In Mid-June 2021 Google will be rolling out Core Web Vitals as a new ranking signal for websites. Initially announced a year ago in May 2020 and originally scheduled for May 2021, these metrics will focus on how stable, fast and visually responsive your website page is.
At Get Your Mobi our blog this week looks into Core Web Vitals, why they are important and what you need to know.
What Are Core Web Vitals?
As a result of the Core Web Vitals (CWV) update, page load speed will be an even more important factor for SEO and ranking signals. The new CWVs are broken down into three key areas: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
These metrics will now be used in combination with other ranking signals used by Google, including:
- No Intrusive Interstitials
- Mobile Friendly
- Safe Browsing
You may be wondering what LCP, FID and CLS are. The easiest way to look at them is to break them down into how a website loads visually (LCP), how stable visuals are when loading (CLS) and finally interactivity between the browser and user (FID).
Loading and LCP (Largest Contentful Paint)
LCP relates to loading and how long it takes for the single largest visible element to load on a page. Anything under 2.5 seconds is seen as good. However, if this is higher it will be classified as Needs Attention (2.5 to 4 seconds) and Poor (4 seconds and over).
Some aspects of a page that may be seen as the largest element include the H1, a featured image, as well as blocks of text.
Interactivity and FID (First Input Delay)
This metric measures the time it takes for the page to respond to user interaction. However, neither zoom or scroll are part of this measurement.
Some examples of interactions on your page can include clicking a checkbox, selecting a drop-down menu as well as clicking buttons or links.
Visual Stability and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
This is the measurement of the stability of the layout of a page as well as how elements move around. Unlike LCP and FID, CLS will continue to measure the page even after it has fully loaded.
There are a few things that may impact your visual stability. These may include fonts or styles that apply late, images with no dimensions and missing dimensions from Ads, Embeds as well as iFrames.
Calculating Your Metrics
Google has said that CWV scores are put together from Chrome users Experience data (CrUX). Any users of Chrome can take part in providing their experience of page speed and web vitals, forming what Google uses to access websites.
Another aspect to be aware of is how often Google will collect and update data on your website. Currently, this will happen every 28 days. John Mueller has expanded on this recently during a Google SEO office-hours hangout.
He explained that there is a “general lag for the data” and that we “kind of have to wait that period of time until we have collected enough data”. As Google has to gather data from users’ experiences, we don’t know yet whether you’ll be able to view CWVs in real-time.
How Important are CWVs to SEO?
In short, Core Web Vitals will impact SEO to some extent. However, as there are more than 200 ranking factors, we’re not sure yet just how much of a shift we will see.
That being said, CWVs are expected to be a strong ranking signal in years to come. Performance is key and Google has already been taking this into account. So the launch of CWVs isn’t all that surprising.
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