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Web Core Vitals

If you look after a website unless you have been living under a rock for a year you will have heard about Web Core Vitals (or at least Pagespeed). It’s a Google thing that has been in the making for for many years.

A Bit of Background

Once the smartphone became a thing more and more of us used the device to browse the internet, check emails and use social media and play games.

The resulted in a huge surge in the development of responsive websites and the need for speed. People started testing the site using tools such as: Google Page Speed, Pingdom or Gtmetrix.

All well and good by being fast and responsive doesn’t always mean the user experience (UX) is the best. In fact it was often awful. The hamburger menu icon being just one example.

But I digress. Once mobile phone usage reached a critical point Google’s whole focus shifted to ‘mobile first’. AMP appeared and was quickly ignored and then Web Core Vitals raised its head above the parapet. Introduction was delayed because of Covid but rollout began in May 2021.

Fixing your vitals

There are three main components: loading, interactivity, and visual stability. Of these the one that many look at first is performance.

To get a high score (90+) isn’t that difficult:

  • Decent hosting
  • A well configured site
  • Optimised images
  • No third party scripts

If you use WordPress and a theme with a page builder you are doomed from the start. Even worse if you need a plugin to manage any of your features.

Similar if you use Wix, GoDaddy, SquareSpace, Shopify and others to build your site. You ain’t never gonna score well using a site builder.

Look at your site on you phone without using WiFi. Even better, do it in a location with an iffy 4G/3G signal. If you get frustrated with your site you now experience what it’s like for your visitors.

Get rid of animations, videos and anything built to look great on a desktop. Keep it really simple and make sure it’s obvious what to click on next. In other words, do the things you should have always been doing.

Google does give lots of hints about what to fix in the lighthouse report. You can get this report if you run a test on your site:

What about GMB?

GMB is for local businesses. WCV doesn’t apply to your GMB listing but Google will consider the UX of your website when determining your position in the pack. And because almost all local searching is done on a phone Google will promote those sites that are fast and easy to use on a phone.

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