You may have been waiting for your site position plummeting in Google rankings on May 1st. Or you may haven’t yet realized Google is implementing significant changes to their ranking algorithm. By all means, the day of doom (i.e. – implementation of the Core Web Vitals) was postponed at least by mid-June. More importantly, the earlier announced changes to the Google ranking algorithm seem to take full swing after an additional interim period, no earlier than at the end of August.
That may sound like a relief for some of you, yet we not only encourage you to keep reading this post, to understand how will the Core Web Vital signals will affect your eStore rankings but to reaching out to us to discuss possible upgrades to your system to be ready for the inevitable.
Core Web Vitals - what makes an efficient page?
To keep the story short, Google will add few additional signals called Core Web Vitals to four existing ones: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. The whole concept behind the decision is to rank pages that are safe and secure for customers and ensure a premium browsing experience.
To better understand how the experience is measured, let’s dig deeper into the core metrics. This is how they are rated.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) represents and measures the loading performance. To provide a satisfactory user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of the beginning of first-page loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): represents and measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. Meaning the page should start implementing the user’s action in the shortest time possible.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) represents and measures visual stability (we all know this awkward feeling when the whole layout shifts down after some slow-loading elements have been finally loaded). To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
The rationale about the selection of the metrics is clear: according to Google’s own research, with an increase of page loading time from one to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases by 123%, thus it is in your best interest to do whatever it takes to avoid the drop. Every second delay in loading time costs you lost revenue. I bet you know that, but you’ve been looking for excuses to implement the much-needed upgrade. Weren’t you?
If you still doubt if everything we’ve said before applies to your site, we can put the stats another way round. As the number of elements on a page grows from 400 to 6,000 (which is very much the case in a growing online store), the probability of conversion drops by as much as 95%. We’re talking of poorly optimized pages, of course.
Page experience isn’t everything, though...
On the other hand, even if what we’ve said before sounds like Google’s shift to experience alone – make no mistake: content is still the king. As Google themselves points out in their blog: “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.”
Why you should pay attention to this algorithm update
The answer is clear: Google is so keen to improve the experience standard that it has postponed implementation of the Core Web Vitals to provide us some valuable time to adapt. They’ll however take a two-sided approach to handle the issue afterwards. As mentioned before, the pages offering poor browsing experience will be ranked lower in the Google search. Secondly, the pages which correspond to the benchmark will be indicated visually in the list, drawing internet users’ attention to them. Users will inevitably click the best-ranked pages more (obviously, at the expense of the rest), resulting in further loss of position of the latter. Needless to say, fewer clicks convert into less traffic and loss of revenue.
You’d like your store to be on the winning side, I bet!
What can we do about your website performance?
Google has offered several tools to check the performance of your site. The simplest one is the page speed insights. I’m sure you know it.