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Meeting the Requirements of Google’s CWVs: Don’t Panic

Imagery and video are proven ways to promote engagement and conversion on e-commerce sites. One study found that 75% of online shoppers say that product pictures are “very influential” for their purchase decisions, with a respondent commenting, “If I can’t see it, I can’t make a decision about it.”

All too often, however, more media slows down page loads. And, since 40% of site visitors would abandon a site if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, optimizing media is a top priority for brands.

The stakes are even higher now with the approaching mid-June rollout of Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWVs)—three metrics that assess a website’s load time, interactivity, and visual stability. Starting this summer, CWV scores will become a factor in determining SEO rankings, which means that companies must either optimize media and boost site performance or risk hindering their search-optimization efforts. Losing out on visibility in Google-search rankings is at stake.

The above explains why Cloudinary has authored a new guide, The Power of Web Performance: How to be Highly Visualized and Optimized Without Compromise, with a critical look at the current state of web performance, the ways to improve it, and the effect of the CWVs.

The guide also introduces Cloudinary’s new Media Optimizer, which facilitates visual media and storytelling by automating the adoption of the most appropriate media formats, quality-led optimization, and delivery through multiple content delivery networks (CDNs). Consequently, Media Optimizer enhances your site’s performance and raises its SEO ranking by ensuring that your webpages meet the requirements of the CWVs, correspondingly growing your revenue.

The guide also includes in-depth interviews with influencers who have developed web strategies for leading brands, such as ESPN, Lego, Priceline, and Grove Collaborative. Well worth noting are their insights on how to create a superior brand experience that focuses on user needs. Here are a few excerpts:

Tim Kadlec, performance-engineering fellow at Catchpoint, on striking the right balance between user experience and meeting the CWVs’ targets:

“Striking the right balance is tricky because it varies by organization. Some companies might be less tolerant than others of less-performant pages. To find that sweet spot, you must measure performance against your business goals, connecting business data and performance data.”

Harry Roberts, award-winning software consultant, front-end architect, and writer, on why brands shouldn’t panic over the CWVs:

“Those measurements are just one of many ranking factors. Google will also characterize the quality of site content, and, if two sites offer similar content, Google will defer to the CWVs as the tiebreaker. Businesses should also aim for high rankings on a per-page—not on a site—basis by ensuring that the pages they want ranked load fast, especially since Google focuses on page-level speed.”

Tammy Everts, author and CXO at SpeedCurve, on the relationship between web performance and brand perception:

“Speed perception is hardwired. Our brain’s short-term memory retains information for at most 10 seconds before deciding to do something with it or wipe it out. That concept applies to the web, which our brain wants to feel seamless and instantaneous. One recurring finding is that degradation in performance correlates to reduced engagement and greatly diminishes the likelihood of return visits. That’s another confirmation that poor online experience causes people to develop a lasting negative perception of a brand.”

Scott Jehl, hybrid designer-developer at Filament Group, on what happens if businesses don’t optimize media:

“First of all, user experience will suffer. Beyond that, search engines like Google are starting to factor performance metrics like its Core Web Vitals into page rankings. For those and other reasons, it’d be wise to figure out where your site stands now from a performance perspective and check out the great tools, such as PageSpeed Insights, that recommend changes you can make if you come up short.”

The Power of Web Performance: How to be Highly Visualized and Optimized Without Compromise is your all-in-one resource for meeting the requirements of Google’s new metrics. Be sure to check it out for expert perspectives on web performance along with information on the capabilities of Cloudinary’s Media Optimizer, an invaluable solution for elevating SEO rankings and fostering website and app performance.

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