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Core Web Vitals: A Guide For SEOs And Businesses

Core Web Vitals - A Guide For SEOs and Businesses

Google is working on a big change to Core Web Vitals, which may change your ranking position significantly. Get ahead of the change and read all about Google’s planned update, proposed to be launched mid-2021.

 

30-Second Summary

  • Core Web Vitals track metrics related to your site speed, responsiveness and visual stability and are ranked by Google to test your overall page experience.
  • Google has defined these Core Web Vitals into three main signals which track and monitor your page to give your site an overall site performance value: Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift and First Input Delay.
  • The new ‘Page Experience’ signal will consist of the original three Core Web Vitals and these additional metrics: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security and intrusive interstitial guidelines.
  • By adding page experience to their ranking system, Google aims to help users find pages which will answer their query in the best way possible.
  • Google’s Core Web Vital update is noticeably geared towards the increase in mobile search. 52% of search engine queries are conducted on mobile, and this trend is set to rise.
  • Google has suggested that it will be launched in 2021, but as of yet, no clear date is given.
  • Google has pledged to provide at least six months’ notice before the new Core Web Vitals are rolled-out.
  • Check out our tips for businesses to prepare for the Google Core Web Vitals update below!

 

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What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are key factors which Google consider most important for the webpage’s overall performance. These metrics relate to your site speed, responsiveness and visual stability and are ranked by Google to test your overall page experience.

Monitoring your Core Web Vitals is a fantastic way to understand your overall user experience and helps site owners to identify any issues with monitor loading, interactivity and site visual stability; the core stability of what makes a site good.

Core Web Vitals are relevant to all website pages. If you have a website, especially a brand or business page, you need to monitor your Core Web Vitals to get the most out of your webspace.

How Google define it:

 

Google quote on Core Web Vitals: "Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centred metrics."

The 3 Metrics For Core Web Vitals

Google has defined these Core Web Vitals into three main metrics which track and monitor your page to give your site an overall site performance value. The three metrics are as follows:

 

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The LCP tracks the time it takes for a page’s main content to load. Google tracks the largest thing to load on the page, be this an image, video or set of text. Google will time how long it takes this content to render and apply this to the overall page loading speed.

Loading time can be influenced by your server time, CSS, JavaScript or client-side rendering; all of which can be optimised to improve your LCP rating.

 

2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS monitors how quickly the page is stable, meaning that content won’t jump around the page when the user interacts with it. This is particularly relevant for mobile responsiveness as a page shift could cause a user to click the wrong button.

Large images and undefined content, like animations or graphics, could interfere with your CLS and need to be tested on your website to ensure a strong CLS rating. To improve CLS ensure your images, Ads, embeds and iFrames all have the correct dimensions.

 

3. First Input Delay (FID)

An FID rating tracks how quickly a page is interactive. This tests how quickly the browser can produce a result or action based on an action.

For example, when a user clicks on a button, image or JavaScript event, FID will track how quickly this action produces a result.

 

Core Web Vitals Ideal Metrics: LCP 2.5 seconds, CLS less than 0.1, FIC less than 100ms

 

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These metrics won’t be unfamiliar to SEOs and developers as they have previously been available through PageSpeed Insights and the Chrome User Experience Report. However, by

pulling them into one Core Web Vitals check will open new opportunities for tracking and analysis.

It is also important to note that these metrics have room to grow and develop as more data becomes available. This means that the current Core Web Vitals benchmarking of “Good”, “Needs Improvement and “Poor” will likely develop in the future.

 

Google Core Web Vitals Metrics

 

Google’s Core Web Vital Update: Page Experience Signal and Ranking

In Google’s proposed update, Core Web Vitals will be added to your sites overall ranking factors. Google will combine your Core Web Vital score with the user experience signal to get a deeper understanding of the real-world user’s experience on your website.

