In retail and eCommerce, many factors differentiate the winning brands from laggards. Looking at the big picture, however, it all comes down to customer experience. The more you deliver buyer journeys that attract, engage, and delight shoppers, the higher your conversion rate, basket size, and customer lifetime value.
If you’re already providing awesome online shopping experiences, chances are the latest Google metric to roll out this month—Core Web Vitals—won’t affect you as much. The new set of signals focuses on the on-page experience of users.
But, as always, it’s important to ensure that everything is in order. We’ve provided this short checklist to help you verify that your site is ready for the latest Google Core Web Vitals update:
Is Your Site Displaying Relevant Content Quickly?
Google takes into account how fast websites display information that is important to users. That information should also be located in the top section of the page, or “above the fold.” Presenting relevant, high-quality content as quickly as possible prevents users from bouncing out of your site.
Page loading performance can be a concern for eCommerce sites with heavy image and video content. So, it’s best to not only arrange page content according to what provides shoppers with the most context, but also to optimize your media so everything displays quickly.
Crucial questions to ask about your site’s loading performance:
- Is the most relevant part of your page displayed immediately?
- From category to individual product detail pages, do shoppers immediately understand the topic and context of each page that they visit?
- Are you providing high-quality content in media file sizes that don’t affect load speed?
Do Your Pages Respond to Shopper Actions on Time?
Brands and retailers use many tools to create engaging online customer journeys. When not implemented ideally, this can result in tech bloat, impacting the user experience. With the Core Web Vitals update coming up, it’s important that you take the time to ensure that for every interaction shoppers have on your site, the tools implemented respond appropriately and quickly.
For example, if it takes multiple clicks for elements on your website to take action, this sends a bad signal to Google and creates a negative representation of your brand. When you keep page interactivity and responsiveness in check, you prevent the bulk of frustrating user experiences.
Key questions to ask about page interactivity:
- Is your site quick to process shopper actions?
- Are all the links, buttons, banners, menus, and forms on your site working properly?
- When shoppers submit a search query, filter products, add items to cart, use on-site interactive tools, etc., does the page deliver the correct response on time?
Does Your Site Provide a Streamlined Browsing Experience for Shoppers?
When customers shop in-store, the layout is (usually) neat and easy to follow. There are signs that lead shoppers to specific sections and let them know about sales. There are no sudden roadblocks that prevent them from exploring relevant items. The layout of your eCommerce site should provide the same experience. Google now considers visual stability as a crucial part of the on-page user experience.
Take a test drive across your site ahead of the Google Core Web Vitals update. Once it loads, you shouldn’t encounter intrusive, surprise layout changes when you start to read content or scroll down the page. The goal is to enable shoppers to find their way around your site and connect with what they’re looking for as seamlessly as possible.
Essential questions to ask about your pages’ visual stability:
- Are there any distracting layout fluctuations that might confuse shoppers as they browse?
- Does your site have a clear structure that makes navigation easy for shoppers, regardless of the device used?
- Do your on-site tools blend in with the rest of your page experience?
Revisiting Existing Best Practices Ahead of the Google Core Web Vitals Update
Now that we’ve covered the factors most important for the latest Google update, it’s worthwhile perform a quick health check on existing website best practices:
- Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Are you serving the pages using HTTPS?
- Are there any issues that interfere with how the most important content on each page is displayed?
You can always check how your site is performing and better understand which improvements to prioritize on Google Search Console.
Delivering exceptional page experiences is the main motivation for the Core Web Vitals update. This goal perfectly aligns with what online brands and retailers aim to provide shoppers: Meaningful user engagements and delightful shopping journeys that put your customers at the forefront.
As you continue to address user expectations and desires in your website design, you will take important steps towards creating a relevant and engaging shopping destination; one that not only ranks high on Google search results but also consistently wins over your customers’ hearts.