Google Core Web Vitals: How They Affect SEO
Google has always been focused on delivering the best possible user experience. This is why they have introduced Google Core Web Vitals and other features over the years designed to improve the quality of search results. This article will discuss what Google Core Web Vitals are and how they affect SEO.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure the quality of user experience on a website. Google has said that these metrics are important for delivering a good user experience and will be used as ranking factors in their search algorithm.
The three Core Web Vitals are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). LCP measures how long it takes for the largest element on a page to load. FID measures how long it takes for a user to be able to interact with a page. CLS measures how much the layout of a page shifts while it’s loading.
Here is an in-depth look at the three Core Web Vitals:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP, is a metric that measures the time it takes for the largest element on a page to load. This could be an image, a video, or text. To provide a good user experience, Google has said that pages should aim for an LCP of fewer than two seconds.
Several factors can affect LCP, such as server response time and network latency. However, one of the most important things you can do to reduce LCP is to optimize your images. Large images can take a long time to load, so make sure they are compressed and scaled appropriately.
You can also improve your LCP by using lazy-loading, a technique used to load images only when they are visible on the screen. This ensures that users don’t have to wait for large images to load before seeing the content.
By reducing your page’s LCP, you can provide a better experience for users and ensure they stick around long enough to see your content.
First Input Delay (FID)
You’ve just clicked on a link to your favorite website, but instead of loading immediately, the page sits there… and sits there. After waiting a few seconds, you start to get impatient and wonder if you’ve made a mistake. Finally, the page starts to load, but by then, it’s too late – you’ve already lost interest and moved on.
This scenario is all too common and can be frustrating for users and businesses. Google has stated that pages should aim for a First Input Delay (FID) of less than 100 milliseconds, but what exactly is FID, and why is it so important?
Essentially, FID measures the time it takes for a page to become interactive. This is the time from when a user clicks on a link to when they can start interacting with the page. Therefore, a low FID is essential for providing a good user experience, as it ensures that users don’t get frustrated and give up before the page has even loaded.
By reducing your page’s FID, you can provide a better experience for users and ensure they stick around long enough to see your content. In today’s competitive market, delivering an exceptional user experience is more important than ever – so ensure your site is up to speed.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift, or CLS, is a metric used to measure how much the layout of a page shifts while it’s loading. This can be caused by images or videos loading late or ad units resizing the page. A high CLS score means that elements on the page constantly move around, which can be very frustrating for users. Therefore, a low CLS is essential for providing a good user experience, as it ensures that users don’t get frustrated and give up before the page has even loaded. Google says that pages should aim for a CLS of less than 0.25.
Multiple factors affect CLS, but one of the most important things you can do to reduce CLS is to optimize your images. Large images can take a long time to load, which can cause the layout of the page to shift. Make sure your images are compressed and scaled appropriately.
You may see a pattern forming here, as images commonly cause poor performance on all three of these metrics. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your images are optimized – it can have a big impact on your site’s user experience.
So similar to LCP, you can also improve your CLS by using lazy-loading, a technique used to load images only when they are visible on the screen. This ensures that users don’t have to wait for large images to load before seeing the content, preventing them from getting frustrated and leaving.
Other Performance Metrics
In addition to the three Core Web Vitals, there are other performance metrics that Google measures. These include things like Speed Index and Time to Interactive. However, they have not said whether or not these metrics will be used as ranking factors.
Speed Index is a metric that measures how quickly content is visible on a page. Google has said that pages should aim for a Speed Index of fewer than 1000 milliseconds. A high Speed Index indicates that content is being displayed quickly. In contrast, a low Speed Index indicates a delay between when content is available and when it is displayed on the page.
Time to Interactive
Time to Interactive (TTI) is a performance metric that measures the time it takes for a page to become fully interactive. Google has said that pages should aim for less than 5000 milliseconds. TTI is an important metric because it allows users to start using the page sooner. A page is considered fully interactive when all necessary resources have been downloaded, and the page is responsive to user input.
To measure TTI, Google uses a tool called WebPageTest. WebPageTest runs a series of tests on a page to determine its TTI. The tests include measuring the time to first render, the time to the first byte, and the time to first interact. These metrics are then used to calculate the TTI. As a result, pages with a lower TTI are more likely to be ranked higher in search results.
