Google’s Core Web Vitals and
How they Affect SEO
Starting in June 2021, Google began to check how websites performed when visited by users. To measure performance, Google checks Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These are Google’s Core Web Vitals that Google uses to grade the user experience on your website.
Apart from the core web vitals, there are over 200 other signals (or factors) Google uses for search engine results and rankings. The vitals are those that Google uses to determine which pages to send ranking signals to.
That means core web vitals must be exemplary for Google to rank your website.
So What do these Core web Vitals mean?
Introduction to Google Core Web Vitals
The 2021 Google update was all about improving the page experience of online visitors. To do that, Google checks various page “experience signals”, which when merged, translate to a better user experience (UX). The page experience factors include;
– Use of a secure connection (HTTPS)
– Mobile Friendliness of a website.
– The speed of the website.
– Use of POP-UPS
– Malware Infection
Yet, very few website owners consider them when trying to rank a website on Google. Traditionally, people only factor in keywords, metadata, content, etc but Google also evaluates the website performance while ranking web pages.
The objective of Google’s UX initiative was to measure which factors impacted user experience (UX) the most. The three metrics that Google found to be the most important are the core web vital.
– Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
– First Input Delay (FID), and
– Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Every website can measure these metrics, and if yours exceeds a set threshold, you’re likely to get a ranking boost.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
When evaluating how fast a website loads, we say it takes one second or three seconds. However, that’s not the accurate way to measure load time.
If you observe a website loading, web elements don’t appear all at once. Some web elements take longer than others, and while others may pop up almost instantly, others will continue to load. The accurate way to measure page loading time is by measuring several metrics and put together to declare the page loading time. These two factors are measured;
First Contentful Paint: This is the duration it takes for the first web element to appear on your browser.
Largest Contentful Paint: The duration it takes to load the largest or the most web elements in your browser. In other words, it measures how long it takes to complete loading.
LCP is on Google’s Core Web Vitals list because it paints an accurate picture of how long your website takes to load.
Several factors affect LCP scores; Website traffic, server load time, etc.
First Input Delay (FID)
If a website takes too long to load, user actions such as button clicks and scrolls are delayed. The first input delay measure that – how long it takes for a page to become interactive, and by interactive, we mean user actions.
FID is near zero for high ranking websites. Whenever we visit a website and still cannot get to what you want, it frustrates us, and most visitors just quit. That’s the downside of high FID.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
When you open web pages, You are likely to see a flick of the entire site as elements reposition when more web elements finish loading. That is a “layout shift”.
Cumulative Layout Shift measures how long it takes becomes your web page stops moving around. Google’s threshold for CLS is 100 ms. The higher the number, the more unstable your site is.
The CLS for desktop and mobile devices are different. Web elements are more likely to shift on smaller devices than on large screens, and it’s important to note that good CLS on the desktop does not translate to Google CLS on mobile devices. Optimize your web pages for both desktop and mobile devices.
How to Check and Improve your Google core web vitals
Several online tools can measure your website’s performance. Among them, and probably the most popular is GT Metrix.
To test your website, go to GT Metrix and enter your website URL, and click. Voila! Your website is tested. To fix the core web vitals, however, takes more than a few clicks. To fix that, you’ll need to optimize scripts, compress images and apply other technical techniques. If you need help with your GT Metrix scores, Feel free to Get in touch, and we will be glad to help.
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