Have you heard about Core Website Vitals? An initiative unveiled by Google in 2020, Core Website Vitals (or CWV for short) is a best-practice framework designed to improve website experiences across the board.
Ok… so what is a web experience?
Well, a web experience happens every time you load up a website! We all know the frustration of a slow-loading site, a cluttered site or a site that isn’t optimised and doesn’t work for mobile devices. CWV aims to make those frustrations a thing of the past. Those ‘core’ web ‘vitals’, then, are the vital parts of building a great user experience on the web.
And what are the vital parts?
In 2020, there were three main aspects of website user experience that Google wanted to focus on – loading, interactivity and visual stability.
Loading, of course, looks at how quickly the main content of a web page becomes visible. The longer that takes, the lower your loading score will be.
Interactivity looks at how well your site can respond to user input, e.g. the click of a link, a scroll or the tap of an interactive feature. The longer the lag, the lower your interactivity score will be.
Visual stability looks at how the layout of your page shifts when users interact with it. If you’re reading an article and the text suddenly jumps down the page or disappears, that’s visual instability. If you go to click a link and the page moves, that’s visual instability. The more your content jumps about unexpectedly, the lower your visual stability score will be.
CWV measures these three scores in determining whether a website is compliant or not. If you don’t hit 75% or above in each of these three metrics, your website is considered non-compliant.
So what happens if my website is non-compliant?
Google announced CWV in early 2020. Since then, it has functioned purely as a guide to best-practice user experience – however, as of June 2021, CWV will become a ‘ranking signal’. That means that websites considered non-compliant will be ranked lower on Google’s search engine results pages than complaint ones. The bottom line for a business owner is that if your competitor’s website is CWV-compliant and yours isn’t, their site will appear above yours on Google. That’s pretty important, because data shows around 75-90% of internet searches only consider the first few results on a search engine page. When was the last time you selected a link at the bottom of the page?
On the other hand, the good news is if your page is quick to load and generally responsive, you’ve got a higher chance of outranking non-compliant competitors.
Ok, got it – so how do I find out if my website is CWV-compliant?
There is a range of free online tools available to help you determine your compliance with Core Web Vitals, but we recommend two simple options. Try Pagespeed Insights or web.dev’s measure tool. The results might look confusing, but you only need to pay attention to these three things:
- First Input Delay (FID) is just the fancy developer term for interactivity.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is just the fancy developer term for loading time.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is just the fancy developer term for visual stability.
If you see a green arrow beside all three of these metrics, your site is compliant and you’re doing well. A red triangle or an orange square, however, means your site is probably not compliant with Core Web Vitals and will soon be ranking lower for it on Google.
Oh dear. My site is not performing well – what should I do next?
If your website’s Core Web Vitals scores are lacking, there are two main issues. Firstly as we noted earlier, your search engine ranking will suffer. Secondly, a slow-loading or unresponsive website is likely costing your business revenue! How many times have you abandoned a website because it won’t load quickly? How many times have you given up trying to access a page in frustration because the content doesn’t load correctly? And how high is the chance that others will abandon your site for the same reason?
Chances are, your potential customers are looking at your website page as part of their buyer journey and as such you need to ensure your brand aligns and that you can be found easily. Your website is your shop front – in this day and age, it reflects you and your business. Everything must be in working order.
Roobix is aiming to guide all existing and new clients to become CWV-compliant before the June 2021 deadline by either building a new site or remediating older websites to meet these new standards. In most cases, a website that doesn’t comply with CWV will just be built on an old framework – and excuse us from being crude, but sometimes you might upgrade and upgrade and upgrade only to realise you’re polishing a turd. Even if your website was built five years ago, it was built for iPhone models that are no longer sold and Chrome versions that are no longer supported.
It’s frustrating, we know.
Because Google is constantly shifting the search goalposts, we need to find new ways to adapt and stay up to date with modern practices.
But while it can sound like an expensive task, the reality is if your car was costing you more to run than it would cost to buy a new one, you’d probably consider investing in a new car. In the world of marketing, websites work the same way. We don’t want to see any of our clients’ businesses suffer for an outdated, non-compliant website. And it’s worth noting that we’re not aiming for perfection – even the Roobix website isn’t 100% compliant with Core Web Vitals just yet! But the less compliant you are, the lower you will rank – and the more urgently you should consider a new web build.
If you’re worried about your website, reach out for a chat – we’re always happy to help. We’ll be offering our web build and web remediation services both on a project basis or as part of our celebrated Managed Marketing Service, which you can read all about here.