Google has always placed a great deal of importance on User Experience (UX). In fact, every Google algorithm update has been about ensuring that users can gain access to user-friendly, relevant results quickly.
Now, with the introduction of Core Web Vitals, UX will play a vital role in increasing organic traffic. Therefore, it is important that we understand all that we can about these Core Web Vitals.
What Exactly Are Core Web Vitals?
For the past few years, Google has been pushing website owners to go mobile-first. Building a mobilefriendly website is now crucial to SEO success.
Taking it a step further, Google is now ready to focus on mobile performance, also known as Core Web Vitals.
This summer, we will see algorithm updates that will focus on a new ranking factor: page experience. Google will be measuring page experience using Web Vitals metrics. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) are the core metrics within Web Vitals.
How Will the Core Web Vitals Impact SEOs?
Search engine algorithms work by helping users find the information they need while collecting data that throws light on user behavior, which then helps provide more relevant results.
Websites that meet searchers’ needs naturally rank higher in the search engine results and enjoy increased organic traffic. With Google focusing on improving UX, paying mind to Core Web Vitals will mean the difference between SEO success or failure.
By optimizing for the new ranking factor, one can see a drastic rise in their organic traffic. The Core Vitals report in Google Search Console will tell you exactly which pages on your website need improvements in terms of UX.
While it may all seem very technical, it is important to understand what exactly is being measured by the Core Web Vitals. To put it simply, Core Web Vitals focus on three aspects of a good UX:
- Loading Performance
- Visual Stability
These aspects are measured based on the user data from Chrome’s user experience report. You can check out the data for your website using the Google Data Studio report. This report offers detailed data on the important aspects of Core Web Vitals, along with information about usage on different devices.
The Three Main Elements of Core Web Vitals
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP is a metric used to measure how long it takes for the largest element of a webpage to load. This metric applies to the loading of the above-the-fold content; anything beyond a user’s screen is not taken into consideration.
Overall, LCP measures images, video poster images, block-level text elements, and elements that come with a background image. You can measure your website’s LCP with the help of lab scoring tools, like PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.
Ways to Optimize for LCP
Google suggests that the LCP should happen within 2.5 seconds of page loading. Anything that takes longer than 2.5 seconds to load needs improvement.
Ideally, you should be able to reduce the LCP time by doing the following:
- Optimizing the images – Ensure you choose the right format, incorporate width and height attributes, and use compressed images whenever necessary.
- Optimizing your server – You may want to look into upgrading your hosting plan and using a CDN to improve the server performance.
- Adding caching – Make sure you use URLs consistently and ones that cache stored images.
2. First Input Delay (FID)
FID is a metric used to measure a user’s first interaction, meaning the delay between the time when a person clicks on something and the time it takes for the site to respond to the action and process it. However, it only measures finite user interactions, like clicks, taps and key presses, and not continuous interactions like scrolling and zooming.
Ways to Optimize for FID
Monitoring and optimizing your site’s UX is the only way you can do well with this metric. Ideally, your site’s FID score should be no more than 100 ms. If it goes beyond that, your site’s UX needs improvement.
Try the following to improve your site’s FID score:
- Optimize the CSS code – See if you can remove the unused CSS code, and try compressing your files.
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS is a metric used to measure the visual stability of your site. It checks whether there is any unexpected shifting of any of your page elements and how often it occurs.
Ways to Optimize for CLS
Generally, you should be able to avoid unexpected items shifting by doing the following:
- Opting for transform animations with context and continuity
- Avoiding inserting any content above your existing content
- Incorporating size attributes, such as width and height, on your image and video elements
To understand which elements on your site are keeping you from getting a good CLS score, check out the Layout Shift GIF Generator tool.
It is a known fact that users now expect and tolerate nothing less than a seamless web experience. In order to ensure that your site delivers just that, it is essential to invest in LCP, FID, and CLS improvements. After all, an improved user experience is key to higher rankings and increased organic traffic.
For help with Core Web Vitals, get in touch with our expert team for assistance.