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How Core Web Vitals Will Affect Your Website Monetization In 2021

Google’s algorithm and quality metrics play a large role in determining how we develop our sites, content, ads, and monetization strategies. In May 2021, the search engine will implement its newest page experience ranking criteria:

Core Web Vitals.

What does that mean for publishers and ad monetization? How will it impact your revenue once the changes are implemented? In this article, our expert Softonic team will answer these questions and explain:

  • What Google’s Core Web Vitals are.
  • The metrics and how they work.
  • How to check your site’s score.
  • Simple ways publishers can improve their rating.
  • How a reputable monetization partner or ad network can help.

If you didn’t create your website, you need to involve your development team. Let’s get started.

What Are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

We all know that Google uses specific signals to track and evaluate users’ experiences as they visit various websites. The primary experience signals used to be mobile usability, safe browsing, HTTPS certifications, and non-intrusive ads.

Core Web Vitals consists of three additional page experience signals that’ll help Google rate your website’s quality and determine whether to recommend it in search results.

Credit: Google

The Three Core Metrics Explained

Google identified three elements as the primary metrics that publishers need to focus on to improve their page experience rankings and keep their monetization strategies effective.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The LCP measures how long it takes for the main content or largest element, such as videos, images, and ads, to load. Anything under two and a half seconds is considered good, while four seconds or more is low.

  • First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures how long it takes for your page to become interactive. A score under 100 milliseconds is good, while anything over 300 milliseconds is poor.

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS is a potential problem for many publishers. It measures how many unexpected shifts occur in the design and content. Since ads can impact your layout, this is a critical metric to address. A score of 0.1 is good, while anything over 0.25 is poor.

Why Are Core Web Vitals Essential for Publishers?

Core Web Vitals don’t just affect your page experience and search ranks, but also the load speed score. Both these factors impact your monetization strategies and ad revenue, as a survey on mobile PageSpeed scores by AdSense revealed.

According to their results, a site that loads within five seconds or less generates twice as much revenue as a slower one.1 Additionally, the ads appear to be 25% more viewable.1

Credit: Google AdSense Blog

In short, raising your Core Web Vitals score will improve your user and page experience and, consequently, likely increase your ad revenue.

How to Check and Fix the Impact of Ads on Your Core Web Vitals

Google’s CWV is making it critical for publishers to focus on giving users a brilliant page experience. That’s why it’s vital to understand the three criteria and how to improve your scores. In our experience at Softonic, bad ads and unoptimized creatives and scripts can affect your ratings. However, they aren’t the only culprits.

There are a few tools you can use to check your Core Web Vitals and a few fixes you can implement to start improving your ratings.

Tools for Checking Your Core Web Vitals

There are several free tools and sites available online that can help you determine your current scores. These are the tools we recommend:

  • Google Search Console
  • Web.dev Measure
  • GTmetrix
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Web Vitals Chrome extension

Publishers can use the tools to determine their current scores and where to make improvements.

How to Mitigate the Impact of Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

There are a few ways that ads can impact your CLS score by causing the content layout to change:

  • The collapseEmptyDivs () function collapses slots when there are no ads to display.
  • Fluid ad slots automatically resize to fit the creative.
  • Multi-size slots can call varied sizes of ads.

The best way to improve your CLS score would be to give your images and ads the proper dimensions with CSS code. Alternatively, keep your slots expanded if they’re likely to be filled, and set the space size to match the biggest possible multi-size ad.

How to Mitigate the Impact of First Input Delay (FID)

While useful and even necessary for ads, JavaScript can cause severe delays by keeping your site’s network busy and increasing the interaction latency. In our experience at Softonic, it’s one of the leading causes of poor FID results. Luckily, optimized ad scripts and a few tricks can help improve your page experience score.

You can improve your FID score by deferring or removing unused JavaScript and minimizing the remaining script. Use lazy-loading for any low priority or below-the-fold content and ads and use the ‘async’ attribute to load third-party tags asynchronously.

How to Mitigate the Impact of Largest Content Paint (LCP)

Your website needs to load quickly to get an acceptable LCP score, so optimization is critical. The following can impact your LCP rating by delaying load times and increasing latency:

  • Sizable images and ads
  • Large above-the-fold ads with priority load
  • Poor header bidding optimization

Try to compress images and use formats such as JPEG XR, JPEG 2000, or WebP to make them load faster. If you can, use a content delivery network (CDN) to improve your score further.

Use lazy-loading for any images below-the-fold and ads above- and below-the-fold. It’s also vital that you use a monetization partner or network that use optimized ad creatives.

What Your Monetization Partner Can Do

Even if you optimize your site, there’s still the chance that poorly developed ads and scripts can slow down your page speed and impact your score. Now, more than ever, it’s vital to choose a monetization partner or network that’s dedicated to creating high-quality, fast-loading contextual ads.

Some, like Softonic’s rev•amp service, are already committed to delivering these types of optimized advertisements to publishers. If your network or partner is aware of Core Web Vitals and the impending changes, they should already be adapting to account for its effects.

If not, consider exploring your options and finding a network or partner that provides you with quality ads that won’t impact your site speed or revenue generation negatively.

Conclusion

Publishers shouldn’t see the advent of Core Web Vitals as a daunting challenge to overcome. While it’ll be difficult for some to adapt, you’ll be providing a much better page experience to your visitors. Our Softonic team is confident that it’s another step on the road to creating quality ads, better monetization strategies, and accountable advertising industry.

1 https://i.pinimg.com/564x/eb/38/fe/eb38fe56522e021982dd6d0b2ef41477.jpg

Ferran is the Director of Catalog & Traffic at Softonic.
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