Before you start this post, you’ll want to read What Bloggers Need To Know About Core Web Vitals. It’ll make more sense with the context!
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Now you’re feeling more prepared to tackle Google Core Web Vitals, there’s a whole new decision to make: how it fits into your strategy and available time. As the classic Jurassic Park quote goes, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
How much time you should spend on improving your Google Core Web Vitals scores depends on where you’re starting from with user experience and site speed. If your WordPress posts and pages take 15 seconds to load and your Core Web Vitals numbers are coming back poor (as measured by a waterfall testing tool), you likely want to put a lot of effort into improving those figures.
If your WordPress blog posts take, say 5 seconds to load or less, and your Core Web Vitals are looking decent, you likely want to check over them to identify any quick wins, but not spend hours working on speed. Remember, your visitors won’t be waiting that full 5 seconds for your page to load; they’ll start interacting with it as soon as they see something.
This is a strategy we recommend for bloggers and solo website owners because you always have so many other things to do that are more important. If your site speed and Core Web Vitals metrics are already pretty good, improving them further is highly unlikely to move the needle for you as much as another task that has less instant gratification but much more substantial long term results, for example creating new content, dramatically improving content and keyword research for old posts, and link building.
People get super obsessed with site speed, especially when everyone seems to be talking about it, but it’s a very, very small factor. The most successful bloggers we see don’t spend a ton of time (or money) on site speed; they work off the basics such as great image optimization.
5 reasons not to panic about Core Web Vitals
Although it’s generally a good idea to follow Google’s advice, especially when they mention something is a ranking factor, some caution is required as to how much time you as a blogger spend on this. This is because:
01. Google is never going to freely reveal a lot of info on super important, highly significant parts of their algorithm – it would just make it too easy for people to beat. For that reason, you want to think of Core Web Vitals and site speed in general as one of hundreds of ingredients in a very complex recipe. Working on site speed/UX alone won’t help you rank well in Google, in the same way that just beating some eggs won’t result in a three tier wedding cake.
Many people let it distract them from what’s really important, or see site speed as the reason they’re not ranking well in Google when it’s more often because they’ve chosen a super competitive keyword, they don’t have enough high quality backlinks, or they just need to create more, high quality content. If you’re not familiar with SEO, here’s a good all-round breakdown for bloggers to get you started. If you’re vaguely familiar with SEO but you want to dive much deeper and learn everything you need to know as a blogger, we have a very comprehensive, very affordable course for that called Navigating SEO.
02. You’re just one person with many hats. You may be a co-owner of a blog, you may have virtual assistants, you may even have a small full-time team. But Google is providing this information to cover a whole range of other website types and people too – professional web developers, large corporations, companies who have whole teams of people who work on user experience full time.
Someone who is paid to work on site speed as a full time job is going to work on every last kilobyte and millisecond. You don’t want to do that, because you have a whole bunch of other things to do that will push the needle a lot more for you on your search engine rankings and/or income (e.g. publishing content, updating old posts, keyword research, link building, relationship building, product and service creation, working with brands and so on).
A lot of the advice out there is tailored for tech people with a laser focus on improving these metrics. As long as yours are reasonable, that’s totally fine. The last thing you want to do is start reading a bunch of techy articles and freaking yourself out because you don’t understand them (in some cases, even the people writing them don’t really understand them!). Just take a deep breath and follow the the advice in this post.
03. While it’s a good idea to make sure your site isn’t running frustratingly slowly, there’s a maximum ceiling of how fast any site can be (additionally, your brain literally can’t process anything faster than around 400 milliseconds, so under a certain threshold humans literally cannot comprehend speed differences).
If everyone on the internet only created text-based sites, not only would this be super limiting (especially for things like recipes and travel where people expect and judge you on photos), but Google still wouldn’t be able to use it as a deciding factor for ranking sites because everyone’s site would basically be pretty close to the same speed and everyone would use the same web host.
For this reason, speed is never going to be the be all and end all. You want to focus on your blog being not slow (as opposed to being the fastest it can possibly be – you’d have to remove all images and ads for that to happen, speed optimization would take far too much of your time than it’s worth, and your rankings may even drop if people find your pages boring or assume your content isn’t what they’re looking for and don’t stick around).
Google, and your audience, and the people and brands you work with, don’t want you to be spending hours shaving 0.1 second off a site speed metric instead of creating great content.
04. Tests don’t always correlate with real life. When you’re testing your site using a Google tool and you see worse scores for Mobile, don’t worry. Google uses a slow 3G connection for testing, and with most of the world on faster speeds than 3G, the reality of your users’ experience will be very different, plus Google loves to use real-world data (from Chrome users, for example).
05. Other factors that make up your search engine rankings aren’t going anywhere. Google themselves say, “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.” (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/page-experience).
Of course speed is good to consider and understand yourself as a site owner so you can make great decisions for your website, and user experience is super important, but nothing is more important than your content and message.
Conclusion? If your site has good Core Web Vitals numbers or close enough, draw a line under it and move on to something else. If you’re a Lyrical Host customer and you have questions about Core Web Vitals after reading our posts about it, please raise a support ticket and our team will take a look at your site, give advice and answer your questions.
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