[NOTICE] - Core Web Vitals and Google SEO rankings

  • Updated

What is happening?

Google is introducing their Core Web Vitals scoring into the algorithm used to return results to its search users.

The specific measurements Google recommends optimizing are the following:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - Measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - Measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

First Input Delay (FID) - Measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

When is it happening and how might it impact my website rankings?

We anticipate that the rankings will be incorporated the search algorithm starting mid-June of 2021 based on recent announcement from Google. The full rollout will not be complete until the end of August based on the most recent communication.

While Google and other search providers do not expose their algorithms, they have documented “page experience will join hundreds of signals that Google considers when generating Search results.”1 (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/page-experience)

Google public search liaison Danny Sullivan has communicated that this change would not likely have a massive sudden impact on scoring, however gradually become more important over time:

We do not expect this to have a heavy impact on any current websites in the immediate release based on this communication from Google.

What can be done today to improve website scores?

It is recommended to review your website with your partner to address anything that is project specific. Our Customer and Partners have a high degree of control over the LCP and CLS scoring and some common items which we have seen optimized in the past include, but are not limited to the following:

  • CSS
  • Images
  • Third party scripts
  • Other things that can contribute to lengthening page load times - https://web.dev/fast/

Google outlines their Core Web Vitals and talks users through how to engage with the report to address the various types of recommended improvements: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9205520

Finally, review the list of items on Optimizely’s roadmap below. This will provide guidance on additional improvements coming into the base platform and avoid possible duplication of effort by the customer & partner.

What will Optimizely be doing to help improve website scores?

While scores can be reviewed and improved directly by our customers and partners at any point, we have also reviewed and developed plans to make storefront improvements to provide improved ‘out of the box’ page experience overall for all B2B Commerce storefronts.

The list below are base code improvements which we are planning to incorporate into the second half of our roadmap for 2021.

The measurement they tie to is listed ahead of each bullet (LCP, CLS, or FID) and anything listed with FID will most likely need to be addressed in base only by our internal teams here at Optimizely. Customers who do not wish to wait for the base code changes may choose to review and address the CLS/LCP items as desired with their partner.

While most improvements apply to both Classic and Spire, we note those that are specific to one or the other. Because of the underlying technology running Classic and Spire sites are different, some changes may only be applicable to one.

  • (CLS) Remove layout shifting where possible
  • (LCP) Switch images from jpeg/png to WebP where possible
  • (LCP, FID) Dynamically import Google Maps library
  • (LCP, FID) Delay download of TokenEx script to prevent unnecessary loading of resources
  • (LCP, FID) Reduce JS download size where possible
  • (LCP, FID) Improve server response time on pages
  • (LCP, FID) Remove polyfills for unsupported browsers – Spire
  • (LCP) Enable HTTP/2 – Classic
  • (LCP) Provide mechanism to serve custom fonts locally – Spire
  • (LCP) Use preload hints for fonts referenced by CSS – Classic
  • (CLS) Remove lazy Images that are visible from the top scroll position – Spire
  • (LCP) Lazily load off-screen images – Classic