Google's Algorithm Update: Know your Core Web Vitals

Usability Testing
Mobile Usability

What are Core Web Vitals?


Core Web Vitals are factors that Google takes into account when judging the overall quality of user experience on a webpage. They’re designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page.


Simply put, Google will look at how your website is built and maintained from a technical standpoint, and considers areas where this could impact how could impact a user’s experience on your site. For example, if your website is slow then the user is more likely to bounce off the page or, if they do stay, have a worse, more frustrating time when on your site.


Are Core Web Vitals important?


You bet. From June, Google are introducing an algorithm update that will turn Core Web Vitals into ranking signals. This means that your site’s rank in Google will now be influenced by these factors, alongside more traditional points such as the site’s relevancy and backlink profile.


The new ‘page experience’ signal will combine Core Web Vitals with signals for mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security and intrusive interstitial guidelines. A lot of these factors have been part of best practice for SEO before now, so it’ll come as no surprise that Google are looking to include these within their algorithm.


According to Google, “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page, and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experience from the web.”


Google released this information to provide some guidance on improving website quality and user experience, so each Core Web Vitals component should be carefully considered. All in all, if you’re looking to get ahead in the Google ranks, looking at your site’s Core Web Vitals is a great place to start! We’d recommend using Google Search Console to keep track of your site’s Core Web Vitals and help make improvements.


The three main Core Web Vitals categories are:


Largest Contentful Paint (LPC) 


LCP measures the loading performance of your website. For Google to see your website as successful in this area, the largest elements of content on the page should be fully loaded in 2.5 seconds or less. (This might not happen if your website contains render-blocking Javascript and CSS, for example.) So, work on reducing this load time to an absolute minimum.


First Input Delay (FID)


FID measures how interactive your website is by measuring the time between when a user first interacts with a page and when the browser processes the interaction. Google considers a FID of less than 100 milliseconds strong. Minimising the main thread blocking time is one way to reduce first input delay, as well as reducing or delaying the impact of third-party code that isn’t critical.


Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)


CLS measures how visually stable the website is by looking at any visual elements on the page that change position or size and affect the surrounding content. (For example, motion graphics might be great visually, but not ideal if this causes a button to move so a user can’t easily click it.) An ideal measurement of layout shift is less than 0.1.


What it all means.  


Simply put, there’s no question that in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to have a website that provides a fantastic user experience. And as user experience can significantly impact your SEO and how your website ranks, implementing the principles of Core Web Vitals should definitely be an integral part of your SEO strategy.



Looking to get ahead on Google?


We offer comprehensive SEO services to help your site to perform at its best – good for your users and Google. Get in touch with one of our team today or learn more about our work at our website.