear whether it is a strict ranking factor.

The Page Experience Documentation has been updated to make clear that core web vitals are used in Google’s ranking systems. However, the search engine company cannot say Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor.

To develop your understanding, check out our blog ‘Google Core Web Vitals – Made Simple‘ for more information.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals (CWV) is a set of metrics used to measure the user experience of a website when it comes to website loading performance, interactivity and the visual stability of a webpage. Google recommends that website owners aim for a good Web Core Vitals score to achieve a good user experience for their audience.

Screenshot of Google Core Web Vitals for the blog post are core web vitals a ranking factor?

Are Core Web Vitals a Ranking Factor?

Google’s response to this has heavily fluctuated over the years. In the past, John Mueller has publicly said that Core Web Vitals is, in fact, a ranking factor, previously on Reddit, but Google’s Page Experience In Search Results explainer never actually says that they are.

So, in February of 2024, Google’s SearchLiaison caused quite a ruckus when he tweeted that Googl’es official documentation did not say that CWV (Core Web Vitals) was a ranking factor or a signal.

 

One day later, the following tweet was made: 

 

What SearchLiaison tweeted was correct. The Page Experience In Search Results Explainer Document didn’t confirm that Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor, not even in 2022 at its first publish. 

 

It Might be, It Might Not

After a lengthy period of not acknowledging whether Core Web Vitals is, in fact, a ranking factor, Google had a change of heart and updated its documentation to say that Core Web Vitals is, in fact, a ranking factor.

Here is what they said:

What aspects of page experience are used in ranking?
Core Web Vitals are used by our ranking systems. We recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally.

Keep in mind that getting good results in reports like Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report or third-party tools doesn’t guarantee that your pages will rank at the top of Google Search results; there’s more to great page experience than Core Web Vitals scores alone. These scores are meant to help you to improve your site for your users overall, and trying to get a perfect score just for SEO reasons may not be the best use of your time.

This new update still doesn’t provide full clarity as it does not use the phrase ‘ranking factor’ or ‘ranking signal’ at all.  However, it does completely acknowledge that CWV is used by Google’s ranking systems, which previously was unclear and undecided. Google does like to keep us on our toes, doesn’t it?

 


 

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