This is a summary of the most interesting questions and answers from the Google SEO Office Hours with John Mueller on February 12th, 2021.
Core Web Vitals – Page-level vs. Domain-level
0:37 “Will Core Web Vitals be measured by Google and affect websites on a domain level or a page level? For instance, what happens if a website has 20 URLs that have good field performance scores, and 20 other URLs that have poor scores? Will the poorly-scoring URLs impact the rankings of the good URLs? And are subdomains treated as separate entities when it comes to performance scoring?”
John said that it depends on the amount of data that Google has available to work with. For some websites, Google may have more granular data, while for others, Google may be forced to work with the aggregated data for the entire domain.
When it comes to subdomains, they are treated by Google as separate entities in this context. The CrUX report collects data on the origin level. For Chrome, the origin is the hostname, which means that subdomains are treated separately.
Getting 100 million URLs indexed
2:15 A very large website is struggling to get indexed by Google. Server logs show that Googlebot runs into 500 and Soft 404 errors when crawling the site. Does this contribute to the problems that the website has getting indexed?
According to John, it’s really important for Google to be able to crawl as much as possible with such large websites. John referred the audience to the article about the crawl budget written by Gary Ilyes. He specifically pointed to the two aspects that influence your crawl budget:
- If your site has content that’s not really valuable, Google may be hesitant to spend resources on crawling and indexing it
- If your server can’t handle extensive crawling well, Google will limit the crawling rate because it doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the server.
Difference between Passage Ranking and Featured Snippets
23:50 “What is the difference between the recently announced Passage Ranking system and the currently implemented Featured Snippets that show up in the search results?”
John said that for Passage Ranking, Google looks at the content of a page and recognizes that there’s a fragment of that content that may be worthy of showing in the SERPs regardless of the rest of the content. That happens regardless of how Google may decide to show a snippet from that page in the search results, which is a UI aspect.
How to optimize pages with no content
41:14 “How do you optimize pages that have little to no content on them, such as online tools: calculators, translators, etc.?”
John said that Google doesn’t generally understand the purpose of these tools, so you should look for any textual information that you can use to inform Google about the purpose of these tools. This includes clear and informative titles and descriptions, some explanation on the page itself, and using a blog that describes the tool and links to it. That helps Google understand the content of the tool that it otherwise can’t assess.