John Mueller states that in some cases the Core Web Vitals ranking signal might be calculated using the noindexed web pages.
Lab Data and Field Data
Lab data in regard to the web vitals scores are an estimate of the score. The lab data score is obtained in a simulated environment. Lab Data’s goal is to let the publisher get an idea of what could be problematic. Field Data, therefore, is a score that is calculated on the basis of actual website visitors under real-world conditions. Google will be using the field data to ascertain the associated ranking signal score.
Noindex and Core Web Vitals
Noindex is sort of a signal that publishers use to let Google know that not to include a webpage in Google’s search results.
You can prevent a page from appearing in Google Search by including a noindex meta tag in the page’s HTML code, or by returning a noindex header in the HTTP request.
When Googlebot next crawls that page and sees the tag or header, Googlebot will drop that page entirely from Google Search results, regardless of whether other sites link to it.
The question asked of Google’s John Mueller was whether the noindexed pages will be considered to calculate the web vitals score. The question asked was indeed an important one as the publisher was blocking the webpages because they were slow and did not want those pages to be used as a part of the calculation of core web vitals score.
With regards to core web vitals, field data is going to be the one to pay attention to, correct (in terms of ranking signals)?
John Mueller Replied:
Yes, yes, it’s the field data.
Google May Accumulate Pages For Core Web Vitals
Mueller in further questions reveals how Google in few cases ascertains the core web vitals score as an average of multiple pages.
When this becomes a ranking signal… is it going to be page level or domain level?
…What happens with the field data is we don’t have data points for every page.
So we, for the most part, we need to have kind of groupings of individual pages.
And depending on the amount of data that we have, that can be a grouping of the whole website (kind of the domain).
…I think in the Chrome User Experience Report they use the origin which would be the subdomain and the protocol there.
So that would be kind of the overarching kind of grouping.
And if we have more data for individual parts of a website then we’ll try to use that.
And I believe that’s something you also see in search console where we’ll show like one URL and say… there’s so many other pages that are associated with that. And that’s kind of the grouping that we would use there.
Mueller clear it out that the core web vitals score may not always be calculated on a page by page basis.
Slow Pages Impact on Overall CWV Score
A publisher then asked that they have a group of pages that are slow and are no-indexed, does it affect the core web vitals score.
We gave this set of pages that they are slow. And these we have a noindex on them… they are very slow. And that’s why we don’t want it to be accounted for.
I don’t know for sure how we would do things with a noindex there. But it’s not something you can easily determine ahead of time.
Like, will we see this as one website or will we see it as different groupings there.
Sometimes with the Chrome User Experience Report data you can see like, Does Google have data points for those noindex pages? Does Google have data points for the other pages there?
And then you can kind of figure out like okay, it can recognize that there is separate kinds of pages and can treat them individually.
And if that’s the case, then I don’t see a problem with that.
If it’s a smaller website where we just don’t have a lot of signals for the website then those noindex pages could be playing a role there as well.
So I’m not 100% sure but my understanding is that in the Chrome User Experience Report data we do include all kinds of pages that users access.
So there’s no specific kind of, will this page be indexed like this or not check that happens there because the indexability is sometimes quite complex with regards to canonicals and all of that.
So it’s not trivial to determine… on the Chrome side if this page will be indexed or not.
It might be the case that if a page has a clear noindex then even in Chrome we would be able to recognize that. But I’m not 100% sure if we actually do that.
I would also check the Chrome User Experience Report data. I think you can download data into BigQuery and you can play with that a little bit and figure out how is that happening for other sites, for similar sites that kind of fall in the same category as the site that you’re working on.
Webpages That Users Access
As Muller continues to explain that he was not 100% sure if Google uses noindexed pages, he did ensure that the Chrome User Experience Report contains all kinds of pages (which in this context may include noindexed pages).
…we do include all kinds of pages that users access.
The reason behind making use of the noindexed pages could be that users can access a webpage then it is going to be measured. Users will still experience the noindexed pages, whether or not those pages are blocked to Google. Though Mueller is not 100% sure but in the meantime until there is not any clarification, it may be wise to consider that noindexed pages will be included in the core web vitals ranking score.