Last week we revisited Core Web Vitals, three relatively new factors that Google takes into consideration when assessing the experience offered to their users, by your dealership’s website. Specifically, we talked about LCP, FID and CLS. Now remember, Google’s primary goal is to ensure a positive user experience, and directs any search query to the site that (i) best answers the query (ii) is considered to be an authority on the topic, and (iii) measures up to Google’s metrics for page performance. So, do you want the good news or the bad news?
The Bad News
You could be the most knowledgeable, reputable dealership in your metro but when prospective car buyers perform a local search, Google might not favor your site because your user experience sucks. And even if your site does show up in rankings, well, it look’s like Google’s going to be adding visual indicators that show how well, or how poorly, you measure up to their standards. Think of it like a review, and trust me when I tell you, Google users are going to trust what Google says about your site.
The Good News
If you’re familiar with Google Search Console, you know that your Core Web Vitals are assessed and presented as falling into one of the three categories. ‘Poor” presented in Red, ‘Needs Improvement’ presented in Yellow, and ‘Good’ presented in Green. And since you’re likely to have plenty of work to do to get ALL of those scores into the green…it’s your lucky day. Because Google just threw you and everyone else, a bone. That’s right, they just expanded their metric boundaries in a small but impactful way.
If LCP is measured in terms of seconds, and FID is measured in terms of milliseconds, and CLS is measured in terms of a Google scoring up to 1, it’s easy to see how minute the scales for each metric are. And it’s with that in mind, that Google has changed the parameters of their GOOD and NEEDS IMPROVEMENT statuses from “less than” to “less than, or equal to”.
Largest Contentful Paint, for example, had considered anything less than 2.5 seconds to be “Good”. Now it’s anything less than, or equal to 2.5 seconds. Now, you might be thinking “that’s only adding a 1/10th of a second” but that tenth of a second could be the difference between countless sites (including yours) earning Google’s favor, or not, so…
How Can You Audit Core Web Vitals?
To audit the core web vitals of your dealership’s site, you’re going to need two things. First, the paid version of Screaming Frog (a website crawling tool that we’ve talked about before here on JTT). Then, you’ll need a Google PageSpeed Insights API key, which you can access through this link: https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/v5/get-started
Step 1: Connect the Tools.
To do this, begin by copying the PageSpeed Insights API key to your clipboard. Then, once you’ve opened Screaming Frog, go to Configuration > API Access > PageSpeed Insights. Then paste that API key where it says “Secret Key”. Now, maybe it’s just me, but it feels kind of like a sexy adventure (awkward pause) Right? No? Oh, so I’m the weirdo. Just click “Connect”.
Now, click on “Metrics”. Here you can select some metrics you want to include in your report. For our purpose we really only need to include Lighthouse metrics and Overview, but you can include or all others in the same report if there are other insights you are trying to pull.
Step 2: Crawl Your Site.
First, copy the domain and paste it here. While the site is being crawled, you’ll see two progress bars: “Crawl” and “API”. Be sure and wait for both of these to finish. Export the results into a seperate spreadsheet. Now we really want to focus on the pages that are going to fail Google’s core web vitals standards.
We want to create a list of only the pages that are violating one or more of these standards. So create a filter for each of the three conditions, creating 3 separate lists of pages that violate one of the standards..
Step 3: Optimize
So we got a list of problems which aren’t super fun, now let’s figure out how we come up with some solutions. Click on the Overview tab and find “PageSpeed” Here you can find some recommended fixes to remedy some of the issues we found here. Small pieces of your page that are gumming up the overall performance of that page. Now if hand this list off to your website provider to fix the issues you have found.