Web developers will be scrambling this month to get websites up to speed for Google’s newly released Core Web Vitals (CWV) ranking signals. While businesses shouldn’t panic, the new signals do have the potential to have a big impact on search engine results if your site ranks poorly for these metrics. Start by looking at your website’s report and then hire an SEO expert to help you make the necessary improvements.
Now is the time to provide the best possible user experience across all devices, by following Google’s metrics. Core Web Vitals will continue to evolve as user’s expectations change so it’s important to understand that this work will be an ongoing process.
What are Google Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google has deemed important for a webpage's overall user experience (UX). Google uses these factors to create a “page experience” score. The goal is to rank the interaction and experience users have with a company's products and services in order to encourage the business to provide the best possible user experience.
Specifically, Core Web Vitals refer to loading, interactivity, and visual strength or stability.
In reality, the page experience signals combine CVWs with other signals including mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, secure browsing, and no intrusive interstitials. All together, these signals measure the experience and perception of users when they visit a webpage. Google uses these revealing signals to rank websites and present the most user-friendly pages at the top of the search results.
Breaking down user experience signals
Core Web Vitals:
Loading time is measured through LCP (Largest Contentful Paint). It measures the loading performance of a webpage – the length of time it takes your webpage to load from when the user clicks on the link. According to Google, LCP should be within 2.5 seconds once the page starts loading in order to provide a good user experience.
Interactivity is measured through FID (First Input Delay). It measures the time from when a user first interacts with your site such as clicking on a button to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. According to Google, FID should be less than 100 milliseconds to provide a good user experience.
- Visual stability
Visual stability is measured through CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). CLS is the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading. Some examples are shifting images, fonts, buttons and videos. According to Google, CLS should be less than 0.1 to provide a good user experience.
Other search signals that affect user experience:
- Mobile friendliness
Mobile friendliness measures how well a website is optimized for mobile devices. Specifically, are pages easy to navigate, is the content meaningful and are on-page components interactive and open. Google wants its users to have a great experience while browsing your website on their mobile device.
- Safe browsing
Safe browsing is used to identify whether a site has safety issues such as phishing, malware or hacked content. This matters because Google wants to make sure its users can visit your website securely.
Secure websites use HTTPS (rather than HTTP). Google checks to see whether the site’s association is secure and if the site is being served over HTTPS or not.
- Non-intrusive interstitials
Intrusive interstitials are essentially popup ads. Pages are measured for non-intrusive interstitials to ensure that vital on-page content isn’t blocked for users as they explore a web page.
Will end users be able to see my Google Core Web Vitals ranking?
Many experts expect that Google will add labels on search results to show users which web pages are most likely to give them the best user experience. Google is developing visuals indicators for web developers to add to pages that meet CWV criteria.
Seek the Help of an SEO Expert
Most small business owners do not know how to improve their search engine results rankings to drive traffic to their websites, let alone perform an SEO audit or fix Core Web Vitals issues. The best thing to do is find an SEO expert who can help your business achieve its goals to increase sales, brand loyalty and online traffic; starting with an SEO audit.