Let’s cut the long story short: you cannot bypass your competition in terms of rankings by bypassing Google’s page experience requirements. You need to adhere to each one of them. This is exactly where Core Web Vitals (CWV) come into the picture. Even though CWV have been around for a long time, they officially became a ranking factor back in 2021. By February 2022, Google had fully rolled out this change to all mobile and desktop searches. And that means things like how quickly the largest image or piece of text on your website loads (Largest Contentful Paint), how quickly your site responds to a user’s input (First Input Delay), and how stable the page is after rendering (Cumulative Layout Shift) become all the more important. Without further ado, here are top 4 tips to optimising your site’s Core Web Vitals in 2023.
Dial up the image-load priority to high
You can play around with the images that cause the Largest Contentful Paint, and therein lies the secret, and the first tip. By default, images on a page are set to load on a low-priority basis. It is because the browser can’t tell the difference between whether the image is a hero-image or a small thumbnail that appears in the most insignificant part of the page. That means the browser will naturally wait longer to load those images unless you set the fetchpriority=”high” attribute. This is a nifty little tip that will have the browser load up the images on high priority, quickly.
Keep an eye out for render-blocking resources
High-quality speed tests are your best buds
Nothing will send your users running away quickly in search of better options than the speed with which your website loads. Not only is it extremely frustrating for everybody, but it also impacts your Core Web Vitals negatively, which in turn brings down your site’s rankings and traffic. To tackle this imperative issue, you must run high-quality speed tests frequently and identify, isolate, and rectify issues that might be causing slow page-load times. That Google places high importance on site speeds when determining which sites should land on the top of the search results should be motivation enough to do the needful.
Let Safari take your website out on a ride
It is no secret that downloading web images takes up a lot of bandwidth and not many browsers have made any real progress. Yes, they are slowly getting there but as we said, the progress has been lethargic. However, there is an exception — Safari. Luckily for us, Safari has introduced support for the compact AVIF image format which can significantly speed up websites by encoding the same amount of information in smaller files. It’s a win-win as we see it. So get on it straight away.
Now that the way forward is clear, you need to monitor your website’s Core Web Vitals consistently over time to ensure everything is running smoothly. Not only will it help you keep a tab on what performance optimisations are really working for you but also alert you when something goes off the rail. As enough time passes, you can go back to where you started and determine how far you’ve come and how much further you need to be. Happy optimising!