Core Web Vitals: The New Ranking Factor for Page Experience

Conversion Rate Optimization | SEO Strategies | Web Usability | Website Design | Posted on Feb 8, 2021 | Last updated on September 10, 2021

Google will always be updating for the sake of the internet users around the world. It may be challenging as the changes happen often, but it is essentially for the best as it allows you to continue to improve your website. Google is implementing new factors that will determine how you will rank in the SERP. The new factors are called the “core web vitals” and will be used to ensure your visitors page experience is maximized and pleasant.

Let us learn more about what the core web vitals from Google are.

Google Core Web Vitals

The Google core web vitals are metrics that measure how a real-world user interacts with a website. The components that make up the core web vitals are the load time, interactivity, and the stability of content. These are most important when it comes to mobile devices as websites need to also be optimized to perform well on one of the most used methods to access them. Each of the core web vitals apply to a different aspect of the page experience.

Core Web Vital #1: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This is the time that it takes a page to load the largest component on the page once it is accessed. This could be a video, image, text section, etc. or any of the content that is static on the page.

Imagine: Your friend has these new shoes from a website that was having a sale. So of course the website has an image of the shoes that takes up half of the page. Your friend shares the website where he got them from with you. You go to the website and the page is there but there is a delay before you see the image of the shoes. That is the LCP.

Core Web Vital #2: First Input Display (FID)

This is the page load time for responding to actions. How long it takes a page to be ready for user engagement. This could mean scrolling, a text input, the clicking of buttons or links, etc.

Imagine: You are on a website and need to find something before your phone dies. You type the website into Google and it appears in the SERP so you click it. It is still loading but you see the search bar and are ready to insert your search. There is a lag as the page is still loading. Then, your phone dies. You did not get the chance to find what you were looking for because of that lag. You just experienced a low grade FID.

Core Web Vital #3: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This is the amount of movement that happens while an action is being performed. The action could be as the page is loading or moving onto the next. The movements can happen to text, buttons, fields, cursors, and other functions of the website.

Imagine: You are purchasing the shoes from the website your friend sent you. You are ready to check out and are at the last step. There are two buttons on top of each other, one is “Checkout” and one is “Continue Shopping”. You remember that you want to also add socks to your order. So you scroll down to get ready to click the “Continue Shopping” button, but the page shifts and you end up pushing the “Checkout” button. That is a CLS.

Other Elements

The core web vitals are a relatively new metric that Google implemented, but there were a few that have already existed and have been used to help determine how your search signals for the page experience performed.

  • Mobile friendly: How well a user can navigate, use, read, and interact with on a mobile device
  • Safe browsing: This ensures that the user is able to browse safely without the worry of malware, viruses, and phishing.
  • HTTPS: If the server that the site is hosted on is secure
  • No intrusive interstitials: The on-page content will not be affected in any way as a visitor is using the site.

The “imagine” examples are there to help you visualize how these metrics are measured. Now that you have an idea on what these core web vitals are, you should know how these and the already existing metrics are used as search signals to determine the page experience. 

Page Experience

The page experience is how a user can easily and effectively access and use the pages on your website, which is why you should have the core web vitals and the other metrics maximized. By having them maximized, you show Google that you are what the user needs, and therefore you should be on the first page of the SERP. 

As you may know, Google has a ranking system that determines if your content is suitable for someone looking for an answer. Every page has search signals that determine how and where it will rank in the SERP. Since Google’s aim is to provide users with the most satisfactory experience when answering their search queries, they offer tools and services that can help you help your website. Google Search Console is one of the tools that can be used to help improve your website performance.

The search signals will be used to determine if your page is suited for the user. Following the SEO Trends for the Year 2021, and learning about the new signals that are being rolled out, and optimizing them, you will be able to meet Google’s expectations in order to appear on the SERP.

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Paul Bondad

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