Google’s Core Web Vitals
Google’s new update is its latest attempt to make the internet a safer, efficient, and more organised space. The core web vitals update has caused a bit of a stir in SEO circles with many marketers, web developers and SEO specialists calling it as a fundamental change which has a focus on developing a clear and consistent user experience.
With this update the influence of user experience and engagement has a significant impact on Google ranking factors and by extension a huge influence on search engine placement. Thus, in this guide we look at what Google core web vitals are, how they work & what you can do to prepare.
What is Google’s core web vitals update?
The core web vitals update was introduced earlier this year in May 2021 and is designed to measure how your users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a webpage. The core web vitals are a set of variables that will be included in Google's "page experience" score. Google’s core web vitals have set a new standard, allowing web owners to stay in the loop and understand the ideal page speed they must be aiming for as set by Google through web vitals.
These standards can be accessed via the Google Search Console in the form of a PDF report. There are three main performance factors which impact on the user experience as per the Google update. performance metrics measure the individual user experience based on three factors:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures ‘loading time/performance’. LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Measures ‘Interactivity/Page responsiveness’. Pages should have an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures ‘Visual Stability’. Pages should maintain CLS of 0.1 or less.
The LCP, FID and the CLS give webmasters and SEO marketers additional information to create truly unique user experience, No more excuses for a poor user design!
How does the core web vitals update work?
The core web vital metrics are combined with other signals for search and this combination is known as the page experience ranking factors. The other signals which contribute to the page experience ranking factors are:
- Mobile friendliness,
- Safe browsing
- Compliance with Googles intrusive interstitial guidelines
The data is split between mobile and desktop & applied appropriately for search rankings. In other words, if you’re using mobile, the ranking is only affected by mobile data and the same concept is applied for desktop.
Many SEO specialists didn’t consider web performance to be a major ranking factor previously however, with the introduction of core web vitals, web performance/user interactivity is quickly becoming essential for Google’s ranking algorithms.
How can we prepare for Google’s core web vital update?
There’s every reason as to why we should consider Google’s core web vitals as an underlying and important factor for digital marketers, SEO specialists and web developers. With Google’s core web vitals playing a critical role to all web page experiences, tracking the data has been made simple. For each core web vital, Google chromes user experience report collects real user measurement data to allow web owners to quickly assess performance.
The core web vitals report could be accessed using Google search console This is where you can assess page performance based on real world usage data. The report will also provide insights into which URL’s perform poorly, which URL’s need improving & ones performing well.
To further dwell into troubleshooting issues, Google page speed insights is linked to every report in the search console. To improve a web vitals score, the individual must have a certain level of technical SEO experience as fixing the problems could be quite technical. Many factors such as optimising images, optimising Java & CSS, optimising fonts, embedding codes, AMP pages etc. contribute to an improved web vitals score. When a site performs a good page experience, it also performs well with users.
See the figure below on how Google’s core web vitals could help your brand:
There we have it, Google’s new core web vital metrics seem daunting but crucial to ensure you remain ahead of the pack when it comes to your search competitors. Statistics all lean towards a better overall user experience and as a result of optimising towards Google’s recommendations in the web vitals report, we can expect overall bounce rate to drop significantly & user interactivity to increase in the hope of taking up a desired action on your site.