March 11, 2021

Core Web Vitals Update: Everything You Need To Know

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics used by Google to measure the loading speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of web pages. Using these specific metrics, businesses are able to monitor the key aspects of the user experience on their websites. 

Core Web Vitals Update

Recently, Google announced that it will begin incorporating Core Web Vitals as a ranking signal. The purpose of this change is to improve the way Google evaluates the overall user experience, allowing Google to provide a higher quality experience for users by ranking websites with better metrics.

Below is everything you need to know to properly optimize your website and prepare for the Core Web Vitals update!

Core Web Vitals

Google has defined the Core Web Vitals as these three metrics: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift. We know these sound really abstract and confusing but we’ll break the whole thing down in a minute. 

The results of these metrics are judged on a scale of Good (green), Needs Improvement (orange), or Poor (red). For the best rankings and results, businesses should be striving to be in the green for all three Core Web Vitals.

Defining the Core Web Vitals

The Largest Contentful Paint refers to the amount of time it takes for the webpage’s main content to fully load. To receive a Good rating, a majority of your web pages need to load in 2.5 seconds or less. 

First Input Delay is the amount of time it takes a web page to become interactive. The goal for this measurement is to be under 100 milliseconds. 

The final Core Web Vital is Cumulative Layout Shift, which refers to how stable a web page is as it loads. If elements unexpectedly move around or appear when the page is loading, you are not likely to receive the ideal measurement of less than 0.1. 

If your website has received orange or red ranking in one or more of these categories, it’s important to optimize your website before the ranking signal goes live. Not only will this help your web pages rank higher as the Core Web Vitals become more and more important in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it will improve user experience on both desktop and mobile devices.

Impact on SERP Ranking

Core Web Vitals are set to become ranking signals in May 2021. Cumulatively, Google will refer to them as the “page experience” signal. 

The page experience signal will combine the three Core Web Vitals with other pre-existing metrics, including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial (see: annoying popup ads) guidelines. 

As of right now, there’s no way to gauge the full impact Core Web Vitals will have on Google’s ranking algorithm. However, there is one thing we know for sure: the goal of the ranking algorithm is to provide the most relevant websites for each search query. 

That being said, if your webpage offers a wealth of valuable information, but does not necessarily have the best user experience, you might still receive top ranking due to your superior content. 

Just know that the page experience will start becoming a defining factor when comparing two websites with content of similar quality and relevance. In this instance, Google will likely choose the website that will provide a better page experience. 

While the impact of this new signal might not be a game-changer overnight, it is important for brands to start paying attention to how users perceive their website and begin optimizing for these factors.

Measuring Page Experience Signal

While we don’t have a specific tool to measure page experience as a whole just yet, businesses are able to evaluate each individual metric to determine the overall strength of their website. 

Thankfully, Google offers a variety of tools to measure Core Web Vitals, such as Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Chrome DevTools, Chrome UX report, and even a Google Chrome Core Web Vitals extension. 

Brands can easily track how easily users can use their website on a mobile device by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. The Google Search Console can be used to check any Security Issues relating to safe browsing. Businesses can confirm their website has a secure HTTPS connection by looking to the left of the web address in the browser bar – a padlock icon means secure. 

If any of these platforms are showing negative aspects of your site, you need to immediately start fixing them – and if you aren’t sure how to, it’s time to contact an SEO specialist. 

When it comes to intrusive interstitial guidelines, there is no handy tool to measure how well your website is performing. Luckily, Google has clearly stated the strategies brands should avoid, including adding popups that immediately cover the main content or popups that need to be dismissed before the user can view the main content.

If you would like more information about Core Web Vitals becoming a ranking signal on Google, need help optimizing your website, or other digital marketing services please contact Pink Dog Digital at (410) 696-3305 or visit us on the web at www.pinkdogdigital.com.

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