fbpx Peter Molnar, Author at Swift Performance

Posts by Peter Molnar

Core Web Vitals Becoming Ranking Signals

In November 2020, Google announced that starting from mid-June 2021 Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals.  This update will combine the newly introduced web vitals with already existing UX-related signals, such as:

  • mobile-friendliness
  • safe-browsing
  • HTTPS security
  • intrusive interstitial guidelines

Below, we are going to take a sneak peek at the changes the new update is expected to bring. Let’s get into it.

Wait a minute! What are Core Web Vitals exactly?

Core Web Vitals were designed with the purpose to measure the experience of users who interact with a web page. These measures target the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of web pages.

Specifically, these are the 3 measures defined as Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: This measures the time the web page needs to load the main content. The ideal LCP of a page is 2.5 seconds or faster.
  • First Input Delay: This Core Web Vital reflects on the time it takes for a web page to become interactive. The ideal time is 100 ms.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: Last, but not least, the Cumulative Layout Shift shows the amount of unexpected layout shift of visual content on a web page. In this case, the ideal measurement is less than 0.1.

New Labels Added in Search Results

Based on the previous announcement, Google may also introduce new labels in search results. The role of these additions is to inform the user about the results that provide a good page experience.

To get this label, your web page has to meet all the user experience criteria we discussed above.

Obviously, not all pages would be able to qualify for this label, and this is exactly what can help your page stand out.

A study published in August 2020 reveals that less than 15% of websites can pass the Core Web Vitals assessment. Undoubtedly, if you can fit your web page in that percentage, that is a great advantage when it comes to ranking.

To meet these criteria, site owners already started to take steps towards improving the optimization of their web pages. For example, many are relying on Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report. This report provides site owners more information on the page experience from the user’s perspective and identifies opportunities for potential improvements.

Google reports show a median 70% increase in the number of users who engage with Page Speed Insights or Lighthouse to evaluate page experience metrics.

Also, to measure all Core Web Vitals, Google recommends the use of AMP to site owners. This tool is a simple and cost-effective option to optimize for page experience signals. Last but not least, based on Google reports, AMP sites tend to achieve a great page experience.

Non-AMP pages appearing in Top Stories

Alongside the announcement of Core Web Vitals becoming ranking signals for page experience, Google has also made an important announcement considering non-AMP pages.

Based on a new update rolling out at the same time as the page experience signal update, as of May 2021 non-AMP pages will become eligible to appear in Top Stories.

This basically means two things:

  1. Pages that meet the Google News content policies will appear in the Top Stories
  2. Pages offering a superior experience will be subject to prioritization in ranking

Conclusion

As user expectations of web pages continuously change, so are Core Web Vitals subject to periodic changes. The updates rolling out this May have undoubtedly a significant impact on ranking, but one thing is sure: more changes are coming in the following period.

Swift Performance Lite

Swift Performance Reloaded

Swift Performance lite 2.3.1 has been released recently. Many features has been added to the lite version, therefore it becomes to the best free WordPress cache plugin on the market

The most important part, that Lite users can register and get a free API key, and now can use the most important key features in the plugin.

New Swift Performance Lite Features

Essentials

Image Optimizer

With a free API key you will get monthly 500 free image optimization credit. You can optimize previously uploaded images, and new images as well. Image Optimizer can also generate WebP format for all images.

Critical CSS API

With Swift Perfomrnace API generating critical CSS is much faster, less CPU intensive, and Viewport based mode is also available, which can generate better Critical CSS

Script Optimization

You can use Swift Performance API to minify javascripts for better and more failsafe minification. Server side scripts are also available with API, so you can run scripts and manipulating the DOM during caching.

