Google has always wanted to give its searchers exactly what they’re looking for, right when they’re looking for it – without disruptions. The more seamless the search experience is, the more likely searchers will want to use Google. Right?
Google has been able (using over 200 separate factors) to use its algorithm to effectively rank sites based on whether pages were relevant for specific keywords and topics for a long time now. But it’s always struggled to understand the page experience of visitors to a specific site.
That's why Google is introducing Core Web Vitals and Core Web Vitals reporting in June 2021. We've covered the basics below.
So what are these Core Web Vitals?
To put it simply, Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience.
In 2010, page speed was first added as a ranking factor so Google could begin to understand usability. Now in 2021, it’s introducing 3 completely new user experience metrics to rank pages in search results. These will be part of a new important ranking factor.
These 3 new user experience metrics are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is how long it takes a page to load from the point of view of an actual user. In other words; it’s the time from clicking on a link to seeing the majority of the content on-screen.
FID only measures the first interaction and this is measured in milliseconds. FID is a Real User Metric. It's all about the actual experience of a user that enters your page and the data is capture via the chrome browser.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading. The kinds of elements that tend to cause shift are fonts, images, videos, contact forms, buttons and other kinds of content.
Pages that shift around can cause a poor user experience, Google has defined a scoring system for CLS. A low CLS score is indicative of coding issues that can be solved.
But why are Core Web Vitals so important?
Google will make page experience an official Google ranking factor in 2021. Core Web Vitals is Google’s way of measuring page experience and subsequently ranking your site’s pages for keywords and relevancy.
Soon, you’ll be able to see your Core Web Vitals score in your Google Search Console account. This report will give you a breakdown of which pages are seen as Good, Needs improvement or Poor.
If your site is not performing well in this report, it can potentially have a negative impact on search engine rankings and ultimately, lose you those all-important sales and leads.
What do we need to do?
All of the tasks in the core web vitals report will need some form of technical or development work to be fixed properly, unless you have the development knowledge to fix them yourselves.
We’d recommend that you do the following:
- Pass your Core Web Vitals reporting results to your development team or agency for them to address those issues found.
- Monitor your overall search engine ranking performance from May onwards if you aren't already doing so. Make sure to check for any drops in search rankings for your most important keywords after May 2021.
- Regularly check your Core Web Vitals reports in Google Search Console for any new issues that may be occurring and impacting your website.
If you want to do some further learning to better prepare for the Core Web Vitals update, take a look at our Trending Upwards podcast that talks all about it. We have a team of expert SEO and User Experience consultants with over 20 years of experience in search engine optimisation. Recently, we discussed the Google May 2021 Core Web Vitals update. You can get access below.