To help marketers make better decisions on how to measure their marketing performance, we compared 22 location providers in the U.S. The data below compares four key metrics: 1) Monthly Visits (MRP), 2) Custom Events (CVs), 3) Click Through Rate Percentages and 4) Cost Per Thousand Impression Summary as a proxy for cost per thousand impressions/visit).
Rachel Anderson is a Director of Web Intelligence who may be found on Twitter.
I looked at the online performance of location sites handled by the leading location provider brands in June 2021. Several significant events have occurred since that article was published:
With all of these changes and guarantees, I felt it would be beneficial (and fun!) to redo our analysis. You should read the original article first if you haven’t already.
But, why, exactly?
When I deal with multi-location companies, I often get inquiries regarding which location provider provides the greatest services. Because Core Web Vitals is now a ranking criterion, it’s critical to consider performance ratings when selecting a location page provider. CWVs are simply one of several ranking elements, thus they shouldn’t be the sole aspect to consider when selecting a provider. My goal with this study is to assist companies understand what they should look for in terms of performance when deciding how to handle their location pages.
I started with the domains and URLs that were investigated in June 2021. Based on suggestions from Uberall and Momentfeed personnel, more domains for Uberall and Momentfeed were included to the study. I used LightHouse to mimic a poor 4G mobile connection by running up to 100 location pages (unique URLs) from each site. I then looked at the average CLS, LCP, and TBT for each of the providers (using LightHouse means I have to use Blocking Time in Total instead of FID). Since LightHouse delivers lab data, I repeated the procedure twice to guarantee relative consistency in findings (real time performance). I picked the average score since there were significant disparities in scores between the two data pulls in some areas.
Notes on the data: We discovered that some of the original URLs we tested are 301 redirecting or 404ing. The URLs in question were removed from the analysis. Due to the Uberall purchase, a new source, Momentfeed, was included to the analysis. Because the domains included in this research were given by a Momentfeed representative, they may have a higher positive skew than the typical domain.
Last Time We Discovered
Most providers had excellent Total Blocking Time ratings, extremely dismal LCP scores, and a mix of ‘good’ and ‘needs improvement’ CLS scores when I finished the study in June 2021.
Rio SEO and ChatMeter got the greatest overall scores at the time of investigation, however they both failed the Core Web Vitals tests. Uberall’s LCP was 5 times longer than the maximum ‘good’ score, indicating that SOCi and Uberall received terrible scores.
The End Result
It’s been five months since we finished our first investigation on these domains — plenty of time for location page providers to consider our CWV results and make changes to benefit their customers, right?
I like your optimism, but I’m afraid you’re completely mistaken.
Shift in Layout Over Time
What is Cumulative Layout Shift, and how does it work? CLS ratings are used to assess the page’s visual stability. The score is affected by the size of an element and the amount it moves. CLS is the only score that isn’t dependent on how quickly you can complete a task. CLS scores of.1 and below are considered good. Anything over.25 is regarded negative. The ‘needs improvement’ range is between.1 and.25.
Call me naïve, but I was surprised to see that CLS scores had deteriorated in the last five months. Average provider scores increased from.1 to.13, indicating that they are now in the ‘needs improvement’ area.
Rio SEO’s already excellent score was somewhat improved. Brandify and ChatMeter’s excellent ratings remained unchanged. However, in November 2021, BirdEye, Yext, SOCi, and Uberall all had lower scores than in June.
Because McDonald’s Germany, which previously had a score of.02, now has a score of.78, Uberall’s score has risen totally into the requires improvement zone. The website loads in reverse order, with the footer appearing first, followed by the app download links, and finally all of the information at the top. With the exception of one exception, Uberall’s location pages are in the CLS good category.
The Most Contented Paint
What exactly is LCP? Loading performance is measured by the largest contentful paint. Largest Contentful Paint scores should be under 2.5 seconds to be regarded ‘good.’ Between 2.5 and 4 seconds is the ‘needs improvement’ area. Anything that lasts longer than 4 seconds is deemed terrible.
Largest Contentful Paint was the parameter that ISPs struggled with the most in my first investigation — the average load time was 7.99 seconds.
So it’s all fixed now, right? Wrong, the average load time has increased to 8.01 seconds (which is admittedly very close — the first Lighthouse check had far lower scores than the second, which averaged out to something less terrible).
None of the providers’ domains have an LCP score in the ‘good’ category. The domains of Yext, Momentfeed, Rio SEO, and ChatMeter are all in the ‘needs improvement’ category. However, the domains SOCi, BirdEye, and Brandify all have solely ‘bad’ LCP ratings.
This corresponds to the results from June. Sadly, stores.petco.com, which had the highest LCP score, was demoted from ‘needs improvement’ to ‘bad.’ To counteract the bad news, Yext’s stores.loft.com decreased their average LCP score from 12.8 to 3.6 seconds, firmly putting it in the ‘requires improvement’ category.
MomentFeed and Yext domains have the best LCP scores among the providers, while others have a long way to go to achieve ‘excellent’ LCP values.
Total Blocking Time
To remind you, we utilize Total Blocking Time as a stand-in for First Input Delay, which is solely a field measure, in lab metrics. Interactivity is measured using FID and TBT.
- TBT scores of less than 2 seconds are considered ‘good.’
- Scores of ‘needs improvement’ range from 2 to 6 seconds.
- Anything more than 6 seconds is deemed ‘bad.’
