Everything You Need to Know About Core Web Vitals
The new Google Page Experience update is rolling out gradually over the next few months. Google has an estimated completion date of August 2021. So there’s still time to make sure your site is aligned with this update and tackle any issues along the way.
This significant change will impact how your website performs in online searches, so it’s essential to understand what the Google Page Experience update is about and learn how to cope with the changes.
The term “Google Core Web Vitals” has become a buzzword in the SEO community. Core Web Vitals are the three new ranking signals to align with and optimize for if you want your website to be ready in time for the Page Experience update.
If you want to improve your rankings and grow your leads, it’s a good idea to audit your website and follow the step-by-step instructions of a reliable Google Page Experience Guide.
Now, let’s delve into these new ranking factors and uncover how to improve Core Web Vitals scores to give your website that competitive edge.
Understanding Google Core Web Vitals
Currently, there are existing user experience (UX) ranking signals that measure a website’s search ranking, usability and interactivity. Google checks for these signals, namely, mobile-friendly, safe browsing, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials.
In November 2020, the search giant announced that it would be rolling out the Page Experience update, which will include Core Web Vitals as additional ranking signals.
The objective of this update is to improve the user experience. Google considers Core Web Vitals and existing ranking signals to be essential factors that enhance a web user’s browsing experience. Let’s take a closer look at the three Core Web Vitals and tools to measure if your website is aligned with these new ranking signals:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP refers to how long it takes to load the main content of your website. Page loading speeds affect your user’s experience of your website, making LCP an essential part of the Google algorithm update. Users expect an efficient interaction with your website. If it takes too long to load most of the content, they’ll likely leave your website and seek out another resource.
There are several tools available to measure Core Web Vitals. Technical SEO specialists utilize LCP test tools, such as Google Search Console, Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool, and Chrome DevTools to measure LCP.
Common Reasons for a Low Lcp Score
If the Core Web Vitals report gives your page a low score for this metric, you’ll want to check on the following possible reasons:
- Server responsiveness
- Resource load time
- Client-side rendering
First Input Delay (FID)
First Input Delay is one of the Google Web Vitals that measures your page’s interactivity. This metric measures the time difference between when the user interacts with the page and when the browser responds to the user input. The interaction we’re referring to could be a click, tap or keypress. A reduced FID means that the site is usable and interactive and can thus provide a positive user experience.
This update is important because today’s websites are dynamic and touch-driven. Site visitors have come to expect a response in less than a second. Users consider a response time within or less than 100 milliseconds to be instantaneous, so this should be your goal.
There are a number of tools to measure Core Web Vitals. If you want to measure FID, you can use Lighthouse in DevTools: Total Blocking Time (TBT) Feature, Chrome UX Report (CrUX) Dashboard, CrUX API, PageSpeed Insights, Search Console Core Web Vitals Report, and Firebase Performance Monitoring.
How to Improve Your FID
There are several things you can do to improve your FID:
- Audit your site for any issues with Google Web Vitals
- Minimize third-party codes
- Optimize internal linking
- Delete unused codes from your files
- Test your page on various devices
- Use code-splitting
- Leverage the right tools to measure your Google Web Vitals
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Core Web Vitals also measure visual stability, and CLS is the metric that corresponds to this. Have you ever experienced trying to click a button but ending up tapping a different link instead because the page layout suddenly moved? If so, this page had poor CLS metric scores.
If your website has unexpected layout shifts when the page loads, such as floating ads or links, you’ll want to seek help from your technical SEO experts and web developers, as these will affect your CLS metric. These experts can audit your website and determine how to improve Core Web Vitals further.
Note that in April 2021, Google announced a change they intend to make to the CLS metric, measuring the maximum session window with a one-second gap, capped at five seconds. There are tools to measure Core Web Vitals, specifically your CLS. You can measure this in the lab by using Lighthouse 6.0, webpagetest.com, and Chrome DevTools..
Factors That Affect CLS
These are the common factors that affect your CLS metric:
- Third-party widgets, ads or iframes
- Fonts that cause Flash of Invisible Text and Flash of Unstyled Text
- Dynamically injected content
- Videos and images with unknown dimensions
- Inappropriate background image or HTML code image size
- Animations that cause layout shifts
- Actions pending a network response before updating Document Object Model (DOM) elements
A low CLS score means your page is stable. If your page isn’t doing too well on this metric, you’ll want to seek help from technical SEO experts and web developers in ensuring your web design is responsive and stable. Users are likely to leave your page if your ads and other page elements are getting in the way of a seamless browsing experience.
Technical SEO specialists and web designers can forge a balance between content and ads. They can also ensure that your page is responsive on all browsers and across all devices.
Will an excellent Google Page Experience guarantee you the top spot? Probably not immediately – but eventually. This has been forecast as a potential “tiebreaker” for website rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).Those sites with better page experience or core web vitals scores could move ahead in the rankings (on the results pages) of others lagging behind.
There are approximately 200 other factors that Google uses to determine page rank. However, if you don’t invest in optimizing your website for the newest Google algorithm update, you might end up giving your competitors a substantial head start with the Page Experience Google algorithm update rolling out.
It is vital that you understand the different Google Web Vitals and know how to improve Core Web Vitals of your page. It also pays to understand the Core Web Vitals report and have a strategy when you’re not satisfied with the scores you’re getting.
It may seem overwhelming because this is quite a jump from the traditional SEO tactics that didn’t specifically help your site’s FID, CLS, and LCP. However, there are tools to help you monitor your page performance. There are also agencies that can give you professional services to optimize your page and prepare your business for just about anything. More importantly, these professionals can leverage the upcoming changes to propel your business to new heights.