Google Core Web Vitals Update started! It’s a roll-out, so that means that not all websites will be affected at once. Given that, you may or may not see your ranking on Google go down.
Back even before I started my business in 2011, I remember Google’s major “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. That changed how websites rank or didn’t rank on the Google search engine. With this major update, businesses who enjoyed being on the first page of Google — mostly by cheating the search engine with black-hat tactics — found themselves buried or kicked off of Google completely. It ruined businesses who depended on being on the first page.
Face it, if your website doesn’t come up on the first page for your major keywords, you might as well close up shop. No one goes past the first or second page of a Google search. So, all of your hard content marketing work will be for nothing!
Here’s What You Need to Know Now about Core Web Vitals
First, understand that Google has just about 90% of all global searches, so, yes, you need to pay attention. (Source)
Second, a lot of this is technical stuff and you may need a web developer to help you. Now, if you are on a platform like Shopify or Etsy, it’s up to them to figure it out for you. If you’re on Wix, Weebly or on a site builder, they may or may not have this figured out. With either case, they should have something about Core Web Vitals in their help system or at least inform you of what it means for your website. If not, it may be time to move your site to a hosted platform. Furthermore, the best one is WordPress. It’s preferred because you own it, you customize it and you control everything — including updates.
The Three Vital Components of Core Web Vitals
The idea behind these is to have a better user experience (UX). In the long run, this will benefit you as potential customers are more likely to find you, stay on your page and convert. A bad UX will cost you sales!
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is how fast a page loads on a mobile device. Here’s what may affect it…
- Slow server response time – this is at the hosting level. If after you run the text, this comes up as an issue, contact your web host.
- Java and CSS code and script in the back end of a page that blocks rendering (loading) – this is at the developer level. If you’re on one of the page builder sites, this may be a factor that cannot be remedied. On WordPress, changing your theme would be an option. This article from Search Engine Journal has some tips and SEO friendly WordPress themes you can check out.
- Large graphics or videos – I know that the large graphics are cool, but if they take too long load, they hurt you rather than help. I still recommend putting a video on your home page to help explain what you do or have to offer, but upload it to YouTube, then just embed the link. That way the video is watchable on your site, but the load is on YouTube.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This looks at the visual stability of each page. I had this problem on my site. When I redid it, I just uploaded the graphics to the slider on the home page and I didn’t pay attention to the sizes of the pictures. They were all different sizes. When the slider automatically showed the next graphic, it would move all the page text either up or down. I ended up removing the slider all together. It wasn’t really needed. I still have other factors to look into. Other elements that can affect this are…
- Advertisements of different sizes
- Cookie banners
- Images, embeds and iframes without dimensions – this will happen if your website hasn’t been updated in a few years.
- Certain web fonts. If you are using fancy web fonts, these also may be hurting your site.
In Summary, the Three Core Web Vitals cover…
- LCP – loading
- FID – interactivity
- CLS – visual stability
So, the first thing you need to do is run Google’s Page Speed Test. Then, review the results and show it to your webmaster to see how it can be improved. If you have a WordPress site, Google has a free plugin, Site Kit that connects to Google Analytics, Search Console and the Page Speed Test. This is what came up for one of my clients. I have some work to do…
Ultimately, there’s no time to waste! The update is coming up in June 2021!
If you’d like me to test it for you, click here to book a free 15-minute phone consult.
All in all, If you find that you need to change hosting providers and you want to go to WordPress, I recommend Lightning Base (affiliate link). It’s where I have this very site. Good tech support, loads fast on the sever-side and they just do WordPress. I wouldn’t be an affiliate if they weren’t great!
If you have a WordPress website that needs work to be ready for this update, I recommend OnsiteWP (Affiliate Link). They can help you with tweaking an existing website, as well as creating a whole new WordPress website if you need to move from a site-builder platform.