What Is The New Google Core Web Vitals And How Will It Affect SEO

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In its early days, Google was a very basic search engine relying mainly on keywords, content length, and backlinks. But as it progressed forward, we began to see great improvements in how algorithms index and rank search results. 

Today, Google relies much more on advanced metrics to determine which websites deserve to be at the top. All of that based on user experience and usability. 

Which brings us to the latest Core Web Vitals algorithm update…

In today’s article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the new Google Core Web Vitals update. We’ll show you how to measure and optimize the new metrics — and more importantly, how to improve them.

Let’s dive in.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are three new metric scores developed by Google to improve user experience (UX). Each one of them reflects a different aspect of UX — such as loading speed and interactivity.

Along with other pre-existing factors, Core Web Vitals can help Google serve its’ users with the best information while ensuring a flawless browsing experience. 

Core Web Vitals — Google Search Central

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP evaluates loading performance by measuring how fast the largest text, image, video, form, or ad appears on the page. Simply put, it will calculate how long it takes for the largest element — based on size — to load on your page.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — Google Developers

First Input Delay (FID)

FID assesses your site’s interactivity and responsiveness to user inputs. For example, let’s say that a prospect clicks on a button or tries to fill a sign-up form on your website. How quick is your site’s response?

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS looks at visual stability and how stuff jumps around on the page while it loads. The quicker your elements stop moving, the faster visitors can start interacting with your site. Which improves the overall user experience.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — Google Developers

How Will Core Web Vitals Affect SEO?

Core web vitals are a part of the ongoing efforts Google is making to ensure the best surfing experience for its users. In fact, there have been lots of similar updates relying on on-site metrics to measure user experience.

For example:

Mobile-first indexing and page speed scores had a major effect on SEO and how sites rank. Lots of slow, non-mobile-friendly websites disappeared while many other well-designed ones are ranking at the top.

So:

Google will no longer base its ranking algorithms on basic metrics. Instead, the search engine giant has decided to introduce advanced factors relying on user-based data and on-site performance.

But is that going to affect SEO in any way?

Of course!

As users, we’ll see great improvements in how high-ranking brands build and design their sites. Top ranking pages will be a lot faster to load and will deliver relevant information much more quickly.

On the other side of the equation:

Google will require webmasters to optimize for Core Web Vitals to get top ranking spots. You’ll have to do a better job at building your website and always think of users first when designing new pages. 

Now here’s the thing:

This new update won’t make other factors any less important. 

Quality content, backlinks, keywords, and on-page SEO will always have their own weight too. But combined with the new Core Web Vitals, Google will do a much better job at assessing UX and rewarding user-friendly websites.

How to Check Core Web Vitals

It’s essential to measure your Core Web Vitals before improving them. So in this part, you’ll learn how to check these metrics and understand the results.

There are lots of tools you can use to assess Core Web Vitals. However, we recommend using PageSpeed Insights or Google Search Console. Simply because they’re guaranteed to provide accurate test results that match Google’s data.

Let’s get to it.

1- PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a very simple tool to use developed by Google to help webmasters measure and improve their site speed. 

All you have to do go to PageSpeed Insights and enter your site’s URL.

Wait for a few seconds for the tool to test your site… You’ll get a full report on your web performance on both mobile and desktop.

You may have noticed two different conditions for your performance results:

Lab data and Field data.

Field data results are based on how real visitors interact with your website. Which ensures a more accurate assessment of the user experience.

Lab data, on the other hand, relies on a controlled environment with predefined network and device settings. 

That makes it less accurate because the results are generated at the time of the analysis and don’t reflect a real interaction. However, lab data is still helpful, especially for websites under development with no real visitors.

2- Google Search Console

If you’ve already set up Google Search Console (GSC) for your website, you can use it to improve your Core Web Vitals.

To do that, go to your GSC user dashboard.

From the left panel under Experience, click on Core Web Vitals.

The great thing about this tool is that it generates reports after analyzing user activity on all your web pages. Therefore, you don’t have to manually test all your pages separately to identify performance issues.

But…

Unlike PageSpeed Insights, Google Search Console only provides results based on field data. Meaning, unless you already have a live website with real visitors, there isn’t much you can do with this tool.

How to Improve Core Web Vitals On Your Website

The truth is:

Improving Core Web Vitals isn’t as simple as resizing images before you upload them or installing fewer plugins. It will take some effort to understand your performance results, find solutions, and apply them without sacrificing key visual elements.

But here’s the good news:

Google has given webmasters all the resources needed to be prepared for the Core Web Vitals update. There are lots of articles, videos, and webinars detailing every step in the process to help you get started.

We’ll show you how to improve each metric separately. But there will be some overlapping steps between the metrics.

Let’s get to work…

How to Optimize Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

As we said earlier, LCP differs from one page to another based on the web elements. For instance, you may get a good score on your services page and a poor score on your home page. 

So, some of your pages might require more work than others.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — Google Developers

Here are some solid tips on how to improve LCP:

  • Upgrade to better hosting (avoid shared hosting)
  • Optimize images (compression, resizing, proper formatting)
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) 
  • Minify Javascript/CSS codes
  • Enable browser caching

How to Reduce First Input Delay (FID)

The FID score mainly depends on your Javascript and CSS codes and how your site was developed. That’s why websites that get extremely poor scores on FID are often harder to fix as that may require lots of rewriting.

First Input Delay (FID) — Google Developers

Despite that, there are simple tricks you can apply to easily improve FID:

  • Minify and compress your Javascript and CSS files
  • Delete unnecessary third-party tools (plugins, themes, fonts…)
  • Defer unused Javascript
  • Break up long Javascript tasks
  • Leverage browser caching

How to Improve Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS focuses on layout shifts and stability. Thus, it can easily be optimized by making a few small changes to your web page.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — Google Developers

To get a better CLS score, you must:

  • Set fixed widths and heights on images, videos
  • Set specific dimensions on your ads, and embeds
  • Avoid placing dynamic content high on the page
  • Preload web fonts using (rel=preload) or host them on your website

Wrapping It Up

In the past few years, Google has been on a journey to improve user experience and develop how it’s assessed. Core Web Vitals is the latest major update to aim at that.   

When optimizing your website for SEO, remember one thing:

Design and web performance go hand in hand in ensuring a positive experience for your prospects. Thus, you can’t sacrifice one at the expense of the other by aiming for unrealistic test results. 

Instead, make the two work together by keeping key design elements while you maximize your site speed through optimization.

Ready to grow your brand with SEO?

The Lorem Ipsum Company is here to help! We’re a top Orange County digital marketing agency helping businesses like yours transform with SEO. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us or give us a call at (949) 354-2574 — we’ll be happy to discuss your vision and provide solutions.

Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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