In a Webmaster Hangout, someone related to Google’s John Mueller that they followed Google’s advice and achieved a score of 100 on Google’s Web.dev tool. Having followed Google’s recommendations, they asked why they “didn’t see any ranking improvement.” John Mueller explained that there is more to ranking than scoring well on the Web.Dev tests.
Here is how Mueller explained it:
“Web.dev is a great way to test your site for a lot of known issues and to compare against known best practices. But just achieving good results there doesn’t mean that your website will automatically jump up in rankings above everyone else.
…this is not the final and ultimate way of doing SEO and ranking well. It’s a list of best practices and it gives you a list of various things we can test that we can flag for you… I think it’s a good idea to look at these things but you need to interpret what comes out of them and you need to realize that there’s more to ranking number one than just kind of fulfilling a set of technical requirements.”
Web.dev is More than a Tool
Although Google’s Mueller refers to Web.dev in terms of a tool for testing against best practices, Web.dev is more than just a too. It is an educational site that offers basic information about making a site discoverable and some best practices for writing content.
Here’s how the Web.dev site describes itself:
“Web.dev helps developers like you learn and apply the web’s modern capabilities to your own sites and apps.”
This is a partial list of areas it will help you improve:
“Discover how to make your site better
Fast load times
Safe and secure
Easily discoverable (Ensure users can find your site easily through search.)
“By making sure search engines can find and automatically understand your content, you are improving the visibility of your site for relevant searches.”
That’s an encouragement to make your site easy to crawl, make sure your server is responsive and not easily slowed down by scrapers and hack-bots, that there are no huge files to download and no technical errors such as, for example, an improperly set up shopping site that spawns a half a million duplicate web pages.
Web.dev has useful content about making a page attractive, useful and discoverable.
Of course, as John noted, we have to be realistic about the limits of the advice that Google can offer. That’s why there’s an SEO industry to fill in the gap.
Here is how Google’s Web.dev defines SEO:
“By making sure search engines can find and automatically understand your content, you are improving the visibility of your site for relevant searches. This can result in more interested users coming to your site.”
The real-world definition of SEO encompasses best practices in content, marketing and promotion for better rankings and sales. In the real world, making a site “discoverable” is just the beginning of the SEO journey.
The publisher observed to John that his site’s rankings did not improve after following Google’s own advice. John Mueller responded that there is more to it than satisfying the technical benchmarks offered on Google’s Web.dev website.
Based on my professional experience, I agree with Google’s John Mueller. Top rankings do not happen simply by satisfying the technical requirements of making a site discoverable.