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Google Made Major Changes to Its Formula for Page Speed. Here’s What to Do About It in 2022.

Make sure your site is set up for success in 2022.

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, has revealed how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse consistently outperforms major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics since its rollout and into January 2022:

Luckily, performing well on Core Web Vitals is possible with thoughtful, strategic changes to your site’s codebase. Here's what you need to know and how we can help.



image of Core Web Vitals metrics with meters for good, needs improvement, and poor scores Google’s benchmarks for Core Web Vitals.

Understanding Core Web Vitals

First, it’s important to understand 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 to Measure Your Site’s Page Speed

RebelMouse\u2019s site analyzed by PageSpeed Insights and showing a high-performance score

RebelMouse’s performance score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights test.

Having a quick load time and passing Core Web Vitals are important factors in Google Search’s ranking 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 can 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 Page Speed Matters More Than Ever

positive audit of RebelMouse\u2019s site\u2019s Core Web Vitals scores from Google PageSpeed Insights

We practice what we preach. This is RebelMouse.com’s Core Web Vitals audit from Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

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.

Secure Your Site’s Future

RebelMouse\u2019s culture of performance means publishing on a platform built for speed

The RebelMouse platform evolves alongside Google’s algorithm, and our team of growth experts spans all time zones to ensure our sites are optimized for page experience with every new article.

To do this correctly, it takes a lot of optimization to perfect every moment of your site’s load time. We’ve mastered Core Web Vitals already, and our performance scores are drastically outperforming every other CMS on the market.

Our jaw-dropping page speeds have allowed us to power the fastest sites on the web. We’ve done this through a simplified version of code that still allows for ads, videos, and third-party applications to load quickly.

Now that you’re up to speed (pun intended) on how Google measures and scrutinizes site experience, let's take a look at some of the benefits RebelMouse-powered clients enjoy as a result of their excellent performance scores:

positive growth metrics of native app downloads after RebelMouse\u2019s size optimizations
positive metrics from Google Analytics after RebelMouse launched Investing News Network
RebelMouse optimized the UX for a new media site and increased RPM-U 163%
positive Google traffic metrics after RebelMouse improved Core Web Vitals for a client
RebelMouse\u2019s performance upgrades increase pageviews and users from Google Search
90 days after switching to RebelMouse, Worldcrunch\u2019s site performance showed massive improvement

Here’s how those scores compare to traditional CMS solutions that don’t prioritize page performance:

It’s Easier to Re-Platform Than Rebuild Your Website

RebelMouse outperforms traditional CMS options on Google\u2019s LCP, FID, and CLS metrics

Currently, publishers are trying to build optimized websites that translate easily across devices and platforms, but are failing to also deliver an experience that checks all their boxes and prioritizes their readers. It takes less than a second of delayed load time to turn away a user.

If you are publishing to a site with poor performance, it’s going to take a mammoth effort to overhaul your site’s entire architecture so that it scores high against Google’s Core Web Vitals. In most cases, it’s simply easier and more cost-effective to move your data to a platform that is already high performing with page speed woven into the foundation of its technology versus reinventing the wheel on your own.

At RebelMouse, performance is a pillar of our company’s culture. We’ve taken site performance seriously for years, and have leveraged them to ensure our sites are constantly high performing. It's why we outperform some of the biggest sites on the web. And like with any pillar of a company's culture, optimizing for high performance is never a one-time effort. Our engineers have been crafting and tuning our platform to address these new standards long before they surfaced.

If you want to publish alongside the speed of the web, request a proposal today and let’s start working together.

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