A proposed update for WordPress 5.9 could mean that when Google’s Page Experience update completes its rollout next month, several site owners won’t have to worry as much. That’s because WordPress 5.9 could boost one of the Core Web Vitals metrics by up to 33 percent, with no additional effort required on your part. This claim comes straight from WordPress, which published an article proposing a change to its default lazy-loading behavior that improved Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) by significant margins.
The content management system (CMS) powers almost 40 percent of all websites – that’s 455 million – so to say an update like this will have a major impact for site owners (and potentially search results) is an understatement. So, exactly how will this magical metric boost happen?
As a refresher, lazy loading defers the loading of non-critical resources to speed up the perceived download of a page, while the LCP metric measures the time it takes to load a web page’s content and have it be ready for user interaction. So, it’s clear how these two factors are related. You’d assume, then, that lazy loading – which is a WordPress default and speeds up interactivity – would improve the LCP score.
But according to WordPress’s proposal, adding the lazy loading attribute to all images and iframes is, in fact, not ideal. That’s because the above-the-fold content on a web page, including things like featured images and logos, must be downloaded before a web page can be usable.
In its proposal, WordPress describes the update like this:
“Instead of lazy-loading all images and iframes by default, the very first content image (also considering featured images) or content iframe should not be lazy-loaded.
“This is a more sensitive default than what the current implementation uses, that on average and at scale will result in better LCP performance out of the box, while keeping necessary bandwidth low.”
The update is deceptively simple: excluding the lazy loading attribute from the first image or iframe on a web page. But the result is a drastically improved LCP score, which couldn’t be coming at a better time. If all goes according to plan, WordPress 5.9 is set for release later this year, just a few months after Google’s Page Experience Update finishes rolling out in August.
As a WordPress site owner, you won’t need to worry too much about working on your LCP scores. As Google’s Martin Splitt said, Core Web Vitals improvements can and should be an ongoing task, so a boost at the end of the year isn’t any less valuable than one right now. But there’s no harm in getting a headstart and checking out a reliable Google Page Experience guide while we still have a few weeks to go.
Speaking of WordPress, Here Are Some More Core Web Vitals Hacks: WordPress is proving SEO expert Roger Montti’s theory from back in February correct: Core Web Vitals improvements do seem to lie with the developers, not the users, of software like WordPress. The good news for WordPress site owners is that if you’ve waited until the last minute to get your Core Web Vitals metrics up to scratch, there are a couple of ways to increase your scores in minutes using nothing but the CMS. In an article for Search Engine Journal (SEJ), Dave Davies has shared three super-simple hacks for giving your Core Web Vitals scores a significant boost (with the before-and-after screenshots to prove it). One of the tips in the article more than doubles a low PageSpeed Insights score, so it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for some quick fixes – no judgment!
Google Has Expanded the “About This Result” Panel With More Information on Ranking Factors: Google updated its “About This Result” panel on Thursday to include what factors went into ranking a particular page for a specific search. This will enable users to get more insights about the results they are seeing and make a more educated decision on which to click. But for SEOs, the benefits could be even greater: With this update, we have an even better understanding of why a result is surfacing for the search terms we’re targeting, enabling us to make laser-focused optimization decisions. It also offers a window into how Google itself determines relevance, which is a pretty big bonus. The expansion is currently live in the U.S. for 10 percent of users and will gradually roll out to more people and places in the coming months.
Maybe Google Analytics 4 Isn’t So Bad After All: It’s no secret that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has earned a less-than-stellar reputation among SEOs. It’s been around for almost a year now, and in that time, words like “unusable” and “horrible” have been thrown around to describe it. (One person even said it could bring you to tears). Most complaints seem to relate to functionality – users agree that GA4 has a poor interface and the simplest features are difficult to access. But in an SEJ article, author Brie E. Anderson makes a case for why GA4 doesn’t deserve all the flak it’s getting. Anderson argues that GA4 actually has some pretty nifty features – if you know where to find and how to use them, that is. Check out the article to start rebuilding your relationship with the tool. You might even (grudgingly) learn to like it.
Here’s What Google’s New Three-Strike Policy Actually Means: Rulebreakers, be warned – Google is piloting a new three-strike policy that will see the search giant suspend ad accounts that have accrued multiple violations. While this shouldn’t affect advertisers who toe the line, the announcement has been met with concern by even the most principled advertisers. That’s because Google’s system is known to incorrectly flag ad content for breaking policy. But we have confirmation from Google that there shouldn’t be any undeserving suspensions with this new three-strike policy. A Google representative has said that wrongful violations can be appealed, and if they are successful, the strike will be removed. For more information on how this policy will work when launched in September, take a look at Google’s announcement.
Google Now Enables Users To Leave More Detailed Reviews for Restaurants: Google announced on Wednesday that it has expanded its restaurant reviews to empower users with a wealth of additional information. With the new update, which is currently live for all restaurants in the U.S., users leaving reviews can include information like the type of meal they ate, the price range and whether they got takeout, a delivery or dined in. What’s great is that more granular insights like this can improve both the restaurant customer experience and Google user experience. Google has already said that it may roll out the ability to filter these searches in the future, enabling users to narrow down their search to include restaurants that fall within a particular price range, for example. This same ability would also allow restaurants to identify their competitors more accurately.
Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.
We’re excited to have interviewed New York City SEO Expert Anita Kostadinov from SmartSites for…
One common question in the search engine optimization (SEO) space is whether or not nofollow…
Aira and The Women of Tech Community have released their State of Technical SEO Report…
We’re excited to have interviewed New York City SEO Expert Alex Melen from SmartSites for…