Hot on the blog: In the dark about Google’s Core Web Vitals Update? Here's all you need to know

WordPress Builders are in Trouble with Google Core Web Vitals Update

  • The Google “Core Web Vitals” update may be the most important ranking factor of 2021
  • WordPress site owners are dropping Elementor, WPBakery, and Divi as they fail to pass the speed test
  • Slow page builders are in trouble as customers prioritize fast user experience.

WordPress website owners are gearing up to be ready for May 2021, when Google is expected to make core web vitals a major ranking factor. Some sites that do not meet the thresholds for core web vitals are already reporting a loss of ranking.

Suppose you have heard about this new Google Core Web Vitals project but unsure how it connects to your WordPress site. This post is going to cover everything you need to know about Core Web Vitals and WordPress.

In case you have no idea what the Core Web Vitals project is and why it matters for your business, you can check In The Dark About Google’s Core Web Vitals Update? Here’s all you need to know?

The greatest obstacle WordPress site owners encountered to date?

Those beautiful page builders.

Websites built with WordPress page builders like Elementor, WPBakery, and Divi and ready-to-use themes are the slowest and, honestly, almost impossible to obtain a good overall core web vital score. You will ask why? 

Simply because they come with lots of codes, plugins and elements that you will never use but make your WordPress website heavy. 

The page builders are slow by nature, and despite all the “optimization” tips in the world, they just cannot compete for speed and page experience.

Recently, we received a request from an ecommerce website built with a WordPress theme. The website had so many technical issues that the cost of improving every aspect of the website with a non-guaranteed result far exceeded the cost of reworking the whole website.

The truth? Elementor and many other ready-to-use themes are slowly becoming obsolete in light of Google’s announcement of their new Core Web Vitals. Website owners are now forced to find better, faster alternatives.

Many WordPress site owners’ endgame is to say goodbye to their favorite theme builder in exchange for lighter, faster solutions like Guttenberg.

However, if you’re starting a new website or a blog and still want to use a builder, you should go with Oxygen builder because it is the most light-weighted page builder.

Is my WordPress website affected by Core Web Vitals?

To know for certain how your website measures up to the new ranking signal, you could use Google’s Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights tools to get information and recommendations about Core Web Vitals.

Google Search Console now also provides a dedicated report to help you identify areas for improvement.

I also recommend starting the audit of your page with web.dev/measure. It’s a very useful tool that will give you an overview of the elements in order of priority.

Tips to improve Core Web Vitals in WordPress

After you’re done testing your Web Vitals, you should have a clearer picture of which metrics could be better.

Let’s take a look at the various ways you can improve the Core Web Vitals on your WordPress site.

  • Uninstall bulky page builders like Elementor, WPBakery, and Divi
  • Choose fast hosting – hosting affects server responsiveness, which plays a big role in optimizing your WordPress website.
  • Make sure your server has gzip optimization enabled, and your server caching policies are set correctly.
  • Update your PHP version, make sure your server is running PHP 7.3 or 7.4. If your hosting can enable opcache for you, this will be even better in terms of performance
  • Remove Unwanted Slow Loading Plugins – install Query Monitor, and it will show which plugin causes your WordPress to load slow.
  • Set up page caching plugins like WPRocket – page caching also speeds up how quickly your server can respond. WP Rocket enables this automatically.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) for global audiences – if you have a global audience, a CDN can speed up your LCP time for visitors around the world. You can use a tool like Cloudflare.
  • Use Image CDN – WP Compress is one such plugin that uses Google CDN to deliver images across the globe. There are few more plugins like Optimole in the market, but WP Compress is perfect for the job.
  • Reduce JavaScript Execution – Ideally, you should manually control the JS and CSS files in your theme by loading the different libraries and scripts only on the pages that need them. If you are not comfortable making such changes to the code, you can use plugins like PerfMatters or WP Asset Clean up, and they will do the job for you. Load any of your pages and Click on Script Manager. With the new window, the plugin list all the CSS/JS loaded on the page, and you can simply turn off whichever is not needed.
  • Host web fonts locally – If you are using Google fonts, and someone visits your site, a request is made to load fonts from a third-party source. Use the OMGF plugin, which not only helps to host your fonts locally but also preloads fonts. 
    • If you don`t care about really old browser support, you can reduce the font size by loading only the woff and woff2 font versions.
    • Extra tip: for even more optimization, you can consider loading your fonts inline in your CSS by converting them to base64 code. Yes, this will increase the CSS file size, but it will save you HTTP requests, and it can help optimize the load experience because your fonts will be loaded with the critical CSS. 
  • Use lazyload as much as possible. Important tip: make sure all images above the fold are not affected by the lazyloading plugin you use.
  • Break up assets into smaller chunks
  • Reduce the overall page size
  • Move away from JPG to WebP image
  • Stop cutting corners on web development: hire a genius!

The 2021 SEO budget should include on-site technical issues

2021 will not be a year to cut corners with on-site technical factors. Keeping in mind the millions of dollars that companies spend on SEO (on-site, content creation, link building, outreach etc.), it is worth it to spend just a few thousand to deal with Core Web Vitals. Plug the leaking holes in your expense bucket by taking good care of Core Web Vitals before May this year.

Request a FREE technical SEO audit of your website or ecommerce

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Valentin Dzhebarov

Valentin Dzhebarov

Managing Partner

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