Optimization

WebP support

Now you can serve WebP version of the images if there is an available WebP version for them (even if it isn’t generated by Swift Performance Lite). Swift Performance provides two methods: <picture> and rewrite. See more

Server Push

If you enable this feature Swift Performance will generate special rules for htaccess, and also will send Server Push headers if the request is served via PHP. See more

Youtube Smart embed

If you enable this feature, Swift Performance will change Youtube embeds to a static picture placeholder, when you click to it, it will start the video. On mobile it will replace the placehoder when it appears in viewport.  See more

WooCommerce

Disable Cart Fragments

You can even disable the cart fragments requests. You can disable it on: every pages, non-shop pages, specified pages (you can choose pages in a dropdown) or specified URLs (you can add URLs one-by-one)

WooCommerce Session Cache

In most cache plugin the cart and checkout pages simply can not be cached. This feature will preload and cache cart and checkout pages for every visitors (separately). With this feature you can speed up the checkout process, which can improve conversions.

GEO IP Support

If your store is using multiple currencies, or provide different prices based on the visitor’s location, you can generate separate cache for each location using GEO IP support feature.

Caching

Remote Prebuild

On some servers local prebuild is not working, because loopback is disabled. In this case, you can enable Remote Prebuild and use our proxy service to prebuild pages.

Ignore Query String

Swift Performance will bypass cache for pages if the request contains any query string. In some special situations, where page should be cached, even if there is a dynamic parameter in the GET request. See more

Avoid Mixed Content

In some cases the site source can contain links/src with HTTP version instead of HTTPS. If you enable Avoid mixed content, it will remove the protocol from all links and sources, so you won’t get a mixed content error in the browser.

Case Insensitive URLs

URLs in WordPress are case insensitive by default. Because of this, some pages can be duplicated in cache. If you would like to avoid these duplicates you may need to enable Case Insensitive URLs feature.

Exclude Cookies

You can specify any cookie which should be bypass the cache. If the user has one of these cookies, then cache will be bypassed.

Keep Original Headers

Swift Performance Lite now can keep headers of the original request. If you are using a plugin which send custom headers you can keep them for the cached version as well.

Font Optimization

Local Fonts

Now you can download and host all your fonts locally. To use this feature you need to enable Merge Styles option. All fonts will be located in cache folder, so if cache will be cleared, then fonts will be download again. Using local fonts can speed up the page load, improve Web Vitals so it is recommended to use.

Force font-display: swap

Swap instructs the browser to use the fallback font to display the text until the custom font has fully downloaded to avoid “flash of invisible text” (FOIT). Now you can set font-display property to swap for all fonts with one click.

Advanced CRON management

Remote Cronjobs

If you disable WP Cron, then cronjobs will not run at all, except if you trigger it somehow. Swift Performance API provides remote cron service, which will trigger cronjobs horly, twice daily or daily basis.

Limit WP Cron

Prevent WP Cron being called on every page load. It is better alternative to decrease cron requests instead disabling it, because with this feature you can decrease server load, however it won’t break plugin features, like backups, scheduled posts, or prebuild cache process.

Misc

Hide Footprints

Swift Performance adds an extra header an HTML comment at the end of the source, which represents the cache status for the request. You can remove these footprints with the new Hide footprints feature.

Disable Admin Notices

Swift Performance in some cases will show a message in admin area. For example if a plugin/theme or core update has been finished. If you don’t like it, you can disable this feature in General settings.

Background Requests

For some AJAX requests we doesn’t need the response (eg post view stats). You can add rules to make these requests run in background, so the browser won’t wait the response. See more

Lazyload Elementor Youtube Background

Elementor is using javascript to inject the iframe for the background Youtube videos, so common lazyloading won’t work here. However you can use Lazyload Elementor Youtube Background feature to lazyload these videos as well.

Custom CDN Filetypes

By default Swift Performance Lite will use CDN for typical static filetypes. Now you can add more file types which should be loaded from CDN, or you can also exclude files to being served via CDN.

Discover New Pages

With this new feature Swift Performance Lite can find and preload pages, which are generated by a plugin (like pagination). For example it can help to preload paginated pages for shop archives

Download Swift Performance Lite Now