As an Ecommerce Merchant you will have seen dozens of Google algorithms come and go.
The latest one, Core Web Vitals, is solely focused on a user’s experience of your Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) Website and it’s getting a lot of attention – because a good score can deliver big benefits to your bottom line, whilst a low score can have a huge negative impact on your business.
As a Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) store owner, the first thing you need to know is that Google began rolling out these changes in May, 2021. Essentially what they mean is that moving forward Google will be using a new set of metrics to help them measure and quantify user experience. These metrics are referred to as Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals are meant to indicate a user’s ‘page experience’. Optimising your store for these ‘vitals’ will help you create a better user experience for anyone visiting your website.
And that’s a good thing for you, your customers and Google.
In this article we’ll explain what Core Web Vitals are and how you can optimise them to help you delight your future customers (create a better user experience).
What does Google want?
Whilst Google isn’t the only search engine kid on the block, it’s fair to say, it’s the one that matters most. Estimates put Google’s share of the search engine market at over 90% worldwide – which is probably not surprising to you – where do you go when you need to find something?
Google is where your customers search, which means if you want to be competitive, boost awareness and drive revenue growth in your business, you need to rank well in Google’s search results.
And here is the question online businesses have been asking for years.
What does Google want from me in order to rank my business well in search results?
Keep this in mind, Google is a business too. It likes being number one. And it got there by valuing its users. Google’s goal has always been to deliver the best results for any search query. And in Google land that requires you to do more than rewarding searches with an answer to their question.
A good SEO strategy in Google’s eyes is one that has you serving up top-quality, relevant content on your website (including products users want to buy from you), whilst providing visitors to your site with a high quality user experience.
How does Google measure a good user experience?
Google uses a set of metrics to measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond the content found there.
Google has identified seven factors that you can focus on to help improve a user’s experience:
- Mobile friendliness
- Safe browsing (detects unsafe sites)
- HTTPS/SSL, or encryption (keeping communications online secure)
- Intrusive interstitials (pop up ads)
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
If you’ve been an online business owner for any length of time, you’re likely to be somewhat familiar with the first four in this list. The last three relate to the latest update; they are Google’s Core Web Vitals and in order what they’re measuring is:
- Loading Speed
- Visual Stability
First Input Delay (FID)
Remember I said online shoppers are notoriously impatient? This comes into play with FID too.
FID helps measure the number of milliseconds (yes milliseconds) that it takes a user to interact with a page with a button click. FID measures the delay between, for example, a visitor clicking an interactive feature (like a button or expanding menu) and the page responding to the click.
How do you pass the FID test?
Google wants your page to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds. There’s quite a lot we can do to your Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) store to improve FID but if you’re failing the FID test, these aren’t things you can easily fix yourself – you’re probably going to need the help of a Developer to improve FID..
What does it mean for Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) merchants?
Out of the box Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) sites are fairly light on scripts. But with third party tracking scripts, review engines, live chat widgets, etc. your site can become unnecessarily heavy. For most Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) sites optimising for FID comes down to smartly loading third party scripts, as well as optimising the theme code.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures the visual stability of a page – or more specifically, how much the elements on a page move as the page loads. We’ve all experienced this unexpected shifting of content at some time. Common elements that will cause this are fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons and pop ups.
Google has identified that users don’t like this.
How do you pass the CLS test?
A good score for CLS, according to Google, is 0.1 or less.
There are a number of things that can cause CLS within your Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) store and as with FID working with your Developer to address them will be required in most cases. Some of the more simple things that affect CLS are:
- Images without dimensions
- Ads, embeds and iframes without dimensions
- Web Font issues
What does it mean for Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) merchants?
A lot of Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) themes don’t include explicit image sizes, so they jump all over the place. If you’re seeing this behaviour on your website, the fix could be as simple as adding image dimensions to your theme. Often though, (homepage) sliders suffer from this issue too and need a placeholder.
Core Web Vitals – Your Performance
Google categorises each Core Web Vital in the following way:
- poor (red)
- needs improvement (yellow)
- good (green)
And whilst you may need some help to improve your Core Web Vitals, there are some simple tools you can use to check them yourself.
You can use PageSpeed Insights to generate a performance report for each page of your store. This report includes recommendations for how you can improve the page.
Google Search Console now includes a Core Web Vitals report. The report shows URL performance grouped by status, metric type and URL group (groups of similar web pages).
GTMetrix is quick and easy way to analyse the Core Web Vitals for your site. Plug your url in and within a short amount of time you’ll have a report which scores your website and offers suggestions for improvements. We recommend running this test twice using the retest option – as the GTMetrix server is located in Canada and this may affect your results somewhat. Retesting will give you a more accurate result.
Prepare to Optimise your Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) Store for Core Web Vitals
As a Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) store owner you already have an out-of-the-box optimised solution for selling your products online. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement and that’s where our Maropost Commerce Cloud (Neto) Website Tweaks can be so useful to you right now.
As Developers we have access to some additional tools that will help us to measure the performance of your store against Google’s Web Core Vitals. We’ll identify any underperforming areas and provide solutions to help you improve the user experience of your store, so you can continue to offer your customers the best user experience possible. Your customers and Google will love you for that!