It has been over a year since Google dropped the bombshell that got everyone in the eCommerce world scrambling. They announced that by mid-June to early August, they would be updating their Core Web Vitals, which meant significant change in Google SEO and how pages are ranked.
The major focus of this update was the change in Google's approach to serving their audience. In the new Core Web Vitals update, Google has chosen an extremely user-based approach, using site performance to determine page ranking. This means that by the time the update is effected, page rankings on Google will be judged by how well you prioritize your audience.
Now, what does this imply? If you are interested in leveraging SEO to increase your site traffic and conversions, gather round and listen close because we'll be revealing how the new Google Core Vitals update would affect your Shopify store, and most importantly, how to leverage on it.
What does the New Google Core Vitals Update Mean?
As always, Google loves a fast website, but this time, the requirements are a lot more specific. Instead of ranking websites based on overall page speed as usual, this time Google has selected specific parameters that contribute most to user experience.
Google has released a list of what it now considers priority when ranking websites and stores, these include:
- largest content paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
- Mobile Browsing
Of all the metrics mentioned, the first three are the most important ones that will in no time shape the eCommerce world, which is why we are going to look into them:
- Largest Content Paint (LCP): This parameter is one way to measure the loading time on your web page. Simply put, the LCP of your Shopify store is the time it takes for all of the content above-the-fold to load. That means google wants to know how quickly your customer gets to see your content after clicking on your website.
Since 75% of online consumers never scroll past the front page, this metric is beneficial for you and your business. With LCP, your search ranking is determined by the length of time it takes the largest content on your page to load. With this update, by focusing on getting your first impressions right, your page ranking increases, and you enjoy access to a larger audience.
- First Input Delay (FID): This metric measures how fast it takes for your website to respond to interaction. For example, the time it takes for your page to load after a user clicks a link or taps a CTA button.
Having a high First Input Delay leads to a surge in bounce rates, as customers are likely to click the back button and waltz out of your site if it takes too long for all of your commands to take effect.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures how often text and images on your site suddenly shift or move around. It is one of the ways Google assesses how enjoyable your site is. If a site loads inadequately, it tends to experience layout shifts.
These can be quite disorienting; your potential customer may have just been getting to the highlight of your article or blog post when the layout shift occurs. Now all of your buildups have gone to waste. Improving on your CLS does three people a favor; you, your customers, and Google.
How to Check for Your Core Web Vitals Status
This is probably the best time to use this phrase; Chaos is a ladder. And who is going to be climbing it? You, by the end of this article (hopefully).
Before you draw up a strategy to improve your Shopify site speed, you need to know where you currently stand.
Google Lighthouse, TestMyStoreSpeed and Pagespeed Insights are popular tools that can help you evaluate your store speed and the particular areas slowing down your Shopify Store on Google. These tools are excellent at analyzing site speed and detecting the thorn in your Store's speed.
- Google Search Console (GSC)- GSC grades websites in terms of Great, Needs improvement, and Poor. It is only accessible to verified websites in the Core Web Vitals Report of the search console.
- Lighthouse and Chrome Dev Tools- If you are worried about your pages' general welfare and want to quantify user experience, Lighthouse is the go-to guy.
- PageSpeed Insights- This tool can analyze your website page by page as opposed to accessing the whole web page.
- TestMyStoreSpeed- Using TestMyStorespeed, Shopify merchants can run detailed speed tests on their store, identifying areas of speed concern using the waterfall.
Preparing for the Update
Now that you know where you stand, you should be thinking about what areas need improvement. We earlier discussed the key metrics that Google will employ to rank websites. To stay on top of your game, you should focus on upgrading your website in that direction.
Here is how to use the Google update to increase your Shopify site's ranking on Google.
There are other ways to make your page load faster apart from conventional image compression. Making the most important elements of your page load first will improve the impact that your site makes.
- Reduce First Input Delay (FID)- If you want people to stay longer on your Shopify store or want them to buy the things you sell, you should not keep them waiting for too long. An FFID value of 100 milliseconds is considered good by many metrics and tools.
- Improving CLS- A CLS score of 0.1 or less is great news for your Shopify store. To get this score, care should be taken when inserting new content. Be careful not to insert them above older content, or else a layout shift will manifest itself. Also, all images, videos, and like material must have sizes attributed to them.
With this new update, Google has proved that it considers user experience to be of uttermost importance. This means that, your store must be be very responsive, providing users with excellent experience. Now that we have identified the key Core Web Vitals, you can now make the necessary changes or hire an experienced Shopify optimization agency to do the heavy lifting for you.