Here are the search-related news and developments we think mattered most for enterprise SEO this past week, with our point-of-view on why they matter and what action to take (if any). Look for the POV tag after a news item.

Page Experience Metrics Removed...Or Were They?

Google announced they are removing page speed, mobile-friendly, secure sites and page experience as "ranking systems."

"Ranking systems" is relatively new nomenclature introduced by Google to designate it's higher level ranking algorithms. My guess is that each system is made up of many "factors," and that those factors can be weighted or used in different ways depending on the query.

Google's statement above says that Page Experience was never a ranking system; rather it was a "concept," a set of "key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on." So there was never a Page Experience "score."

Another statement by Google concerning the Page Experience signals (Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendly, HTTPS, no intrusive interstitials) says not all of those are "directly used to inform ranking." However, "we do find that all these aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking, and are worth attention."

POV: What exactly happened in this change is still a bit unclear, but it is a great illustration of the fact that many things Google talks about as being important for search ranking are not necessarily "factors" (that is, they are not directly measure by Google) but rather are found to correlate with higher ranking pages.

This brings to mind Google's E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) rubric for "quality content." None of those are things that Google has a score or metric for, but they are the kinds of things that Google has as a goal for ranking content in search. It is likely that they look for some combination of factors they do use that seem to indicate pages that are high in those concepts.

So our take is that it does still matter to pay attention to the so-called Page Experience components. Even if Google is not measuring them specifically, they likely contribute to factors that Google does measure, and thus create the page experience that is the goal of Google's algorithms.

New Return Policy Schema for Merchant Listings

Google has added recognition of structured data indicating a returns policy in its documentation for Merchant Lisitngs

Search Engine Land notes that this appeared on the same day shipping and return information started showing in search results. 

POV: If you use Merchant Listings you should definitely add this schema, as display of things like a returns policy are positive signals to potential buyers and may increase CTR.

Mueller on Blocking Internal Search Results from Indexing

Answering a question on Reddit, Google's John Mueller noted that sites allowing their internal search results pages to be indexed can cause problems when there are "no results" pages in the mix. He recommended if you can't find a way to block no-results pages from getting indexed, it's best to block all your internal seach results from indexing. 

That's a wrap!

Watch next Monday for another edition of Search This Week and stay up to date on the search news that matters for enterprise SEO!