13% of Mauritian’s Websites are ready for Google Core Web Vitals update (May 2021)

Jason Bholanauth

Jason Bholanauth

Founder of Inbound Mauritius // Blending data with marketing

Last year, Google announced the release of Core Web Vitals which is a new set of metrics capturing the overall user experience on a webpage. Following which, Google gave one year (delayed by COVID-19) for webmasters and SEO specialists to review their website user experience.

alert

This announcement is critical as Google’s  Core Web Vitals metrics are going to be important search ranking factors as from May 2021.

In this analysis, you will be reading about: 

  • What are Web Vitals?
  • The Three metrics consisting Googles  Core Web Vitals
  • An analysis of 300 Mauritians’ websites
  • How I did the analysis?

What are web vitals?

Web vitals is an innitiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals to improve the overall user experience on a website. In the past years, Google added new criterias matching web users’ expectations while browsing a website. 

Core web vitals can be considered as a subset of web vitals. These represent a distinct aspect of a user experience on a website. Google categorised these metrics as Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability. 

While these metrics evolved constantly, in 2020 Google focused on 3 main ones:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Are Mauritians’ websites ready for the update?

According to the analysis of 300 websites for local companies, only 13% have a score above 90% when analysed using the API of Google’s Pagespeed Insight tool. 

Before we go further with the details, here are some important information: 

Limitations of the analysis

  • Pagespeed Insights was not able to retrieve sufficient data for First Input Display (FID). Hence, for the purpose of this analysis, I opted for First Content Paint (FCP) which is a subset of FID. 
  • The data are dynamic and hence, my analysis timeline was from 15 to 18 March 2021.
  • Websites having redirects 301 are often not scanned by PageSpeed Service (PSS).

Performance scores of 300 local websites using PageSpeed Insights

According to the analysis of 300 websites for local companies, only 13% have a score above 90% when analysed using the API of Google’s Pagespeed Insight tool. 

How does Google PageSpeed Insights scored my list 300 websites from Mauritius?

Whenever you are going to use PSI to audit your website, you will be receiving a score which summarises your page’s performance. To do so, Google uses Lighthouse, an open source, to collect and analyse lab data about your page. Lab data include: 

traffic-lights

The different ratings:

  • 90 or above is considered good
  • 50 to 90 is a score that needs improvement, and
  • below 50 is considered poor.

Average Largest Contentful Paint for Mauritius websites

The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric reports the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport, relative to when the page first started loading.

From the analysis, we’ve noted that the average of websites with a PSI Performance score less than 49% have a huge LCP reaching 15.19 seconds. 

The main issue resulting in this figure are un-optimised visual elements such as images or text blocks. Besides a large LCP can also result from: 

  • Slow server response times
  • Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS
  • Slow resource load times
  • Client-side rendering

Average First Content Paint (FCP) for Mauritius websites

FCP metric is a subset of the overall website performance. It measures the time between the moment a page starts loading to when any element or content is rendered on the screen. These elements may include text, images, SVG elements or non-white elements. This metric is important as if a website has a long FCP, drops may increase. 

Jobsquare website
ABC Motors website
Island Haze website

With most of the analysed websites having FCP above 6.38 seconds, this indicates that websites are spending too much time to load and render visual elements on first load. 

Most of the time, websites having render blocking resources and not required CSS (sometimes not minified), too many requests to call for visual elements like fonts, images, and others.  

Average Cummulative Layout Shift (CLS) for Mauritius websites

Have you ever visited a website and when you are about to click on a link or another action, an ad appear or the page layout changes and instead of performing the initial action, you end up clicking on something else?

The sudden change in the interface or visual elements is called layout shift. Here’s a good example I found from Google.

According to Google, websites should strive for a CLS score of 0.1 or less. From the insights gathered from the top tier (score +90%), we noticed that the average CLS score was around 0.09. 

How is CLS measured in brief?

Layout shift score = impact fraction * distance fraction

Impact fraction: This measures how unstable elements impact the viewport area between two frames.
Distance Fraction: The distance that unstable elements have moved, relative to the viewport. 
 

How I analysed 300 local websites?

  • For the purpose of this analysis, I’ve used Google PageSpeed Insight (PSI) API which includes Lighthouse 5.0, the open source Google uses to collect lab data.
  • I then re-engineered a Script on Google Spreadsheet which analyses the 300 links I handpicked from Google. The analysis is automated at a specific day of the week since PSI Performance Score varies according to different variables.

    Here is where I sometimes had to run the analysis manually for websites having redirects 301 or had cannonical URLs, and for those websites having origins URL different. 

Step 1: Listing 300 random local websites
Step 2: Writing the script to automate the analysis every Wednesday
Step 3: Using basic Google Spreadsheet formula to highlight Performance Score with color code
Jason Bholanauth - SEO Mauritius - Digital Marketing Mauritius

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