// This is a guest post from Andrew Durot at Ecomexperts, a specialized e-commerce development agency//
Earlier this month, (June 2021), Google released an update called Core Web Vitals. It impacts how your Shopify store performs in Google search ranking results. It’s nothing to be scared of, but there are measures you should take to ensure your Shopify store performs as well as it can.
The update is called Core Web Vitals and is a set of performance metrics Google will use to assess your store’s user experience. These metrics look at:
- The time it takes your website to load
- How much shift there is as it loads
- How quickly it responds to user interaction
A strong score in these categories will mean your Shopify store has consistently high rankings within Google’s search engine. A poor score could harm your traffic.
If you’re confused by anything so far or don’t know how you’ll be affected, let’s break it down.
What Are Google Core Web Vitals?
Before improving your store’s rank positions, it is essential to understand what Google Core Vitals are. These Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics to understand how users experience speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page based on real experience.
These new Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), aim to improve targeted user experience by monitoring and improving loading speed, responsiveness, and stability.
The technical details
Google Core Web Vitals tracks a variety of real-world user interactions on your site to calculate your average page speed and performance scores. These have a direct impact on your search performance and include:
- Largest Contentful Paint measures how fast the largest content on a website loads. It measures how long it takes for rich content such as images, graphics, and videos to load.
For a website to pass a Core Web Vitals test, content must load in less than 2.5 seconds. The LCP is responsible for 25% of your site’s Google Performance Score.
- First Input Delay assesses the speed it takes a website to respond to user input, i.e., button clicks.
To pass the Core Web Vitals test, your web page must respond in less than 100 milliseconds. This metric is responsible for 25% of your Google Performance Score.
- Cumulative Layout Shift assesses the website’s consistency and how often items shift out of place as new ones are loaded.
To pass a Key Web Vitals test, a web page must receive a score of less than 1. In addition, it accounts for 5% of your Google Performance Score here. So, with this update, Google wants to ensure that websites ranked in the top positions on the search engine provide users with the required level of user experience.
How Core Web Vitals update impacts site conversions
Numerous studies have shown that there is a relationship between good user experience and conversions.
Longer page load times have also been proven to be a major cause of increased bounce rates, and poor user experience makes it difficult for your site to rank. As a result of this Google algorithm update, Google will add a badge in search results to sites with good page experience.
“We believe that providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful to users in choosing the search result that they want to visit. On results, the snippet or image preview helps provide topical context for users to know what information a page can provide.”- Google.
Measuring Core Web Vitals
In the new Google Core Web vitals update, there are several ways to check how your store scores:
- Google Page Speed
- Lighthouse Report
- Google Search Console Page Experience Report
Google Pagespeed Insights Tool
Assess your store for your Core Web Vitals performance using the Google Pagespeed Insights Tool. Add your URL, and wait for your results to see if your store passes using aggregate data collected the previous 28 days.
Google Lighthouse Report
Alternatively, measure using Google Lighthouse. Open the tool in a Chrome Browser, right-click the window, click “inspect”, “Lighthouse” and “Generate Report”. In the window on the right, choose performance score to see stats for each core web vital. This is page shows stats for each Core Web Vital and how they are calculated.
Google Search Console Page Experience Report
To view your Shopify store’s performance across 7 seven metrics and Core Web Vitals through field data from Chrome User Experience Report, use the Google Search Console Page Experience Report. This report shows data strictly from the lab.
What you should do now
With the new Google Algorithm update, site performance has more bearing on determining search rank positions. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to make sure your site loads quickly.
To optimize your Shopify store, start by identifying the problems causing slow site speed.
- Large images
- Numerous apps
- Incomplete or missing code
- Numerous tracking tags
To fix these problems, run a speed test to identify any issues. From there, try to implement these tactics:
- Conducting regular performance analysis
- Consider reducing the number of apps used on your Shopify store by using one app with multiple features
- Compress Images
- Reduce HTTP Requests
- Reduce the number of apps installed
- Organize Tracking Code with Google Tag Manager
- Minimize Redirects and Broken Links
As these changes come into effect, monitor your site’s traffic for any performance issues. Keep in mind Google measures website performance based on a 28-day cycle, so significant changes may not immediately impact your score.
You don’t have to go at it alone, though. If you’re struggling with improving your score, reach out to a specialized development agency, who can help ensure your Shopify store gives visitors the best customer experience.
About The Author
Andrew Durot lives and breathes ecommerce. After his time at Airbnb, he founded ecomexperts.io– a world-leading speed performance agency. Andrew and his team specialize in Shopify store speed and site performance.