The new ‘Page Experience’ signal will consist of the original three Core Web Vitals and these additional metrics: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Combining the Core Web Vitals with user experience signals is part of Google’s overall aim of better understanding human/website interaction. This update is aiming to give site owners a deeper overview of what website users want to see online, helping site owners to build pages that users truly enjoy visiting. This enjoyment could be through finding a useful answer, discovering a relevant resource, buying a needed product, and so much more!

Google track this ‘enjoyment’ through user experience tracking. If your website is providing a high-quality of user experience, then your ranking signals will be higher, which will relate to higher page ranking in search engine results.

The main principle being that, great page experience enables users to quickly and efficiently reach their end result, be this finding information, purchasing a product or using a site for leisure purposes. By adding page experience to their ranking system, Google aims to help users find pages which will answer their query in the best way possible.

 

Sophie Brannon Senior SEO Manager quote on Core Web Vitals: "The most significant Google updates that we have seen in a long time."

 

The Importance Of Mobile-Friendliness

Google’s Core Web Vital update is noticeably geared towards the increase in mobile search. In 2019, mobile searches tipped over the half-way mark to overtake desktop searches. Now, 52% of search engine queries are conducted on mobile, and this trend is set to rise.

Mobile responsivity and optimisation is now crucial for all websites as over half of the online search population use mobile. Mobile-friendly website design, fast loading speeds and optimised mobile responsivity are key for future-proofing your digital success; and Google has recognised this crucial development.

By including mobile-friendliness into their page experience Core Web Vital update, Google is indicating that mobile could be the future of search. The future of search is in the hands of the younger, mobile-centred generations who are increasingly more likely to search, shop and research on their mobile devices, and websites need to be prepared for this.

 

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Is Content Still ‘King’?

The Core Web Vital update won’t drastically change the key principles of SEO and a successful website, so yes, content is still incredibly important. Google will continue to track relevant keywords, ensure content is reliable, useful and enjoyable, making content relevance very important for page rankings.

However, Google is becoming more sophisticated when it comes to positioning similarly ranking content sites. If two pages have equally ranking content on their website, Google will place the page with the higher user experience levels at the top.

This means that digital agencies, businesses and website owners will need to pay close attention to page content and page experience and take steps to optimise both to improve page rankings.

Ahead of Google’s Core Vital Update, review your content to ensure all on-page and blog content is SEO optimised and approved by Google’s ranking system. You can then move onto your page experience updates knowing that they will have the best possible impact when the update is released.

 

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When Will The Core Web Vitals Update Go Live?

The Page Experience Core Web Vitals update is predicted to go live in mid-2021, but this is currently an industry estimation. Google has suggested that it will be launched in 2021, but as of yet, no precise date is given.

However, Google will not blindly launch this big update on us – fear not! Google has pledged to provide at least six month’s notice before the new Core Web Vitals are rolled-out and come into effect. So, you have plenty of time to get to grips with this innovative update.

 

Shofiur Rahman Lead Web Developer quote on Core Web Vitals: "Google are giving overall user experience a powerful leverage when it comes to page ranking and performance."

 

Evaluating Page Experience

Currently, there are no specific tools for evaluating page experience as a whole, but we can measure the individual components and ensure they’re optimised.

To prepare for the Google Core Web Vitals update, test your web vitals to get a deeper understanding of where your website currently lies in page experience.

Google has helped website owners get a head start with this testing and optimisation process by developing their core testing tools. Google Search Console, Lighthouse and PageSpeed have all been updated to provide detailed information and reports on your website performance.

We recommend testing your website through PageSpeed to gather top-level data on overall page speed and interactivity. If undergoing a full website development, we would employ a heatmapping tool, such as HotJar, to collate a wider set of data over a period of time. Heatmapping tells us how people are interacting with different areas of the site and highlight any areas where users are dropping off from the site.

 

How To Review Core Web Vitals

Step 1: Crawl the site. We recommend using Screaming Frog with Page Insights data connected.

