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Google’s Core Web Vitals: Mumbo Jumbo or Worth an Investment in 2021?

Google is Judging Your Website's User Experience

Google Search Home

Google’s Core Web Vitals:
Mumbo Jumbo or Worth an
Investment in 2021?

At The Creative Company, we spend a significant amount of time helping clients with their brand messaging. Sometimes this is during a crisis, but most often it is for those regular communication channels that we all use and enjoy: email, websites, and social media. For many of our clients, people discover them through organic search (those not affected by advertiser payments) and Google.

Have you ever wondered how Google answers the question,

“Should we list this website toward the top of this Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for this search?” 

Part of the answer to that question is the website’s “Core Web Vitals”, and beginning in 2021, will be among a group of factors impacting Google’s ranking algorithm.

Core Web Vitals are a set of measurements taken by Google that reflects how Google interprets the quality of your website’s user experience. The days when it was all about the business are long gone. We are now most definitely in a customer-centric world.

Because Google cares about these metrics and Google has plans to make ‘site experience’ an official Google Ranking Factor, we must pay attention. However, the decision to invest in improving your website’s core web vitals may depend on how a small change in your Google ranking will impact your bottom line.

As we discuss strategies for 2021, just how important is having a “green” 90+ core web vitals rank to your business?

This is precisely the question we asked on one of our recent projects.  A “Page Speed Insight” snapshot is below showing that the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is high.

Should we advise the client to invest in improving the metric even though the overall performance is very good?

Google Watching 1

This question got us wondering, are the bigger websites paying attention to these metrics? Certainly, our local media does not.

Google Watching 2

What about a local, prominent technology business?

Google Watching 3

What about eCommerce sites?
Shopify’s main site is dialed-in across the board for performance.

Google Watching 4

As you can see from the variations of these prominent websites, the waters are a little muddy. But Google will be including these user experience metrics in their ranking algorithm.

If your business is built on selling commodities with a brand differentiation focused on customer service, consider testing and investing in performance improvements now through early 2021.

For other B2B organizations, you should know your core web vital numbers. If one number is high but your overall score is good, then “watch and wait”. But if your overall performance number is low and your vitals are not healthy, you should be looking into the issues and finding solutions now.

What about the specific client website referenced above? For today, we’re going to “watch and wait” and concentrate on the bigger picture.

If you have a WordPress site, please stay tuned as next month we’ll walk through a real-world scenario using the most commonly available services to improve performance, and by design, your user’s experience. We will specifically look at a website with embedded videos from YouTube, large images, various Google tracking codes, and parallax sections.


Craig Hadley, 
Content Experience Analyst

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