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Fashion ecommerce sites still fail Google’s user experience requirements

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: e-commerce via Pexels

New data suggests around 50 percent of the top 100 most visible¹ websites on Google.com still fail to deliver a “good” page experience on desktop as defined by the Core Web Vitals (Page Experience) update which finished rolling out in August 2021. And 44 percent of the top 100 websites fail on mobile.

Fashion ecommerce sites are one of the worst performing verticals - negatively impacting bounce rates, abandoned shopping carts, conversions and return visits.

An analysis by Searchmetrics suggests eCommerce sites in categories such as fashion and travel on the whole perform worse for Core Web Vitals than all the other verticals included in the analysis. For example, only 24 percent of the top 100 most visible fashion and apparel websites pass Core Web Vitals on desktop and just 16% on mobile.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Google’s Core Web Vitals benchmarks help website owners assess real-world web user experience in three areas: how quickly the content on a page loads; its interactivity (the time taken to respond to a visitor’s first interaction, such as clicking on a button or a link); and its visual stability (does the layout or content jump around). In the Core Web Vitals update they were combined with other existing signals which Google uses to measure the quality of the page experience meaning they now have an influence on Google rankings.

Tom Wells, VP Strategy at Searchmetrics said: “Fashion and travel were found to be the worst performing segments in terms of Core Web Vitals. Part of the explanation is that websites in these sectors – and eCommerce generally - are typically image-heavy and frequently feature dynamic elements such as ad banners.”

The positive news according to Searchmetrics’ analysis is that the proportion of top-performing domains which satisfy Google’s requirements is increasing over time. In January 2020, only 22 percent of the desktop top 100 and 28 percent of the mobile top 100 were able to pass the Core Web Vitals tests. By October 2021, this increased to 50 percent on desktop and 56 percent on mobile.

Wells continued: “The Core Web Vitals update was Google’s way of encouraging websites to improve the quality of the online experience they deliver. But the data suggests that even some of the biggest brands have not completely solved their user experience challenges. While they continue to rank highly in spite of this, it’s important to remember that the page experience has wider implications especially for eCommerce brands. Delivering a user-friendly experience where pages load quickly, respond to input and in which dynamic content doesn’t jump around, is going to help reduce eCommerce bounce rates and abandoned shopping carts, for example, while being good for conversions and return visits.”

Searchmetrics measures search performance for websites using its SEO Visibility score. The company monitors the organic search results of millions of keywords which it uses to calculate the SEO Visibility score.