We know how important SEO is to online publishers, which is why at JW Player, we’re always working to optimize our player and make sure it works according to SEO best practices—and in surprising ways to make publishers’ jobs easier!
In the past, Google has relied solely on analyzing a page’s performance based on a single page load by a bot simulating a human user. Going forward, Google will move toward data from real users’ experiences on the page. Last year, Google released three new metrics that it’ll start using in search ranking beginning summer 2021.
Why Core Web Vitals matter
Performance won’t solely be based on lab data anymore (like testing in dev tools), so publishers will have to monitor performance over time, as more user data is incorporated. As with any Google algorithm change, third-party vendors may have an impact on page performance, which is why JW Player is proactively addressing technical issues to improve performance.
What are the new Core Web Vitals
The Core Web Vitals are three lab metrics that will be using user data signals going forward. These take into account user experience in addition to existing search signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. The Core Web Vitals account for loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it took the largest image or text block at the top of the page to load, which should take no more than 2.5s
- First Input Delay (FID) measures how quickly the page responds after you interact with it, like clicking a link or tapping a button, which should take no more than 100ms
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) tallies the number and magnitude of times when the page content shifts while you’re there, which can often make you lose your place. To do this they created a scoring system, and your page must receive a score of no higher than 0.1 averaged across users
How JW Player affects SEO
JW Player’s web player performs well in Google page performance testing when implemented optimally for SEO. We evaluate changes in Google’s ranking algorithms and optimize when it makes sense to do so. We also triage and fix issues on an ongoing basis as reported by customers. Our account team is always available to advise publishers on optimal page SEO.
Because here at JW Player we have such an excellent, industry-leading product thanks to our amazing web player team, we’ve always taken great pains to maintain a performant, lightweight player that when implemented optimally generally does not have a big impact, including:
- SEO option in dashboard and configuration option, generateSEOMetadata, add metadata
- The player is modular and only loads parts of the library needed to play the embedded video
- Library only loads once per page, not once per player (as long as it’s not in an iframe)
- Script can be set to load deferred or asynchronously
- We compress (gzip) and minify our assets
- Doesn’t use a webfont
- We have an AMP component (Google favors AMP pages in all rankings!)
How JW Player is addressing Core Web Vitals
Most publishers using JW Player pass the core web vitals metrics without any difficulty, but JW Player is always looking to optimize and improve our player. We’ve identified a few areas to improve Cumulative Layout Shift that will be fixed before May. We’re also looking for additional ways in which the web player may lower its impact.
10 Things Publishers can do to Improve Page Performance Right Now
- Define player dimensions in your div element
- Add defer (or async, using another method) attribute to player script in head (and wrap the player setup call in an event listener like DOMContentLoaded)
- One-off Lighthouse scores are unreliable and PageSpeed Insights matters more over time rather than used as an absolute number; run a minimum of 5 times in a row and average, using Google’s servers ideally rather than locally
- Visit web.dev to follow known best practices
- Prioritize the mobile-friendliness of your web pages & create AMP pages if possible
- Lazy load setup of any players below the fold, but make space in the DOM for where they will go so they don’t hurt your cumulative layout shift
- Ensure you’re using https not http
- Avoid making dramatic SEO strategy changes until the update goes live and results can actually be measured according to live updates in May
- Try not to stress about Lighthouse scores unless you’re able to invest resources in moving a red score (0-49 points) to 65 or above!
- While passing all three Core Web Vitals is important, keep in mind we don’t really know how it’ll affect search rankings in May. It may not move!