Since the inception of the Google search engine, there have been many updates aimed at improving the quality of websites and improving the user experience with them. Thus, the search engine seeks to show people the most comfortable, useful, informative and beautiful resources.
We are all familiar with Google's Panda and Penguin algorithms, launched in 2011 and 2012 to combat low-quality content and junk backlinks. A year later, Hummingbird appeared, helping search bots to recognize content and understand the meaning of published content. In 2015, Rank Brain was launched, capable of analyzing human behavior and comparing content with TOP resources in a niche. In 2016, the Possum algorithm appeared, focused on local search for regional queries. In 2018, mobile pages received priority in ranking, since they began to be taken into account by the system as the main ones due to the implementation of the Mobile-Friendly Google algorithm.
As you can see, every 1-2 years Google introduces new algorithms to motivate developers to create quality websites. Otherwise, if there is slag and garbage in the search results, people will start using another search engine, and Google would suffer losses in this case.
On the other hand, webmasters and SEO-optimizers regularly have to adjust to the new requirements of the search engine in order to reach the top positions in the results and attract the maximum number of people to the site. And now, in 2020, a new Google Page Experience algorithm has been announced - Core Web Vitals. It should be earned in 2021. Thanks to the early notification of the new update, we have time to prepare for it and optimize resources in accordance with the new requirements. What has Google come up with again? Let's figure it out together.
It is being implemented to determine the performance of Internet platforms based on real user experience. In fact, the speed of web resources used to be one of the ranking factors, but now its priority has increased markedly. Google's search algorithm Core Web Vitals will be able to analyze more information and directly influence the further ranking of online resources due to behavioral factors, which are an important signal for a search engine.
Google decided to thoroughly undertake the check of the speed of loading of web resources for a reason. Research has shown that users are 24% less likely to leave sites that meet the thresholds of the new algorithm. At the same time, 47% of people wait for the page to load up to 2 seconds, if this time increases to 3, the bounce rate increases by 32%, to 6 - by 106%, respectively. And this is relevant for any resource, even a landing page, even a large online store.
The above indicators are far from all that Google has been able to identify as a result of its research. Therefore, we will consider a number of factors that influence the download speed on the commercial efficiency of websites, confirmed by numbers that, alas, cannot be argued with.
70% of visitors leave slow web resources without waiting for their full load.
1 second of delay in displaying a relevant page reduces conversion by 7%.
79% of visitors dissatisfied with the performance will not visit the site again.
44% of users in case of slow work will share their negative experience with other people.
The number of purchases in online stores, where the delay during the transaction exceeds 2 seconds, is reduced by 87%.
The profit from advertising on mobile devices is halved for sites whose loading speed of the adaptive version exceeds 5 seconds.
Audience loyalty to fast online resources increases by 52%, while slow ones do not inspire confidence in the target audience, which leads to reputation losses of the promoted brand.
Users view 25% more ads on high-speed sites.
As you can see, marketing for slow web resources is not effective. Imagine you spent a large budget on Google promotion and got no result. This is because pages are slow to load and users leave them immediately without waiting for the content to be displayed. It turns out that the new Google algorithm of 2021 is not just another update, but an obvious need. After all, the struggle for TOP positions in each niche is getting stronger, and it is important for a search engine to show people convenient and productive sites.
To measure performance, Core Web Vitals uses three comparable metrics, which, in fact, will become the ranking factors in the next year, affecting the place of the page in the organic search results of Google.
Let's get acquainted with them in more detail:
LCP - Rendering Large Content Elements - Largest Contentful Paint. A metric for assessing the loading speed of the main content of the page, for example, a banner, video, large text block. 2.5 seconds is considered a good result. The maximum allowable is 4 s.
FID - Communication Delay - First Input Delay. Site interactivity metric. Shows how quickly the page becomes available after loading. The optimal FID is 100 ms, the threshold is 300 ms.
CLS - Visual Stabilization - Cumulative Layout Shift. Metric for estimating the speed of layout recovery. Perhaps you have noticed on some websites that the layout elements are displaced immediately after opening. So, it takes time for the layout to stabilize, and it's good if it is 100 ms. When rendering takes more than 250ms, this is a bad indicator.
To check the performance and compliance of your online platform with the new Google algorithm, use special services such as Pingdom Tools, GTmetrix, Loadimpact, or Google's PageSpeed Insights. Not only do they show a percentage of 0 to 100% responsiveness, they also report issues that prevent your site from speeding up. Among the most common problems are the presence of resources that block the display of content, outdated image formats, unused scripts and CSS styles, incorrect server response time.
It's actually not difficult to do this, and we have a few guidelines to help you accelerate your website and improve its search engine rankings:
Enable and configure caching. This will speed up the user's access to the pages that he has visited before.
Optimize images, reduce the size of large images, but do not overdo it, optimization should not be at the expense of quality.
Reduce the number of user requests to the database, adjust the server response time.
Use Gzip scripts to compress data.
Use only high-quality and fast hosting.
Try to avoid redirects. If you drive a visitor through the pages for a long time, he will eventually not like it and he will leave your resource.
Use a CDN. Content delivery networks make it possible to distribute it among several servers, so that files and data are transmitted to the visitor in shorter paths, which speeds up the work of an online resource.
Use modern web technologies that meet the requirements of the CLP metric of the new Google algorithm. A study by Sistrix found that 85% of sites that meet the Core Web Vitals standards use the Ruby on Rails framework. The PHP frameworks Yii - 74% or Laravel - 73% also performed well. As you can see, it's not about the programming language, but about the way the project is implemented. As for AMP technology, about 70% of analyzed sites meet the CLP metric. Oddly enough, the worst is the case with the Google Angular framework. Less than 50% of the online resources using it meet the Core Web Vitals requirements.
As you can see, the focus of the new ranking factor is on the technical side of the web resource, the technologies and software used. And if you delve into the essence, then the story with the new algorithm is generally not about SEO, unlike most of the previous major updates.
Now the convenience of user interaction with a web resource is becoming the key. It is not enough to create a good and beautiful website in 2021; you need to create a fast website. And regularly monitor it, because any changes can affect the speed of work and ranking. As with everything in SEO optimization, performance improvement should be an ongoing process, not a one-off event. Unfortunately, many site owners have long neglected loading speed, considering this aspect of the work to be secondary. However, when diving into this process, it becomes clear that you need to put a lot of effort, and sometimes completely redo the website from scratch in order to get an excellent assessment of the new Google algorithm. Nevertheless, the effort invested is worth it, because not only the search engine will be satisfied, but also real visitors to your resource. And we recommend starting to accelerate this year.