Every now and again Google likes to shake things up and change its formula for search result ranking. These updates normally include new ranking signals and technology for Google to determine where your website ends up in the results – it’s the same story with the new core web vitals.
The latest update which is live as of June 2021 is focused on-page experience. The aim here is to drive site-owners to provide fast-loading and user experience-focused websites.
What are core web vitals?
Core web vitals are a set of google-defined metrics that site owners should focus on to provide a great user experience. These are now more important than ever as of June 2021, core web vitals have become a minor ranking factor.
The core web vitals are mixed together with your safe-browsing status, https, mobile-friendliness, and intrusive interstitial guidelines (no annoying popups) to determine your site’s page experience.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This is the time taken for a page’s main content to load. An ideal score is less than 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delay (FID): The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal score here is 100ms or less.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The amount of unexpected layout shift for page content, for example, images loading and moving other content around the page. An ideal score here is less than or equal to 0.1
Why are the new metrics important?
Aside from providing a greater user experience, by optimizing your site for core web vitals you are increasing your likelihood of ranking for your targeted keywords. The new metrics are a ranking factor which means your website position in search results can go up or down based on your score.
How to measure core web vitals?
You can test your website using the Google Page Speed Insights tool. Enter your site URL and within 30 seconds you should have the key metrics for your site.
If you’re using Google Search Console (and we hope you are!), you should also see a Core Web Vitals Report under “Experience” in the sidebar. If your site has enough traffic you will be able to see how many of your pages are rated as poor, needs-improvement, and good.
Don’t worry if you can’t see this data – this is gathered from actual users that access your website with the Chrome browser. You may not see any data for lower-traffic sites.
If you want to dig down further into your site’s core web vitals there are new filters in search console to show pages with a good experience which should allow you to compare how they rank with other less desirable scores.
How to improve core web vitals?
Each metric has its own set of causes as there’s no quick fix to make your site reach all the targets. The best way to bring your scores in line with Google’s targets is to run a web.dev report and read over the recommendations.
The report should tell you the exact element that’s lowering your score and what to do to fix it. Alternatively, we’re always happy to help – give us a call and we’ll run you through what you need to do to meet core web vitals and can update your site on your behalf.
We recommend that site owners:
1. Make sure they’re using Google Page Speed Insights to analyze their site’s performance. If you see your scores dropping you may need to re-optimize for your latest site edits or you could be having problems with your host.
2. Try to use best practices when adding new content. These include making sure images have a set width and height, implementing lazy loading, optimizing your site content and images, and reducing your server response time.
3. Keep up-to-date with the latest google updates and key SEO information. We offer SEO tips and tricks in our newsletter. If you’re not already subscribed you can sign up here.
If all of the above has you totally baffled then don’t worry – KCS are here to help. Contact us today and we’ll talk you through web vitals for your own website and recommend a course of action.