Google Core Web Vitals for WordPress — A Complete Guide

Is your Website Slow?

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in seconds or less.

What comes After Website Design and Development?

A website is a tool not just for marketing your services or products, but to gain an insight into customer trends, and buying patterns. Once a website is designed and developed, many businesses complain that it is not doing anything for them in terms of lead generation or even giving them any ROI on the investment they made in creating the website. Website design and development is just the first step in doing business online. The next step is to actually implement web marketing tools to analyze whether or not your customers are able to reach your website. Then comes the third step – doing a periodic evaluation via analytics to assess whether the website you designed and developed is able to provide the user experience that customers like; whether it is loading fast enough for customers to browse easily, whether the links on the website are working correctly; and so on. The third step is often the most neglected step because of three things:
  • It is considered to be unnecessary
  • It is considered to time consuming as well as expensive
  • Most businesses do not even know if such things exist and they need it
So, Google (the war zone where every business wants to be listed on the top), came up with a solution to help those who want an edge in this ranking war. It introduced Google Core Web Vitals – a set of tools that can help you analyze your website and fix any shortcomings to help you rank better for better visibility. This article will be all about Google Core Web Vitals and how it can help you grow your business via website. Let’s begin!!

What are the Google Core Web Vitals ?

Google recently announced a new addition to the list of over 200 ranking factors in May of 2020 called the Google Core Webi Vitals. This addition rates a WordPress website or any website against user experience, customer satisfaction, and website visibility. One of the factors that quickly gained traction was PageSpeed Insight as it easily measured and reported the Core Web Vitals of any website. Armed with the information that PageSpeed Insight gave, businesses quickly made changes to their websites and gained higher rankings in search results. In 2021, many updates were made out of which three biggest factors included:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint or LCP measures a length of time of your website’s content while being loaded – usually it’s a featured image or hero section of your WordPress website. Google says, “your website content should take less than two seconds in loading because your users expect your WordPress site to load as quickly as possible.” If your website loads slow, then it needs to change from the UX perspective as a customer does not tend to spend more than 5 seconds on a website (according to recent stats published by Google). It is one of the reasons that lead to increased bounce rate and it tells why Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is highly related to UX — even more than the entire loading time of a website. One important thing to note is that the LCP varies from site-to-site and it differs between mobile and desktop versions of WordPress site.

2. First Input Delay (FID)

By definition, First Input Delay or FID is used for measuring the time when a user comes on your site’s page (Whether by clicking a button or any link). For instance, if a customer clicks on the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) at the bottom of the page, the amount of time taken for the page to open and the content to expand, is determined by FID. From a website development perspective, FID or First Input Delay seems to be the most complicated metric to learn and optimize, because it’s affected by JavaScript. If you don’t get an immediate response once you’ve landed on a site, possibly, it’s due to the reason that your server was busy processing a big JavaScript file from a WordPress site.

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Basically, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) determines how much of a website’s content ‘moves around’ or ‘shifts’ while it’s being loaded. For instance, a customer is going through the content on a WordPress website and now wants to go to a different page such as contact us. The way the content moves while the contact us page is loading, is what is determined by CLS. This is important because this is all related to user experience and helps in determining whether your website is good enough for a user to use or not.

Why Do You Need Google Core Web Vitals For WordPress (Why Core Web Vitals are Important)?

Google Core Web Vitals are not just important but inevitable. They showcase explicitly about the performance of a website for users. A recent but surprising study shows that a delay in page load time by just a 1 second destroys conversion rate by 7%, page views by 11% and horrific 16% decline in customer satisfaction. This is just one of the reasons why the website design and most importantly the development need to be done correctly so that a website is not just ranked higher in search engines but does what it was built for – generate leads and get customers. The Google Web Vitals is just one of the hundreds of website metrics that Google is enforcing on businesses to give better user experience to the customers. Google Web Vitals help to optimize the WordPress website to attain better speed and performance by showing detailed, analytical, and data based reports about the quality of the user experience that a certain WordPress website is providing.

How Can You Improve Core Web Vitals in WordPress?

When it comes to improving Google Core Web vitals in WordPress, here is a small list of performance optimization tips that you can use to enhance your website.

1. Optimize Your WordPress Hosting Proactively

WordPress hosting plays an inevitable role in a website’s performance as it optimizes its server for your WordPress site. Figuratively, a sub-standard and non-scalable WordPress hosting is like building an Empire State Building on 6-inches slabs that can lead to a massive collapse. Therefore, if you don’t want your digital business to fall flat just because your website has failed miserably to score good at Google Core Web Vitals given the web hosting provider, we suggest SiteGround as a WordPress hosting service for high-performance, high-quality websites. The advantage of using SiteGround is that it capitalizes on Google Cloud Platform and ultrafast PHP for their servers.

2. Keep Render Blocking Elements Out of Your Website

Basically, there are some elements that slow down the loading capacity of a WordPress site as they block other elements from quick loading. This phenomenon is known as ‘render blocking’.  These elements are JavaScript or CSS files incorporated by your WordPress plugins and/or 3rd-party tools i.e., Facebook Pixels, Google Ads, and JavaScript/CSS files. Most of these elements are added programmatically to a WordPress website by different themes and plugins. You should be super-careful about render blocking elements as they negatively affect Google Core Web Vitals and UX of your site. Page Speed Insights displays a detailed overview of render blocking elements.

3. Code Optimization is the Remedy

In practice, maintaining a WordPress website isn’t a piece-of-cake. The majority of netizens think that WordPress is just about knowing and incorporating themes, plugins and learning the basics of programming but it’s a far bigger thing than just plugins and themes. This being said, the Google Core Web Vitals does take into account how the code of WordPress (plugins, themes) have been optimized to provide a better user experience. In order to have a good ranking on Google Core Web Vitals, then you can use two methods:
  • You can use Autoptimize: A WordPress plugin used for easing up site optimization as it can minify, aggregate and cache scripts and styles and injects CSS in the page head by default. However, you can optimize JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and can minify your code to remove line breaks and spaces through the use of this WordPress plugin. Plus, it has performance options to let you test new features and functions. A notable advancement in this plugin is speed boosts through preloading CSS, inlining critical CSS, etc.
  • If this is beyond you and you do not have a team, then you can hire professional WordPress developers that offer these services.

4. Optimize your Images for Better Google Core Web Vitals Score

Badly optimized images are one of the reasons that WordPress sites score poorly in Core Web Vitals. Mostly, when WordPress websites are designed and developed, they use high-res and unnecessary images that take more than required time. Optimizing these images can result in a better Google Core Web Vital Score.

5. Improve your Fonts and Icons

If you want to automate handling of your fonts then I will recommend you to use Autoptimize, especially, if you use Google Fonts. In particular, you can preload Google Fonts to avoid ‘flash of unstyled text’ that spoils cumulative layout shifts. This is just a very basic list of things that you can do to improve your Google Core Web Vital Score. Once you run the test, you will get a full analysis of your WordPress website which you can then use to improve your website.

Going Forward….

A lot of WordPress website owners come to us with one thing in mind – improve the speed of the website. Although it is one of the most common aspects of any user experience, it is not the only element that is taken into consideration by the Google algorithm when it comes to search rankings. In order to run an optimized WordPress website, it is important to continuously maintain it by doing periodic analysis of the website and using a team of experts at WP-Bridge is the best way to do this if you want to rank high on Google Core Web Vitals.

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