Achieving the impossible with core web vitals optimisation
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Published
29.07.2021
Achieving the impossible with core web vitals optimisation

Shaping the digital future of the trusted and iconic global brand Miele, with e-commerce sites in 60 countries on three different platforms, has presented some challenges for our team at Miele X! We talked to Anna Didonna, SEO Manager at Miele X about how they overcame these to support accelerated growth on eCom.  Anna is originally from Italy, where she worked as a content manager and SEO manager in several verticals, she moved to Amsterdam in 2015, originally working for Adidas and Sonova and joined Miele X in October 2020.

Anna says one of the first things that impressed her was the company’s commitment to recruiting the best people. “All the people I’ve met here are experts in their fields,” she says. “So it was a huge opportunity to learn.”

Optimising legacy websites
One of her first challenges was improving the performance of the different Miele websites in 60 different countries. Where others see challenge, Anna sees opportunity.  “These sites were vital for the businesses in those countries,” she explains. “So we needed to try and improve the loading, interactivity and visual stability of these sites quickly.”

This turned into an extensive project that encompassed site stability and interactivity to impact on customer conversion rates. “We also had to think about the impact on the brand,” says Anna. “Miele is seen as a premium brand, so any changes we made had to retain the premium look and feel of the site, whilst improving functionality.”

The technical challenge
Miele X brought together a team of different experts to look at the challenges involved in the project. The main one was that the sites in different countries were running on three different platforms and the oldest desktop platform was 15 years old. This legacy platform also introduced another complication – the desktop and mobile sites had been developed at different times, so they weren’t completely aligned.

This made the task even more complex for the engineers, because they would have to check how anything they changed on the desktop platform would affect the mobile platform. It was almost like doing everything twice.

Never shy when it comes to taking on a challenge, the Miele X team started to look at issues like the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). It all started with a very good alignment and close collaboration between SEO, the frontend architect Siegfried Grimbeek and the  IT team. Anna outlines how they eventually decided to focus on three page types – home pages, product list pages and product detail pages. “By focusing on these we decided we could improve the overall sites by around 70%”.

The solution involved addressing three main technical issues. Firstly, the legacy sites had been written using JavaScript and jQuery to apply style changes also in interactive events, so the team replaced them with modern CSS, which accounted for the majority of the CLS issues. Secondly, they needed to look at data being retrieved via an API using AJAX without any placeholder, to ensure that when new data was added to the container element in the page, it didn’t affect the page layout. Finally, they had to deal with a legacy CSS used for positioning and layout, which was also causing CLS issues.

Anna was involved from the start, sharing knowledge as the project went on, identifying the measurables and the tools to use, and assessing any issues.

The future
The team has already rolled out the new domains to six countries on a new Hybris platform with impressive results. Optimising them all is a big focus for the team – as Anna says, it’s a marathon, not a sprint: “We need to make sure that the new platform gives us a solid foundation for every development on the websites, so any improvements don’t impact on anything else. It’s been a massive project, but it will make a huge difference to our web performance.”

The experience of the team shows that it is possible to improve website performance, even with legacy platforms.  It’s all about great teamwork, perseverance and creativity – which fortunately the team at Miele X have in abundance!

What’s Next? You Decide
Now is an exciting time to join Miele X as we create a new digital heritage for one of the world’s most iconic brands.

Take a look at our current opportunities.

Cindy Groenke
Managing director

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