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RebelMouse Continues to Outperform Major Publishing Platforms in Core Web Vitals Report

RebelMouse Continues to Outperform Major Publishing Platforms in Core Web Vitals Report

Our continued prioritization of performance pays off

Core Web Vitals: The New Industry Standard

It has been a few years since Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Since then, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, has revealed how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. According to HTTP Archive's summary of the new dashboard, the Core Web Vitals Technology Report was created to match the assessment of Core Web Vitals in Google's PageSpeed Insights platform. This means that the results of HTTP Archive's report closely match how Google is actually measuring each site's Core Web Vitals.

The following is a chart that shows just how much RebelMouse sites outperform sites on other CMS platforms, including Adobe Experience Manager and WordPress, when it comes to Core Web Vitals. As you can see, RebelMouse consistently stays ahead of the competition.

RebelMouse outperforms major CMS platforms on Core Web Vitals metrics, according to data from HTTP Archive

What Are Core Web Vitals?

image of Core Web Vitals metrics with meters for good, needs improvement, and poor scores

Google’s benchmarks for Core Web Vitals.

Now that we understand how important Core Web Vitals are to your site's heath, let's dive deeper into the metrics that make up Google’s Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A website's LCP is the time it takes to load the main content on a page. Google wants LCP to happen within 2.5 seconds of when a page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): FID quantifies a user's experience when trying to interact with unresponsive pages. This usually occurs between First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Time to Interactive (TTI) (more on what these two mean can be found below). You want your FID score to be low to prove the usability of your site. According to Google, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS determines how often your users experience unexpected layout shifts or changes on a page. To ensure visual stability, you want your CLS score to be low. Google wants pages to maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1.

The other existing search signals are:

Together, all of these metrics determine Google's new page experience signals.

chart of Google\u2019s Core Web Vitals and search signals that make up its page experience

From Google.

Google says it will always consider informative, quality content as its number one search signal. However, if two websites both have quality content, but one site has better Core Web Vitals, the site with a better page experience will always outrank any site that isn’t optimized for performance.

"By adding page experience to the hundreds of signals that Google considers when ranking search results, we aim to help people more easily access the information and web pages they’re looking for, and support site owners in providing an experience users enjoy.” —From Google’s original page experience announcement in May 2020.

Click here to learn more about what it takes to improve your site’s Core Web Vitals.

How Do I Measure My Site's Performance?

Google's PageSpeed Insights tool will show your site's performance score

Having a quick load time and passing Core Web Vitals are important factors in Google Search’s rankings and results. But there are multiple ways of testing your speed and vitals, and it can get very confusing to try and understand the results since different measuring tools can result in different scores.

There are generally three ways to get your site's performance measurements:

Each of those three methods will give you important details on how your site is performing, but their results are derived using different methodologies.

Click here to learn more about how to accurately determine your site’s performance.

Why Does Page Speed Matter?

Google's PageSpeed Insights can provide a breakdown of how your site performs on each Core Web Vitals metric

The saying "Content is King" is still true in today's publishing landscape, but there's no kingdom without high-performing sites. While page speed may have begun as a luxury for savvy webmasters and lucky readers, it's now a make-or-break component that deeply impacts a site's longevity in a highly competitive and global space.

A high-performance site is so critical in today's digital ecosystem that a poor-loading site could be a fatal blow to any publisher or brand. Here are just a few ways poor page speed can impact your site’s bottom line.

Mobile Page Speed Impacts Overall SEO Ranking: Mobile devices account for more than 50% of web traffic. If a site's mobile page speed is slow, this means half of the users trying to access the site are not only suffering a poor experience, but they're likely abandoning the site visit completely. This puts the site in danger of losing positions in its Google Search rankings.

Poor Page Speed Makes Ads More Expensive: Much like with SEO, if your page performance is slow and prompting lost site visits, the ads being served on your site will receive lower impressions. Lower impressions mean the ads are more expensive to deliver, which costs revenue and users in a matter of seconds.

Poor Page Speed Tanks Usability and Loyalty: The health of your site will always be dependent on the experience you deliver to your readers. Usability is the core reason why Google decided to prioritize page speed. Slow load times are a sure-fire way to give your readers a reason to abandon your content. To make matters worse, thanks to the massive amount of content being created every day, users have plenty of other options to choose from and may be wary of clicking a link or CTA associated with your site in the future.

Your Site Can Crush Google's Core Web Vitals, Too

RebelMouse is a cloud-based, secure CMS that confidently hosts over 500 million pageviews across our site network each month. We help new media powerhouses and legacy brands alike make the most of the open web by growing traffic and building revenue without sacrificing user experience.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your site exceed the industry standard on Core Web Vitals, request a proposal today to get started.

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In the spring of 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Fast forward to more than a year later in August 2021 when, after much anticipation, Google's page experience update became official.

Since its rollout, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, frequently reports on how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse has consistently outperformed major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics throughout the year:

Getting superior scores on Google's performance benchmarks isn't easy, either. The Ahrefs blog analyzed Core Web Vitals data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which is data from actual Chrome users, to see how the web stacks up against Core Web Vitals. Their study found that only 33% of sites on the web are passing Core Web Vitals.

data from Ahrefs tracked on a line chart finds that shows only 33% of sites on the web pass Google's Core Web VitalsFrom Ahrefs.

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The modern digital landscape is founded on one critical element — data. From content creation to site design, there’s no reason to take chances on what will resonate with your audiences. Adopting a data-driven mindset means you can take the guesswork out of your business strategy and focus on the methods that are actually moving the needle.

And one of the best ways to figure out what strategies are moving the needle for your website is through multivariate testing.

What Is Multivariate Testing?

Multivariate testing is the process of testing one or more components on a website in a live environment. These components can be anything from a CTA button, headline formatting, or even an entire page design. The beauty of multivariate testing is that you can test each one of these individual features on a page to see what performs well among your users.

Think about it for a moment. Creative teams with great ideas are most successful when they have an environment where ideas can easily be tested against each other instead of trying to find total agreement on one idea. Multivariate testing allows teams to cherry-pick each idea to create an end result that works best, backed by the data to prove it.

multivariate testing allows for various layout designs and element placements to be tested live to see what attracts the most readershipSee which elements and layout designs attract the most readers with multivariate testing. Graphic from Invesp.

Multivariate Testing vs. A/B Tests

Traditional A/B testing is the process of creating two different layouts and splitting the traffic between the two to see which one performs better. It’s possible to test more than just two layouts, of course, and there’s no issue with creating A/B/C/D/etc. tests depending on how many layouts you have to try.

A/B tests can produce great results, but they are limited since they test an entire layout at once. Remember, multivariate testing allows you to test the different components of a layout individually. Think of multivariate testing as running multiple A/B tests at one time. Here’s a good illustration of the differences between A/B testing and multivariate testing from HubSpot:

A/B testing compares two layouts as a single page, while multivariate testing allows for multiple elements to be tested simultaneouslyAn illustration of the more complex testing available through multivariate testing. From HubSpot.

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