And Now My Watch Begins…in June?

By: Brian Weiss, Yield Manager

As Core Web Vitals approaches, we’ll continue to keep you updated on the advances we’re making in our ad products and solutions. Below is a timeline from the Google team, a quick snapshot of where the Freestar Engineering and Product teams are at, and a little bit of our philosophical approach to monetization.

By now, you likely know that the Core Web Vitals update has been postponed to mid-June. Here’s Google’s (revised) timeline as shown on their Google Search Central blog, along with some specific quotes we wanted to share with you.

April 19, 2021

We’ll begin using page experience as part of our ranking systems beginning in mid-June 2021. However, page experience won’t play its full role as part of those systems until the end of August…. This report combines the existing Core Web Vitals report with other components of the page experience signals, such as HTTPS security, absence of intrusive interstitials, safe browsing status, and mobile-friendliness.”

November 10, 2020

The page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021. The change for non-AMP content to become eligible to appear in the mobile Top Stories feature in Search will also roll out in May 2021.” They also announced new tools for publishers that are looking to improve page experience.

May 28, 2020

We will introduce a new signal that combines Core Web Vitals with our existing signals for page experience. The ranking changes described in this post will not happen before next year, and we will provide at least six months’ notice before they’re rolled out. We’re providing the tools now to get you started (and because site owners have consistently requested to know about ranking changes as early as possible), but there is no immediate need to take action.”

Here’s why we treat Google timelines with some skepticism:

1. Core Web Vitals Timeline
2. CLS Measurement
3. FloC Trials
4. TCF 2.0 Deadline

So what’s the latest at Freestar?

We’ve been working on our Page Speed Optimization product and it’s currently being rolled out for testing. We will continue to work with a few of our publishers to turn on these optimizations and continue to measure both changes in their CVW status as those impacts on revenue. We know all sites are different, so we are going to be testing on a handful of sites to start and compare results. Given the updated deadline is in mid-June, we expect to have even time to test and make optimizations as we go. We should also add that once that deadline hits, that does not mean those tests and optimizations will end; we anticipate plenty of tweaks and adjustments in the coming weeks and months.

In our experience: rigidity and inflexibility in regards to the product and general strategy pose the greatest risk to publishers. It’s the decisions made out of fear and emotion that are often most regretted. Publishers and technology vendors should continue to iterate and maintain their poise during these changes. As mid-May June approaches, take comfort in knowing that your partners at Freestar are standing beside you to solve any unforeseen variables and looking over your shoulder, monitoring your analytics and audience behavior.

The Last Thought (for now)

Be skeptical of anyone claiming to have all the answers to the upcoming changes in the SEO landscape. With the right attitude, collaboration with your Freestar team, and dedication to quality content, you’ll thrive amidst the disruption. 

We make our decisions based on the assumption that our publishers are still in business with us years from now, and that’s why we operate with transparency, tenacity, and ingenuity. When analyzing data or any problem, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. We choose to tune the noise out and focus on what really matters: the success of our publishers measured both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Between the collective experience, wisdom, and technical acumen at Freestar, we know that Google tends to have some flexible deadlines and guidelines. We will continue to work with our Google team to ensure we are in front of these changes and keep our publishers aware of things to come.

We treat your business as if it were our own, and understand these changes can be challenging. We aren’t here to make false promises, or work on short-term gains. The health of your business is important to the health of our own, as well as the health of our industry at large. Your long-term success is core to what Freestar values and is built on.

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