Google’s search algorithms are continually being improved. Occasionally, when a substantial update to the algorithm is imminent, Google will notify the industry, and it is always prudent to heed those notices. Google has provided ample notice of a forthcoming change, introducing Core Web Vitals as an algorithmic signal in early 2021. Keep an eye on Core Web Vitals, as the upgrade may have a big impact on the search engine optimization of your site (SEO).
Google Core Web Vitals
Google defines core Web Vitals as “a collection of real-world, user-centred metrics that quantify critical aspects of the user experience. They quantify aspects of web usability such as page load time, interactivity, and the stability of content during the loading process.” To put this into technical terms, the foundation of Core Web Vitals consists of the following:
What are the Core Web Elements?
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This refers to the time it takes for a page to load from the point at which the user clicks on a page link to the point at which it appears on the user’s screen.
- First Input Delay (FID) – This refers to the amount of time required for the user to engage with your page. This involves clicking on links from the main menu and navigation bar, filling out forms, and, on mobile devices, opening “accordion text.” These are only a few of the factors that contribute to a positive user journey experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – This refers to the visual stability of the page and the fact that all elements load concurrently rather than one or two items loading at a slower rate. Any elements that take an excessive amount of time to load can induce visitors to accidentally click on something, resulting in a negative user experience. This is especially critical for mobile devices.
Additional factors affecting search signals for page experience
- Mobile-friendliness – This refers to the process of ensuring that websites “shrink” to fit on a mobile phone screen.
- Safe-browsing – This refers to your website is free of viruses or malware.
- HTTPS – This is a reference to the security of online pages and the use of SSL/TLS to encrypt the website’s HTTP traffic. It is critical to have that small icon with a locked padlock in place before implementing your website’s design!
- No intrusive interstitials – This refers to intrusive pop-up adverts on mobile devices that obscure or obstruct the majority, if not all, of the website’s content, making it impossible for the user to read it, resulting in a negative experience.
Why Are Web Core Vitals Important?
Before we delve into the details of what Core Web Vitals are, let’s take a moment to consider why they matter. Apart from providing the best possible user experience, most website owners place a premium on page placement in Google’s search results.
Google will release a major change to its search results algorithm in mid-June 2021, likely elevating UX to the second most significant ranking element after content. For this reason alone, it is critical to keep your website’s Core Web Vitals current.
While providing a positive page experience does not trump providing great, relevant content, Google is now ranking page experience in its search results. The Core Web Vitals will be significantly more important for a good search ranking for pages with similar content, the page experience.
To summarise, starting in June 2021, the real-world user experience on any website will become a ranking consideration for Google’s algorithm. Core Web Vitals are a collection of measurements that Google utilizes to determine the real-world user experience. To ensure that your website is prepared for the upgrade, utilize the tools provided to assess its performance and make any necessary adjustments before the scheduled date.
Optimization of resources for Core Web Vitals
Fortunately, a few Google-recommended solutions help ensure a positive user experience on your site, hence increasing your ROI.
These are the identical strategies we utilized to achieve the client’s perfect Web Vitals score.
Image Optimization for Page Speed
Large image files account for the majority of the payload in browsers. Optimizing pictures can help a site load faster and provide a better user experience.
If all of your photos are served from the same server, this can place a significant amount of strain on your server. The most effective method of resolving this issue is to utilize a CDN server. AWS and Cloudflare are now the best choices for a CDN provider for images.
Additionally, you must guarantee that the CDN you use translates the photos to WebP format, Google’s Recommended Image Format for Web images.
LazyLoad: Using a lazy loading strategy improves the WebVitals score by including just the onscreen picture resources in the initial payload. Off-screen images will load as viewers approach the specific image viewpoint on the website. Only the dimensions of off-screen images are loaded throughout the loading process to avoid a page break.