Will Just Fixing Your Core Web Vitals Fix Your Rankings?

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June 3, 2024

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Will Just Fixing Your Core Web Vitals Fix Your Rankings?

The Curious Case of Core Web Vitals and Rankings

It’s a warm summer day, and I’m sitting at my desk, staring at my computer screen with a furrowed brow. As the SEO strategist for an agency in Manchester, UK, I’ve been tasked with solving a puzzling question: will fixing our clients’ core web vitals really fix their rankings?

I’ve been diving deep into the latest updates from Google, and the chatter in online forums has been, well, less than encouraging. Squarespace users are up in arms, reporting plummeting rankings despite their best efforts to optimize their core web vitals. And the responses from Squarespace’s team haven’t exactly been reassuring.

“Google Search Console, while it is a great resource to use for your site, is not necessarily optimized for analyzing sites built on a CMS (Content Management System) like Squarespace,” they said. “It’s algorithm for detecting inaccuracies that it thinks is incorrect, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a genuine issue on our platform.”

Yikes. So, are we just doomed to fail if our clients are on Squarespace? And what about the rest of our clients – will simply fixing their core web vitals be the silver bullet they’ve been searching for?

Digging Deeper into the Core Web Vitals Saga

As I dive deeper into the forums, I uncover a wealth of insights – both promising and concerning. On one hand, I find users who have managed to optimize their Squarespace sites to a T, ticking off all the boxes for core web vitals. They’re using advanced code injection, non-Google CDNs, and more to achieve lightning-fast load times and minimal cumulative layout shift.

“You can get a SS website to deliver on all the CoreWebVitals but it needs some really advanced code optimization,” one user shares. “We have a 943ms load-time and a cumulative layout shift of 0.05 now, using advanced code injection and pre-connect and preload headers, combined with serving things like Jquery through non-google CDNs has shown that we can tick nearly all the boxes on this latest hoop jumper.”

Impressive, right? But then, I stumble upon the flip side of the coin. Users reporting that despite their best efforts, their rankings are still in a constant state of flux, with one user sharing:

“My rankings are extremely volatile as each crawl produces different results. One week I’m number 2 on page 1 and the next I’m on page 2. Then I recrawl and bounce around and if I’m lucky in a crawl, I’ll go back up to the top of page 1, just to be pushed down again after a recrawl.”

Oof. That’s not the kind of rollercoaster ride our clients are hoping for. And the frustration is palpable, with one user even going so far as to say they’re leaving Squarespace behind thanks to the “poor site speed and lack of response” from the platform.

The Bigger Picture: What’s Really at Stake?

As I continue to sift through the feedback and insights, a bigger picture starts to emerge. It’s not just about core web vitals – it’s about the entire page experience, and how that’s going to factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.

“Google Search Console is a third party tool, it would also be outside of our scope of support to interpret emails like this from Google Search Console,” Squarespace explains. “They use a set formula to apply to a wide variety of different CMS systems. Alas, they don’t have a specific algorithm for detecting Squarespace-specific issues.”

In other words, the tools we’re relying on to diagnose and fix core web vitals may not be telling the whole story. And with Google’s page experience update looming on the horizon, the stakes are even higher.

“The good news is that Google announced that it is postponing the rollout of the page experience update, specifically the ranking change, from May 2021 to be a gradual rollout that won’t start until mid-June 2021 and won’t be fully rolled out until the end of August,” one user shares.

So, we’ve got a bit more time to get our ducks in a row. But the clock is ticking, and our clients are counting on us to deliver. The question is, do we have the tools and the know-how to truly optimize their sites for Google’s new page experience signals?

The Path Forward: A Holistic Approach to SEO

As I ponder this dilemma, I can’t help but feel a sense of determination. After all, we’re an SEO agency in Manchester, UK – we’re used to navigating the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization. And this challenge, while daunting, is also an opportunity to showcase our expertise.

The key, I realize, is to take a holistic approach. It’s not just about fixing core web vitals – it’s about understanding the bigger picture of how Google evaluates page experience, and then crafting a comprehensive strategy to address all the relevant factors.

That means going beyond the quick fixes and delving into the deeper technical optimizations that can truly move the needle. It means exploring alternative tools and metrics that can provide a more accurate picture of our clients’ site performance. And it means collaborating with our clients, communicating the importance of these changes, and getting them on board with the long-term game plan.

Because let’s be honest, just fixing core web vitals isn’t going to be the silver bullet everyone is hoping for. As the Squarespace users have discovered, there’s more to the story. And if we want to help our clients achieve sustainable, long-term success in the SERPs, we need to be willing to go the extra mile.

Embracing the Challenge, Empowering Our Clients

As I sit back and reflect on all that I’ve learned, I can’t help but feel a surge of excitement. This isn’t just a problem to be solved – it’s an opportunity to truly differentiate ourselves and deliver exceptional value to our clients.

Our agency has always prided itself on our ability to stay ahead of the curve, and this challenge is no exception. We’re going to dive deep, explore every avenue, and ultimately, empower our clients to succeed in this new era of search engine optimization.

It won’t be easy, and there may be some bumps in the road. But with our collective expertise, our unwavering dedication, and our commitment to our clients’ success, I’m confident that we can navigate this challenge and emerge stronger than ever.

So, will just fixing core web vitals fix our clients’ rankings? The answer, it seems, is a resounding “maybe.” But with a holistic, strategic approach, I believe we can do so much more than that. We can help our clients future-proof their online presence, adapt to the ever-evolving demands of search engines, and ultimately, achieve the kind of sustainable success that will keep them ahead of the competition.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The future of our clients’ rankings is waiting.

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