Core Web Vitals Dilemma: To Prioritize or Not?

minute/s reading time

If you’re at this blog post, you probably know that Core Web Vitals are a Google Ranking factor.

But fixing and maintaining sites to pass Core Web Vitals can be a pain in the ass, particularly as we don’t know how much they really matter for ranking. Even John Mueller, the head SEO person at Google said for small and local businesses “in most cases” Core Web Vitals should not be at the top of their list. I’ll come back to this point.

Personally speaking; I own both local businesses and online businesses.

Why Core Web Vitals are a high priority for my sites.

As of writing this in October of 2023, just after the Helpful Content Update rolled out, Core Web Vitals are a top priority for me and I have been making sure all of my sites get a ‘pass’ for the last year..

Here’s how I see it; although the value of Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor is unknown and may be negligible, it is one of the few direct ranking factors that Google tells us about, feels valuable enough to report to us, and we can directly impact (fix).

Unlike many other SEO ranking factors that remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, Core Web Vitals are clear, quantifiable, and publicly available.

Checking Core Web Vitals Weekly

When it comes to checking Core Web Vitals, I am checking it weekly for all my sites in Search Console so that I can quickly address any issues that come up.

I do not concern myself with any other tools, or the score on; only what Google is reporting to me as the site owner in Search Console. As I cover in another post, it is possible to get low ‘performance’ scores in but still pass Core Web Vitals. I may however use the pagespeed tool to identify problem elements of my site once Search Console shows a problem.

About John Mueller’s statement;

In Feb 2023 John Mueller, said for small and local businesses “in most cases” Core Web Vitals should not be at the top of their list.

The first thing to point out here is that this was provided in the context of ‘small and local businesses’ which I take to mean offline businesses. For these businesses, in my experience, branding, reputation, and age of business are significant factors, and are factors that the business can have a major impact on through their core operations — without worrying about SEO. That said many of these businesses do pay substantially for a website and that should pass Core Web Vitals.

His statement clearly did not address online businesses like niche sites.

In the online business world, your competitive advantage needs to be ‘doing things online’ and as an online business owner; you should be able to maintain a site that does the basics and passes Core Web Vitals.

On that note ;

Core Web Vitals are not just another passing trend in the SEO world. They represent a clear, quantifiable path to enhancing the user experience on your website that Google uses in ranking a website. . While the precise impact on rankings may be a topic of debate, their potential to improve user engagement, reduce bounce rates, and set you apart from competitors is undeniable. With Google’s transparency on these metrics, there’s no reason not to make Core Web Vitals a priority in your SEO strategy.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!