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Demystifying Core Web Vitals: Webinar

If you’re as obsessed with optimizing WordPress websites for search (SEO) as we are at Vital, you won’t want to miss this recent webinar hosted by WPEngine and featuring our very own Director of Development, Matt Chase. The topic? Demystifying Core Web Vitals for WordPress.

According to Google, “Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.” In other words, they measure how fast your site loads, how long it takes for it to respond to user actions, and how much (or little) your site graphics shift around as the page loads. As a direct ranking factor for Google, Core Web Vitals are an essential piece of any website’s SEO strategy.

We weren’t shocked when WPEngine tagged Matt to be on their webinar panel. After all, he’s been developing websites since he was in high school. He’s Vital’s resident super-expert in WordPress frontend development. And, as a former elementary school computer teacher, he has a knack for making even the most challenging technical topics more accessible to regular humans.

Speaking of humans, as Matt puts it in the webinar, he “code(s) these sites for people.” It’s that focus on user experience that makes Core Web Vitals so interesting and important.

Ten Key Takeaways from the Webinar

1. Core Web Vitals are Crucial for SEO and Performance

Core Web Vitals are essential metrics for optimizing a WordPress website, particularly for SEO and overall site performance.

2. User Perception and Site Responsiveness

Core Web Vitals measure a site’s perceived performance, emphasizing factors such as responsiveness, interactivity, and stability. User perception is key beyond just SEO scores.

3. Importance of Fast Page Speed

Fast page loading times are critical for user experience and conversions. Slow-loading sites are more likely to lose visitors and potential business, especially on eCommerce platforms.

4. Tools for Measuring Core Web Vitals

Matt and company recommend Google’s Page Speed Insight Tool, in-browser Lighthouse, and Search Console’s page user experience tool for measuring Core Web Vitals. Tracking real user metrics is also emphasized for quicker reactions to performance issues.

5. Performance Management Strategies

Lazy loading, deferring loading, and caching (browser caching, object caching, page caching) are effective strategies for improving Core Web Vitals. Managing above-the-fold render and selective plugin usage is crucial for optimization.

6. Image Optimization and Responsive Images

Optimizing images, including compression, CDN usage, and lazy loading, is essential. Serving responsive images is important for improved Core Web Vitals, considering the mobile-first nature of the measurements.

7. JavaScript and CSS Optimization

Minimizing JavaScript and CSS during build steps and careful use of plugins, such as WP Rocket, for script delay features, are recommended. Developers should consider the impact of critical CSS on site performance.

8. WordPress-Specific Optimizations

Leveraging WordPress features such as the Block Editor, native lazy loading, and using performance plugins like WP Rocket boosts Core Web Vitals scores. The CMS’ open-source nature and support from dedicated WordPress hosting providers make optimization easier.

9. Client Engagement and Education

As a client, it’s crucial to be involved in your site build from the design phase. A good web development agency will set expectations about potential impacts on Core Web Vitals and iterating performance improvements over sprints. In addition, your developer should be able to educate you on the difference between real user metrics and lab data.

10. Variability in Interactivity Metrics

Interactivity metrics, especially in terms of variations, can be challenging to explain. Non-technical folks might find it difficult to understand the fluctuations in interactivity scores, requiring additional effort in education and communication.

Visit WPengine for a full transcript of the webinar.

Are your website’s Core Web Vitals helping or hurting your SEO and user experience? To find out, fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch shortly to start the conversation about our free SEO audits and other website performance optimization services.

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