Wondering how to improve Core Web Vitals? Don’t overlook your adtech stack

March 19, 2021

In May 2021, Google will add Core Web Vital measurements to its SEO ranking factors. It is also experimenting with a badging system that will display a poor quality indicator on pages that take too long to load or show unexpected shifts, leading to poor user experience. These upcoming changes make page performance something you can’t afford to ignore if you rely on organic search traffic to drive monetization. 

To start optimizing your page performance, you can take advantage of some of Google’s many resources that address common problems which result in poor web vital scores. 

However, you could be overlooking the impact external partners in your advertising technology stack might be having on your site’s performance.

How optimizing your vendor list can improve web performance

In a Aug 2020 study, ScreamingFrog analyzed 2,500 keywords and 20,000 URLs to find that less than 15% of websites passed a Core Web Vitals assessment within PageSpeed Insights. And of the three metrics, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is considered the one that will be the most challenging to get under control, as publishers currently score 20 to 30 times higher than the benchmark. 

Each vendor in your adtech stack adds potential pressure to your site.

Even if you were to implement all the best practices when it comes to serving ads and content, your web vitals could be heavily impacted by the weight and speed of tech vendors firing tags in the background. Vendors with heavy tags and high error rates directly contribute to higher CLS. A vendor’s average latency per session is also a good indicator of how much it might be slowing down your site. So unless they are delivering proportionate value, such vendors should be removed to optimize for page performance. 

Sourcepoint’s DIAGNOSE gives publishers insights to take action on Core Web Vitals

Our proprietary scanning technology, DIAGNOSE, analyzes the relative weight of content of each vendor running on your site, uncovering potential areas for optimization. With the insights that scanning returns, publishers gain visibility into which vendors are triggering the most redirects, which vendors see above average server error rates, and other granular data to inform vendor list optimization. 

For one publisher looking to lighten up their adtech load, we were recently able to flag vendors with unusually high errors rates and identify where errors had low impact (e.g., error on cookie syncing redirects) or high impact (e.g., error on ad deliveries). For another, we flagged a vendor that specifically saw error rates when delivering creative assets. When it comes to vendor behavior, publishers often discover that they don’t know what they don’t know – until they have the tools to take a closer look. 

The performance of vendors has always affected publisher page performance and thus their ability to monetize. The addition of Core Web Vitals to search ranking signals only makes it more important. Insights from DIAGNOSE can help you and your account team pinpoint poor performers bringing down web vital scores. Not only that, your account team will help you make a game plan for improvement.

Visualize your site’s performance against benchmarks over time

DIAGNOSE’s KPI Tracking dashboard provides a holistic, month over month visualization of how your optimization efforts translate into changes in performance. Use this view to reflect the gap between your site’s performance and Google’s benchmark for each web vital metric. You may also compare your performance metrics against other selected benchmarks, including competitors, to know where you are leading or falling behind. 

Crucially, this dashboard illustrates the correlation between your site’s overall web performance KPIs (Core Web Vitals) and your adtech performance KPIs. The top-to-bottom view makes it easy to identify how your tech stack is impacting your site’s performance, informing how you’ll refine your vendor list.

If you want to learn more about how DIAGNOSE can help you optimize your site and adtech stack for page performance, and improve your Core Web Vitals, contact us

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