We don’t know exactly how much time you have to prepare for Google’s Core Web Vitals update, but you do have time.
Google has officially stated that the update is slated for some time in 2021 and that they will give us at least 6 months of notice. But there is no reason to wait to take action.
We know the update is coming and (essentially) what it is. That means that we can start planning and executing right now. You can take a look at everything that needs to be done, then determine whether or not you need to bring in a WordPress web development services expert to help you update your site.
The first step is to fully audit your site and see where you need to make improvements. And these are the tools that you should use to do it.
1. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
If your site has been developed/ launched in the last 3 years, it’s most likely mobile-friendly, but you should still run this test to be on the safe side.
If your site is over 3-years-old, you should definitely run this test as soon as possible.
Mobile-friendliness is a key ranking signal, yet a shocking amount of websites are still lagging behind in this area. In fact, recent statistics show that:
- Roughly 24% of the world’s top 1,000,000 sites are not mobile-friendly
- A staggering 70% of small business websites are not mobile-friendly
That second stat is truly shocking. Even if you try to justify an antiquated desktop site by saying that your customers don’t care about your mobile site, you need to know that Google very much does.
2. Google`s Core Web Vitals Report (Google Search Console)
You’re also going to see a full Core Web Vitals report in your Search Console and you need to make sure you read all of it.
You will see a number of metrics, graded on a scale of “Poor, Needs improvement, Good.” Anything poor or needing improvement is actually probably already hurting you in the rankings, and will definitely hurt you after the next update.
Use this report to create your to-do list.
3. PageSpeed Insights
Speed has always been incredibly important in the world of SEO, and it gets more important every year. It’s also a crucial part of your website’s bounce rate.
In fact, statistics show us that:
- Increasing your page’s load time from 1 to 3 seconds lifts your bounce rate by 32%
- Increasing from 1 to 6 seconds lifts your bounce rate by 106%
Site owners, webmasters, and marketers are going to have to look at their web properties’ speeds in a whole new light.
We’re now no longer just worried about load time. We’re now actively worried about your site’s:
- Loading: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Interactivity: First Input Delay (FID)
- Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
How long does it take the biggest asset on your page to fully load? How long until the user is able to click on something? Is a delayed layout shift probably going to cause your visitors to accidentally click on the wrong button or link?
This collection of microseconds can add up to a macro-difference.
Lighthouse can help you audit your site’s speed, and flag any of the other usability issues that could hurt you.
What type of issues should you be looking for? Google has said that the following things will be a part of the Core Web Vitals Update:
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines
Does your site look and function properly on a mobile? Is your site safe and secure for users? Do you have a big interstitial ad that’s preventing users from doing anything?
If you’re already experiencing difficulties in any of these areas, you’re probably already being held back by them. These simple usability metrics should be considered absolute must-haves in today’s digital marketing landscape.
These tools are all powered by Google and Google says that they’re working with third-party companies to make sure that their tools can properly integrate. Your favorite web measurement tool will likely have some sort of Core Web Vitals integration very soon.
In the meantime, these tools will give you a head start if you begin using them right now. It’s important to be prepared for any Google update. At the very least, you need to be more prepared than your competitors.