Episode 18 - Should Core Web Vitals Be a UX Thing?

Where queries are weird, advice is controversial, and everything depends.

Why do execs balk at investing in SEO? Is Google documentation problematic? Should UX be responsible for Core Web Vitals instead of SEOs?

In this week’s episode, we also cover rich snippets and structured data, injecting search volume into Google Search Console, and 22 awesome SEO tips for 2022.


Host: Garrett Sussman | Demand Generation Manager 

Don’t forget to please SUBSCRIBE to the channel if you enjoy the episode.


Show notes / References:

Google/SERP Updates:

(0:37) Reminder about Desktop Page Experience Rollout

Malte Ubl, Software Engineer at Google tweeted the reminder that  Page experience ranking in Google Search based on Core Web Vitals on Desktop (Laptop/Tablets/the 523.94 remaining actual Desktop computers) is going out next month. Metric threshold are the same as on mobile.

Worth noting that the thresholds for CWV metrics for desktop will be the same as those established for mobile.

(1:46) Barry Schwartz’s thoughts on why we don’t get a heads up about big rollouts vs. ones that have a minor update on rankings & Year in Search Central 2021 | Search Off the Record Podcast

John, Martin, and Gary discuss the past year at Google Search. One topic they talk about at length concerns Google’s ability to effectively index content and the way that SEOs are becoming more knowledgeable about the relationship between Javascript and SEO.

(3:02) Links Have To Be On Indexed Pages To Be Counted & Not All Indexed Links Are Counted

Ori Zilbershtein asked on Twitter whether toxic non-indexed backlinks hurt your site? To which John Mueller responded If they’re not indexed, I wouldn’t assume the links do anything.

Twitter Threads/Tweets:

(4:00) The Google 404 Page Origin Story Jens Oliver Meiert

The current 404 page had been around for the past 11 years. They planned on making it more useful, but in essence, the project got sidetracked. Jens shared how he wanted to playfully call out the inability to provide more error context and options hence, “That’s all we know”.

(4:54)  Surprise at a lack of investment in SEO – Eli Schwartz

“I find it shocking that companies are willing to spend millions of dollars on paid advertising each month, but then think $10,000 is a bit too much for SEO”

Many SEOs in the industry and those in digital marketing had strong opinions about this sentiment ranging from the onus being on us to sell better to the C-Suite being the ones who should do their own research and stop undervaluing the channel.

General SEO:

(8:04) 22 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2022 – Cyrus Shepard via Moz

Cyrus has been doing SEO for over a decade. He’s developed a hyper-attuned sense for what’s going to lift your rankings and your traffic. In this article, he provides his updates best go-to tactics for improving your content. He covers a range of categories. Here are some of our favorites:

  • On-page SEO: Use FAQ Schema
  • Link building: Reduce your redirects
  • Google SEO: Favicon optimization (A good favicon can raise your click-through conversion rate one or two percent, which is awesome.)
  • SEO career tips: Learn GA4

(10:09) 8 Losing SEO Tests by Craig Bradford via SearchPilot

Craig showcased 8 of the SEO spit test experiments that he and team put together over at SearchPilot. While every site will have a different experience and it’s important to test yourself, these examples might be good hints of what to stay away from. Here were the 3 most dramatic results they found:

  1. Adding “video” to the titles of pages containing videos (20% decrease)
  2. Removing numbers from title tags (16% decrease)
  3. Adding prices to title tags (15% decrease)

(11:48) How to Improve Organic Clickthrough for Your Content – Ann Smarty via Moz

Ann Smarty reveals all of the ways the snippets both with and without structured data are impacting SERPs. All of these visual and interactive features are opportunities and while you may lose some rankings, experimenting with earning them can potentially improve your click-through rate. Snippet content is an important consideration in your SEO strategy going forward.

Our own Andrew McDermott’s write-up on JSON for Rich Snippets

Technical SEO Articles:

(13:13) What I Learnt from Analysing 7 Million Log File Events

Roman Adamita conducted a deep-dive study using Screaming Frog to see what types of pages are more or less likely to be crawled by Google. He found a variety of quality insights including:

  • How often is Googlebot crawling the robots.txt file? For a 100K indexed page website, Googlebot crawled the robots.txt file 2,400 times per month.
  • Which pages did Googlebot crawl the most? Homepage, images, robot.txt, Header image, 404 page.
  • How Important Is Page Speed in the Context of Crawling Events? Googlebot tried to crawl the pages with a lousy LCP score more often. Pages with better LCP scores have more user clicks than others with bad scores.

(15:27) Implementing SEO for CMS – Aleyda Solis

Aleyda Solis tapped the SEO community to identify some of the best resources for SEO tactics and implementation for a variety of specific content management systems. Each CMS has capabilities and limitations that SEO professionals need to be aware of. Resources included for WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Magento, Webflow, Squarespace, and general guidance.

(16:16) Google Documentation – Devs and SEOs with Martin Splitt and Michael King

Mike King joins Martin Splitt in this episode of Devs and SEOs to talk all about the value of Google documentation, but also the problems that these documents create. Many SEOs use these docs as a source of truth. Mike and Martin discuss how a lack of context in these articles can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and flat-out wrong guidance.

(18:01) Importance of Semantic Network for SEO: Creating Semantic Content Networks with Query and Document Templates – Case Study – Koray Tugberk Gubur

In this epic deep dive, Koray conducts an elaborate explanation of how he systematically develops a semantic content network based on applying complex semantic theories and Google patents to website content development. 

The goal is to figure out the best way to publish a ton of content in a scientific way that establishes your site as the definitive best source of info on a topic for all major search intents. It’s dense, it’s technical, but it’s well researched, thought through, and presented.


(19:31) How To Inject Search Volume and CPC to Google Search Console (GSC) 

iPullRank’s John Murch put together his quick and dirty guide to visualizing your keyword search volume right inside Google Search Console. You can’t normally see that data side-by-side with the keywords that you’re tracking. But if you’re a developer or you know one, you can easily use the GrepWords keyword database and get that data live in your GSC account. Pretty cool. 

John (along with Colt and Mike) actually covered 4 other uses for that GrepWords database in our webinar this past December.


(20:15) Ep 65. Patrick Stox – Technical SEO Prioritization

Patrick covered a range of different technical SEO tactics that he loves to fix and how he prioritizes those projects using a prioritization framework. He also shared his opinion on the upcoming Desktop Update for Page Experience and whether Core Web Vitals should even be a focus for SEOs.

Ep. 66 Mordy Oberstein – The Right Way to Use SEO Data  – Register!

Join Garrett Sussman & Mordy Oberstein, Head of Communications at Semrush, to discuss how you can use SEO data to inform your SEO strategy on Thursday, January 20th, 1:30 pm EST.

[Webinar] Year 2: How the Pandemic Continues to Impact Search Demand Recovery

January 26th, 2022 – 11:00 am EST

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Get the scoop on what’s happening to Google, game-changing strategies for SEOs, and the people that you should have on your SEO radar.

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