Last November 11, 2020, Google announced the roll-out of another important ranking factor: the Page Experience Signal in May 2021. This announcement is very significant because it’s the first time ever that Google has introduced a UX-based ranking signal. All ranking signals before this usually have to do with how search engines view a website, like the presence of keywords in the page title, the presence of keywords in the copy, and the number of quality inbound links, to mention a few. With the Page Experience Signal, User Experience is given weight in determining website positioning on Google SERPs. This aligns with Google no. 1 policy, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
The Page Experience Signal is predicated on the Core Web Vitals (CWV).
So, What Exactly Are the Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals have everything to do with website speed. Core Web Vitals are your site’s measure of loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
For the longest time, the most common complaint about websites is, “It’s too slow, it sucks.” It doesn’t give justice to users to get a great-looking site with a perfect blend of colors, typography, and layout yet takes ages to load.
Okay, your site loads quickly, but how fast can users use page elements like forms, buttons, links., etc.? An excellent interactive site loads faster and gets the website elements ready for users in no time!
So you get both page loading and interactivity faster, but once the user clicks on the form, it suddenly moves down because an image appears above it. Or say the user is already reading your page copy, and then an image suddenly appears and blocks it. This could be annoying to users and might be the reason why they could leave the site at once. Visual stability lets you know how fast your website layout stabilizes.
Understanding core web vitals
There are different tools and apps to check your Core Web Vitals like the reports generated through Google Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, ChromeDev Tools. All these tools will show you a clear interpretation of the site’s performance. You will know if the page is good, poor, or if it needs improvement.
Whatever tool you use, you have to know that all of them are looking into three common factors or components that affect your core web vitals SEO. Making yourself familiar with these will help you understand your page’s CWV.
The Three Components of Core Web Vital
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
The LCP calculates the loading speed of the largest content, like the block of texts or images on the page before other user interactions. Ideally, the largest content has to load in its first 2 seconds at the viewpoint.
This means, the faster the largest content loads, the shorter time the user waits. Google then will interpret a good user experience.
2. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
The CLS calculated the visual stability of the page. It measures the unnecessary layout shifts on the page. This happens when the users click on the links or any elements on the page. But instead of getting the expected result, the page shifts to a different layout.
One example of this is when the user is reading a blog on your website. Just when he is at the end of the article, an image loads and pushes down the lower part of the article. So, the user needs to scroll back up to resume reading.
3. First Input Delay (FID).
This interprets the interactivity, which means the FID interprets the timeframe or the duration on how long it will interact with the user or simply the load responsiveness of the website. This is the first impression of the page.
When a user clicks on your page’s link and doesn’t give you any response, the page probably has poor FID. Other interactions that translate to FID could be pressing a page or tapping on the screen. The delay it takes before it responds is the metric’s score.
You have to individually check each component of the core web vital to help you identify which page on the website needs to improve. In this way, you can make necessary arrangements to enhance your web’s performance.
Ways to check Core Web Vitals
Google has designed different tools that will help you check your site’s Core Web Vitals. You choose one that you think is convenient to use and navigate. Here are a few of them.
- Use Google Search Console.
Google Search console is a free Google Tool that website owners can use. It only requires you to verify your website, and you are good to go.
Run the app and follow the verification process. Once you are on the Search Console window, you can select “Page Experience” then, it will provide you the rating of your page’s URLs, and under it is a separate section for Core Web Vitals. Click on it, and it will give you the number of URLs that are good, poor, and those that need improvement.
- Use PageSpeed Insights.
The tool will give you detailed information about your site’s performance and provide you with recommendations on improving each of the low-performing URLs. It also gives you the report if the URL passed the three components of core web vitals and helps you identify where to focus.
- Use the Chrome User Experience.
This tool can also provide you with a detailed report of your site’s core web vitals. Some web developers opt to use this tool as it contains a real user experience and design to measure the core web vitals.
It separates the rating of your site’s mobile and desktop versions and its performance percentages. So you will identify how many percent are performing poorly or need some improvement.
- Use Lighthouse.
You can get a lighthouse report for free. First, you need to run your website. And in the browser, you will see the three dots in the upper right order. Click and then select the more tools and then the developer’s tool.
The tool gives you the option to measure the mobile or desktop performance, and then you can click on “Generate Report.” You will get the report of the web’s performance with the details of each metric.
Core Web Vitals cannot be ignored anymore. These are now an important SEO ranking signal that if done the right way, may help boost your websites’ rankings. If you are like many people, core web vitals can be a headache especially if there are a lot of lingering speed issues in your site. And the process to fix these issues isn’t straightforward and is messy. Techna Digital can help fix core web vital problems in your site and further improve your SEO. Get in touch with us today.