Core Web Vitals: What you should know nowby Saskia Stiefeling
The Google algorithm puts increased focus on the user experience. This could have an impact on the visibility of your website.
In order to present users only with websites that provide the best possible experience (UX), Google will increasingly use the speed factor for evaluation from May 2021. The result will have an impact on the ranking of a website in the search results.
Google wants to continuously improve the search experience of its users through regular updates. To this end, the Internet service adjusts its algorithm several times a year. This determines where a particular website is displayed in the search results, in other words: how well it ranks.
Site operators must therefore regularly adapt their website to the new ranking factors. With the announcement to include the core web vitals in the ranking, Google has unleashed the next optimization wave.
Hello, Core Web Vitals!
This year, it's the core web vitals that will keep site operators busy. These will have a major impact on the visibility of a website from May 2021. By then, you should have checked whether your site meets the new criteria.
The Core Web Vitals ensure that faster pages rank better in order to offer the user the best possible experience (user experience). This way, the user can get to relevant content or use a service faster. Google uses the following key figures for this:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
- FID (First Input Delay)
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
How long does your website take to display the essential content? The associated signal is called Largest Contentful Paint/LCP. Google gives the following guide values for the LCP:
< 2.5 seconds: good
≤ 4 seconds: needs improvement
> 4 seconds: poor
How much time elapses before your website allows the user to interact, for example to click on a button? This is the second relevant metric, the First Input Delay/FID, which can be used to influence the ranking of a website, based on the following benchmarks:
< 0.1 seconds: good
≤ 0.3 seconds: needs improvement
> 0.3 seconds: poor
This measures whether the layout of your website changes during use, or how high the visual stability of your page is. You surely recognize this: The text of a website is loaded faster than other elements, such as images. You start reading, and suddenly the text "jumps" down when the image has loaded.
An indication of how often elements on a website are subsequently shifted is given by the Cumulative Layout Shift/CLS signal, which indicates the so-called impact fraction, i.e. the "impact portion" of the jumping element. The CLS indicates what percentage of the display is taken up by this element in total (see Figure 1). For example, if the percentage is 75%, the impact fraction is 0.75.
Image 1: Impact fraction
Site operators can use the following values as a guide:
< 0.1: good
≤ 0.25: needs improvement
> 0.25: poor
New ranking factor is called Page Experience
Google had already introduced ranking criteria, which also pay attention to the user experience. Together with these "old" criteria, the Core Web Vitals are now summarized under the ranking factor Page Experience.
At this point, I recommend interested readers to follow the links of the corresponding criteria in figure 2 to learn more about them.
What can you do now?
You want to make sure that the speed of your website is sufficient and that your website is still well positioned in search after May 2021? Then use Google Search Console to check the core web vitals of your website or have your supporting agency perform the check. If it turns out that your site does not meet the new criteria, you should have appropriate adjustments made by May 2021.
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Image 1: https://web.dev/cls/#layout-shift-score (22.01.21)