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Why Core Web Vitals Matter for Tour & Activity Operators

 

Background

By now you have likely heard of Google’s Web Vitals Initiative and its corresponding update establishing page experience as a factor in determining how they will serve up search results to their users.  Set to begin in June of 2021, operators are going to have to confront the key question, “how will this change affect organic traffic to my site”?

As the number one search engine, by a wide margin, any change Google makes to how search results are displayed can have a major impact on where your page appears in the rankings when people search for your tour or activity.  And since driving organic traffic to your website is the key to increasing direct bookings, Google’s new page experience score should be a top priority for your SEO strategy.

 

How Google Ranks Page Experience

Serving the best results is critical to Google’s dominance as the world’s most popular search engine.  Giving users sites that have the best user experience is paramount to maintaining loyalty.  To that end, the Web Vitals Initiative is how Google intends to rate user experience, making sure only the most user-friendly sites can claw their way to the top of search results.   Core Web Vitals are the subset of the Web Vitals Google will measure when determining a site’s page experience score.  Each Core Web Vital represents a particular facet of your site’s real-world user experience.  Given Google’s history of setting somewhat of a moving target when it comes to their search algorithms, we’d expect the Core Web Vitals will evolve over time but for now, they consist of three measurables; Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

 

Largest Contentful Paint

LCP measures your site’s loading performance.  For providing the best user experience, Google has determined that an LCP score of 2.5s or faster is considered “good”.  This means the majority of your page’s content needs to be loaded in less than 2.5 seconds to meet the standard.

 

first input delay

FID measures how long it takes for your page to become interactive; in other words, how quickly can users begin to navigate and click on-page elements?  According to the Google page experience standards, a good FID score is 100 milliseconds or less.

 

cumulative layout shift

CLS measures the visual stability of your site, meaning how the aspects of your site shift around while the page is loading.  For providing the best user experience, Google has set the standards .1 or less.

 

How to find your core web vitals

There are many tools for getting a picture of how your site performs on Core Web Vitals.  PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix can give you an accurate assessment of where you stand in terms of each Core Web Vital and provide you with technical recommendations for improving them.  However, for novice developers or operators with less than developer-level skills, the level of knowledge required to enact the right updates can seem a little daunting.  Additionally, some content management systems can be limited on how they allow you to update the technical aspects of your site, including those affecting your Core Web Vitals.

 

 

tomis core web vital optimization

TOMIS provides free Core Web Vital assessments.  Using the aforementioned developer sites we can provide you with your Core Web Vital scores as well as a list of recommendations and links to additional resources, should you decide you want to tackle the updates yourself.  We have also a Core Web Vital Optimization service for WordPress sites addressing each of the three Core Web Vitals.  Our optimization works to improve your page experience score in a number of key ways, ensuring your site will be ready when the changes take effect.  And, our experience has shown us combining our Core Web Vital optimization with hosting & maintenance on our private TOMIS server is a potent one-two punch to dramatically improve Core Web Vitals and overall technical website health.  If you’d like to find out more you can contact us for your free assessment.

Here are a few before and after examples of TOMIS clients who we’ve worked with to ensure readiness for the Core Web Vital update:

 

 

 

Summary

Any time there’s a shift in how Google ranks search results it is cause for a moment of self-evaluation about your SEO strategy.  This new change could also prove to be a substantial advantage over your competition, especially if they fail to make the necessary updates and you do.  No matter how you look at it, getting out ahead of the update is the key to ensuring your website is set up to perform well when the new standards take hold beginning in June.