Step 2: Export your data and categorise the pages. Your categories could be: services, product, blog etc.

Step 3: Cross-reference your speed against Chrome User Experience report and DataStudio for real-world data on interaction with the site.

Step 4: Check if each page passes or fails the Core Web Vitals against the three metrics.

Step 5: Review your overall domain level data to use as a benchmark to check against later.

Step 6: Competitor research! Benchmark against your competitors with the same process to see where you sit in relation to your competition.

Step 7: Monitor this progress over time, every month if you can, on the CrUX dashboard.

Following this step-by-step guide will help you to understand your site performance and track the improvements made when optimisng your Core Web Vitals.

 

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What Does The Core Web Vitals Update Mean For Businesses?

In our world of instant gratification, web users are extremely fickle and will leave your website without a second thought if they are not able to use it properly. We know that businesses don’t want to lose potential custom, so invest in your website development to optimise for these Core Web Vitals updates is crucial. This investment will ensure an enjoyable, reliable and relevant user experience is granted to all of your site users and you will see customer or sale return on this investment.

Brands and business need to focus on providing a website users want to visit and interact with. This includes delivering relevant and exciting content, creating a beautiful and functional website, and having a page which loads quickly and has a clear site structure. With this in mind, start getting ahead ready for the update now.

 

How to get ahead of the Core Web Vitals update

 

Getting Ahead

With the Core Web Vitals update set for mid 2021, there is work for site owners and businesses to do now to get ahead of the change.

Here are our top three considerations for businesses to implement before the Core Web Vitals update:

 

1. Implement Good Content

From a fundamental perspective, page ranking and indexing start with good SEO practices which are based on quality content. Ensuring your website it providing relevant, useful and authoritative content with optimised keywords and other SEO strategies will keep your website in a good position.

This has come straight from Google who say:

 

Google quote on Core Web Vitals: "We will prioritise pages with the best information overall"

 

2. Mobile is Key

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly then, come the update, you’re going to have a big problem. Even prior to the update, having a mobile responsive website should be a priority for businesses across all industries as mobile search is on the rise.

Don’t miss out on sales opportunities and brand building exercises because your website isn’t mobile-friendly. Test your mobile responsiveness and pinpoint any sticking points, if you’re worried about your mobile site, get in touch with our design and development team now to get ahead of the update.

 

3. Test. Test. Test.

In the calm before the storm – figuratively speaking – take stock of how your website is performing now. Understanding your current Core Web Vitals performance will help you track how the update affects your business and allow you to track the positive benefits of Google’s pending update.

We recommend using the following tools to get a grasp on your website and prepare for the new developments:

  • Hotjar
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Chrome UX report
  • Chrome Devtool
  • Search Console
  • Lighthouse

 

Final Reflections

Google’s Core Web Vitals update is well and truly underway and will be with us at some point in the new year – and this is an incredibly exciting update! At its heart, Google wants to bring users the best possible search results, and this will also massively benefit businesses and optimised websites will reach audiences searching for your niche.

Google’s Core Web Vital update is highly anticipated and will become part of the overall search algorithm when it comes into effect in 2021. But don’t worry, core SEO practices will remain the same, and perhaps be enhanced through this update.

 

Ben Austin CEO quote on Core Web Vitals: "It's a force for good, enabling web providers to track and measure user-experience"

For further information on how to optimize your website for the Core Web Vitals update, see Google’s video on optimization tips here:

 

 

 

 

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Need Some Support?

For more information and to get your Core Web Vitals in check, call our experts today on 0800 088 6000.

We can conduct a full SEO audit and provide insights on your current website performance, including actions you need to take to improve your website. Don’t hesitate to find out more! A member of our expert, friendly SEO team can deliver you Core Web Vitals audit now.

To find out more about the digital marketing services available at Absolute Digital,
get in touch on 0800 088 6000 or fill in the contact form below.

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