What Core Web Vitals brought us

Summary: Some think it's here to annoy SEO specialists and developers. But Google got pagespeed on the map by introducing Core Web VItals. And despite ongoing changes, that's a good thing.

  • by Erwin Hofman
  • Published
  • Reading time ± 2 minutes
  • Core Web Vitals
What Core Web Vitals brought us

Core Web Vitals is a Google initiative, just like AMP. Ok, AMP wasn’t a success, but when it comes to Core Web Vitals, we could see it coming.

Fun fact: AMP wasn't even passing Core Web Vitals for a long time. But that's not what I want to talk about today.

A move by Google should've been expected

In short, we could see it coming as PageSpeed Insights already is around for a very long time. It was Google’s way to get more stakeholders invested into pagespeed of their sites and shops.

AMP was just another attempt to have agencies, merchants and publishers invested in pagespeed.

The AMP requirement for Google Top Stories got replaces by a positive Core Web Vitals assessment and even Twitter stopped linking to AMP pages. However, the best practices that are part of AMP would be best practices within any framework and stack. And especially publishers started adopting AMP back then. And let's be honest, most of those publishers could actually use faster and light weight article pages.

But when solely looking at Core Web Vitals, what are the positive take-aways of the introduction of Core Web Vitals?

Impact on bounce

Google basically did our homework here. Google didn't randomly came up with a few metrics to make life of SEO specialists and developers more difficult. They actually already started testing these metrics as of November 2019. Maybe even before. Based on their research, they got a hang of the impact on bounce rate. Google even transparently shared the different good, moderate and poor thresholds per metric. How convenient is that?

Impact on SEO

Before, we didn't really know if pagespeed actually impacted your SEO ranking. Now, via the Page Experience update, there actually is an impact towards SERP positioning. However, it still is one of many SEO factors and 'Page Experience' isn't even binary. You can already get a boost when only passing a few metrics.

Doing an even better job than Google's threshold won't result in more ranking benefit. Do note though that each performance improvement is likely to improve bounce and conversion rate. The exact improvement will depend on niche, type of audience et cetera.

Subject to change

I've seen companies complaining about Google bending the rules. But they might be looking at it the wrong way. For example, with Lighthouse, Google just had a better way of getting an idea of performance hygiene of a webpage. PageSpeed Insights then started using Lighthouse.

But this doesn't mean Google is calling it a day. Both user expectation as well as Google findings changes over time. They are even open to feedback, which leads to improved metrics. Both the CLS metric and LCP metric have seen big changes, and the FID metric will change as well in the near future.

Everyone is invested

Core Web Vitals got quite a bit of attention. A few merchants might actually be focussing on Core Web Vitals for the wrong reasons, such as preventing ranking loss while improving bounce should be the primary incentive.

However, Google did succeed in putting pagespeed and performance optimization on the roadmap. And, next to SEO specialists, it's now also developers, product owners, marketers and CTO's that are more aware of what is going on.

Free insights

We get historic and real user monitoring for free. What's not to like? Sure, it doesn't come with in-depth data about user, device, internet and server conditions and circumstances. But it's an easy to adopt beginning!

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