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Core Web Vitals: The Managed WordPress Difference

If you’re a website owner, builder, or you touch digital marketing in any way, you’ve likely heard increased chatter around Core Web Vitals.

This subset of page experience metrics, included in Google’s larger Web Vitals initiative whcih launched in 2020, offers guidance for quality signals that are “essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.” As of June 2021, Core Web Vitals also play a direct role in the way your sites rank in Google search.

This ebook, which was co-authored with Google and 10up, a WP Engine Agency Partner,  explains why website performance matters more than ever, with specific steps site owners and developers can take to measure and improve website performance using Core Web Vitals.

Download the full report now, or keep reading for a preview!

Core Web Vitals 101

While you may have delayed Core Web Vitals prep on your site or you’ve swept it under the rug completely, now’s the time to get up to speed.

Core Web Vitals scores are already considered more than a tie-breaker between two pieces of content with otherwise equal ranking factors. When you consider more than half of all website traffic comes from organic search, that’s a tie-breaker worth preparing for!

So what are Core Web Vitals? Overall, they are (currently) the following three metrics that have been incorporated into Google’s search algorithm as ranking factors:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when a page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

  • How Do I Improve My Core Web Vitals?

    To ensure your website is delivering an optimal Core Web Vitals experience, these three areas are key for you to focus on:

    • Fast hardware and up-to-date software: Provides better overall speed and uptime as well as the resources needed for uncached hits. 
    • Fast network: Delivers page content quickly, with optimal load times. 
    • Clean front-end code: Reduces unwanted layout shifts, ensures a smooth user experience. 

    There are a growing number of tools for testing and tracking Core Web Vitlas, with the following among some of the most popular (and effective): PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and the Chrome Page Experience Report. You can find out more about these tools and more in this article about Core Web Vitals testing.

    Managed WordPress for Healthy Core Web Vitals

    WP Engine is the only managed WordPress host that provides solutions at all three of these layers, including:

    • Fast hardware: all WP Engine customers benefit from the latest version of PHP (7.4), WordPress-specific server configurations, as well as leading cloud solutions including Google Cloud Platform. WP Engine also offers access to Google’s next-gen C2 hardware, which provides a more than 40% drop in server execution time and a powerful boost for both LCP and FID. 
    • Fast network: including an integrated global CDN powered by Cloudflare, standard with every WP Engine plan, ensures WP Engine customers have a fast network that reduces LCP by reducing protocol overhead and bringing content closer to visitors. Our advanced security offering, Global Edge Security, further improves LCP with Argo smart traffic routing, and DDOS protection insulating your site from unwanted load.
    • Clean front-end code: from WP Engine’s suite of StudioPress themes (also standard with every plan), to headless front-ends powered by Atlas, WP Engine offers solutions for both small and large sites, all built with Web Vitals and other user-centric metrics at the forefront.

    Acheving Higher Performance With Headless WordPress

    Atlas is the complete Headless WordPress Hosting Platform for incredibly fast, dynamic websites, allowing developers and marketers to harness the best back and front-end frameworks for building incredibly seamless user experiences.

    Atlas enables a decoupled architecture, so teams can continue to benefit from powerful WordPress content management features, while opting for performance-focused front-end frameworks, like Nextjs and Gatsby, for wider control across the entire digital footrpint.

    The result goes beyond healthy Core Web Vitals to achieve superior perfroamne and better user experiences, fueled by modern frameworks and the world’s #1 open source CMS, all in one powerful headless platform.

    Learn more about Atlas and the benefits of Headless WordPress here.

    Read the full report for more!

    Speed up your website with WP Engine. 

    Ready to ace Google’s Core Web Vitals assessment? Put an end to performance issues with the world’s fastest managed WordPress hosting platform. Learn more about WP Engine and the ways we can help power all your digital ambitions.  

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