Everything you need to know about Core Web Vitals and SEO in 2021.
Did you know that 88 percent of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience? Google knows, which explains why its highly-anticipated core update will be centered around it. Starting in mid-June 2021, Google’s algorithm will be updated to include Core Web Vitals, which will now consider page experience as a ranking factor.
Are you new to the world of Google Core Web Vitals? If you’re wondering how it works and how it could impact your website’s visibility, don’t worry, our ultimate guide will be here to guide you every step of the way.
What are Google Core Web Vitals?
Quality or quantity? With the new core update from Google, users will no longer have to choose between great content and easy website navigation. Core Web Vitals (also called CWV) consist of integral page speed metrics that factor into a website’s performance. This initiative was created by Google in an effort to reward sites that provide both optimized content and superior user experiences with higher SERP rankings.
How can I measure Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are made up of three specific metrics that contribute to the user experience. When measuring these Web Vitals, the following will either be classified as good, needs improvement, or poor:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This measures a page’s loading time (including images). For a superior user experience, Google recommends that each page of your site have an LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) – This measures how long it takes for a user to interact with your webpage. As a best practice, Google suggests to strive for an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This measures the visual stability of your website. According to Google, ideal user experiences come from sites with a CLS score of less than 0.1.
4 Tools You Can Use to Measure Core Web Vitals
The best way to determine how well your website is performing is by measuring it. Given only 24.81% of origins have passed Core Web Vitals overall, it’s completely normal to produce low scores on the very first try. When it comes to Core Web Vitals, it isn’t about which score you start out with, but how the valuable insight you receive can help you boost your score and continue to inform you in your ongoing SEO process.
To gets started, Google Chrome has several tools available that will allow you to effectively measure the quality of your site and the performance of your Core Web Vitals:
- Chrome User Experience Report (Chrome UX Report) – This report provides real user data for how Chrome users are experiencing your website.
- The Lighthouse Report – This report is available in Google’s F12 developer tools. Once a URL is provided, Lighthouse will audit the page, then develop a report on its performance. All of its scores are based on a scale of 1 to 100.
- Google Search Console – A new page experience report has replaced the old speed report in Google Search Console. This report is categorized into five factors critical for measuring a webpage’s overall user experience–core web vitals, mobile usability, security issues, HTTPS, and ad experience.
How will core web vitals impact Google’s algorithm?
Move over search engine optimization! An SEO optimized site is no longer enough to rank high in organic search engine results. Google’s algorithm will now prioritize sites offering a superior user experience. In addition to making it easier for users to engage with your content, below are a few other critical components included in Google’s new algorithm that are too important to be neglected.
Other Google Ranking Signals to Consider
- Mobile-friendly website – Google Search favors sites that are mobile-compatible. Since 61 percent of website traffic comes from users on mobile devices, sites optimized for mobile contribute to streamlining the user experience across devices.
- Safe browsing – Your website should be free of malware, spam, or any other deceptive content that will prevent a user from properly viewing your website.
- Secure website (HTTPS) – An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate validates your website as trustworthy and ensures users that their information will be safe from hackers.
- No intrusive interstitials – Content that is difficult to access can hinder the user experience, especially if they are browsing on a mobile phone. As a result of Google’s 100% mobile-first indexing, mobile pages containing intrusive interstitials (like a pop-up or an advertisement that can prevent users from viewing your content) will automatically be devalued in its search engines.
How do I pass the Core Web Vitals assessment?
Passing the Core Web Vitals assessment won’t be a walk in the park, but it will be well worth the effort. The challenge consists of scoring “good” for all Core Web Vital metrics–Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Due to the assortment of factors that can impact a Largest Contentful Paint score, many have found this to be one of the most difficult Core Web Vitals to improve. This explains why less than 15 percent of existing sites are optimized well enough to pass the assessment.
If you received low scores in any or all of the critical metrics listed above, below are a few helpful tips you can use to improve your Core Web Vitals and receive a passing score across the board.
How to Improve Core Web Vitals
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – A low Largest Contentful Paint score could indicate that the server response time, loading time for fonts, images, or CSS needs to be optimized.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – A low Cumulative Layout Shift score means you should look into the size of images and videos on your site and preloaded elements. It can also help improve your CLS score if you reserve space in your website’s structure for advertising.
2021 has been filled with surprises, and now your website’s performance doesn’t have to be one of them. With Google’s Core Web Vitals update, rest assured that you will be equipped with all of the valuable metrics you’ll need to craft an unforgettable user experience.
Are core web vitals important?
Yes. Although content is still king and intent still plays a critical role in search engine results pages, Core Web Vitals focus on measuring another component that’s very important to Google–a website’s overall user experience.
How often will the Core Web Vitals ranking factor be calculated?
Data for Core Web Vitals will be collected every 28 days. As a result, your Google ranking and the scores reported in your measurement tool of choice will reflect the most updated information available.
Why are there differences in scores between mobile and desktop?
Although separate desktop and mobile scores are displayed, Google’s recent transition to 100% mobile-first indexing means it will only be considering mobile to rank pages.
My page is fast. Why are there warnings on my Search Console Core Web Vitals report?
Several factors contribute to how fast a page will load for each user. We recommend viewing the Search Console Core Web Vitals report for more information on user visits, thresholds, and other information that you may find to be relevant to your page’s performance.
Can sessions that don’t report FID be considered “bounced” sessions?
No. Since FID doesn’t consider scrolls, the Bounce Rate and Abandonment Rate are not factored into Core Web Vital metrics.