Core Web Vitals – Improve Your Rankings

The recent announcement of the inclusion of Core Web Vitals in their measured metrics has spooked more than a couple of SEOs.

Although this won’t be introduced until 2021, it doesn’t hurt to deliver what Google wants now. 

After all, if you are ahead of the game when things are changed, you won’t be in a mad rush to get things set up.

Core Web Vitals are coming in soon, so it’s important that SEOs, web developers, and entrepreneurs know what to expect.

Core Web Vitals - Improve Your Rankings

What are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

It’s becoming more and more about user experience. Google has said this for a while now, that in order to rank a website should be relevant and match or answer whatever the user is searching for.

In this sense, Core Web Vitals are a progression of this approach. They are additional search signals that Google will use to assess the ‘page experience’ of users.

These search signals are going to include:

Core Web Vitals

  1. Loading Times – Known as the “Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)”
  2. Page Interactivity and response times – Known as “First Input Delay (FID)”
  3. Content Movement During Loading – Known as “Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)”

The above three search signals are the core factors, but Google will also be factoring in these:

  • HTTPS – Secured websites rank better
  • Mobile-Friendly Designs – The website should format well on all devices
  • Non-Intrusive Interstitials – Largely means not using annoying popups, particularly those that would impact the usability of a website on mobile devices
  • Safe Browsing – A list of problem and dangerous websites that are blocked by many browsers and blacklisted/removed from many search results

All of the above are factors worth including on any website, as if you can provide a website that people love and are pleasant to use, it is likely to get more visitors and conversions.

Key Factors of Core Web Vitals Explained

While we already looked at the basics of these new ranking factors, here we will expand a bit more on what Google wants from website owners, and more importantly, what Google doesn’t want to discover on websites.

Core Web Vitals - Improve Your Rankings

LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)

This is the time that it takes for the largest element of the page to completely load. The idea is that it tells Google the longest time a user would have to wait for a page to become usable. Obviously, the faster pages load, the better it is for users.

Many aspects can affect this, such as hosting speeds, render-blocking JavaScript, CSS issues, large or broken elements, etc. Try to make your pages load as quickly as possible.

FID (First Input Delay)

This search signal is looking at how responsive and interactive a page is for users. It is the time from a first action, such as a user clicking a button, to the browser responding to that action.

This is largely affected by the loading speed of the website. It is important that when a user clicks something, that there is a fast reaction from the website.

Pages that are still loading content (such as loading below the fold or delayed images) can be slower to respond. Slow hosting or server response times can also cause issues.

CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)

This is simply how much a page’s elements move or jump around during the loading process. It should be as minimal as possible. This can really affect user experience, especially when adverts or banners suddenly pop up as they go to interact with the page.

I think we have all clicked a link or advert we didn’t intend to because a page suddenly changed. This is what Google wants to see gone for good. Speed can also be a factor in this as if all elements are loaded quickly, then there isn’t that ‘surprise’ when a user thinks things have loaded and suddenly something changes position.

The above additional search singles aren’t a bad change and are nothing to be overly worried about. They are almost entirely focusing on user experience and page speed, which is something everyone creating or editing websites should be doing anyway. There is plenty of time to get ready, if your website isn’t quite there yet.

How to Optimize for Core Web Vitals

Most SEO tools and analysis software don’t currently include these search signals. However, there is an open-source project on Github that seems to be quite capable, providing a convenient Web Vitals plugin for the Chrome browser that can be downloaded directly from the store.

Of course, if you are involved in website optimization, it helps to keep projects organized and have easy to implement workflows. So, why not try out the Gryffin Cloud Project Management Software with our free trial.