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Is anyone else worried about BAD CORE WEB VITALS for Squarespace Sites?

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I have been trying to solve the problem of poor core web vitals for my SP sites for some time, looking at services that might help (that turned out not to be possible to implement (see this post) because of the structure of Squarespace - not having access to template code in 7.1).

Core Web Vitals to Become More Important in 2024

As this post describes (as do many others, On May 10, 2023, Google announced that INP will replace FID in the Core Web Vitals in March 2024

Whether we like it or not Google has put us on notice that CWV will matter in the future.

It's no longer good enough for SP support to reply with the suggestion we ''çheck our image sizes'' or imply that Googles CWV in Lighthouse are overly aggressive or sensitive or whatever. With 95% of search, it doesn't matter whether we like Google's method of assessing CWV.....what they say goes and platforms like SP need to get on top of their poor performance.

I think anyone on Squarespace with more than just a small hobby site needs to look very carefully at their site CWV and decide now whether to move to another platform, because moving takes time. I definitely want to have the matter resolved before March 2024.

For myself I am looking to move to Wordpress. Not only can I get high CWV but there are other bonuses, including many  tools that I can connect to a WP site (like writing/ content updating tools) that are just not possible with Squarespace.

It would be great to hear SP announce a commitment to improve the CWV metrics for their platform but I suspect we will hear nothing.

Interested to hear what others think - I realise we've all spent a lot of time and energy invested in SP so it's tempting to find excuses for them but I think it's time those of us who are thinking of moving speak up in the hope there might be some commitment to fix the significant problems in speed and performance that Squarespace has.

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Hi @simon.stjohn - It's a shame to see you're moving away from Squarespace to WordPress because of this - best of luck!

I think it depends upon your priorities and skillset. I believe SQSP is better for 95% of users because of how easy it is to use, the community, security and suite of features.

If you're in the top 5%, a competitive niche and are pushing across all fronts, then WordPress, Webflow etc. may be a better option.

That being said, SQSP should 100% look at improving their CWV metrics as there are key areas of SEO they are lacking, this being one of them.

I'm soon releasing a study looking at over 20,000 Squarespace websites to reveal what gets results and what's different with the top 10% of websites.

In short, the findings are that better on-page SEO, more high-quality content, and high DR backlinks lead to more traffic - this isn't really surprising tbh! 

Imo, if you nail the above, it doesn't really matter what website builder or CMS you use. 

Henry Purchase

Founder of SEOSpace - the SEO plugin for Squarespace.

Get a Free Squarespace SEO Audit: https://www.seospace.co.uk/squarespace-seo-audit-score

image.png.f2cf8f5bd8cb76803cb561be0b303142.png

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Hi Henry

Unfortunately Web Core Vitals are a big deal and no matter how good a job we do on-page, quality content etc, if the Core Web Vitals are poor Google is marking your site down right now - and will be even more so from next year.

I am totally understanding of those who have invested in the platform, either in terms of site content (as I have) or as developers of plugins, design services etc. It is indeed an awkward situation.

But the bottom line is that unless SP solves the terrible performance - particularly on mobile - customers are being placed at a significant disadvantage and their results in the SERPs is are being marked down.

To be very clear, Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor in the Google algo.

"Google's Core Web Vitals first became a ranking factor back in 2021. In February 2022, the change was fully rolled out to all mobile and desktop searches" according to Search Engine Land.

And here's what Google says: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/core-web-vitals

And no, it's not an issue for the 'top 5%'.

It's an issue for anyone who needs their website to appear on page one of Google results. The only folks it does not matter to might someone who is not interested in generating traffic from search engines. That could I guess be someone using a SP site for an internal company website, for example. But ewven then, if speed and performance on mobile is an issue then it might still be a problem.

The time for sugar-coating has to stop. Squarespace needs to do something.

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This has been going on for a few years now.

Yes SquareSpace needs to make changes to the way they run code on their platform. Will they do it? Who knows. It seems that their core audience may be at the level of being happy to simply have a website rather than look at the technical details of CWV.

What does annoy me is that I will be paying more in PPC costs simply because some parts of the page experience, that can be easily modified on competing platforms, are off-limits for optimisation.

I expect that at some time in the future SquareSpace will push the button on a new version that will make good on all the optimisations needed for speed, but I also  think that we will have to rebuild our websites from the ground up on this new template in order to make it work.

C'est la vie, this is one of the downsides to packages solutions such as SS, and do bear in mind that on my other website the slowest resources to load are Google resources now!

We provide digital marketing services for businesses that need exposure/sales from search and social media networks. We also build incredibly fast and well optimised multi-language Square Space websites.
Digital Marketing | Marketing Digitale

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Hi @GlynMusica Thanks for your reply - and yes, its been going on for years and I can't understand why it has not been addressed. I have been with Squarespace for many years - I was one of the original clients in Australia, I suspect. With small projects it did not matter to me, but now I am building a travel website I just can't justify staying around when Core Web Vitals are so poor and are having an impact on my rankings.

Serious business websites can't justify investing staff, tools to research and produce content only to have the website itself penalised for poor performance. Squarespace can't even manage to integrate a simple process like image optimisation like https://shortpixel.com/, let alone address LCP and other core web vitals.

And I feel I am being more than fair just addressing the fundamental deficiency of CWV. I am not even mentioning the lack of other basic tools necessary to operate a content business link internal linking, SEO optimisation, etc.

I realise many will say I am wanting more from a tool that 'makes it so easy' for people to run a website. However, in today's competitive SEO landscape, unless you are a rare business that does not want to gain any traffic from search engines you are starting gagged, bound and jail-locked off the first page of the search results for competitive terms because its fairly certain your competitors will be outperforming you on CWV, even if you beat them on all the other metrics like content optimisation, content quality, etc.

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  • 6 months later...

Great post, @simon.stjohn; sadly, it's become obvious that SP has not improved performance, especially with the extremely poor mobile INP results resulting in a Core Web Vitals failing. I've optimised everything I can and still our traffic has been smashed to the point where I don't believe we can stay on this platform.

Everyone, including SP, has known about the March 2024 Core update for almost 12 months, so it's extremely disappointing that they have failed to improve performance or even bother to offer any advice to users. The lack of communication and zero transparency from SP are also very frustrating. It would be great to actually hear if they have any solutions or improvements under testing or in development. Else, people will be forced to leave the platform.

Edited by jason_sparky
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