Last Updated on 17/05/2023 by iwebsitez.com
Understanding Google’s Core Web Vitals and their impact on SEO
If you’re a website owner or an SEO enthusiast, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term ‘Core Web Vitals’. Introduced by Google in 2020, Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics used to measure a website’s overall user experience. Understanding and optimising Google’s Core Web Vitals and SEO strategies can significantly enhance your website’s performance, user experience, and overall visibility in search engine results.
But what do they mean, and how do they impact your website’s SEO? In this blog post, we will break it down for you.
What are Google’s Core Web Vitals?
In essence, Google’s Core Web Vitals is a set of three specific factors that Google considers paramount in a webpage’s overall user experience. These are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures the loading performance of your website. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.
Now that we know the Core Web Vitals let’s delve into each of them and understand how they impact your website’s SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
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Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it takes for the main content on a page to load — in other words, the time from clicking on a link to seeing the majority of the content on-screen. Google considers LCP a critical factor in gauging a user’s first impression of a site’s performance.
How to Improve LCP
Here are a few ways to improve your website’s LCP:
- Optimize your server: Server response times can heavily impact your LCP. Invest in a quality hosting provider, use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and consider implementing caching to improve your server response time.
- Remove any unnecessary third-party scripts: Third-party scripts, especially those that load large amounts of data, can significantly slow down your page load speed.
- Optimize and compress images: Large, high-resolution images can slow down your LCP. Ensure your images are no larger than they need to be and are in the correct format. Tools like TinyPNG can help compress your images without compromising their quality.
First Input Delay (FID)
How to Improve FID
- Use a browser cache: This aids in speeding up consecutive page loads by storing parts of your pages in the user’s cache (their local hard drive).
- Remove non-essential third-party scripts: Like with LCP, third-party scripts can negatively impact FID.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures the total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. A layout shift occurs when a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next.
How to Improve CLS
Here are a few ways to improve your website’s CLS:
- Use set size attribute dimensions for any media: Including width and height attributes on your images and video elements, or reserve the required space with CSS aspect ratio boxes. This allows the browser to allocate the correct space while the media is loading.
- Ensure ad elements have a reserved space: If you’re using ads on your website, make sure they have a reserved space, or they can suddenly appear on the page, pushing content down, up, or sideways.
- Add new UI elements below the fold: When adding new content to the page, aim for below the fold (the part of the page that’s only visible once you start scrolling) to prevent it from pushing content down that the user may be viewing.
The impact of Core Web Vitals on SEO
Now that we understand each Core Web Vitals and how to improve them let’s look at their impact on SEO.
In June 2021, Google announced that Core Web Vitals would start to become a ranking factor as part of the “Page Experience” update. This means that websites with good Core Web Vitals scores may have a higher chance of ranking on Google. However, it’s essential to note that while important, Core Web Vitals are just one of many factors Google uses to determine search ranking.
Optimizing your website’s user experience for these metrics makes a lot of sense. After all, a website that loads quickly interacts well and maintains a stable layout will likely engage users for longer and encourage them to return.
Measuring Core Web Vitals
Luckily, Google provides several tools to measure your Core Web Vitals:
- Google Search Console: The Core Web Vitals report shows your pages’ performance based on real-world usage data (field data).
- PageSpeed Insights: This tool provides lab and field data about a page’s performance.
- Lighthouse: An open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO, and more.
Remember, the goal is to hit the targets for these metrics for 75% of your website’s page loads. This way, you’re ensuring most of your users have a good experience.
In conclusion, Google’s Core Web Vitals are becoming increasingly important for SEO, especially with the recent “Page Experience” update. Optimizing for these metrics helps increase your website’s visibility on search engine results pages and significantly improves your users’ experience on your site.
By understanding and improving your LCP, FID, and CLS, you can ensure a smoother, more enjoyable user experience, leading to better engagement, higher conversions, and improved SEO ranking.
Remember, it’s a journey, not a sprint. So, take your time, monitor your metrics, and make improvements as necessary. Happy optimising!