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Why Core Web Vitals are the SEO lifeblood of your website

Evan Livermore

It’s no surprise that users want to spend time on sites with fast-loading pages, visual stability and lightning-quick responsiveness. But last year, Google announced that these factors were so crucial to a website’s performance that they would soon become part of the search engine giant’s new Core Web Vitals metrics.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Simply put, Core Web Vitals are specific factors Google considers essential in a page’s user experience, as part of its page experience score. 

There are three critical metrics that are measured as part of Core Web Vitals: 

  1. Loading (Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)) 
  2. Interactivity (First Input Delay (FID)) 
  3. Visual Stability (Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS))

These measurements live in the Experiences section of your Google Search Console account. The Core Web Vitals report shows how your pages perform, based on real world usage data (also called field data) using data from Chrome users.

Why do Core Web Vitals matter?

In May 2020, Google announced that by the end of August 2021, as part of its page experience update, Core Web Vitals would become an official Google ranking factor.  These vitals would be used in combination with other web vitals including: 

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Lack of interstitial pop ups (those that appear once a website has loaded) 
  • Safe browsing (i.e. no malware)

All of these criteria will be factored into an overall, holistic page experience score. But as the name suggests, these new Core Web Vitals will be the most critical.

Breaking down Core Web Vitals

How can you ensure the Core Web Vitals for your website are in tip-top shape? We’ve taken a look at each metric and how they are measured below.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric measures how long it takes a web page to load from the perspective of a user.  That is, how long does it take from the time they click to the content loading on-screen? This metric focuses specifically on how long it takes for a user to see the content on your page and engage with it. 

Google PageSpeed Insights provides you with a score (using a handy stoplight scoring metric) for your site and recommendations for how to make improvements to your score. An ideal loading time for every page on your website is 2.5 seconds –  a challenging undertaking indeed!

First Input Delay (FDI)

First Input Delay (FDI) measures the time it takes from when a user interacts with your page to a browser processing the interaction. 

These interactions could be clicking a link in the navigation, entering your email address into a field or logging into an account. Again, this metric is important because it uses real-world data to measure how users actually engage with your website. The ideal delay here should be 100 milliseconds or less.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the stability of a page as it loads, sometimes referred to as visual stability.

If certain elements on a page move around frequently while the page loads, this means you’ll get a high CLS score, which isn’t great. 

The idea here is that the elements of each page remain relatively static as a page loads, so users don’t have to spend time figuring out where images, links and fields have moved to when a page is done loading. Or worse, click on something by mistake. A good CLS score here is 0.1 or less.

Schedule a check-up for your Core Web Vitals

If you’re not sure how your website’s Core Web Vitals are performing, we can help. We’ve got a team of search experts who eat, sleep and breathe UX and Google search ranking factors that can ensure your website is in excellent health. Get in touch with Creative Guild today to find out more.