Everything you need to know about Core Web Vitals and SEO
The year 1995 is long gone! People want fast sites in 2021, especially as more and more online traffic comes from mobile devices.
Research has shown that a 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%. Every second counts! The average user is impatient for a site to load. That’s why both Google and Bing use the page loading speed as a ranking factor. Google even takes it a step further and announced that in May 2021, it would be updating its algorithm to include 3 new metrics aimed at improving user experience (UX) called the "Core Web Vitals".
Understand the purpose of a search engine
The role of a search engine like Google is user satisfaction, and this means offering the most relevant results based on a specific query.
In the early years of SEO, Google's search engine was based on simple algorithms that were broadly easy to understand with few parameters to consider. Since then, things have become much more complex because Google algorithm gets updated around 500-600 times per year, and there are more than 200 well-known ranking factors that can influence your business’s ranking position. Here is the list of the current important ranking factors:
Mobile-friendliness - is the process of optimising your website to ensure that your site looks good on mobile devices.
Safe-browsing - Google service that helps protect webmasters and users from dangerous content or malware.
HTTPS-security - advanced secure connection for users
Intrusive interstitial guidelines - mobile pages that contain intrusive interstitials lead to poor UX to users - e.g. avoid popup ads on mobile.
The Core Web Vitals update will therefore change Google's ranking algorithm in 2021.
What is Core Web Vitals?
The purpose of Core Web Vitals is to measure the actual user experience. These signals include page loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.
Loading times — this metric will be measured by Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) in seconds. This indicator measures the page load time required to display the main elements on the user's screen. Google recommends an LCP of fewer than 2.5 seconds.
Interactivity — this metric will be measured by First Input Delay (FID) in milliseconds. This indicator measures the time taken between the user's first interaction and when the browser will be able to respond. Google recommends an FID of less than 100ms.
Visual stability — this metric can be measured by Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which is the unexpected shifting of web page elements while the page is still downloading.
Core Web Vitals and SEO
The quality of the content (and probably the domain authority) will take priority over the page experience for now.
However, in cases where many pages can be similar in relevance, the pages with the best experience will rank first.
The best way to test and measure the page experience and Core Web Vitals will be to use tools like:
PageSpeed Insights to check if your website is fast enough on desktop and mobile.
Use Search Console's new Core Web Vitals report to identify groups of weakest pages that need immediate consideration.