Ezoic Leap Review: An Easy Way to Improve Site Speed and Core Web Vitals?
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So, several months ago, Ezoic reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be part of the Ezoic Leap beta. I was like, “what in the world is that?”
They explained that it's Ezoic's solution to help sites improve their site speed and core web vitals.
With all the news about Google implementing core web vitals into the search algorithm, I was game to become a part of the Ezoic Leap beta. I figured I should at least give it a shot.
I've now been using Ezoic Leap on OwnTheYard.com (my public Niche Site Project 4 site) for a few months and wanted to review and share my experience.
Does it really improve Core Web Vitals? Does it make your site faster? What are the pros and cons?
What is Ezoic Leap?
The idea of Ezoic Leap is a toolset to help you improve your site speed and CWV (core web vitals) as easily as possible. Ezoic even has a support team behind the scenes that will help you set up and tweak all your activation settings to get started (if you don't want to do it on your own).
I've actually hired a few people in the past to try and improve the speed of my sites, and it's always a very hands-on process for them. They need to go in and uninstall plugins, install plugins, tweak settings, etc.
Ezoic Leap still requires your involvement; however, Leap does a lot of the heavy lifting of several other plugins combined, so you can get rid of those plugins. However, to get your site even more optimized, you do have to be hands-on to decide if getting rid of Google fonts or getting rid of your favorite plugin is worth the minimal speed improvement it will give your site.
Ezoic Leap will start to improve your site right away and with the right settings (that the Ezoic team can set up for you); your site could improve quite a bit over time.
Leap also gives several recommendations to make your site even faster and more optimized; beyond the standard settings. These recommendations give you the knowledge you need to quickly make decisions about what is causing issues on your site and leaves you with the power to decide if you should remove or tweak that feature of your site.
I'll share all the details below.
The Importance of Server-Side Ads
I'll be the first to admit that I am not the most advanced technical person, so some of this is over my head. However, one of the big complaints about running ads on your site is that it slows it down!
And that's a valid point, running ads on your website does require bandwidth.
One potential answer that Ezoic is leading the way on is server-side ads (Adthrive, Mediavine, and others don't do this…yet).
In addition, ad blockers are becoming more and more common. Server-side ads make it possible to still show ads on your site despite users having ad blockers. The technology is not new, but the technology is increasing in interest.
What do server-side ads do? Well, here's what Ezoic says about it.
I think the above image does a good job of how server-side ads work.
What Ezoic Leap Eliminates?
Because Ezoic is using server-side ads, it does a lot of the heavy lifting that other plugins often try to do. So, you can actually turn off or completely eliminate several plugins from your site when you turn on Ezoic Leap.
I've been using Ezoic Leap on OwnTheYard.com and I turned off several plugins. Fewer plugins usually equals a faster site.
As a result of Ezoic Leap, you can turn off CDN caching plugins, Lazy loading, minification, speed/image optimization plugins like Imagify, shortpixel, etc. Ezoic Leap does all of that.
My Experience with Ezoic Leap
So, how has my experience been so far with Ezoic Leap on OwnTheYard.com?
I turned off several plugins and my core web vitals and site speed have definitely improved.
However, it's not perfect, so I'll review both the pros and cons.
First, here's what my performance has looked like. This is an image I took fairly early on after activating Ezoic Leap. My trends appeared to be going in the wrong direction and I was concerned.
Mobile CWV score of 67 and Desktop score of 75 to start.
Where are they now?
Mobile score is now an 85, and passing all core web vitals! I love seeing all the green for mobile! The screenshot above shows the average core vital scores over the past 28 days.
However, my desktop score is still around the same or lower at 76.
Here's what a current PageSpeed insights screenshot looks like for both Mobile and Desktop.
So, PageSpeed insights shows that my desktop speed is better than Mobile. However, what Google is really concerned with (and show in Google Search Console) is Core Web Vitals.
The desktop “Lab Data” for PageSpeed insights shows that I'm “green” or passing for all core web vitals. But the “field” data is really what is important. This is what other users on chrome are seeing when they visit my site (how the field data is calculated).
