How 5G Speeds Influenced Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

It’s estimated that 5G subscriber numbers will reach a staggering 345 million people in North America by 2025.

If your area doesn’t have it yet, you can expect it very soon.

Whenever a new cell technology is rolled out to the masses, it also raises our expectations.




We now expect web pages to load quickly and videos to play instantaneously. And these expectations lead to a drop in our collective patience for slow websites.

About 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices and that number is only going to grow over time. This is why Google started to make its search algorithm mobile-first in 2018.

And why their upcoming Core Web Vitals update will be heavily influenced by the demand for faster and better mobile experiences.


Better Mobile Experiences with 5G

As big as the Core Web Vitals update will be, there is actually nothing truly earth-shatteringly new in it.

Any SEO consultant that has been around for a decade or so can tell you that Google is constantly tweaking their search algorithm to reward better user experiences.

This latest update is a big step forward, but still a step in the same direction.

This latest update will focus on rankings signals called page experience signals. They will include:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines
  • Safe-browsing
  • HTTPS-security

The first two are major concerns for any sites currently offering sub-par mobile experiences. If your site is (somehow) still not easily viewable and accessible on mobile devices, you will likely be penalized.

And if your site currently has cumbersome interstitial ads that block the user experience, you’re also probably going to be penalized.

If your website has issues with any of the 4 signals above, you are probably already struggling with low SEO rankings and low traffic. In fact, Google has stated that fixing these issues could result in a 24% reduction in your site’s abandonment numbers.

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Faster Load Speeds with 5G

Google has always said that good speeds (on both desktop or mobile) will help your rankings. But the Core Web Vitals update invites webmasters to take an even deeper look at their site’s performance.

The Core Web Vitals update will factor in your site’s:

Largest Contentful Paint: How long until your page’s main content loads completely? You want a time of 2.5 seconds or faster.

First Input Delay: How long until the page is interactive? You want a time of 100 ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift: How long until the page’s layout stops shifting as it loads? You want a score of 0.1. 

These metrics help you look beyond your site’s simple load time, and really help you see the entire user experience. You can see where your site may be annoying your users.

Everyone hates clicking on a button that doesn’t do anything because the site hasn’t fully loaded yet. We also hate clicking on the wrong link because the site’s layout shifted at the last second.


How to Audit Your Site

Now that you know what the problems may be, you need to know how to find them. Fortunately, there are several tools at your disposal:

  • Google’s Search Console
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Lighthouse
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Chrome UX report

You can also use Google’s mobile optimization tool.


Do I Need to Replace My Entire Website?

Not necessarily

The knee-jerk reaction to an underperforming website is often to blow it up and build it again. But you may not need to spend that much time or money to be ready for the update.

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Use the tools we listed above to audit your entire website and see how widespread the issues are. You may consider a new site if your existing site is relatively old and not-mobile friendly.

Or if your pages were built with inefficient (or too much) coding, it may actually be cheaper to just build a whole new site.

But in most cases, some simple fixes can help you salvage your existing site. The most important thing is to find the fixes that need to be made right now, so you’re not super-rushed to address them later.

Google says the Core Web Vitals update will be rolled out at some point in 2021, but things have been delayed by COVID-19. However, there is no reason that you can’t get the jump on that and start the work right now.

Improving your site’s mobile experience especially with 5G is never a bad idea. The sooner you start, the sooner you can see your rankings and traffic climb.