Core web vitals that should be applied and measured by site owners

Google has always liked to keep web developers and marketers on their toes. Subtle changes to page discovery and more favourable forms of user experience are often changing. Back in May 2021, Google rolled out a number of wholesale changes to its page experience, which encouraged users to measure and keep track of their core web vitals. These core web vitals are a key component of page experience ranking signals.

Why should I review these core web vitals in my SEO plan?

As previously mentioned, changes to the Google algorithm are asking web gurus to consider a range of vitals. Other reporters on the topic have mentioned that there may be some effects to web page performance and ultimately negatively hit a company’s performance. With likely side effects to page visibility, brand awareness, reduction in content consumption, decrease in web traffic and a loss of sales, web core vitals should be regularly reviewed. Make this a mainstay and a key component of your SEO reviews.

What are the signals I should be focusing on?

So Google has said that ‘core web vitals’ are important, but what are they? How can I look for them? How do they affect my page experience? Here is a brief list that highlights and answers the above questions.

Simon Kinsgsnorth - core web vitals
Existing Page Experience Metrics:
  • Mobile Friendliness: The rise of smartphones has led to google prioritising mobile friendly content and pages. Users should be able to navigate and complete tasks with ease regardless of their device.
  • Safe Browsing: This is where users are unlikely to find malicious malware or unsavory content that will negatively affect the user.
  • HTTPS/SSL: This provides users with a safer and more secure browsing experience when visiting your site.
  • No Intrusive Interstitials: This fancy phrase just refers to add ons to web pages that make it harder for users to interact with your content, such as large pop-ups.

Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP refers to the rendering rate of the largest image or text on your website. This metric is useful as content taking longer than 2.5 seconds to render is likely to be adversely affecting your user experience.
  • First Input Delay (FID): Takes account of the time taken from an interaction with the page to when the browser processes that interaction. Google identifies a threshold of less than 100 milliseconds for a page’s FID.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): describes and measures how often a page moves when a user is on site. Many unexpected shifts in layout are likely to negatively impact the page experience of page visitors, with Google identifying less than 0.1 as the ideal score for CLS.

Measuring these metrics

To support you in measuring and getting up to speed with these new algorithm changes there are some great tools to get you started. Chrome UX report, Lighthouse and Search Console are but a few reliable and easy to navigate tools for boosting your Core Web Vitals. Soon there will be a chrome based plugin to analyse any page’s Core Web Vitals. 

Getting the most out of the new algorithm changes for your page

Providing your user with a great digital experience isn’t exactly new information and should be commonplace in your company’s SEO strategy. Whilst great content, well thought out user journeys and relevant links will contribute to your site’s ranking, the first impression of your site can be make or break. When distilled down, the page experience ranking signals (including Core Web Vitals) are a quantifiable method of analysing these first impressions. Therefore, they should be carefully considered, reviewed and measured to maximise your customers user experience.

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