Core Web Vitals update – what you should know

You may remember reading our recent article Heads up! Google page experience coming in May 2021. As we get a little closer to the time, more and more information and insight is becoming available as to what to expect and the impact that this change might have. To briefly familiarise yourself with the topic, the Google Page Experience will encompass the core web vitals parameters and metrics as a ranking signal, so to put it in plain terms, if you have a website it is something you can’t ignore.

In a recent question and answer session the experts shed some light as to what we can all expect and perhaps, how you can get ahead of the change by acting now. However, some of the answers were still vague and left open to interpretation, which means one must wonder whether they really know until the actual rollout happens?

From commentary it looks as though any changes and impacts made will be phased, rather than all being normal one day and suddenly everything is different the next day. There was a lot of “it depends” in the answers to some of the questions put, which leads us to conclude that broad sweeping answers will not apply to everyone, so there is bound to be some individual impacts even if changes are not sudden.

The experts were also keen to point out that there are many ranking signals and this new update will be another one of those many, rather than ‘the one.’ In other words, this aswell as everything else we have come to learn and accept as ranking signals will still apply. That does give hope that someone’s rankings will not suddenly drop so long as they meet the other ranking signals, but complacency cannot be afforded. An example is given where a site has great and relevant content but not so good page experience. Due to the former, this will win out, but there is a hint that as time passes and this new ranking signal becomes established, webmasters won’t necessarily be able to rely on this.

The ‘progressive’ nature of this change and its impact is evidenced further, where the questioners mind is cast back to when mobile friendliness first became a ranking signal. We are reminded that when it first came out, not everyone was mobile friendly straightaway, but as people became more aware of it and the need to do it, the signal became a strong feature. From that comparison, you would guess that this is going to be something similar?

Ultimately, we will have to wait and see like with any change. Some of the key things to look out for will be what happens immediately in the hours and days after, and then what will happen a little down the line when it has had chance to become established. Whilst some would argue that the question and answer session doesn’t really tell anything more than was originally know, it does at least provide a roadmap and a direction of travel and ultimately gives times for webmasters to adopt and become familiar with changes that will soon happen.

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