TBT was the Core Web Vitals measure that providers excelled in in June. Except for Uberall, which received a ‘needs improvement’ rating, all providers received a ‘good’ rating. Now, though… Brandify and Rio SEO both received a ‘needs improvement’ rating, while Uberall received a ‘poor’ rating. So, what went wrong?
With a load time of 5.4 seconds, Uberall was the significant exception to the ‘good’ TBT ratings in June. Ulta’s location pages went from 17.3 seconds to 27.6 seconds TBT, increasing their TBT score by 6 seconds. Because the other sites offered by Uberall are in the good or ‘needs work’ zone, Ulta is a noticeable exception. Uberall has an average TBT of 1.3 seconds after excluding Ulta from the equation. Ulta’s location pages have major LCP concerns as well, therefore this domain as a whole is lowering Uberall’s score. When I inquired as to why this domain is such an anomaly, Uberall told me that they are using an older location page product that was acquired. This implies that new Ulta customers should not have any loading issues.
Brandify’s TBT jumped from.7 seconds to 2.4 seconds, owing to greater load times for one domain. Due to a number of third-party scripts and a few chained queries, the stores.truevalue.com domain rose from.7 seconds to 2.9 seconds. Is Brandify to blame for this? Several of the scripts are due to maps and other templated resources, therefore they seem to be part of the reason for the rise in TBT. TrueValue, on the other hand, seems to have slowed things down even more by loading extra scripts on all of their sites.
The average TBT for Rio SEO increased from.6 seconds to 4.9 seconds. What caused such a dramatic change? One domain – stores.petco.com – had a considerable spike in TBT. The time it took for Petco’s location pages to move from 1.2 seconds to 7.9 seconds TBT (average; this was a domain that was quite erratic across tests and never earned a ‘good’ grade). The factors creating a high TBT are, once again, third-party code and chained requests. In this situation, though, the most of the concerns seem to be ad scripts and user experience monitoring. There is still some accountability for the scripts inside the page template on Rio SEO’s part, but the most of the troubles seem to be Petco’s fault, not the location page template’s.
So, what comes next?
Location page providers have somehow become worse for Core Web Vitals during the last five months. The Core Web Vitals were initially revealed in May 2020, and now, 18 months later, we’re witnessing increased CLS, TBT, and LCP ratings on location sites.
In June 2021, the following were the CWV averages across all location page providers:
- CLS – .1
- TBT – 1.7 seconds
- 8.0s on the LCP
In November 2021, the following were the CWV averages across all location page providers:
- CLS (.13)
- TBT – 2.5 seconds
- 8.1s for LCP
Even removing Ulta.com as an anomaly doesn’t “correct” the statistics Because online speed is a severe problem for location page providers, and there doesn’t seem to be a simple remedy.
Which of these suppliers would you suggest for location pages?
My recommendation remains the same: if your company can afford it, build and operate your own location page infrastructure. It’s obvious that relying on a third party to make platform adjustments to increase your SEO is dangerous.
Core Web Vitals aren’t the most important factor in ranking location pages, but they do matter in competitive sectors and areas. Using owned technology enables your company to customize pages to include the most critical SEO factors in your business.
My company is unable to administer its own location pages. So, what’s next?
Core Web Vitals are just one component of a good location page, so do your homework. Request samples of other domains that use their location pages and assess them for SEO best practices and organic performance.
Even if you use a location page provider, your company is still in charge of the Core Web Vitals on location pages. Third-party scripts, navigational elements, and font loading delays that are domain-wide problems – not caused by location page providers – are among the poorest performing domains for Core Web Vitals in this research. Monitoring CWVs and executing repairs on faulty templates is critical whether your business utilizes a third party or handles location pages in-house. Organizations and location page providers are both responsible for core Web Vitals.
I’d be wary to employ SOCi, BirdEye, or Uberall location sites based only on Core Web Vitals. It’s worth noting, though, that several of the names I investigated are for location page goods that those providers no longer supply (the brands have not paid for the faster, updated product). As a result, newer product offers may have higher CWV ratings.
MomentFeed scores (another service that I didn’t include in my initial research) pleasantly surprised me. They had the greatest LCP and TBT scores of all providers, as well as the second best CLS score (still in the ‘excellent’ category).
MomentFeed, ChatMeter, and Rio SEO all have ‘good’ CLS scores, largely ‘good’ TBT scores, and the lowest LCP ratings, so if Core Web Vitals are a top goal for your location pages (and they should be), and owned technology isn’t an option, I’d start there.
Do you want to know what your Core Web Vitals scores are? The cutting-edge Lighthouse technology used by SagaReach Marketing enables us to monitor online performance and bring fresh data to our continuing research. Give us a call if you’d want to know how you stack up or if you’d like to be a part of part III of the research.
Interested in learning how we helped this brand grow from $2 million to $20 million in only five years? Here’s where you can find the case study!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I fix Core Web Vitals issues?
A: The issue is caused by a bad cache file in your device. You can delete the Cache folder from C:\Windows\ and then restart Windows, or you can simply clean your PCs registry with CCleaner (From Microsoft).
What are the three Core Web Vitals?
A: The three Core Web Vitals are the total number of people who visit a website, its bounce rate, and how long they stay on.
What is Core Web Vitals update?
A: Core Web Vitals is the name of a new update for Beat Saber that was released on November 28th, 2018. This update adds some new features to the game such as improved performance and an enhanced UI/HUD.