Google’s John Mueller answered whether site traffic influences the Core Web Vitals (CWV) score. Web page CWV scores must meet a traffic minimum in order to show ranking scores in Google Search console.
Core Web Vitals Score Depends on Traffic
Google calculates a websites Core Web Vitals score from actual site visitors who have opted-in for Chrome to measuring the various page experience metrics.
Google Search Console does not show CWV scores for pages that have not met with minimum traffic thresholds.
The person asking the question may be concerned that a publisher with more traffic will have an advantage over a site with less traffic and presumably not pages that are scored for page experience metrics like Core Web Vitals
How Important is Traffic to Core Web Vitals?
The question is based the fact that CWV scores are only computed for sites that have opted-in Chrome users visiting web pages.
This is the question:
“Let’s say the Core Web Vitals values of my website are quite good compared to my competitors.
However my traffic is much lower than my competitors.
How important is site traffic together with Core Web Vitals in the search results? …Can a website with good Core Web Vitals beat the competitor website with millions of visitors in the search results?”
John Mueller answered:
“So, for Core Web Vitals, the traffic to your site is not important as long as you… reach that threshold that we have data for your website.
Like, if we don’t know anything about your website then obviously we don’t know that maybe it’s a really fast website.
…The data that we use in search is from the Chrome User Experience Report which is aggregated from users that are… opted in to this kind of metric system. That’s essentially what we require.
And then, that’s kind of the baseline. …We have data for your website, we know that users are seeing a fast website.
It doesn’t matter if millions of users are seeing that or just… I don’t know… thousands of users are seeing it.”
John Mueller follows up the above answer by stating unequivocally that the number of visitors is not a factor for Core Web Vitals.
“So, just… kind of the pure number of visitors to your site is not a factor when it comes to core web vitals and generally not a factor for ranking either.
The other thing that I do need to mention here is that Core Web Vitals, the Page Experience, is at the moment not an active ranking signal.
So we announced that for May, that kind of one aspect.”
Next, Mueller emphasizes that content relevance is more important than Core Web Vitals scores:
“And the other thing is that relevance is still by far much more important.”
John Mueller Downplays Ranking Effect of Core Web Vitals
In the next part of his answer, John Mueller downplays the ranking effect of Core Web Vitals.
“So just because your website is faster with regards to Core Web Vitals than some competitors doesn’t necessarily mean that come May you will jump to position number one in the search results.
We still require that relevance is something that should be kind of available on the site. It should make sense for us to show the site in the search results because, as you can imagine, a really fast website might be one that’s completely empty. But that’s not very useful for users.
It’s useful to keep that in mind when it comes to Core Web Vitals. It is something that users notice. It is something that we will start using for ranking. But it’s not going to change everything completely.
So it’s not going to… destroy your site and remove it from the index if you have it wrong. It’s not going to catapult you from page ten to number one position if you get it right.”
Core Web Vitals are Important
Even though Core Web Vitals ranking effect might not be so great, it’s one of the few known ranking factors that Google is okay with publishers having an influence over.
Thinking beyond search ranking effect, a quality web page that presents no friction to users may experience more page views and user satisfaction. That’s important, regardless of whether there’s a (small) ranking boost associated with Core Web Vitals.
Watch John Mueller discuss Core Web Vitals at about the 23:30 minute mark.