Google has always prioritized the user. They’ve consistently pushed for a better user experience, from eliminating keyword stuffing to introducing website load time as a ranking criterion to mobile-first ranking. Core Web Vitals are another step on the right path.
Google said in May 2020 that page experience signals would become an organic ranking element. More specifically, Google’s algorithm would begin to compute user experience by measuring the following metrics: mobile friendliness, safe surfing, HTTPS, and content accessibility.
Google added three new Core Web Vitals metrics to its page experience signals in November 2020: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
When Did Core Web Vitals Become a Deciding Factor?
Core Web Vitals became a Google ranking factor for top stories, and they will be thoroughly carried out as part of a page experience improvement by the end of August 2021. Conversely, Google has announced that they will update page experience signals once a year. As a result, expect these to evolve.
Why are Core Web Vitals (CWV) Important?
CWV assists web developers in giving a superb web user experience. Users are more satisfied and inclined to return to your website and suggest the item to people they know.
Consider how this affects Google’s brand and revenue. You will feel dissatisfied with Google if you continually click on links in the SERP that provide a poor user experience. You may eventually explore other search engines, which means less advertising revenue for Google.
Google Core Web Vitals are measurable SEO performance metrics that provide insight into how visitors interact with your website. They provide you with particular, quantifiable data points to help you improve your website’s overall user experience. Users are more inclined to return when they have a positive experience.
Finally, CWV does more than merely increase your organic rankings while it helps. It gives your audience a better experience. This results in more engaged customers, improved conversion rates, and other beneficial outcomes.
It’s also worth noting that while Core Web Vitals are crucial, Google still strives to rank pages with the best overall content, even if the page experience is poor.
Core Web Vitals Components
Let’s take a closer look at the three Core Web Vitals components, including thresholds and target ranges.
Largest Contentful Paint
LCP is a loading time metric in Core Web Vitals. It precisely calculates the time required to render the most prominent content element inside the viewable region of a user’s screen. It needs to take into account the complete page.
A URL with an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less is considered “excellent” by Google (segmented by mobile and desktop). A time between 2.5 and four seconds has to be improved. A time of more than four seconds is considered unsatisfactory.
First Input Delay
FID is a Core Web Vitals indicator that quantifies the time it takes to interact with a website. It precisely measures the time elapsed between the initial user interaction with a web page (clicking, tapping, swiping, etc.) and the page’s response.
Consider interaction to be page responsiveness. The longer the delay, the more probable it is that a user will become frustrated since the page appears unresponsive.
An FID of 100 milliseconds or fewer is considered “excellent” by Google. On mobile and desktop, a page must meet this mark 75% of the time based on collected field data.
Cumulative Layout Shift
CLS is a Core Web Vitals metric that gauges a page’s visual stability. It considers the proportion of the screen that shifts as well as how far components move.
Few things are more annoying than attempting to engage with page elements that unexpectedly jump around. Unexpected layout changes are particularly troublesome when they have real-world effects, such as unintentionally ordering something or clicking on an ad that redirects you to another website.
As a site owner or developer, you must calculate your CLS using fundamental user interactions rather than lab data. Ads, for example, may load on something other than your staging site, resulting in inaccurate scores.
CLS is determined by dividing the impact fraction (the percentage of the viewport that shifts) by the distance fraction (movement distance divided by the viewport height).
A burst of layout shifts occurs when many shifts occur in less than five seconds, with less than a second between each shift. CLS measures the most powerful shot of layout shifts over a page’s existence. Read Google’s documentation for more information on how this is determined.
Google considers a CLS score of 0.1 or less good, and a page must achieve this level 75% of the time on both mobile and desktop.
How to Measure Core Web Vitals
You can use a variety of tools to test Core Web Vitals scores on your site and compare them to established benchmarks.
One of the simplest methods is to use Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report (under the Experience tab). It will inform you which URLs are “excellent” (load quickly), which need to be improved, and which perform poorly on mobile and desktop platforms. Keep in mind that the data is a little delayed.
Google Lighthouse is a web performance measurement tool that provides audits that Google PageSpeed Insights does not.
Google Web. Dev lets you enter any URL on your website and receive advice for improving Core Web Vitals and general best practices tips for enhancing the overall user experience.
Core Web Vitals data is now shown in the Chrome DevTools performance panel in Google Chrome 88 and higher. An overlay tool is available in Chrome 90. The Chrome User Experience Report is another option (CrUX).
Chrome Extension for Web Vitals
If you’re looking for a Google Chrome plugin, the Web Vitals extension provides a quick and easy way to determine if any page fulfills Google’s Core Web Vitals criteria. Just keep in mind that the extension is not a Google-developed product.
Other choices may be available depending on your CMS. For example, if your site is built on WordPress, third-party plugins such as WP Rocket, NitroPack, or Asset Clean Up can help enhance Core Web Vitals speed.
Using Google’s Lighthouse DevTool, you can measure the CWV scores of any page directly from your Chrome browser. Examine the page and select the Lighthouse tab.
How Can the Core Web Vitals Affect Your SEO?
Some websites with poor page experience will suffer a significant SEO impact. On the other hand, most websites with a decent user experience will notice no effect. This is because Google still favors other search ranking factors that are more important, such as the quality of a page’s content.
So, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), prioritize providing high-quality content that corresponds with search intent and comprehensively covers the topic. After that, improve pages for Core Web Vitals metrics for even more organic lift.