The implementation of mobile-first indexing, which was long-awaited, is now finally upon us. That is to say, the search giant Google will disregard the content visible only on the desktop from this point onwards. For several years, mobile-first has been Google’s priority as user experience has become one of the most important things now, if not “the most important.”
Google will shortly roll out the Page Experience update as a whole now. According to the company, “page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.”
It comprises five main Search signals. Hopefully, you know at least four of these signals, including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial, as they have been effective for a while now. Google has rolled out and updated the guidelines for each of these as it is trying to keep up with the growing customer expectations.
Wondering what’s new now?
In May, the search engine will integrate signals derived from a new metric called Core Web Vitals (CWV) with the existing four Search signals for Page Experience. According to studies, some industries are more prepared for the upcoming Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals guidelines by Google compared to others.
However, we will get on to that in a while. Let’s first understand the Core Web Vitals opportunity and the relationship between the mobile-first index and this new set of metrics.
Understanding Core Web Vitals
Before proceeding any further, just to be clear, Core Web Vitals aren’t a guideline that could trigger a penalty if you fail to adhere to them. For example, Google considers cloaking as a violation of its Webmaster Guidelines, and if you get involved in its practice, you risk getting a Google penalty.
On the other hand, CWV is an opportunity. This means even if you fail to fulfill the thresholds for all the three primary areas of focus that form the Core Web Vitals signal, you still won’t get penalized by Google. However, you will end up missing out on the rankings boost that those who fulfill the required standards will get.
Curious to know what those standards are?
As per Google, simply fulfilling one or two of these goals won’t be enough. In order to see the rankings boost, all three must be met. So it’s more of a “do it for yourself” and less of a doing it out of the fear of penalty.
Mobile-First and Core Web Vitals Go Hand-in-Hand for Search UX
The guidelines of the existing safe browsing, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial signals are pretty straightforward. So either you are conforming to the guidelines, or you are not.
But on the other hand, core web vitals and mobile-first are a bit more complicated, comprising a larger volume of moving parts, and are therefore receiving the majority of webmaster attention since the May rollout is just around the corner. Website structure, hosting, image optimization, etc., can all affect the way your website loads on mobile.
Owing to its influence on local search experience, mobile-first has a colossal impact. Given that a vast majority of mobile searches have local intent, most businesses can’t afford to overlook how Google is emphasizing the mobile index. When local customers are out in their streets looking for businesses nearby that can fulfill their requirements, it is crucial for websites to have a lightning-fast loading speed.
While currently there is no way we can tell the impact the launch of Core Web Vitals will have on the ranking algorithm, as per reports, some industries are more prepared than others for the same. Considering that this update is coming out in less than a month now, it’s time to make sure your website is ready to adapt to this change in order to benefit from the rankings boost available via CWV.
Wrapping It Up
While CWV signals and the larger Page Experience set of metrics will surely be impactful, these are among the numerous other signals that indicate to Google that your website or page delivers a helpful, positive, and safe experience to the users. And well, as you probably know already, that’s the heart and soul of each update Google rolls out, and hence it should also be the driving force in your overall SEO strategy.
Here are a few takeaways that you should bear in mind as you prepare your website for Google’s Page Experience Update and implementation of CWV as the search engine’s ranking signals:
- The mobile experience has a significant impact, and therefore, websites must optimize for it across all industries.
- Image optimization and compression are proving to be a challenge for many businesses, which also presents a golden opportunity for those who can get it right.
- More informational pages fulfill CWV metrics compared to transactional pages.
- Retail brands might face higher volatility in SERPs, especially if second-tier retailers manage to take advantage of Page Experience and earn a rankings boost.
SEO and digital marketing professionals must start working on the right course of action now to fulfill the CWV benchmarks to make sure they don’t get left behind. Remember, the key is how you convey the potential effect of this forthcoming change to the decision-makers to get their buy-in. So go ahead and get on to it while there is still some time. We hope this helps!