So, I'm passing Core Web Vitals for mobile according to Google PageSpeed Insights!
So, when I look at my Google Search Console for OwnTheYard.com; here's what I see for Core Web Vitals on mobile.
As you can see, this “Good” score on all URLs is a recent occurrence. Up until just a couple days ago, my URLs were showing as “needs improvement (orange) when it came to CWV.
However, now all my URLs on Mobile for OwnTheYard.com are passing! And to clarify, I didn't do anything in the past few days to “fix” this. This is all the work of Ezoic Leap just improving my scores since I've had it installed.
I still need to work on my Desktop core web vitals score. After talking with my WordPress tech guy, he believes that some of the CLS issues are related to ads on my site. However, Ezoic Leap still has a ton of recommendations I could make to improve the scores of my site. So, I should probably exhaust those recommendations before I start pointing fingers :).
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Ezoic Leap. With a “Core Vitals Score” of 85 on mobile (and improving), but a score of 76 on desktop and declining…it feels like I have more work to do.
Ezoic Leap has done a lot of the heavy lifting for me, and the team is definitely there to help you initially get all your settings initiated.
So, the “pros” are that Ezoic Leap definitely is doing the work of several plugins (caching, image optimization, etc), so I can get rid of some bloat on my site. And clearly, Ezoic Leap is improving my core web vitals automatically (except for on desktop?).
But the cons are that it's not a magic bullet and will still require your own time to optimize your site as you go through all the Ezoic Leap recommendations.
When I first got started, I complained a lot that I had to do anything on my site in order to use Ezoic Leap. I wanted something that would do all the work for me!
Again, Ezoic Leap does a ton of things automatically to optimize your site (and I'm seeing good results). But to fine-tune your site and get the best scores possible for both desktop and mobile, you are going to have to dig in and do some “manual” cleanup.
This is where the Ezoic Leap Recommendations come into play.
Since you are going to have to dig into your site in order to speed it up, you might as well have an in-depth to-do list of what to improve.
This is how I view the Ezoic Leap dashboard, a to-do list.
Here's a screenshot of a few recommendations Ezoic Leap has for OwnTheYard.com:
I've got about 20 recommendations in my Ezoic dashboard that at some point I might get around to (I'm lazy!). I've hired my tech guy in the past to go through all these recommendations and fix them.
But alas, new recommendations continue to show up over time. That just means that the Ezoic Leap is behind the scenes continuing to build their “tech” to find more ways to improve sites. Or it could be that I've installed new plugins or updated plugins that are now causing minor issues that need to be addressed.
Ezoic Leap is still currently in beta, but I can already see that the types and specificity of the recommendations have improved significantly since I started a few months ago.
The Ezoic Leap Leaderboard
Can you really get perfect core web vital scores with Ezoic ads on your site?
That's a question I've heard in the past, and with my own site I was wondering at one point. However, my site now has passing scores on mobile and I expect that after some tweaking based on the recommendations of Ezoic Leap, I'll have passing scores on desktop as well.
However, Ezoic Leap also has a “Leaderboard” that shows site the best scores on their platform. In other words, these are all sites that are using Ezoic ads and still have perfect speed and core web vital scores.
Here's a look at the leaderboard:
This shows that several have perfect speed scores and CWV. You can even see the “technologies” used or their Ezoic Features / Settings used.
This shows what plugins they are using, etc.
I've looked through several of these sites and they are definitely using Ezoic ads.
So, you most definitely can get perfect speed and CWV scores while using Ezoic ads. This leaderboard shows that.
Not a Magic Wand, But Helpful
Overall, I think Ezoic Leap is a good solution so far, and it appears to continue to get better (as it is in beta). I was wishing for a magic wand that was completely hands-free, but it's not quite there yet.
The fact that Ezoic is going to server-side ads is huge! And the fact that Ezoic Leap can help you eliminate several plugins from your site and does a lot of heavy lifting to optimize your site and core web vitals is also a big deal.
And, it's free. So, from my perspective…why not? Hopefully, you've enjoyed this Ezoic Leap Review.
If you want to check out Ezoic Leap, you can learn more right here.
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