John Mueller talks openly about grouping similar URLs, Core Web Vitals scoring and the potential for group scores assigning to new URLs that lack data.
In a recent Google office-hours hangout, the question was broached; if related pages such as category pages had aggregated Core Web Vitals scores.
Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller addressed it.
The question asked centred around similar pages being grouped and scored together, this is an important issue because some sections might lack the number of visitors by Chrome users to generate data for Core Web Vitals scoring.
So... when this question was fired in John’s direction:
“John, you don’t group URLs by type do you? Because we’ve noticed something similar, that category pages also don’t have enough Chrome views in order to give perfect data.
But we get messages saying these are similar pages.”
John tackled the question head on, by answering:
“Yeah, we do that. We do that with the Chrome User Experience Report data, the field real-world data, essentially, where we try to recognise when there are pages that are similar enough that we could group them together.”
That’s clear confirmation from Mueller; Google is grouping similar pages together.
He had more to say however, elaborating around the scoring of those groups:
“And then that could be… I don’t know how that would look in practice.
It could be something where all of your category pages are in one group and we say, well, these pages perform similarly. So if we find a new URL that is also a part of this group, we don’t have to have data for that new URL. We can rely on the data for the group overall.”
This is clear confirmation, if Google lacks core web vitals data for an individual page, then the overall score for the group to which that page is assigned will be given to it.
This of course, might create anomalies in Google’s Search Console report as Mueller acknowledges:
“And I think that sometimes throws things off a little bit in the sense of we might have one group, essentially, for a site. But that could contain thousands of URLs.
So, in the report in Search Console, I think we would report that as thousands of URLs have this problem.
And then we just show that one part of the group, essentially.
But not seeing any data at all in one report and seeing a lot of data in the other report, that feels kind of weird.”
Core Web Vitals Group Scoring
Google is grouping URLs together for scoring, for many that is an important point to keep in mind.
It isn’t unusual for publishers and SEO’s to see fixes go unacknowledged in their core web vitals report if just a section, (not the entire site) is fixed...
Aggregate scores could well be the reason why, with the scores of the fixed sections becoming aggregated with those in the process of being crawled and scored...