Core Web Vitals: what impact will Google's update have?
The Page Experience update takes effect from May 2021. In particular, Google will integrate the Core Web Vitals, 3 indicators that measure the performance of web page loading. What will be the changes in the user experience?
Core Web Vitals, the new Google algorithm
Core Web Vitals represents a specific set of technical measures that Google believes will impact page rankings beginning in May 2021. While there are a variety of factors that impact each Core Web Vital, the three comparatives are:
The LCP: Largest Contentful Paint (Page Performance)
The time required to load the main content of a page. An ideal PCL is less than 2.5 seconds. Example of a bad LCP: looking at a blank page on your phone waiting for a site to load. To improve the LCP score, remove all unnecessary third-party scripts, opt for better hosting and set up delayed loading to load images as the page scrolls.
The FID: First Input Delay (Page Interactivity)
The time it takes for a page to become interactive. An ideal DIF is less than 100 milliseconds. Example of a bad FID: clicking in a form field or pressing a link on a site only to find that it does nothing because the page hasn't finished loading. Some recommendations:
- Remove non-critical third-party scripts
- Use a browser cache.
The CLS: Cumulative Layout Shift
Layout mismatch or visual instability of content. An ideal CLS is less than 0.1. Usually the result of an ad or image lagging in loading. Using defined sizes for all media and making sure ads have a dedicated space are good ways to improve your site's CLS score.
These three factors together represent the user experience of an internet user while on your website. There are many performance metrics that website owners need to know about, but by narrowing them down to the three Core Web Vitals, Google hopes to encourage website owners to focus on the metrics that matter most.
The impact of user experience on SEO
In order for your content to be properly ranked on Google, as of May 2021, it will need to score well on these 3 Core Web Vitals. Although the impact of this new ranking factor is not really known yet, past updates have shown that it is possible to lose significant amounts of traffic that are difficult to recover. This was the case with the mobile first indexing, which had a direct impact on the positioning of websites.
The possibility of a competitive advantage is not lost on sites that take action early. An August 2020 study showed that less than 15% of sites passed the Core Web Vitals baseline test. If your site is one of the few that is prepared, you will see an improvement in your rankings over your competitors.
Google further announced that special attention will be paid to the quality of the user's on-page experience in the future. Core Web Vitals thus joins other criteria such as Mobile Friendly, HTTPS secure browsing, and the absence of intrusive Interstitials to form the search signals for page ranking.
What should you do if your Core Web Vitals are bad?
Marketing Experts have the opportunity to check if their content passes the Core Web Vitals tests. While this algorithm change will take place over a year or two, its impact will be major. Currently, the most comprehensive way to get information about your site's core web vitals is to look at the reports in Google Search Console. However, implementing these recommendations will probably not be simple.
While Google does make quick-fix recommendations, tied to the plugin for certain issues, they also recognize that these quick-fix solutions can break your site. The safest solution is to hire a professional who is familiar with the tools to measure Core Web Vitals and get a score quickly.
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