Understanding WordPress’s Integration of Core Web Vitals and Its Web Impact

4 min read

Find out about the significant updates to WordPress Core Web Vitals (CWV) in 2023 and the steps website owners should take to prepare for 2024.

Core Web Vitals passing rates for desktop and mobile users on WordPress have increased significantly in 2023 compared to the previous year’s gains.

Notable enhancements in metrics such as mobile LCP, CLS, FID, and TTFB have added to the overall performance gain.

The performance improvements made to WordPress are advantageous to the platform and the larger web ecosystem.

A significant turning point in website performance was reached in 2023 for the WordPress community when Core Web Vitals (CWV) demonstrated notable gains for desktop and mobile users.

This article explores the intricacies of these enhancements, their ramifications, and the changing web performance scene within the WordPress ecosystem.


What Do Core Web Vitals Measure?


Core Web Vitals encompass specific metrics to gauge user experience quality on web pages. These metrics, recognized as crucial ranking factors in Google Search, are part of Google’s broader Web Vitals initiative, emphasizing loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. They apply universally to all web pages, making them essential for site owners striving to measure and enhance their platforms.

The trio of primary metrics within Core Web Vitals includes:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which assesses loading performance. An optimal user experience is achieved when LCP occurs within 2.5 seconds of page initiation.
  2. First Input Delay (FID), measuring a page’s interactivity. A user-friendly experience is indicated by an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), evaluating a page’s visual stability. A positive user experience is maintained when CLS remains at 0.1 or below.

These metrics are meticulously crafted to be measurable in real-world scenarios, mirroring fundamental aspects of user experience.

Moreover, beyond these pivotal metrics, there exist other significant indicators:

  • Time to First Byte (TTFB) and First Contentful Paint (FCP) are crucial elements of the loading experience, aiding in diagnosing issues related to LCP.
  • Total Blocking Time (TBT) is pivotal for identifying potential interactivity problems affecting FID. While essential, they’re separate from the Core Web Vitals set due to either being non-field-measurable or not directly reflecting user-centric outcomes.


Enhanced WordPress Core Web Vitals in 2023


In 2023, WordPress witnessed substantial improvements in its Core Web Vitals (CWV). The mobile CWV passing rate surged 8.13%, from 28.31% to 36.44%. Simultaneously, the desktop CWV passing rate soared by 8.25%, progressing from 32.55% to 40.80%.

These advancements hold significance, especially considering the foundational values from which these percentages experienced growth.

In relative terms, the fresh passing rates mark an approximate 29% increase from the previous mobile rates and a 25% surge in desktop performance.

This progress outshines the improvements registered in the preceding year, where mobile CWV saw a 6.99% boost and desktop witnessed a 6.25% rise.

A visual representation in the form of a line chart delineates the gradual enhancement in WordPress’s mobile CWV passing rate throughout the year. Notably, a minor dip between March and April 2023 is depicted, attributed to alterations in the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) algorithm calculation.


Mobile CWV Metrics Show Progress


Significant strides are evident in the individual Core Web Vitals (CWV) metrics on mobile platforms. Although there’s a slight uptick in FID, its high passing rate mitigates concerns.

While not directly a Core Web Vital metric, the Time to First Byte (TTFB) holds importance for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and received particular focus in 2023. Impressively, the mobile TTFB passing rate saw a 3.10% enhancement, while the desktop rate experienced a 3.53% improvement.

The Influence of WordPress 2023 Releases


WordPress versions 6.2, 6.3, and 6.4 were geared towards enhancing load time performance, specifically targeting improvements in metrics like LCP and TTFB.

To gauge the impact of each release, data was meticulously gathered by comparing sites before and after updating to the new versions. While this method didn’t strictly follow an A/B comparison, it effectively minimized interference, offering more precise insights.

Notably, WordPress 6.2 exhibited a marginal 0.01% enhancement in mobile LCP and a more noticeable 0.65% improvement in mobile TTFB. Subsequently, version 6.3 demonstrated more substantial progress, showcasing a 4.72% increase in mobile LCP. The rollout of WordPress 6.4 also contributed to improvements, albeit with more modest gains.


The Influence of WordPress Core Web Vitals on the Web


Given WordPress’s extensive usage, its performance significantly shapes the broader web landscape. Notably, in 2023, WordPress’s advancements in CWV passing rates surpassed those of non-WordPress sites.

For instance, while non-WordPress sites experienced a 3.68% enhancement in mobile CWV passing rates, WordPress surged ahead with an impressive 8.13% improvement. This stark contrast underscores WordPress’s substantial contribution to elevating overall web performance.

March 2024 Introduces Interaction to Next Paint for WordPress

As 2024 approaches, WordPress braces for fresh challenges and prospects.

A significant shift on the horizon involves the substitution of the FID metric with Interaction to Next Paint (INP).

INP offers a more comprehensive assessment of interactivity, heralding an anticipation of reduced overall CWV passing rates upon implementation.


Adapting to the Evolving Core Web Vitals Landscape


For marketing professionals, keeping abreast of the latest Core Web Vitals developments is pivotal, considering their impact on website performance and SEO.

With the impending shift to INP in 2024, readiness for these transformations becomes imperative. Anticipating potential effects on website performance metrics is essential.

In light of this imminent change, WordPress developers and site owners should pivot toward optimizing for INP. Prioritizing INP involves fine-tuning your site to ensure swift and seamless user interaction responses.

Additionally, it’s prudent to delve into strategies for enhancing TTFB. This might entail optimizing hosting environments, employing caching tactics, adjusting content delivery networks, and transcending the focus solely on server response time within the WordPress core.

If navigating these complexities feels overwhelming, explore our monthly SEO packages. Our experts are here to guide you through and optimize your online presence.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]