Core Web Vitals are a hot topic in the SEO realm right now. They are a set of user-facing metrics, helping site owners measure the user experience on the web. Ranking higher on search engines is a continuous effort to ensure that your website has the best reasonable chance to attract the largest amount of traffic and relevant visitors, and Core Web Vitals are the new top-notch metric.
Webmasters need not be performance gurus to understand the quality of experience they are delivering to their users. So let’s discuss and understand the different facets of page experience and how to optimise your site by improving these web vitals for an unbeatable UX this 2021:
Defining the Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that contain real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of your web page. The three Core Web Vitals are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Time taken to render the largest element, typically an image, video, or perhaps a large block-level text element. This is crucial as it informs the reader that the URL is actually loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): The time from when a user first interacts with your page to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. Scrolling and zooming don’t count towards the measurement of your webpage FID score.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures the visual stability, i.e., the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that transpires during the complete lifespan of the web page.
Why are the Web Vitals so important?
Google places importance on Page Experience for an overall positive UX. As a result, Core Web Vitals have become the most heavily weighted aspect of your Page Experience score. Webmasters now need to build a web ecosystem that users love, and the Core Web Vitals will become a key ranking factor. By improving these Web Vitals, you will be able to significantly reduce your bounce rate and get users to stay on your website longer.
Optimising the quality of user experience is the key to the long-term success of any site. Whether you’re a business owner, developer, or marketer, Web Vitals help you quantify the experience of your site and identify opportunities to improve. User experience is also an essential factor in SEO rankings. Unfortunately, a faster website with poor UX can still cost you conversions, fewer page views, and poor customer satisfaction. Improving Web Vitals helps you remedy that.
How does the Google Algorithm Reward?
Web pages that receive a score of ‘good’ for the Core Web Vitals deliver an aspirational level of user experience and might boost the page experience segment of ranking on the SERPs. Aside from the initial ranking boost that Google promises, the inclusion of badges and having your pages featured in Top stories will also significantly impact your Click-Through Rates (CTRs).
As measured by Google in CRUX, optimising for these performance metrics will undoubtedly positively impact the user experience. It will further help increase session lengths, better satisfaction scores, increased conversion, and SEO traffic. Google believes that the Core Web Vitals are critical to all web experiences. As a result, it is committed to surfacing these metrics in all of its popular tools, helping you more easily diagnose & fix user experience issues.
Optimising Core Web Vitals
Here are some suggested tricks to render your main content faster, respond more quickly to user interactions, and avoid sudden layout shifts to improve user experience:
- Adopt an image CDN to optimise your Largest Contentful Paint. An image pushed by an image CDN gets a string of properties in its URL, telling the browser how the image should behave.
- The First Input Delay should improve noticeably as you adopt best practices like code-splitting and breaking up your Long Tasks. Move non-UI operations to a separate worker thread to cut down main thread blocking time.
- Prevent Cumulative Layout Shift by adding the width & height for images in the CSS, adding some sort of low-resolution placeholder while the image loads, or reserving space for jumping ads and injected content.
Actionable Tips You Should Know
Build a checklist of actionable items to prepare yourself for the inevitable rollout of these new ranking factors. Pro tip: When testing, focus on field data as it accurately reflects the real user experience of your site.
Turn to Lighthouse for some excellent tools built into Chrome, host and measure at web.dev and Page Speed Insights by Google to find the broad technical issues with your site. Keep the key templates of your web page mobile-friendly. The layout and usability of a website on mobile can make or break the user experience. Spot-checking individual pages help flagging issues. Optimise your server by upgrading your hosting plan, also use a recent version of PHP. Furthermore, preloading DNS queries helps minimise the delay between an asset being requested by the user and the display of that asset.
Each of the Core Web Vitals renders a distinct facet of the user experience, is calculable in the field and reveals the real-world experience of a significant user-centric outcome. Keep in mind that content relevance is still considered necessary when it comes to rankings. A page with profoundly relevant content to a query could conceivably rank well even if it had a poor page experience signal.
Therefore, you must embrace any push to improve your site’s performance and the ranking impact of these metrics that has undoubtedly created a significant buzz in the web performance and SEO communities.