wordpress seo
By Carrie-ann | Jul 18, 2021 | SEO

Good News For WordPress Users

If, like so many other business users, you are a user of the popular WordPress platform, then the latest announcements from the company are sure to be welcomed. WordPress has revealed that its upcoming 5.9 update will tackle its default lazy loading behaviour, with the planned changes set to improve Core Web Vitals performance metrics, and improve WordPress SEO capabilities as a result.

A Look At Lazy Loading

Whilst the technical term lazy loading may well be unfamiliar to many, it’s highly likely that you will have seen it in action. Lazy loading defers the loading of an image until the user reaches the point in the webpage where it is set to appear, usually as they scroll down. Also known as on-demand loading, it means that time and storage can be saved, speeding up content delivery for the person visiting the page and thereby giving them the best possible experience whilst proving more cost-efficient for the website’s owner.

WordPress’s New Proposals

WordPress has included lazy loading since its 5.5 update, but recognises that there has been ample room for improvement. For example, at present, there is no way to stop important images (such as logos at the top of a webpage) from being subjected to lazy loading. Its latest proposals will see the fine grain control of the lazy loading attribute placed in the hands of the individual theme developers, but aims to see fine-tuning carried out by the default settings, too.

By refining this default lazy loading protocol, WordPress expects to deliver improvements in Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a Core Web Vitals metric which measures the speed at which images and other content downloads to a visitor’s browser screen. The refinement of WordPress’s lazy loading default setting is predicted to improve LCP by as much as 33%, with a median improvement of 7%. With the Google updates planned for this July set to feature a page experience ranking factor, which will include analysis of Core Web Vitals such as LCP as part of its SEO ranking calculations, these improvements will certainly be welcomed by WordPress’s customers. And where Google updates go, you can expect other search engines to quickly follow.

An Aid To WordPress SEO

Of course, faster loading times will certainly help to improve WordPress SEO, as the majority of search engine ranking algorithms increasingly factor in the speed at which a website can load. And faster loading is also strongly linked to increased levels of user satisfaction, making it a very worthwhile area to focus on. Indeed, studies show that today’s internet users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less, so speeding up loading times will help reduce those dreaded bounce rates.

When Can We Expect These Improvements?

Of course, the big question for anyone keen to see these benefits for themselves will be when is the release date for WordPress’s 5.9 update. At present, this update is not scheduled to be released until December of this year, but individual theme developers may of course refine their lazy loading attributes before this date.