If you’re trying to stay on top of your SEO game, you know there are a lot of things to keep up with. One of the most important is known as core web vitals.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
Core web vitals are a specific set of factors that Google considers essential for a webpage user’s overall experience. There are three specific page speed and user interaction measurements that make up core web vitals:
1. First Input Delay
2. Largest Contentful Paint
3. Cumulative Layout Shift
In a nutshell, core web vitals are a subset of factors that make up Google’s page experience score. Instead of focusing on the text and content of a page to determine ranking, core web vitals focus on the user’s experience on a page.
To find your website’s core web vitals data go to the enhancements section of your Google Search Console account.
The Importance of Core Web Vitals
Google has plans to make page experience an official ranking signal— meaning if you want to boost your SEO, you need to pay attention to your core web vitals. One of the easiest ways to measure how well your website’s core web vitals are doing use Google Search Console’s new Core Web Vitals Report. This will help you identify what pages need attention.
Some of the factors that will go into a website’s page experience score include:
• Whether a website is optimized for mobile or not
• Lack of pop-ups
• The ability to safely browse the website without malware
Core web vitals are poised to make up the largest chunk of a page’s experience score.
Of course, a stellar page experience is not all you need to push your website to the top spot in Google results. It’s actually one of about 200 factors that Google uses to rank websites.
“Optimizing for quality of user experience is key to the long-term success of any site on the web.”
Now let’s go over the core web vitals and how you can improve yours:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint or LCP is how long it takes your page to load from the user’s point of view.
You can check your LCP score with Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool can help you identify any areas for improvement. In general, you should aim for every page on your site to hit LCP within two and a half seconds. To improve your LCP:
• Get rid of all unnecessary third-party scripts
• Upgrade your web hosts
• Set up lazy loading to enable images to load only when a user scrolls down the page.
• Get rid of large page elements. Google PageSpeed Insights will let you know if your page contains any elements that are slowing down your LCP.
First Input Delay (FID)
Google’s second core web vital is called First Input Delay or FID, which measures the time it takes for users to actually interact with your page, including:
• Choosing an option from a menu
• Clicking on a link on your site’s navigation
• Opening up “accordion text” on a mobile device
Google considers FID essential because it accounts for how real-life users interact with websites. Here are some things you can do to improve your FID:
• Remove all non-critical third-party scripts
• User a browser cache to help content load faster on your page.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS is the measure of how stable a page is as it loads, also known as visual stability. So, if elements on your page move around as it loads, you have a high CLS— which isn’t good. You want your page elements to remain stable as the page loads.
To minimize your CLS score:
• Implement set size attribute dimensions for all videos, pictures, infographics, and GIFS. This allows the user’s browser to know exactly how much space elements will take up on the page.
• Make sure ads elements have a reserved area, so they don’t suddenly pop up on the page and push content down or to the side.
• Add new UI elements below the fold to ensure they don’t push content down that the user is expecting to stay where it is.
When Will Google Start Using Core Web Vitals?
Google has previously said they will begin analyzing core web vitals in June, 2021. The date has been pushed back in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to give webmasters some extra time to prepare for the change. As of now, no clear date has been set for Google to start measuring core web vitals as a factor to determine rank.
Like all things SEO, core web vitals can seem overwhelming to implement, track, measure, and tweak. The good news is, that’s where Bold Eye Media comes in. We are SEO experts and are dedicated to using all of our SEO tools, experience, and skills to ensure your website performs and, therefore, ranking high on Google and other search engines.