TTI is also a good metric for measuring Site Isolation’s performance, a security feature that isolates each tab in Chrome from the other. When Site Isolation is enabled, each tab is given its process, which isolation improves security but can also decrease performance. Measuring TTI can help developers optimize their code so that pages are responsive even when Site Isolation is enabled.
Total Blocking Time
Page Performance Scores
In addition to the individual metrics, Google is also measuring page performance scores. These are based on several factors, including the Core Web Vitals. The three-page performance scores are:
- Good: all of the metrics are within their respective thresholds
- Needs Improvement: one or more of the metrics is outside of its respective threshold
- Poor: one or more of the metrics is significantly outside of their respective threshold
How do Core Web Vitals Affect SEO?
There is no definitive answer to how core web vitals affect SEO. However, we can make some educated guesses based on what we know about Google’s search algorithm and how page performance affects user experience.
The Core Web Vitals are metrics that Google identified as important for user experience. These metrics include page load time, page size, and the number of requests. In addition, Google has said that these metrics will be used as ranking factors in their search algorithm.
This means that if your website has good page performance on these metrics, it is more likely to rank higher in Google search results. However, if your website has poor page performance on these metrics, it is less likely to rank as high.
In addition to being used as ranking factors, the Core Web Vitals will also be used to generate a new Page Experience report in Google Search Console. This report will show you how your website performs on different metrics.
So how can you improve your website’s performance on the Core Web Vitals? Here are a few tips:
Optimize your images.
Images are an important part of any website or blog post, providing visual interest and helping to break up the text. However, if they are not properly optimized, they can also slow down your site and cause frustration for visitors.
To ensure that your images are working hard for you and not against you, ensure they are the correct size and format before uploading them to your site. If you need to resize them, use a program like Photoshop or GIMP. Once they are the right size, use a compression tool like ImageOptim to reduce the file size without compromising quality. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your images are helping to improve your site’s speed and performance.
Minimize HTTP requests.
Anyone who has ever tried to load a website on a slow connection knows that HTTP requests can be a major bottleneck. Each time a user tries to load a page, their browser has to send a request to the server where the website is hosted. The server then responds by sending back the requested files. This process can take a long time, especially if the server is far from the user’s computer.
There are a few ways to minimize HTTP requests and speed up the loading process. One is to combine files where possible. For example, instead of having separate CSS files for each page, it is better to have one CSS file that contains the styles for all of the pages on your website.
Another way to reduce HTTP requests is to use CSS instead of images whenever possible. Images often take longer to load than CSS files, so using CSS can help your website load faster.
Finally, one of the best ways to speed up your website’s loading is to use a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN stores copies of your website’s files on servers around the world so that users can access them faster. By using a CDN, you can make sure that your website loads quickly for everyone, no matter where they are located.
Optimize your code.
Optimizing your code is important for two main reasons: reducing file size and increasing page loading speed. The file size is important because larger files take longer to download and increase the amount of data that needs to be transferred. Page loading speed is important because it impacts the user experience and can make the difference between a user staying on your site or moving on to another.
Compression, minification, and caching are two main ways to optimize your code. Compression and minification reduce the size of your code without impacting its functionality. Caching stores frequently accessed data so it can be quickly retrieved when needed. Both of these techniques can help to improve your site’s performance and make it more user-friendly.
Test your website’s speed and performance regularly.
The speed of a website is important for several reasons. First, faster websites tend to rank higher in search engines. This is because search engines like Google use page speed as a factor in their algorithms.
Second, fast websites provide a better user experience. Studies have shown that users are more likely to abandon a website if it takes more than a few seconds to load.
Finally, fast websites are simply more efficient. By streamlining your website’s performance, you can improve your conversion rates and make better use of your server resources.
That’s why it’s important to test your website’s speed and performance regularly. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Website Speed Test to identify areas where you can improve performance. By optimizing your website, you can ensure that it will be fast, efficient, and user-friendly.
The Bottom Line
Google Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that measure the quality of user experience on a website. They include things like loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Google has said that these metrics are important for delivering a good user experience and will be used as ranking factors in their search algorithm.
So if you want your website to rank higher in Google search results, you need to make sure that your website has good page performance. You can improve your LCP, FID, and CLS scores. You can also use the new Page Experience report in Google Search Console to see how your website performs on these metrics.
Google is making a clear push for a better user experience on the web, and as such, site owners should take note and ensure their websites are up to par. By paying attention to Core Web Vitals and other user experience signals, you can ensure that your website provides the best possible experience for visitors – and that Google will reward you with higher rankings in search results.