Fabian Krumbholz is one of our Web Performance Consultants who helped many clients to optimize their Core Web Vitals during the last year. In this post, he is sharing the latest Core Web Vitals news and tips on how you can optimize your Core Web Vitals most effectively.
Shortly before the Core Web Vitals will become a search ranking factor (June-August) for the Google mobile search, the Google team answered the most asked questions about the Core Web Vitals in their Google I/O – “Ask Me Anything Web Vitals” session.
Some of the answers were quite surprising and will affect how you prepare for it. In this article, I will share my takeaways and a strategy I recommend for the following weeks.
This is great news as you get credit for all your optimization work even if you cannot achieve the challenging bar Google has set for the good threshold.
Most clients I worked with have had problems hitting the good thresholds for the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which describes when the largest element in your viewport is rendered. The biggest challenges are A/B testing tools, personalized content on the stage, and 3rd party consent managers.
So now there are no excuses not to optimize your pages even if it seems unrealistic to reach the good threshold.
Once you have reached the good threshold for your Core Web Vital metrics, you don’t get any further search ranking boosts. However, you might benefit from more engaged users, lower bounce rates, and more sales if you do additional optimizations. We recommend measuring real user data and correlating it with user behavior and business outcomes.
Things Google won’t tell us:
Google tools offer different Core Web Vitals for your site:
So, which Core Web Vitals will determine the ranking boost? The answer is all of them:
We recommend optimizing your site with the following priorities:
Check which things are causing significant issues on most of your pages. Fixing these issues first moves the needle quickly:
To prioritize your optimization work, you first have to understand the status quo. Where do you find the data you need?
I couldn’t find any free tool that lists all your pages inside the CrUX database. Therefore, I spent the rainy weekend building one. You can use the tool for free. If you follow my detailed step-by-step documentation, you can set it up in less than 15 minutes and get the data for your site.
In the Google Search Console, you see how Google is grouping your pages. Once you verified that you are the owner of a website, you can get free access.
Open the Core Web Vitals dashboard, go to the mobile view and check the results for each metric. Look out for page groups that have a lot of “Similar URLs.”
If you have optimized your high-traffic pages and the biggest page groups, your origin Core Web Vital should be much better by now. You can check it with Page Speed Insights.
Google verified that the search ranking boost is calculated globally and not per country. To not let this impact your Core Web Vitals negatively, you should check your analytics data and find out where your users are coming from.
If more than 10% of your users visit your page from foreign countries, you should consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN brings your site closer to the users and reduces the network latency considerably. With a good configured CDN, it shouldn’t matter where your users are located.
Websites are unique and complex. It is hard to predict the outcome of optimizations – what works well for one website might not have the same effect on your site.
If you follow your regular development process to test your hypotheses, it will take you a long time, and you might waste your precious team resources.
At Netcentric, we use Cloudflare Workers to test optimization hypotheses in hours instead of days or even weeks. We compare your original page with an optimized version of the page with WebPageTest.org. As a result, we get the numbers and a filmstrip and video, making the changes visible.
This data allows the project teams to decide whether the optimization is worth the effort. And you can make sure to prioritize the work which will have the most significant impact.
While the CrUX data is updated daily, it gives you only the 75 percentile for the last 28 days. This means it can take more than 20 days until you see the fruits of your hard work. I can recommend reading Barry Pollard’s “In-Depth Guide To Measuring Core Web Vitals” if you want to learn more about it.
Google recommends using a dedicated Real User Monitoring (RUM) tool to measure the Core Web Vitals of your page. This helps you to verify quickly whether your optimizations work or not.
At Netcentric, we are currently working on a RUM tool that helps to monitor your site and can be integrated into the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM).